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Intimate luxury by the lakeside: The Woodward Geneva

The Oetker Collection’s tenth masterpiece hotel has opened on the shores of Lake Geneva and top-end tourists and elite locals are already making a beeline for it.

Sometimes a hotel is not just a base to explore a destination. It can be a destination itself. Weaving its magic on the famous waterfront, with stunning views of the majestic Mont Blanc, the newly opened The Woodward Geneva promises to be another draw of the already experience-rich Switzerland.  

The Woodward Geneva
Location, location, location! Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

Those familiar with the geography of Lake Geneva can picture a sophisticated, suite-only hotel located on Quai Wilson, right on the banks. Its structure, dating back to 1901, is a post-Haussmann-style building reimagined by world-renowned architect and interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, along with BEA SA architects. Part of the Oetker Collection, the newest addition to the portfolio of Masterpiece Hotels opened early this month.

Geneva, The Woodward, Oetker Collection, luxury hotel, Switzerland, Switzerland tourism
The beautiful Belle Époque architecture of the listed 19th century building. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

The magic within

Each of The Woodward’s 26 spacious suites have been designed to be different, but they all share a harmonious neutral colour palette, contrasted by hues of blue. The shades brighten and deepen as the sunlight’s reflection on Lake Geneva shifts throughout the day. Every detail has been carefully considered to optimise space and streamline movement throughout the suites. Each curated to possess its own distinct character and individual design details, with signature flourishes including marble fireplaces and bookcases.

Of 26 suites, 21 offer a full view of Lake Geneva. The jewels in the crown are the Presidential Suite, designed in elegant ivory tones and offering panoramic views from every room with a private dining room and loggia, and the Royal Suite, reached by a private elevator and designed to resemble a chic Parisian apartment.

Royal suite beauty
Royal Suite bedside beauty. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.
lake geneva view of the royal suite
Lake Geneva views from the Royal Suite. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.
Presidential suite living area.
Living area in the Presidential Suite. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

Open to hotel residents and select local members, the spacious Club Woodward that spans over 1,200 sq metres is a wellness destination and boasts an extensive Guerlain Spa, the first in Switzerland. It has six treatment rooms, including one double room, elegantly styled with white onyx sinks and Italian marble showers. The extensive wellness menu presents a broad range of massages and treatments specially created for this most stylish address by the iconic French Maison. A state-of-the-art fitness centre, the longest indoor swimming pool in Geneva (21 metres), a Jacuzzi, two steam rooms, two saunas, a snow shower, an ice bucket shower, and two Swedish baths make for a complete wellness package.

The woodward Geneva pool
There’s a big emphasis on wellness with the gorgeous Guerlain spa, serene pool, and other amenities. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

Dining at The Woodward puts you in the expert hands of Chef Olivier Jean, who helms the hotel kitchens after his seven-year stint as Executive Chef of L’Atelier Robuchon in Taipei (1* Michelin), and leading the restaurant’s openings in Miami, New York and Montreal.

The Woodward Geneva dining
Delightful dining, day or night. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

The elevated experiences at the hotel include Le Jardinier and L’Atelier Robuchon, both recipients of Michelin stars at their New York outposts. L’Atelier Robuchon features an open kitchen concept, creating a theatrical dining experience for just 36 guests seated around a counter, as well as two semi-private dining rooms.

The woodward geneva dining area.
Le Jardinier (left) and L’Atelier Robuchon (right) offer very different yet equally elevated dining experiences. Images: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

Le Jardinier meanwhile offers guests a creative counterpart to Robuchon’s gastronomy – the restaurant’s first foray into Europe. Here, Chef Olivier Jean offers refined culinary creations that demonstrate the mastery of French cooking techniques with a focus on local suppliers and produce sourced no further than 150 kms away from the hotel’s kitchens, with it taking no less than two years to select the very best ingredients. This ranges from cardoons and leeks from within Geneva, fish from the lake, vegetables from Gaia in Hermance and from the Cortois family, and Pata Negra ham from the Alcala brothers.

Open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, the concept of embracing nature is reflected in the dining experience and décor, featuring many hues of green and housed within two glass-walled verandas overlooking the lake and surrounding Alps.

The woodward geneva lakeside view.
The lovely lakeside is the perfect foil for Le Jardinier’s refined menu with truly local produce. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

Simultaneously classic and contemporary, inspired by the world and yet deeply rooted in Geneva’s history, The Woodward clearly caters to residents of the city as much as it does to an international clientele. Executive Chef Olivier Jean explains: “Genevans have an educated and demanding palate. They travel extensively and like to be surprised, but above all, they are looking for exceptional quality. To exceed their expectations, I’ve prepared a menu that highlights the very best local ingredients presented in a surprising way with innovative combinations and textures. I hope The Woodward becomes a must-visit for all epicureans.”

Timo Gruenert, CEO of Oetker Collection, which acquires and manages exquisite, one-of-a-kind properties across the world, comments, “We are delighted to open the doors of The Woodward in a city as vibrant and significant as Geneva. This new jewel in the collection – our first hotel in Switzerland – strikes the perfect balance between delivering the warm, authentic hospitality for which our Masterpiece Hotels are loved, while hailing a new era for this class of intimate city hotels: the ‘grand boutique hotel’. Our company’s values of family spirit, elegance and genuine kindness will bring this iconic building to life once again and ensure guests will quickly feel at home on Lake Geneva.”

Christophe Aldunate, President of Bastion Management, which owns 15 unique restaurant and food concepts globally as well as The Woodward Geneva, adds: “It gives us great pleasure to see The Woodward open its doors as part of Oetker Collection, an iconic brand that upholds the highest standards in hospitality and who we trust to be the custodians of this historic Geneva landmark, all while delivering an exceptional guest experience with modern flair and charm.”

Address: The Woodward Geneva, Quai Wilson 37 – 1201 Genève. Pricing: The suites start at 1,250 Swiss francs a night.

Geneva, five ways

Central to The Woodward’s identity is connecting its guests to a varied array of ways to explore Geneva and the region. This bustling, vibrant city offers visitors exciting options such as the market of Plainpalais, a burgeoning cocktail scene and the artisan workshops of Carouge. Here are five fab ways to add excitement to your explorations of the surroundings…

The woodward Genva view.
Perfectly poised for a plethora of pleasures. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

Watch out! If you’re a watch aficionado, have the Woodward concierge arrange a private tour of the Patek Philippe Museum, considered one of the world’s finest horology museums displaying over five centuries of watchmaking history.

Sail away: There are few more leisurely, relaxing ways to explore the region than sailing Lake Geneva and travelling to Montreux, stopping at Nyon, Évian-les-Bains and Lausanne.

The luxury sailing culture on lake geneva.
The luxury sailing culture on Lake Geneva is well known. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

To the moon and back: Or take to the sky in a beautiful private hot-air balloon tour that brings you up close to the as you savour a cheese fondue up in the air! Or get your adrenalin pumping with an adventure flight that reaches 5,000 metres, oxygen tanks included.

Sip it: Geneva is home to an incredible wine region, with two of Switzerland’s most prestigious Grand Cru appellations, Dezaley and Calamin, located in iconic Lavaux. Located in easy driving distance from Geneva, Lavaux’ spectacular terraced vineyards were established by monks during the 12th century, and accordingly the region is today awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

The grand cru vineyard in lavaux.
Visit the Grand Cru vineyards in Lavaux. Image: Courtesy The Woodward Geneva.

Take a hike: Lavaux is almost as well known for its hiking trails as it is for its wine, and The Woodward suggests the popular 10 kms route that takes in Chexbres, Saint-Saphorin, Rivaz and Epesses, stopping off to sample some of the delights in a traditional ‘pinte vaudoise’.  

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