The birthplace of Red Cross, a home to the United Nations and the global home of peace as the locals like to think of it. Here there is a genuine sense of welcoming and happiness. I was lucky enough to be part of it for a few days, to witness a kind of Utopia where culture, natural beauty, luxury and a trait to be the best or to make things better especially on a human level are all seamlessly woven into a fabric that is Geneva.
I’d never been to Switzerland, countless times at Zurich airport in transit but for some reason I didn’t venture into the country itself. This time on invitation from Geneva Tourism I’m finally here occasionally writing and frequently glancing outside my window at the wonderfully luxurious Hotel D’Angleterre. My room overlooks the lake, the beautiful city and the magnificent Mont Blanc in the background. I think I spent more time looking out my window at all times of the day and night gazing endlessly into this small but beautiful part of the word.
Getting here was easy, I flew Business Class courtesy Swiss Air and after a light bite of wild mushroom soup and seafood cromesquis over a couple of glasses of PSI 2010 from the ultra luxury and rare Dominio de Pingus estate and Cognac I settled in my bed to snooze away till landing in Zurich from where a short thirty minute flight brought me to this paradise.
Geneva is luxury in every way you think about it. There’s a sense of indulgence here just like the beauty that surrounds you. Everything is available to you, you want a hedonistic bottle of fine wine, go around the corner at Lavinia, a store selling top end wine and spirits or perhaps you’d like a box of some very fine Cuban cigars and a bottle of Karuizawa, a fabled silent distillery from Japan, head to the original Davidoff store down the road.
Some luxuries of course don’t need money of course, a ferryboat takes you across the lake and the iconic Jet d’Eau sprouting water ninety feet into the hour is intoxicating or a walk into the old town on the mountain to see ancient architecture, art galleries and the Cathedral. Perhaps some local fish from the lake, like Smoked Fera topped with caviar at Cottage cafe or freshly shucked oysters at café du Central. The local produce, the cheese and the wine from the surrounding regions are just all so good. I found a grape variety that I now adore called Chasselas. Perhaps something as simple as a slow walk in the morning as the sun rises from behind the mountains with a warm cup of coffee or a glass of vino sitting along the bank of the lake in the night. I even got a chance to cycle through the vineyards on an electric cycle making my hour-long cycle journey up and down the picturesque sloping vineyards a breeze. I’d go to Geneva simply to do that again.
The thing is. Everything in Geneva starts at the top, the standards are very high. Perhaps too early to say this in my article but if you’ve got the money there is everything you can dream off in Geneva, this town knows how to do it right. Even the nightlife is good to with restaurants serving cuisines from around the world and of course neighboring countries like France and Italy and in select pockets lots of bars and restaurants. Some of the night clubs are truly decadent and play grounds for the wealthy, here there is very high end consumption at very high prices, case in point I’ve never so many people drink Louis XIII in any one given place ever.
I loved that before I set off for dinner in the evening the Head Sommelier at my hotel would start my evening with a glass of Dom Ruinart, a truly luxurious Champagne or that when I came back to the hotel I could relax over a top end single malt in perhaps the most advanced Cigar room I have ever been to.
A short tram ride away is Carouge. This is a quaint beautiful town that doesn’t necessarily feel like Switzerland with a pop up market every Wednesday and Saturday. I would recommend coming for the market, buying some local cheese perhaps stuffed with truffle and bread, some wine and then heading of to one of their many secret gardens where you can have a blissful few hours in sheer beauty enjoying your spoils. If you’re still hungry head to Café du Marche which is adjacent to the market for some truly wonderful food.
I had a chance to visit the Vendage du Russin the harvest festival in the tiny village of Russin fifteen minutes by train from Geneva. The wineries open their cellars and serve delicious food and the whole town erupts into a carnival with a parade, the festivities continue all-day and late into the night. Its really simple to get there and if you’re in Geneva when this happens its worth a visit.
The thing is folks and I mean this, Geneva is hedonistic pleasure and I can go on about what’s good here. It’s really tough to come back to your normal life after a few days here. You miss it, you miss the experience of being somewhere that is truly happy, utterly beauty, sophisticated, warm with any of the world fines luxuries at your doorstep. My last hour before I left for the airport at six in the morning was what made Geneva a little more magical. I decided to look outside my window one last time for a few minutes to capture it before I left and saw in the star filled sky the brightest and biggest star I have ever seen, hang over Geneva.
I will definitely be going back there again, I think I need to be in Utopia again.