GOING ON SAFARI TO LA RÉSERVE GENÈVE
October 13, 2018
If you believe all five star hotels in Switzerland are conventional, La Réserve will prove you wrong. Set on a sprawling estate, with a leading spa, swimming pools, tennis courts, an ice rink, five restaurants and a private jetty and shore area on Lake Geneva, guests truly become explorers of a lost paradise.
The resort’s design elements accentuate this experience with a motoscafo wooden boat available for arrivals from Geneva, large flames rising up beside the grand entry, colourful acrylic birds perched on lamp fixtures throughout the hotel and elegant animal statues, which surprise you around corners, such as a graceful elephant down a key corridor.
Indeed it is as though guests are on a modern form of safari at La Réserve – were it not that the hotel was only a 10-minute drive from the centre of Geneva it could be imaginable. In sum, it is fair to say that Michel Reybier’s vision to create a remarkable flagship hotel on Lake Geneva as an urban escape, is indeed a reality.
Unlike a real safari, where there are usually some levels of inconveniences and service inconsistencies, La Réserve offers guests all the comforts imaginable with an impeccable service.
The “guides” of your safari at La Réserve are numerous – with over 200 staff there is always someone near to care for your every need. This guest-to-staff ratio stood out for the duration of our two-night stay and was one factor that distinguished the resort from conventional five star hotels.
All the staff were very welcoming and friendly, attentive, greeted us by name and were quick to make recommendations. We would like to particularly thank Aesane for her accommodating and thorough tour, Audrey at reception for her attentiveness (keys were immediately delivered to the room for late check-out, for example), Alexander at breakfast for his exceptional service, Amelie in the spa for her superior skills, professionalism and considerate approach, all of the staff at the Michelin-starred Tsé Fung restaurant who helped craft a truly memorable dinner and, of course, the hotel manager Loïc Fresard.
EXPLORING THE SUITES
Exploring the accommodation options could be an adventure in itself. With 73 rooms, 29 suites and 1 villa, La Réserve has an impressive range of options available for couples or families.
Having stayed in one of the hotel’s gorgeous Lake Suites, we would highly recommend this option to couples. Like the hotel itself, you will be spoilt with space with a separate living room and an expansive bedroom overlooking Lake Geneva and the distant Alps, as well as a large bathroom with a whirlpool tub. You will also have exotic safari-style inclusions, from a welcome treat (including delicious Macarons and nougat, among other elements), a continuously flowing exotic fruit bowl (with mangoes, dragon fruit, figs, local berries etc.), straw-like interior design elements on panels with dark mahogany-coloured natural wood as the foundation, African-inspired art and a range of books from design editions to New York Times bestsellers.
There were additional comforts within our suite that also stood out, including the Pillow Menu, which was far more expansive than most five-star hotels (including, for example a Rose Petal pillow, a Hops pillow and a St John’s Wort Pillow), a private outdoor patio with two chairs facing Lake Geneva, two widescreen Samsung televisions linked up to an Apple TV with a wide range of included films on demand, and a Nespresso coffee machine, kettle with temperature settings and well-stocked mini bar.
For families desiring a little more privacy and space, we would highly recommend La Villa du Lac. This property, part of the estate and at the shores of the Lake, exemplifies modern luxury living. Set in its own grounds of 385 m² and spreading over two spacious floors, the Villa is well-equipped to serve the most discerning luxury seekers; with a private garden, large glass windows facing the lake, modern art throughout and premium design elements from Rémi Tessier. Villa guests benefit from all of the amenities and services of the hotel and will have access to a private butler, a daily personalised housekeeping service and a private chef upon request.
EXPLORING THE CUISINE
One of La Réserve’s standout features is the broad culinary offer. With five restaurants, ranging from fine contemporary cuisine with a French touch (The Loti), to the only Michelin-starred Asian restaurant in Switzerland (Tsé Fung), guests will be taken on a captivating culinary safari.
The head restaurant manager, Virginie Basselot oversees the restaurants and brings creative flair to dishes to deliver some of the finest tastes in the region. Having won the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France) award in the cuisine-gastronomy category, Ms. Basselot is the first woman to achieve this coveted recognition and has thus placed La Réserve restaurants in the spotlight.
We would particularly recommend Tsé Fung. Led to Michelin-star status by culinary master Frank Xu, this restaurant will be a treat for even the most discerning gastronome and a truly unique offer in the region. Mr. Xu delivers his native Shenzhen-style cuisine with abundant flavours and spices and an impeccable presentation all with wine pairing. Among our courses were an entrée of refined spring rolls, red rice rolls with prawns and a delicious selection of dim sums. Main course saw us indulge in slices of roast traditional Peking Duck wrapped up in delicious wholemeal pancakes, the restaurant’s crispy beef (only available on request, not on the menu) and a very spicy but tender and tasty Szechuan chicken. To top off our veritable feast, we enjoyed iced Vacherin with raspberry lychee and a scent of rose along with Mango cream, pomelo and sago pearls. Suffice to say that Tsé Fung is truly a remarkable restaurant that is a leader for this type of cuisine in the region. I believe it is quite likely to attract two Michelin stars in the near future.
The breakfasts also deserve a special mention at La Réserve. With two options available (in fact three if it’s Sunday – there is an exceptionally opulent brunch), guests are once again, spoilt for choice. At The Bar, breakfasts are served à la carte, offering a sprawling choice with exotic fruit, some of the finest French toast and a broad selection of favourites, including an indulgent eggs benedict and a delicious Swiss-style bircher muesli. At The Café Lauren, near the Spa, guests are given healthy choices, with items like quinoa, sheep cheese and goji berries on the menus.
EXPLORING THE SPA & FITNESS FACILITIES
The Spa Nescens is a unique offer at La Réserve. With a focus on swiss anti-ageing science, the Spa offers a range of anti-ageing treatments and products, which have become popular around Geneva and abroad. In addition, given the space, the tranquillity and the many activities available (ranging from indoor and outdoor tennis, a large indoor pool and a well-equipped gym with personal trainers), guests are likely to feel rejuvenated simply by spending time in the wellness environment.
Having experienced a treatment at The Spa Nescens, I can vouch for the professionalism and quality of the service and products and I would highly recommend a trip during your stay. It is the ideal way to transition from the outside world to this urban safari enclave and it will take you on a peaceful journey of rejuvenation. My spa journey was the “Better-ageing Signature body massage”. My massage therapist, Amelie was very knowledgeable and clearly expert at isolating stress areas and dissolving them into bliss. The massage was combined with a lymph drainage (using a lymph draining machine) which further released areas of tension. The products used included Argan oil and Nescens anti-ageing elements, all helping to re-energise every sense and every cell.
For those guests wishing more of a focus on anti-ageing, Nescens also offers a range of Cosmeceutical treatments, which are also very popular, as well as medical and osteopathic consultations.
EXPLORING THE GROUNDS
Given the large grounds at La Réserve, there is always more to discover.
The little members of the family will enjoy the adventurous urban safari with their own little park – La Petite Réserve. Available for children 6 months to 13 years, this park, situated in the beautiful grass facing Lake Geneva, is a secluded area for kids only (no parents, but supervised by La Réserve’s team). The children have the opportunity to play in the tree house-styled cabin, on the wooden obstacle course and take private and group classes in the swimming pool.
While the children are being entertained, the adults can unwind in the Spa or the swimming pools, play a game of tennis in rain or shine or take a personal trainer in the fitness area. There are always activities available that ensure you optimise your urban safari retreat.
EXPLORING BEYOND LA RÉSERVE GENÈVE
Only 15 minutes away by motoscafo boat and 10 minutes away by La Réserve’s Maybach, Geneva offers further opportunities to enrich your stay. Many guests find all they need in the secluded retreat at La Réserve, but those wishing to venture beyond the safari’s grounds will find much on offer – from tours of Geneva’s old town to boutique fashion outlets and cultural activities.
We would recommend a visit to the opera at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. We went to the opera Ascanio and were impressed with the talent, the stage designs and the intimate nature of the establishment. The program ahead sees Faust in February, Cavalleria Rusticana in March, King Arthur in May and Don Giovanni in June. Whatever your desires – whether Opera, ballet or a fine dining choice in Geneva – the hotel’s concierge team will inform you what is available and find an itinerary to suit your needs.
THANKS FROM LUXURIA LIFESTYLE
Overall, we cannot recommend this unique destination highly enough. We very much enjoyed our stay and look forward to visiting La Réserve in summer to make the most of the exquisite lakeside setting.
We would like to highlight our sincere gratitude to the whole team at the establishment and our envy to the future guests who visit before we do next summer.
The Luxuria Lifestyle Team