travel

Geneva: why the Swiss city is a favourite amongst stars including Oscars nominee Naomie Harris

by Harriet Charnock-Bates

Geneva, Switzerland has long been a celebrity favourite, with stars including Hilary Swank, Carey Mulligan, Lewis Hamilton and Naomie Harris – nominated for Best Supporting Actress at this year's Oscars- having all been spotted during their respective trips to the glamorous city. Now, we take a look at how to join the urban sophisticates in Geneva, hailed by travel enthusiasts as a serene slice of culture wrapped around the tip of its famous lake...

EXPLORE

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With an impressive neoclassical façade, the St Pierre Cathedral is a must-see – brave the 157-step climb to the top of its towers and be rewarded with magnificent views of the city and Lake Geneva's Jet d'Eau fountain. If time permits, spend a day or two in the mountains – the rail journey to Gstaad via Montreux is ridiculously scenic and there's a first-rate powdery terrain to be explored on arrival.

INDULGE

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With ESPA, Biologique Recherche and Swiss Perfection as the partner brands of choice, Spa Mont Blanc at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues is a real treat for the senses. There's a sleek swimming pool, hammam and a wide range of massages, treatments and facials on offer. Plump for the Cellular Exclusive Lift Concept – an hour-long sculpting facial that restores and revives, erasing any trace of the previous night's excesses.

TASTE

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Try the eight-course tasting menu at Bayview, a temple to French haute cuisine headed by Michelin-starred chef Michel Roth, or venture slightly off the beaten track to village-like Carouge to find Le Flacon, a fine-dining spot with an imaginative menu and a wine list to match. After dinner, dip in and out of the buzzy haunts lining the Rhône's shores.

STAY

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Occupying prime position on the banks of Lake Geneva, Le Richemond, was frequented by the likes of Sophia Loren and Clark Gable and has had no trouble maintaining its stellar status as the years have ticked by. The classically smart bedrooms are decked out with enormous mirrors, crisp white linens, sink-in armchairs and marble baths. Some afford vistas of snow-capped Mont Blanc while others look out across the water. A vision in glittering gold, Le Spa by Sisley is the ultimate place to recharge your batteries, while Le Jardin – the hotel's superb restaurant – puts the spotlight on local ingredients, giving them a wonderfully creative spin.

WHAT TO WEAR

beanie hat holiday wardrobe inspiration

Ribbed beanie, £35, Hush; visit hush-uk.com

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Edilon herringbone coat, £395, Isabel Marant Etoile from matchesfashion.com

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Sisley Confort Extreme hand cream, £60.50; visit Sisley-paris.com

TRIP DETAILS: Rooms at Le Richemond start at CHF459 (£366) per night for a Superior room based on two people sharing; visit dorchestercollection.com. British Airways flies from London to Geneva from £34 one way including taxes; visit ba.com.

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