“ Moevenpick Hotel & Casino Geneva / 20, route de Pre Bois / PO BOX 556 / 1215 Geneva / Switzerland / Phone: +41 22 717 11 11 / Fax: +41 22 717 11 22 „
My end of course exam loomed earlier this month and the news that it would take place in Geneva presented me with the appealing prospect of combining the dreaded exam with a much more pleasant trip to visit my parents in the UK. So the search was on for a hotel close to the airport so we could make the earliest flight possible the morning after the exam. A quick scan of the Travelocity website showed that we could get one night in the five star Movenpick for just £80, which seemed like a bargain. So the room was booked and I dedicated myself to cramming my head with facts and suitcases with clothes.
The hotel is located ten minutes from Geneva airport and close to the main motorway. It is on a rather unprepossessing estate with conference centres and other hotels and doesnt look very impressive from the outside, looking rather like an office block a pink office block! If you are arriving by car there is parking available in the underground car park for a 20CHF flat fee (you need to get a piece of paper from the receptionist to put on the dashboard); the parking spaces for the hotel are clearly marked and are next to the lift to the lobby. If you are arriving by plane the hotel runs a free shuttle minibus to the airport every 20 minutes from 5.30am to 11.30pm. This is excellent if you are staying in the hotel as you can pick up the bus everyday to the airport and get the train from the airport station to the centre of Geneva (about 15 minutes). All Geneva transport is including in your room fee, reception give you a white card which allows you travel on the buses, trains and trams for the duration of your stay which saved us about 30CHF just for the one day we were in Geneva. This all makes the £80 seem much better value for money, especially when you also consider that your room key gives you unlimited access to the gym/spa next door to the hotel (literally next door). Sadly we didnt get to check this out as we had an early start in the morning but I have been told that it is a modern and well-equipped facility and a nice additional bonus! In addition to the 18 meeting rooms and casino the hotel also has five places to eat/drink including a Japanese restaurant.
***What they say about themselves***
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is an international Swiss premium hotel chain active in the 4- and 5-star resort hotel and business/airport hotel markets. With 80 hotels existing or under construction represented in 23 countries, it serves over 5 million guests per year. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts employs more than 12'000 employees with a geographic focus on Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The Mövenpick philosophy is a distinct departure from the traditional hotel chain approach. Sincere and heartfelt hospitality, uncompromisingly high product and service quality as well as excellent levels of staff training and team motivation crowned with that special Swiss touch make the difference.
I was incredibly excited to be staying in a five star hotel but was initially disappointed when we pulled into the underground carpark which is very bland, narrow and shared by all the other buildings on the same site as the hotel. The hotel itself has about 30 dedicated parking spaces for guests but it wasnt the best first impression to make on visitors trying to find them in the concrete maze. The lift took us up to the lobby which strikes a good balance between modern and friendly and we walked over to one of the three reception desks. We werent particularly well dressed (comfort for the exam being the main thing in my head!) and had a grumbling toddler in tow, but no-one made us feel like we were out of place. The lady on reception immediately handed our daughter some small free toys and puzzles to keep her occupied while we checked in and got our free travel passes and room key. She then explained all the facilities of the hotel such as the internet access (in the room and lobby) at 7CHF for an hour and 20 CHF for 24 hours, the location of the spa and the times of the shuttle bus. I dont honestly think she could have been more friendly or helpful and we genuinely felt welcomed into the hotel.
Our room was on one of the 10 non-smoking floors and we headed over to the four clean and spacious lifts, but sadly when we stepped out we were greeted by less impressive décor and a carpet that had a definite Travelodge feel to it. Our room was a Superior with two queen sized beds and was an extremely odd shape with a narrow corridor with a 90 degree turn to negotiate before you got to the sleeping area. We could see from the scuffs/snags on the wallpaper that previous guests had had difficulties getting their cases round this corner into the main part of the room and there were a couple of small makeup stains on the corridor carpet which hadnt been cleaned off. Travelling with a child meant we were quite glad of this corridor because it meant we could sit out of our daughters sight while she got to sleep and from a glance in other rooms it seems the others were a more conventional design, but if you have big pieces of luggage its probably best not to accept room 535! Sitting on the floor in the corridor we also noticed more scuff damage to the walls, a cheap looking skirting board with missing pieces and unravelled carpet at the bathroom door (and the aforementioned makeup stains). The floor was very lumpy with strange bumps in inconvenient places, making it very uncomfortable to walk on/sit on. I found this odd as the hotel was only built in 2005, I wouldnt have expected it from such a new hotel.
The bathroom was off the corridor and what can I say it was compact! Everything was there but I had to really squeeze into a corner to close the door. The tiling round the bath was looking a bit tired and the shower screen was a little dirty but everything else was clean if a little drab. The towels however were thick, absorbent and large and the free toiletries didnt strip all my skin off when I used them! Not for larger ladies and gentlemen though as I have never seen such a tiny bathroom!
The room itself was relatively roomy with a built in desk which housed the minibar and safe in cupboards underneath. There was plenty of hanging space and a small table with chairs but if you have large pieces of luggage its hard to see where you would put them without tripping over them with four people in the room as well. The information folder and room service menu were both quite damaged which I found disappointing and I only gave them a cursory flick through. Between the beds were two bendy reading lights which unfortunately only wanted to stay balanced about two inches above my nose when I lay down. I ended up having to bend them around each other, something which I assume other guests also had to do as they seemed very accustomed to their position! The bed linen was scrupulously clean but unfortunately of the sswoooooshy and rustly type so I didnt sleep well as I could hear every movement my husband and daughter made as they slept. The pillows are something of a national tradition, flat! I have never experienced anything like Swiss pillows before they look extremely inviting but collapse to about a centimetre high once you put your head on them. Worth a warning to future travellers!
The hotel has two main restaurants; the Kenome and the Latitude. The former is a Japanese restaurant which offers sushi and teppen-yaki but we went to the Swiss Latitude which is on the main floor opposite the reception desks. It looks very smart (although we were later able to recognise much of the furniture as being from a popular store here called Pfister!) and we were scruffily dressed with a toddler but we were welcomed and made very comfortable. The waiter brought a smaller glass, plate and cutlery for our daughter without us having to ask and menus, drinks and a delicious onion pickle with toasted bread were immediately forthcoming. We settled for one of the seasonal Swiss menus which offered a mouthwatering array of choices from around Switzerland and used local produce. After munching our way through an amazing green salad with warm goats cheese our daughter started to grumble and the second courses were brought out within minutes but we never felt pressurised to eat faster, the emphasis was on good food (and LOTS of it!). There was so much good food I couldnt finish my cheese plate of 6 Swiss/French cheeses despite having been ravenous when entering the restaurant. The waiters were attentive without being intrusive, incredibly friendly and helpful and extremely welcoming towards our two year old. At one point the manager approached us and we were apprehensive but he merely wished to inform us that a tour party were arriving and requested to be able to smoke but the manager had noticed we had a small child and wanted to check it was ok with us. We asked that they didnt while we were there (another 30 minutes) but he reassured us that it was fine. The tour party turned out to be 20 people and they didnt smoke for the whole time we were there. I was completely gobsmacked by this personal, observant and attentive service which is sadly so rare in the UK. The bill came to 139 CHF for two 3 course meals, beers and 2 big bottles of mineral water (£57) and I was so full I waddled to the lift rather than walked (to the accompaniment of live jazz from the bar). I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough, the service, food and atmosphere were superb.
For anyone who is looking for further information on any of the facilities in the room/hotel the website is comprehensive. Simply select the Geneva hotel on the map and it lists the room types, spa/gym facilities, restaurants, meeting rooms, directions etc in an extremely easy to navigate way. You can also book via the website immediately if you wish.
This hotel is one of the most hospitable and welcoming hotels I have visited in a long time, the staff really make it the friendly place that it is. The lobby and facilities are all worthy of the five stars it gets but I felt that the rooms really didnt reflect that at all, it was like two different hotels. Here everyone is going to point out that I only paid Travelodge prices and this is true, but I have stayed in better presented Travelodges for less money. The location isnt very central and whilst the hotel makes every effort to compensate for this, it is harder to be tied to the shuttle bus rather than walking out into Geneva streets. The hotel is quieter however than a central hotel would be and you are more likely to get a good nights sleep here (once you get over the pillows and the swooshy bedlinen! ). On holiday I wouldnt assume much time would be spent in the hotel room so I would recommend this hotel for perfectly adequate bedrooms but five star staff and facilities.
Moevenpick Hotel & Casino Geneva
20, route de Pre Bois
PO BOX 556
Phone +41 22 717 11 11
Fax +41 22 717 11 22
Check in Time: 14:00 Check out Time: 12:00
Distance from Airport: 0.5km
Conveniently located near the airport, railway station and the Palexpo Exhibition Centre, not quite 15 minutes from the centre of Geneva, Moevenpick Hotel Geneva is the perfect starting point for excursions around Lake Geneva, the ideal venue for business meetings and a paradise for gourmets. This 350-room five star business hotel with two Executive floors, offers a modern infrastructure and a discreet elegance, assuring guests of an enjoyable stay. Exceptional week-end rates starting CHF 165.-. Full Service Executive Floor Concept. Opening September 12th 2005, new Restaurant and Cafe Latitude, combining warm atmosphere, modern style and flavours from around the world.