The Woodward, Geneva, Switzerland
Sitting directly on the shores of Lake Geneva with awe-inspiring views of majestic Mont Blanc, The Woodward, Oetker Collection’s first hotel in Switzerland ushers in a new wave of ultra-luxe yet intimate city hotels – the ‘grand boutique hotel’.
Simultaneously timeless and modern; discreet and vibrant; inspired by the world and yet deeply rooted in Geneva’s history, The Woodward caters as much to an international clientele as it does to residents of the city. Located on Quai Wilson, which runs along the north shore of Lake Geneva from the jetty, the property takes centre stage on the particularly stunning waterfront. Dating back to 1901, the post-Haussmann-style hotel has been transformed by world-renowned architect and interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, along with BEA SA architects, to emerge with world-class dining experiences L’Atelier Robuchon and Le Jardinier, and wellness destination Club Woodward, which includes the extensive Guerlain Spa and a 21-metre indoor swimming pool – the longest in Geneva.
Beyond The Woodward’s historic façade, visitors will encounter classic-meets-contemporary interiors, providing a super stylish city sanctuary with spectacular lake and mountain vistas. Pierre-Yves Rochon sought to combine five-star hotel standards with the warmth of a private residence with The Woodward’s interior design, incorporating stylish furniture, palatial fabrics, and exquisite craftsmanship. This tone is immediately set at the entrance, with an immense wrought iron door that is entirely covered by hand-laid gold leaf. Just a few steps away from the reception desk is the main lounge, where Rochon’s plush velvet sofas interplay with a large, hand-knotted Nepalese rug and lure guests through. The reception areas have been designed like a private mansion, ensuring guests feel the atmosphere of true, unpretentious residential luxury. The lobby walls, which are dressed in Macassar ebony, give the room a feeling of deep warmth that is enhanced by a magnificent Maison Delisle chandelier and a fresco depicting a stormy sky. The 1930s-style furniture contrasts with other elegant modern touches such as a bronze table by Hervé Van der Straeten and Ralph Lauren armchairs.
“What makes this hotel so unique is its location, with the unobstructed view of the lake, its 19th century architecture and the spaciousness of its suites. The Woodward is very different from most contemporary hotels – I would sooner call it a prestigious residence.” Pierre-Yves Rochon comments.
Spanning five floors, the hotel’s 26 spacious suites have been designed to the highest specification. While each is different, they all share a harmonious and soothing beige colour palette, contrasted by touches of blue. The colours 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, and the sophisticated décor is made up of truly unique elements from straw marquetry sliding doors and wardrobes, to handmade wallpaper, Lalique door handles, majestic marble fireplaces and beautiful bookcases. The furniture has been cleverly selected, blending the classicism of a Taillardat chest of drawers with the clean lines of Christian Liaigre tables and armchairs. In the living rooms of the suites, guests can simply open the door of a lacquered cabinet, decorated with hand-painted spring flowers and mother-of-pearl inlay, to discover a dazzling ‘Experience Bar’ crafted by Atelier Anne Midavaine in five unique colour schemes. Lighting has been designed by Japanese firm, Akari-Lisa Ishii, to enhance the artwork chosen for each suite and throughout the rest of the hotel. The stairwell is accentuated by black and white photographs and the bar is home to an abstract painting by Aigana Gali. In the lobby, gold leaf paintings by Nantes-based artist, Nancy Gaiss delicately echo the opulent interior design.
21 of the 26 suites offer a full lake view. The jewels in the crown are the Presidential Suite, designed in elegant ivory tones and offering panoramic views from every room with private dining room and loggia, and the Royal Suite, reached by private lift and designed to resemble a chic Parisian apartment.
In terms of gastronomy, The Woodward offers two exquisite culinary experiences, L’Atelier Robuchon and Le Jardinier, with each meticulously designed to offer entirely distinct atmospheres. Le Jardinier is located underneath two verandas, bathing the restaurant in an abundance of natural light at all times of the day. The space has been decorated in summery hues to reflect its fresh, plant-rich cuisine. From the seat cushions to the tapestries, floral motifs evoke the verdant atmosphere of a winter garden. Through Le Jardinier’s windows, guests can admire The Woodward’s magnificent façade, which is now listed in the historic register and has been completely restored. Just one floor down, L’Atelier Robuchon has taken up residence under the masterful direction of Executive Chef Olivier Jean. Here, subdued lighting and a warm colour palette create an atmosphere resembling that of a private club, oriented around a 36-seat chef’s counter. The counter showcases a custom-made artwork by Pierre-Yves Rochon’s studio depicting several different spices – a nod to the restaurant’s Asian influences.
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 which offers visitors exciting options such as the market of Plainpalais, a burgeoning cocktail scene and the artisan workshops of Carouge. Watch aficionados should take note: the Patek Philippe Museum is considered one of the world’s finest horology museums displaying over five centuries of watchmaking history, to which The Woodward concierge can arrange private tours. For those who prefer the outdoors, 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.