Contemporary luxury in Geneva
180 Rooms / 48 Suites
Competition for luxury dollars is fierce in Geneva, but Hotel President Wilson, A Luxury Collection Hotel holds its own and then some. The stoic concrete and glass exterior reflects the personality of President Woodrow Wilson, for whom the place was named — formidable yet accessible. Located on Geneva’s tony Quai du Mont-Blanc, which fronts Lake Geneva and the French Alps, this Starwood hotel group property offers a level of luxury you would expect. The whole hotel feels like a loose post-modernist interpretation of the 1950s with compartmentalized, functional and formal spaces. There are original French tapestries dotted throughout the lobby contrasted by artist Jaehyo Lee’s mesmerizing rock installation hanging from the ceiling.
The vibe here is thoroughly contemporary, though, with lovely luxurious touches. A 4,305-square-foot spa performs treatments by the exclusive beauty brand La Mer. There are also more than 10,000 square feet of meeting rooms and easy access to airport and trains. Bonus: Both the financial district and charming Old Town are within walking distance, too.
The Geneva hotel sees a lot of business clientele and the 180 rooms and majority of the 48 suites reflect this with a straightforward, stylish design. Muted beige and white dominate rooms accented by darker tones — expect a clean, precise look that’s also plenty utilitarian (this is Switzerland, after all). Rooms have Bang & Olufsen TVs and sound systems, Hermès bath products and marble bathrooms. The Crown Suite is one of several with softer natural hues, two separate entrances and an apartment-like feel. The Royal Penthouse Suite, said to be the largest in all of Europe at more than 11,000 square feet, provides private access directly to the spa, a private elevator, 12 bedrooms, a kitchen, a library, a panic room, bullet-proof glass windows (many heads of state have stayed here) and an extended outdoor terrace with unparalleled views of the lake.
The Food and Drinks
Bayview, the much-acclaimed French restaurant by chef Michel Roth, serves beautifully crafted cuisine. Menu items include sea scallops with caramelized cauliflower, lamb cooked in three ways and pressed pears with crunchy nuts and ice cream. Bayview is open for lunch and dinner; it has just 40 seats so make a reservation beforehand. In addition to the gorgeous lake views, the fine-dining restaurant has an artsy suspended table at the entrance and an 800-bottle wine cellar. The cellar is remarkable visual: Gleaming bottles are set in a glass cube and pulsating LED lights on the floor make it look like electric snow.
The intimate Lebanese restaurant Arabesque also has 40 seats and the gold-mosaic-tiled floor and walls feel very Middle Eastern. Expect well-prepared, traditional favorites like hummus, tabbouleh and grilled meat and fish.
A new whiskey bar near the lobby provides a small but eclectic collection of American and Scotch whiskies in an intimate contemporary-clubby atmosphere with wood-toned walls and plush chairs. Glow is a sleek spot filled with gray, white, chrome and glass, a collection of curves and angles reminiscent of the topography of Switzerland itself. From here you can view the lake and the mountains, as well as grab a cocktail and dinner by a two-sided central fireplace.
When the weather warms, the alfresco Pool Bar is open from morning until night serving light bites and drinks from its first-floor perch overlooking the Lake Geneva.