I love a Four Seasons beach resort, but I think the slick, sophisticated brand is best suited to cities. Think of the George V in Paris or the Four Seasons in Florence. And actually, the Four Seasons des Bergues, right by Lake Léman (Lake Geneva), is reminiscent of both, only on a more intimate scale. Yes, the Louis Philippe influences are there – the lavish first-floor Royal Suite could be a wing of Versailles – but this hotel also offers some very contemporary suites, stuffed with state-of-the-art technology. In my lovely, light and spacious corner suite (no 314) a section of the bathroom mirror suddenly started showing the Winter Olympics. Seriously cool.
Mind you, all was not quite perfect, thanks to that same state-of-the-art technology (all linked by Wi-Fi). I couldn’t make the iPod dock work. Neither could the chambermaid, who summoned a more senior member of Housekeeping, who summoned a technician. It was only after a second technician arrived and made a couple of phone calls, that we got it going. I didn’t dare touch it again.
Top marks for the full-size Acqua di Parma products in the bathroom, the wine fridge and the triple layer of drapery (nobody does curtains better than Four Seasons). There was also a Nespresso machine. Hurrah! I know luxury hotels would rather not have them – exemplary service, after all, is at the very core of their business. And tea- and coffee-making facilities used to be considered rather three-star. But thanks to Nestlé and its marvelous machine, even Four Seasons guests are allowed to make their own these days. And unlike certain other hotel brands, Four Seasons offers a generous helping of Nespresso pods. Perfect at 7am when you aren’t yet ready to face the day, let alone a waiter from room service.
My fabulous room was really just a sideshow for the main events: the fabulous El Lago restaurant, recently awarded a Michelin star (not always a recommendation, I grant you) and Spa Mont Blanc. I was dining alone in El Lago and normally a solo dinner takes me about half an hour. It took two hours to work my way through the eight-course truffle tasting menu, each dish more delicious and more truffle-y than the last. I lingered over every mouthful. I even outlasted the two businessmen on my left.
Dinner would have been the highlight of my stay – had I not spent the following afternoon in Spa Mont Blanc on the top three floors of the hotel. I loved the fact that this spa is Swiss and proud of it: think crisp, clean décor in mountain stone, aged oak and regional woods. None of that let’s pretend we’re in Southeast Asia nonsense here. On the top floor there is a beautiful infinity pool overlooking Geneva and a large spa pool, which I had all to myself. Apparently, there was underwater music in the pool, but needless to say, I couldn’t work out how to turn it on. Treatment products at Spa Mont Blanc are ESPA, which of course is British, and Swiss Perfection by Clinique La Prairie (Four Seasons is the only hotel in Geneva to offer the latter). After my massage and facial (both excellent) something very Swiss happened: with my steaming glass of healthy ginger tea came two heart-shaped biscuits oozing ganache. You wouldn’t get that in Southeast Asia…
What it costs: doubles from £450 a night; suites from £1,750, excluding breakfast.
Read my Telegraph review of Four Seasons des Bergues at telegraph.co.uk/travel/hotel/130355/Four-Seasons-Hotel-des-Bergues-Geneva-hotel-review.html