Some weekends you can find #TeamCoco slobbing out on the sofa catching up on the latest box sets on Netflix but then other weekends you will find us making the most of every single minute by heading off around the world on another adventure. For our Editor-in-Chief, Laura Bartlett, it was the latter last weekend, as she packed up her case ready to #Jet2Geneva with her girl for some fun in the sun. Here is what she did with her time in the city…
Friday 7am: London
Getting up at 7am on a Friday morning is always that little bit easier when you know you’re hopping on a flight to an exciting new destination. We were flying from Heathrow direct to Geneva with SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE on their 9am flight and as the rain started to fall in London we were even more excited about being just a one-hour flight away from sunnier times.
Geneva is Switzerland’s second-largest city, and its most cosmopolitan. Word on the street is that it is one of the loveliest city settings in Europe with the Rhône on one side, Lake Geneva, and the surrounding snow-capped Alps. We were sold already! Our flight was flawless. There is something about flying with Swiss that just takes the hassle out of the journey. I can’t decide whether it’s the super sleek staff or the free croissant and chocolate mid-air that gives them the edge.
11:30: Arrival at Geneva Airport
It’s not the largest airport in the world but one thing’s for sure, you will see deli after deli with pastry after pastry. Be sure to take your willpower with you or you will need to book an extra seat on the flight home!
We picked up a free ticket for public transport from the machine in the baggage collection area. This Unireso ticket, offered by Geneva Airport, allows you to use public transport in the canton of Geneva free for a period of 80 minutes. If only we had something like that in London!
Follow the signs to the CFF/SBB or train station – the trains come regularly and we only had to wait 10 minutes before we were on board for the one stop to Geneva. The transport in the city is faultless, they seem to work on a trust basis. There never seems to be an angry conductor demanding to see your tickets and every train is so clean! These are both things that the Swiss community is built on – cleanliness and trust – and they seem very proud of both.
Once we arrived in Geneva we used the tram to go a few stops, until we reached the stop just around the corner from our hotel.
12:30: Check in at Hotel Tiffany****
Housed in a 19th century building in the Arts district at the foot of the Old Town, the Tiffany Hotel has the timeless appeal of Art Nouveau style with a contemporary twist. We were welcomed with an al fresco lunch and we both opted for the beef with chips (you can take the girl out of Yorkshire…). The food was divine, as was the accompanying wine. The meat had been cooked to perfection and the homemade chips made for a hearty addition, filling us up for the adventures ahead.
We then had a little tour of the hotel. It was relatively small but perfectly formed. As part of the #Jet2Geneva package you can book this hotel along with many others from as little as £40 per person per night!
16:00: Guided visit of the Old Town with a Geneva Greeter
Geneva Greeters are local residents who offer personalised walking visits of the city – a unique and authentic way to discover your surroundings! We loved this idea – it is so kind that a local is willing to give up their time (especially on a Friday night) to show us around their city.
We met up with our Greeter, Nozima, outside our hotel. At first we were under the impression that she wanted to give us a tour of the Old Town – Switzerland’s largest historical site which is dominated by St Peter’s Cathedral. But just a few minutes into the walk we rocked up to a frozen yogurt shop and it was clear she had other ideas! She told the owners we were in town and wanted us to sample ‘the best fro-yo in Geneva’. Obviously we were game! Given that the sun was beaming down on us it made for a refreshing break before we continued our tour around the streets with some insightful suggestions from Nozima on must visit places along the way.
This is a great service and one we would highly recommend because it can be personalised based on your interests. It’s authentic, unique and best of all, its FREE! This is a cool way to find out all about the hidden gems of Geneva that you just won’t find online.
18:00: Beauty time
Every girl loves a bit of pampering, especially before a night out. Right across the street from Hotel Tiffany is a fabulous hairdressers, Bal des Créateurs. We were welcomed into the bar area and instantly greeted with a glass of champagne – winner!
Usually when you visit a salon you get the option to read a few out of date magazines but not here. These guys are all over their independent publishers with stacks of cool, quirky magazines that we hadn’t even heard of. The owner of the salon picks up these awesome publications during his travels. The music is pumping and the staff have a spring in their step, it’s definitely a great place to get your night started.
A few glasses of champagne, a full face of makeup and freshly blown out hair later we were ready to head back to the hotel and get our gladrags on, ready for dinner.
20:30: Dinner at the Café des Bains
We arrived at the restaurant and were shown to our outside table. Even at that time it was still a lovely temperature and perfect to dine al fresco. The staff were very attentive and it wasn’t long before every seat in the house was filled. They were great at making sure our glasses were never empty, as we ploughed through more champagne, a couple of cheeky shots and then a bit of Limencello to round everything off nicely.
The food was well presented and portion sizes were pretty big, so we only had enough room to share a dessert! We opted for meringues écrasées aux framboises, crème double. Although the menu was in French, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what each dish is. The meringue was divine, a lovely sweet end to a fab evening. Although little did we know that it wasn’t quite the end…
Our waiter for the evening introduced us to the owner of the restaurant, who came down especially to meet us. Arnaud was so young and such a delight, he showed us around the restaurant and their attached art gallery, telling us stories about his family and how they came to own the establishment. He then introduced us to his friends, who were also out for the evening. What a friendly bunch they were! There is something special about the people in Geneva, they just don’t seem to be able to do enough for you. Everyone we met was so friendly, generous and kind.
We continued our night with our new friends for several more hours and sampled a fair bit of the Geneva nightlife. From a few hidden bars to an all night rave at a secret afterparty, these locals definitely know how to have a good night out!
One particular cocktail bar we would recommend is Le Verre à Monique. It’s a fine cocktail speakeasy and it really is a treat!
Saturday: 08:30 Breakfast at your hotel
It’s a self service breakfast at the hotel served in their intimate dining area. With a continental option and hot choices, there is definitely something for everybody. Given that we were trying to soak up the alcohol overload from the previous night, we enjoyed it thoroughly.
09:15: Discover Carouge and its market
Just a stone’s throw from the city centre, Carouge is the Greenwich Village of Geneva. Its architecture is reminiscent of its Sardinian roots and will transport you to Southern Europe. It’s easy to while away many pleasant hours perusing the shops, shady terraces, crafts and antique dealers in the alleys and passageways. The time seemed to just fly by as we sauntered from shop to shop, boutique to boutique. There were so many stunning places that we obviously purchased way more than we should have. One of the best things on offer was the jewellery. There were so many independent designers selling handcrafted unique pieces unlike anything we had ever seen before.
Here’s a few of our recommendations:
Galerie Annick Zufferey
Place des Charmettes 1, 1227 Carouge
A gallery dedicated to jewellery. Need we say more?
Rue du Pont-Neuf 5, 1227 Carouge
Recently opened Italian-themed grocery shop featuring a Mediterranean ambience, fantastic food and great service. We had a pit stop here for a coffee and cake. The very moist pear and chocolate cake and a delicious peach tart left us wanting more.
Rue des Pâquis 25, 1201 Genève
Great Ice Cream! The homemade speciality is Ananas-Basilic. They have a good selection of flavours from experimental to traditional and they certainly don’t skimp on the scoop size.
Rue John-Grasset 3, 1205 Geneva
This shop has been open for more than 10 years and it really is a vintage goldmine. Whether you want some new accessories or you’re looking for a unique outfit for a wedding, owner Marisa Da Silva will have something for you.
Les Enfants Terribles
Rue Prévost-Martin 24, CH-1205 Genève
If you’re fed up of standard coffee bars and restaurants, this is a trendy alternative. You won’t be disappointed.
Julia’s Dressing, vintage deluxe
Rue Jean-Violette 18, CH-1205 Genève
From influential 20th century designers to modern luxury second hand pieces, Julia’s Dressing tries to find worldwide “one of a kind” pieces.
14:00: Massage at Taoban
By this time we had literally shopped until we dropped and so it was the perfect time to meet Astrid Gast, owner of a new wellness heaven in the old town, for our 45 minute massage session. Every one of the five senses is awakened in this relaxing treatment centre. As a practiser of Tao principles (a series of spiritual techniques) Astrid uses methods that bring true peace to those who are curious enough to book a session. This was pure relief after all of that shopping. We were both treated to a back massage which included lots of little surprises from heated towels around the neck and massaging of the ears. Sheer bliss!
15:oo Visit the Mamco
Geneva’s modern & contemporary art museum (free with your Geneva Pass)
10, rue des Vieux-Grenadiers, CH-1205 Genève
Now this place doesn’t look much from the outside but don’t judge a book by its cover. Its the kind of place you need to visit, go away and have a think and then go back!
16:00: Back to the hotel
Time to refresh and relax before we head out to dinner. We spent some time roaming around the streets around our hotel. There are so many little cafes and shops to get lost in, we could have easily stayed in Geneva for more than just the weekend.
20:00: Dinner at Cottage Café
We got ourselves all glammed up for dinner at Cottage Cafe. We were thankful we wore wedges, as this stunning little bistro-esque restaurant/cafe is situated on the cobbles. Located near the lake with a stunning waterfall feature next to the tables, there was also live music in the form of buskers. They played a series of pop classics on their not-so-traditional instruments which added a really nice touch to the evening.
It’s an intimate setting with all the tables situated outside. As non smokers it was a bit annoying having other smokers nearby with their smoke wafting over us but luckily we got to move to a table closer to the water feature. This restaurant was full of couples, its quite a romantic setting. It’s also really relaxed as we waited for over an hour for our food to arrive. We chose around eight tapas dishes which we thought was probably a bit too much but when they arrived they were smaller than we anticipated so we had definitely ordered right! The food was good, but nothing to write home about. For the ambience and the setting, though, it is definitely worth going.
22:00: Discover Les Voiles, by Genève Plage
Every night from May-September this place is a must visit. They install a wooden deck and beach area with stunning views of the water and a surprise every night with different themes and artists. The atmosphere is like no other – the people of Geneva really do know how to party.
You must discover Le Baroque Club – one of our favourite spots in the city. Baroque House was founded in 1993 and since then the club has become the hotspot for stylish Geneva nights. With champagne popping at every corner, this is the place for the glam squad. We can’t wait to go back!
Sunday 10am: Time to go home
Sadly, it was already the end of our trip and time to head off to the airport for our flight home. We had the best time! There are so many amazing packages to Geneva available between now and the end of October for every budget.
Book your weekend in the city now and get a real change of scenery. Lake, countryside, mountains, it’s all at your fingertips and the #Jet2Geneva package is NOT to be missed!
The package includes:
• 1 night at a hotel, including breakfast
• 1 hour in a single-seater kayak or canoe*
• 1 cruise on the lake*
• 1 cable car ticket up the Salève*
• Free public transport during your stay with the Geneva Transport Card
Check out www.jetofftogeneva.com and book one of the unmissable packages today…
*Included in the Geneva Pass