Hotel d’Angleterre Geneva – a tale about how raising expectations can spur disappointments

On my recent trip to Geneva, I could not resist the temptation to stay at the city best ranked luxury hotel, Hotel d’Angleterre. From Tripadvisor to many specialist travel media, the 38 room hotel has been continuously ranked as the number one luxury hotel in Geneva, a city with a highly competitive luxury hospitality market.

From a location point of view, Hotel d’Angleterre shares the same Lake Leman views as its direct competitors such as Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Beau Rivage or Richemond, however, as it is smaller in size, the ratio of lake view rooms and suites with large windows is much smaller. In terms of decor and interior design, the hotel features a quirky blend of classic and very modern elements – some of which I found rather odd – such as the safari themed bar which could well be a Roberto Cavalli Caffe.

However, when it comes to design, it is very much a matter of personal taste and I would not comment any further on this. In regards to the facilities of the hotel, rooms are fairly large, yet, not larger than similar category rooms at competing hotels.

One of the first shortcomings I encountered was that all room categories have only bathtubs and the vanity is not separate. Working the shower in a rather narrow bathtub proved to be quite challenging and rather uncomfortable. As only the facade is protected, I do not see why the owners would not enlarge bathrooms or compensate, like other competitors do, by introducing showers with a hammam feature. Bathrooms could use yet another improvement on amenities which currently are mostly of artificial preservatives and ingredients – again for a hotel of this calibre I would have expected natural products, if not even organic.

Closet space is also quite narrow in room categories, a quarter of the space being taken by the mini-bar, shoe-shine/laundry presentations. Some furnishings in my room looked outdated, especially wallpaper and carpets, yet I learned the hotel had been running a gradual renovation program.

Another ‘basic’ for a hotel of this calibre which is overlooked at d’Angleterre is the air-conditioning system which is controlled by an old manual system, which does not indicate the exact temperature or fan speed, so until I figured out how it actually works, I ended up over-heating the room. Not to mention, the air-conditioning grilles diffusers were dusty and appeared un-clean.

As for in-room technology, the hotel lives up to the standards of any top luxury hotel with a large flat LED Tv (wide array of entertainment options) and high speed wi-fi internet which is provided complimentary throughout the entire hotel. As an added feature, I am sure hotel guests would enjoy a centralized pad (not necessarily iPad) to control lights, DND, curtains and temperature.

Unlike two of its direct competitors, the Hotel d’Angleterre has no Spa – just a very small gym in the basement. With the exception of jogging there are no other walking distance Spas or wellness centres.

Again looking through reviews, I found previous guests were impressed by the fact that staff would recognize them by their names. This is obvious due to the size of the hotel but also a standard at least at two other luxury hotels I stayed at in Geneva. What few guests did not notice was, at times, in the case of some staff, the lack of a genuine service, their smile or willingness to serve not being authentic.

The GM explained that the main restaurant ‘Windows’ is ‘mentioned’ in the Michelin guide but not awarded any stars as it is open 7 days a week… I only had breakfast and food was of good quality and so was service. The panoramic views of the glass enclosed restaurant are not to be missed.

I did not use Concierge service during my stay, however,  I would highly suggest they mention to guests who prefer walking, to avoid at any time of the day the street on which the main entrance of the hotel which in less than 100 meters from the hotel reveals itself as the ”red district” of Geneva…

All in all, I found Hotel d’Angleterre, of a good five star standard both in software and hardware, but certainly not the best luxury hotel in Geneva. I believe my experience is very relevant for all those using online review portals or even print media when choosing a hotel on their travels. As they become more knowledgeable, discerning travellers will surely appreciate fairness and honesty, more than marketing artifices.

Oliver Petcu in Geneva

Leopard Lounge Bar at Hotel d’Angleterre, Geneva