An Insider’s Guide To Geneva

Having relocated from Paris to Geneva a decade ago, influencer Priscilla Rossi knows exactly where to go, stay and eat in the Swiss city. From luxe hotels to cool shops and restaurants, these are the places top of her list.
By Sherri Andrew /
@MERCREDIE

WHERE TO STAY

For Lake Views: Hotel President Wilson

This hotel overlooks Lake Geneva and has majestic views of the mountains along the famous Rue du Rhône. The best part is the pool bar which is fantastic in summer – you can have lunch by the water or take shade under the umbrellas. Another highlight is its restaurant Arabesque, which does some of the best Lebanese food in the city.

Visit Marriott.co.uk

For Total Bliss: La Réserve

One of the top luxury hotels in the city, La Réserve is a beautiful spot nestled between the lake and mountains. Rooms are simple yet elegant, there are three fine dining restaurants to choose from, and the pool area is stunning. The team can help you book sports activities and cultural visits around the city, too.

Visit LaReserve-Geneve.com

For A Hidden Gem: N’Vy Hotel

I’ve been living just a few blocks from this arty hotel which is a real hidden gem. First, the location is perfect – central but on a very quiet street in Les Pâquis – plus, the bar regularly hosts events, there’s an extensive cocktail menu to choose from and they even have a whole menu of ‘celebrity wines’ so you can try Francis Ford Coppola’s Californian vintages or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Côtes de Provence. 

Visit HotelNvyGeneva.com

Hotel President Wilson

For Pure Luxury: Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues

This legendary hotel is the go-to spot for world leaders when they visit the city. Offering a spectacular view of Lake Geneva, it’s a short walk from the famous Rue du Rhône – one of the city’s best luxury shopping streets. The old town and the historic Quartier des Banques are both nearby, too.

Visit FourSeasons.com

For Something Different: La Cour des Augustins

La Cour is in the centre of Geneva's Latin Quarter, which is well worth a visit. The hotel is modern but has a warm atmosphere, so you feel welcome as soon as you step inside. I’ve had a few shoots here and the backdrop looks really cool in photos. The staff can help organise everything from city tours to cruises on the lake.

Visit LaCourDesAugustins.com

La Reserve

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

For Fine Dining: Fiskebar

Geneva is a city of quality over quantity. There aren’t hundreds of restaurants, but a few you’ll be really impressed by. Fiskebar is one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Geneva. Located at the Ritz Carlton on Quai du Mont-Blanc, it specialises in quality seafood. Not your typical restaurant, expect Scandinavian-inspired dishes in a stylish dining room overlooking Lake Geneva. Ideal for a special occasion, it’s a totally unique experience. 

Visit Geneva-Fiskebar.com

For A Casual Dinner: Taqueria Los Cuñados

This Mexican restaurant looks unassuming from the outside, but the dishes are authentic and delicious. It uses a range of imported ingredients from Mexico, and everything tastes super fresh and zingy. A great choice for a relaxed dinner with friends, you can choose from tacos, tostadas and quesadillas with margaritas and other tequila and mezcal cocktails. There’s also a good vegan menu. 

Visit TaqueriaLosCunados.ch

For A Quick Lunch: Cottage Café

This is such a pretty spot. On the lake next to Brunswick Monument, it looks like a tiny house. I like to sit outside in the summer to take in the views. The café serves healthy and fresh meals like salads and small tapas places. You’ll love it if you have a sweet tooth – there are lots of treats on the menu, including pastries, pecan pie, cheesecake and homemade ice-cream.

Visit CottageCafe.ch

Inda-Bar

For Middle Eastern Dishes: Nomades

This place does the best couscous and tagines in Geneva. In the little neighbourhood of Les Grottes, it’s a Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant where you can sit outside on the terrace or in the small dining room. Whatever else you order, make sure to get the hummus with pitta.

Visit NDGeneve.ch

For Indian Bites: Inda-Bar

This is my favourite place for delicious Indian food and incredible cocktails. It has a cool, modern vibe that makes it the perfect spot for Friday night dinner and drinks. You can choose dishes from the tandoor, as well as curries and lots of veggie options like daal, crispy paneer and roasted cauliflower with garam masala.

Visit Inda-Bar.com

For Italian Vibes: Ciro

An authentic Italian trattoria, you should visit this restaurant during truffle season. As well as tasty pasta dishes and pizza, you can find seasonal meat and fish on offer. I always have dessert and like to browse the wine menu if I fancy a glass of something special.  

Visit CiroTrattoriaGourmet.ch

For French Food: Les Philosophes 

For more authentic Swiss cuisine, book a table at Les Philosophes by the Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève. Generous French dishes are served with excellent wine  – it’s chic without being OTT.

Visit LesPhilosophes.ch

FiskeBar
FiskeBar

For DJS & Drinks: Les Voiles

You cannot leave Geneva without having an apéro or night out at Les Voiles! One of the best outdoor terraces in the city, it’s a trendy spot buzzing with cool people. There are always DJs playing music in the evenings and there’s an eclectic drinks menu to choose from.

Visit Les-Voiles.ch

For Rooftop Views: Le Met

When it comes to rooftop bars, my pick is Le Met on top of the Metropole Hotel. It has breath-taking views of the lake and is always busy after work when people flock to the roof. The bar is surrounded by olive and lemon trees which gives it a cool Mediterranean vibe. 

Visit Metropole.ch

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WHERE TO SHOP

For Pre-Loved Items: Place du Bourg-de-Four

Geneva’s oldest square is in the Old Town. It’s a small but very cool area where you’ll find excellent second-hand stores including Flamant Rouge – one of the best for pre-loved gems and vintage Chanel handbags.

For Sustainable Designers: La Muse

Geneva has lots of fast fashion chains these days, but La Muse is an excellent example of a store that champions sustainable and independent labels – Vivienne Westwood, Hudson and the likes.

Visit LaMuseGeneva.com

For Thrift Shopping: La Recyclerie

I’m very much into second-hand pieces, especially in Geneva where people casually wear luxury items all the time! You can snag some good deals if you’re lucky, which is why I strongly recommend La Recyclerie. The best one is in Eaux-Vives in the Rive Gauche neighbourhood, but there are sites all over the city. Everything from clothes to homeware has been upcycled.

Visit Recyclerie.ch

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For Designer Brands: Bongenie

Bongenie is the Genevan equivalent of Printemps in Paris and Harvey Nichols in London. The luxury department store has a lovely range of popular designers and smaller brands. In the city centre, this is the spot if you really want to spend!

Visit Bongenie-Grieder.ch

For Homeware: Plainpalais Flea Market

Plainpalais is one of Switzerland’s biggest flea markets. From kitsch furniture to vintage fashion, you’ll enjoy going there on a Saturday morning. Finish your shopping session by dropping into the nearby 30s-inspired Café Remor.

WHAT TO DO

For Relaxation: La Réserve Spa

Book a massage and a hair treatment at La Réserve, the most luxurious spa in the city. It’s worth spending a whole day here to really indulge – I’ve done it many times and just thinking about it makes me want to book again. I get my hair done at the Rossano Ferretti salon, then decide whether to get a massage, manicure or facial as well.

Visit LaReserve-Geneve.com

For Swimming: Bain des Pâquis

This public bath is open every day and there’s always something fun going on. Perfect during summer and early autumn, the locals love it here! After a dip, you can book a sauna session or massage, then eat at its restaurant which serves the best fondue in town. It’s also a great viewpoint for the Jet d’Eau – Geneva’s famous water fountain.

For Beautiful Views: Perle du Lac

If, like me, you’re more of a Rive Droite person (meaning you don’t want to go to the busy Genève Plage) try this hidden spot. Cross the steep gate of Perle du Lac’s port and you’ll discover a perfect, peaceful spot for a quiet swim, even in peak season. Afterwards, I like to hop on the Mouette (Geneva’s public transport boats) to go to the other side of the city and enjoy the sunset.

For Insta Snaps: Quartier des Grottes

I love this neighbourhood and its pastel-coloured buildings, home to dozens of cool bars and restaurants. I take loads of pictures for my Instagram here as there are so many cool backdrops to choose from. Don’t forget to look at the crazy, colourful curves of Les Schtroumpfs (The Smurfs building). Definitely a must-see.

For more fashion & travel inspiration, follow @Mercredie & visit Mercredie.com.

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