A Swiss Affair

Sofia Graniello travels to Geneva to discover what makes this place so magical, besides its chocolate, of course…

Having visited Geneva and discovered all its grandeur, I have to say, it was nothing I expected it to be. Having flown with Qatar Airways in their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the airline knows how to bring the luxe factor to the skies. The new model is all about comfort and efficiency for its loyal costumers.Not only that, Qatar Airways is the first Middle Eastern airline to launch the 787 Dreamliner with an all-new airplane design to increase efficiency while improving the flying experience.

Having also flown in their one of a kind (and super opulent) Business Class cabin, the Boeing 787 holds up to 254 passengers with 22 seats in Business Class and
232 in Economy – it’s definitely something out of this world. The many advanced technologies such as their latest feature of tinted photoelectric windows and a unique humidifier (preventing fatigue) offer a state-of-the-art experience. And with all of the above luxuries, the journey was smooth and spacious with impeccable dining throughout.

After landing on Swiss soil with not a hint of fatigue or exhaustion, InterContinental Geneve became my home for several days. And when I say home, its friendly and discrete staff made my stay a pleasant one – I can’t say I felt homesick at all. It really didn’t surprise me, what with all the professionalism and prestige of this hotel, that it is ranked among the world’s highest luxury 5-star hotels.

It’s worth also noting that its worldly heritage is cemented by its proximity to the United Nations district and beyond that, you have outstanding views of Lake Leman and the majestic mountains of Mont Blanc and Jura which offer the best of nature.

Staying in one the hotel’s spacious and modern rooms and waking up to a view filled with nature, was something that never got old. The prominent hotel is also popular among the elite, who take great pride in holding many events on the premises where it’s come to be a hub for political and social engagement. Famous world leaders have left their mark on the hotel over the years, such as four presidents of the United States of America, Kings and Queens from the world over (including from the Middle East) and countless ministers and ambassadors.

The hotel interiors matches its unique history. Its renovation, under the helm of New York designer, Tony Chi, has caught welldeserved attention. The acclaimed and talented designer brought a new and fresh look to the venue with a more zen ambience and a modern twist. And as my stay was more pleasant and relaxing by the minute, the true cherry on top was visiting – without a doubt – one of the most tantilising resident spaces I will ever encounter in my life, and that is, The Residence. Located at the top of the hotel with a 360 degree view of the city, it is reserved for special stays for the most discerning guests. And when I say, discerning guests, I am of course referring to the Saudi Royal family and other leaders in the Gulf.

Having had dinner at this magical place, also reworked by Tony Chi, it was as spectacular as I imagined it to be. From Christofle silver cutlery to artifacts from the George Smith Ottoman collection, The Residence was an unforgettable experience. But if your interests lie outside the realm of a hotel (like me), you’ll find that Geneva has a plethora of places to visit – where you can get that all important selfie with a stunning backdrop.

My first stop with Geneva Tourism, was at the Victorinox boutique, where I made my own and personal Victorinox knife while taking a carving class. If you like challenges, then this will definitely be something for you, as you get to assemble your own personal knife to take home with an engraving, too.

And for a more relaxed and family-oriented experience, Courage was my next stop: a place to purchase local food, flowers and other goods with a Mediterranean vibe to it. But the true stars of Geneva are the many chocolate ateliers the city offers. Of course I paid a well deserved visit to Philippe Pascoët, an award winning chocolatier who knows how to combine the very best for an exotic bite. There I had the opportunity to taste the many chocolates they have to offer and learn about the history of chocolate and take my own creation home.

This is seriously a must visit place, even if you’re late for your flight! But enough of eateries, Geneva is also known for its acclaimed watch making industry and luxurious shopping – all found at their famous Rue du Rhône with a myriad of jewellery boutiques, exclusive watch stores and other notable stores to make a shopping experience a worthwhile one. Geneva is also popular for its location and its accessibility for quick getaways to Milan, Lake Como, and France – all within a 2 hour journey. The city and its history unifies the local and outside visitors for a true understanding of what Geneva represents, having said that, the International Red Cross Crescent Museum and International District are experiences not to be missed when travelling to this beautiful city. Whether you visit for business purposes or you just want to unwind and enjoy nature at its best, the city of Geneva offers countless things to do.


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