The getaway begins
Once storks migrated through the lake country where the renowned city of Geneva now stands. That past is given a nod in the golden stork that reigns over the entry of the Hotel de la Cigogne. The luxurious hotel is a gem set between buildings and narrow streets. It stands on the plain that sweeps up from the waterfront and into the historic district. While an international business and political hub, the Geneva district is the renowned also for shopping, culinary traditions, historic sites and makes a perfect setting for a romantic getaway.
After flying in from London, I arrived at the main train station within a half hour. The sky had darkened and a misty rain was falling, softening lights and window displays. As I walked a patchwork of dark and bright cobblestones in Place du Molard caught my eye. At night the wide street is illuminated. Many of the glass ‘stones’ were lit from from beneath and imprinted with a greeting in several languages from around the world. It made this travel weary tourist feel welcome and was less than a block from my hotel rendezvous.
From the moment the hotel doors opened, luxurious textures, light and color from stone, deep rugs, stained glass, glittering chandeliers and hand troweled plaster acted as antidotes to the outside world of rush and hard modernity. It is partly illusion, carefully created, from the renovation of the 1901 building after it’s purchase by local architect, Mr. Rene Favre. He preserved the facade only, raising the interior and added a metal superstructure. Clever technical touches are embedded. The elevator runs whisper quiet and swift, lighting is placed to illuminate but never intrude. A discreet warmth flows from fireplaces, staged for comforting efficiency. Seasoned flagstones are set strategically.
This American felt out of her league but that faded fast. The staff were so friendly and made me feel most welcome. The Manager helped me to my room, a junior suite that was perfectly set for a romantic rendezvous. A curling stair led into the suite sitting area and I imagined descending to my sweetheart who would be waiting with a glass of champagne. However this was a solo trip and the waiting tray of fruit, nutmeats and chocolates were mine alone.
I freshened up and began a short tour of the other suites. Each was more beautiful than the next. Designer/owner, Mr. Favre was an antiquities connoisseur, who collected furniture from secondhand trades for years. Restored bureaus, sconces and much more were placed in suites and along hallways as if he were decorating a private estate.
His piece de resistance was in selecting fabrics for the hotel. Daring deep, jewel tones flowed from walls into complementary tapestries and brocades upolstering settees and lounges. Polished desks beckoned. The bathrooms were completely renovated and, while not large, featured smooth stone work, designer fixtures, glass shower doors, deep tubs (not in every room) and many had bidets.
I longed to sit in the lobby drawing room, to sink into an armchair observing the European clientèle, with a book on my lap and a glass of wine beside me. However it had been a long journey from Los Angeles to Geneva and I had a deep bathtub to soak in before resting up for my city tour the next morning. Had I known about this luxury beforehand I’d have extended my visit.
A secret about Geneva
Hotel de la Cigogne is often full of business visitors but weekends in the historic district are usually quiet and spared the crowds overflowing other parts of Switzerland. Rooms are more affordable on those days. If planning a tour of the graces of Geneva, I hope you consider a romantic getaway in the hotel guarded by a golden stork.
Set up your romantic getaway
- More about Hotel de la Cigogne, member of Relais and Chateaux properties and winner of the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.
- This trip was made possible by Swiss Travel System. Itineraries, train/boat/bus schedules are available. Over 300 Museums are included in the pass as well.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the hotel but as always impressions and opinions are my own.
Gorgeous hotel — that four poster bed is a whole room onto itself! A must-do in Geneva!
I can imagine you lounging in that huge bed, Patti! A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
This hotel is just pure heaven! I fell in love with the view and the bathroom!
How was the food there? Scrumptious?
The hotel was heaven indeed. Unfortunately being there one night I only had a cup of coffee in the beautiful dining room for breakfast before bolting to the next event. The reviews are stellar. Hopefully you’ll visit as well one day. Promise that you’ll share a review about the food!
What an elegant hotel and variety of room decor. I love a hotel with personality and I would definitely feel like royalty here. Screams romance!
So glad you found the place as romantic as I did. To think their clientele is mainly business!
The bathroom looks neat! This is what I’m always looking for when staying in hotels like this! I use Couchsurfing and hostels all the time so having a good bathroom is something really important for me. By the looks of it, you seem like you enjoyed your trip!
Great trip and I’ve done hostels but not couchsurfing. Wish it was around when I was backpacking the world. Have you ever traveled with Servas, from the UN? Another home stay/volunteer opportunity.
Wow – that’s a gorgeous hotel. I’ve arrived tired and with plans for the next day too often and am trying to build in a day without plans for the start of a couple of my trips this year. It’s hard to go somewhere as wonderful as the Hotel de la Cigogne and have to pull yourself away so soon. But at least you had the treats all to yourself!
It was so hard to leave knowing how much more Geneva had to offer. I really enjoyed every bite of the treats!
It’s been over 25 years since I was last in Geneva. I think those lit stones would be so cool to see. What a beautiful hotel as are many of the Relais and Chateaux properties. Will have to see if I’m going to stop over in Geneva in July!
The stones were definitely a treat. I hope to visit more of the Relais and Chateaux properties over time. Enjoy Geneva. I can’t wait to see more of it.
I love these kinds of historic hotels, where every suite has unique little pieces of history. I’ve never been to Switzerland (at least not yet!) but when I do go, I’ll keep this in mind!
There’s so much to enjoy in Switzerland on many levels. I hope you can see for yourself sooner than later.
Hotel Cigogne looks lovely and so luxurious. We were on a tight budget for our last trip to Geneva, but this looks like a good reason to return for a splurge.
Truly, Switzerland is a challenge for budget travelers but given the opportunity a stay at the Cigogne would be a night of a lifetime. I certainly feel that way.
that bathroom was huge! Every one of these photos has me longing for a trip to Geneva 🙂
It was a delight for sure. I hope you can visit Geneva soon.
What a GORGEOUS hotel in the middle of an already intriguing and beautiful city!! I would absolutely love to stay there. I love unique hotels and thats great that you had an inside look into how they were designed. I wouldn’t guess that they had restored second hand things!
What they call second hand in Europe often we’d call antiques!
I’ve been in Geneva but this not in this hotel. Great place with beautiful paintings! #WeekendWanderlust
Nice seeing you here, Grey World. It was my first time to Geneva. I had a feeling that all the hotels weren’t like this!
Stunning architecture! Mr. Rene Favre is incredibly talented. I love this style, and my favorite hotels are those that keep the character of an antique building alive through the renovations. Looks like an amazing place to experience!
Only wish I could’ve stayed longer!
That hotel is just divine! Obsessed with four poster beds. I may have to add Geneva to my list!
I’d never seen anything quite like this outside of Heart’s Castle!
wow! First, great writing – felt like I was in the hotel with you. And what a wonderful hotel. Have to admit – most of my Swiss journeys have been in the German, northern part. Looks like I need to discover the Gallic elegance of the other part. 🙂
Why thank you, Scott, great complement indeed. I try. I need to venture into the northern more Germanic parts of Switzerland one day too.
That picture of Lake Leman is just stunning! Hotel Cigogne looks absolutely stunning and that bed, wow!
It’s a beautiful lake year round (the picture is from warmer months.) Staying at the hotel was certainly a privilege.
What a BEAUTIFUL hotel! I would be in awe from the moment I stepped in the door. The lobby is beautiful and everything is so luxurious! What a treat 🙂 Also thank you for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust!
Thanks for stopping by, Lauren. It was truly a hotel of a lifetime. Love being part of the Weekend Wanderlust gang.
I love how descriptive you are with your post. It gave me more insight and it felt like I was actually there. How elegant are the rooms! I would feel like a royal too if I stayed in that suite.
Janna, I felt like a princess indeed. Sometimes life is full of surprises and this was one of the best.
Looks like an amazing hotel to stay in. The antique’s give it a elegant touch of class. The owner seems to have gone to great lengths to make this hotel unique and world class in a city full of high priced establishments
It’s truly a special hotel and labor of love. Thanks, Mark.
What a beautiful hotel! It would be a shame to waste it on all the business travelers and looks perfect for a romantic weekend getaway 🙂
Great for business and better for lovers, yes!
OMG! The place makes you feel like a King, comfortable and awesome! Would love to visit it soon!
Just the tour was incredible. Then staying there was better. Only wish I was able to stay longer.
Geneva is very beautiful city. I have been there last year in August 1st week. Enjoyed a lot 🙂
I’d love to return in late summer. Such a different experience and so much to do. You are fortunate.
Wow, the hotel suites look like something straight from a romance novel – I can definitely see how this would be amazing for honeymooners, or those looking to escape and reconnect. Loved your junior suite. Could see myself there with a glass of champagne and loved one too!
Thanks, Meg, I’m glad you saw what I meant!