Ritz Carl­ton Geneva

The pres­ti­gious Ritz Carl­ton Ho­tel de la Paix in Geneva is proof that hon­our­ing the past is key to a suc­cess­ful ren­o­va­tion.

Bespoke - - THE CONTENTS -

We don’t envy any team tasked with re­mod­elling a prop­erty like Geneva’s Ho­tel de la Paix, even if, in this in­stance, they had a bud­get of 23.5 mil­lion USD. The ho­tel has been a beloved land­mark on the city’s lake­side prom­e­nade since its open­ing in 1867, with a façade that has oc­cu­pied a po­si­tion of promi­nence for gen­er­a­tions of hol­i­day­mak­ers tak­ing in the view, strolling across the Rhône on the Pont du Mont Blanc. The ho­tel’s in­te­rior Ro­coco crown mould­ings and stately Em­pire style fur­nish­ings have played host to heads of states, UN spe­cial en­voys, roy­als, celebri­ties and even Ma­hatma Gandhi and his goat. But when Gen­eral Man­ager Guillaume Benezech and The Ritz-carl­ton team took over the prop­erty in the au­tumn of 2015, the lobby’s deep reds and yel­lows felt heavy, musty, and well, old. Rep­re­sent­ing the Ritz-carl­ton’s first fo­ray into Switzer­lan d, join­ing a wave of new lux­ury of­fer­ings in the Alpine na­tion, the team had to tread es­pe­cially care­fully around the ques­tion of how to mod­ernise a land­mark prop­erty without bull­doz­ing the el­e­ments that made it a land­mark in the first place. One il­lus­tra­tion of the team’s re­sponse to this can be found in the Fiske­bar restau­rant, part of a prop­erty ad­join­ing the orig­i­nal ho­tel, which was added in 1907. The restau­rant it­self is achingly au courant both in con­cept and ex­e­cu­tion. The Copen­hagen fish mar­ket theme is ripped from hos­pi­tal­ity news head­lines, while a multi­gen­er­a­tional crowd who look like Patek Philippe mod­els wash down truf­fled cashews with cham­pagne as they wait for a spot at Chef Alessio Corda’s com­mu­nal ta­bles, fash­ioned from re­claimed wood. But there are sub­tle nods to the ho­tel’s his­tory in the In­sta­gram-ready restau­rant and ad­join­ing bar, as there are through­out the prop­erty. Decades of built up paint has been scraped off to re­veal the orig­i­nal colour from the early 20th cen­tury, a gor­geous sepia tone with a fresco fin­ish. The colour on the walls is off­set by mid-cen­tury so­fas and arm­chairs up­hol­stered in sun­set and sap­phire-toned vel­vet, placed on orig­i­nal wood par­quet floors. Be­hind the antique wooden bar are orig­i­nal cameo paint­ings of el­e­gant Genevois en­gaged in Ritz-carl­ton ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tiv­i­ties like walk­ing their pint-sized dogs, or tak­ing af­ter­noon tea. In­deed, Benezech and his team have skil­fully high­lighted the ho­tel’s most strik­ing orig­i­nal el­e­ments, like the black-and-white checker­board mar­ble floors that ex­ist in the lobby and on each

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