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Family-Friendly Luxury at the Elegant Four Seasons Geneva

The Four Seasons Hotel Des Bergues in Geneva is the city's first hotel, having opened in 1834. #FSFamily

Geneva is an elegant city and the pinnacle of elegance is the Four Seasons Hotel Des Bergues Geneva, which opened in 1834 as the city’s first hotel to welcome visiting statesmen.  Now elegant is typically not the kind of adjective that you would align with family-friendly… and yet, the Four Seasons Geneva was family-friendly beyond my wildest dreams, the kind of vivd, travel-fueled dreams that an early-rising toddler usually disrupts. Despite being a famous — and fancy — Geneva landmark (the site of the first assembly of the League of Nations in 1920 and headquarters of the French delegation), children are not just welcome but celebrated.

Gorgeous floral arrangements make the lobby at the Fours Seasons Geneva even more beautiful! #flowers

Gorgeous floral arrangements make the lobby at the Fours Seasons Geneva Hotel Des Bergues even more beautiful!

When we first arrived at the Four Seasons in July, gratefully giving up our car to the valet following a six-hour drive from Provence, we were awestruck by the marble, mirrored lobby and its towering pink-and-green floral arrangements. The color palette of the ground floor is blues and greens, inspired by Lake Geneva which is directly outside the door. When we made our way to the concierge for check-in, our two-year-old son was handed two little stuffed animals: a cow and a St. Bernard with a bottle of whisky around his neck. This was his first real introduction to Switzerland, as we had driven to France immediately after landing in Geneva 10 days ago. A cow and a dog, two new friends and the perfect introduction! That really set the tone for our stay.

Spiral staircase at the Four Seasons Geneva

Spiral staircase at the Four Seasons Geneva

We were escorted to our room by Anna, who would be our Guest Personal Assistant. As we walked down the hall to our room on the sixth floor, I noticed the coolest spiral staircase, one of the many great Neo-Classic architectural details throughout the hotel. Anna gave us a tour of our room, which was fairly modern compared to the ornate downstairs. When the Four Seasons reopened this famous hotel in 2005, they completed a lot of refurbishments resulting in very luxurious, state-of-the-art rooms with high-tech features like my beloved automated black-out shades (the ultimate treat for parents whose kids don’t like to sleep late).

Our luxurious room at the Four Seasons Geneva

Our luxurious room at the Four Seasons Geneva

Anna gave us a tour of our room, which was on the sixth floor and had lovely views of the lake and the Old Town. We even had great views from the plush bed, which is very nice. My son’s favorite part of the room? The bathroom. I’ve always loved fancy hotel bathrooms (separate shower and toilet areas are just the best) and it’s amazing that a toddler could appreciate such a thing. Actually, he could have cared less about the modern fixtures and marble accents, although he did love the television in the mirror. No, what won him over was that his name was in the bathtub! Before my stay, the hotel had asked me for my son’s name but I had no idea why. He was so excited when he saw his name there. Also, the hotel also left so many goodies for him, including a Mustela products, a tiger washcloth set and Bulgari soaps that I can’t bring myself to actually use. There were also child-size slippers and bathrobe waiting for him.

What wonderful goodies awaited my son in the bathroom at the Four Seasons Geneva: a personalized tub, child-sized slippers and bathrobe, Mustela baby products, a tiger washcloth set and stunning Bulgari soaps.

What wonderful goodies awaited my son in the bathroom at the Four Seasons Geneva: a personalized tub, child-sized slippers and bathrobe, Mustela baby products, a tiger washcloth set and stunning Bulgari soaps.

Before Anna left, we asked her to help us plan our our day tomorrow — we only had one full day in Geneva and we planned to pack as much in as possible. I told her that I wanted to see Geneva’s Jet d’Eau, and she assured me that I wouldn’t miss it. She gave us some great recommendations for the Old Town and the Botanical Garden. She also reminded us not too miss breakfast in the morning, which was a fabulous buffet with lots of fresh fruit and baked goods as well as made-to-order dishes. Then we got restaurant recommendations for that evening and set out to explore Old Town.

Like eating breakfast in a palace: the Four Seasons Geneva breakfast buffet.

Like eating breakfast in a palace: the Four Seasons Geneva breakfast buffet.

The blackout shades allowed my son to sleep relatively late the next day, which gave us the rest we needed for our very busy day. It was hard to leave the well-appointed room but we indeed started our day with breakfast, which gave us delicious fuel for seeing the Jet d’Eau, the Flower Clock, taking a boat across the lake where we would find Musée d’Histoire des Sciences (Museum of the History of Science) and the Botanical Garden. Then we took a taxi to the Place du Molard, where we had lunch. After we visited the fabulous toy store Franz Carl Weber, we began the hike uphill with our stroller to explore Old Town. We made it up to Cathedral St. Pierre and then saw the three canons in the Old Arsenal. At that point, my son had fallen asleep so my husband brought him back to the room. That left me free to shop, and shop I did! I will go on record saying I never seen better boutiques in my life, and should that change, I will let you know.

At the end of a long day of sightseeing in Geneva, we enjoyed cooling off at the new pool at the Four Seasons. #luxury #hotel #switzerland

At the end of a long day of sightseeing in Geneva, we enjoyed cooling off at the new pool at the Four Seasons.

At that point, the rest of my stay in Geneva was all about the Four Seasons. I surreptitiously unloaded my shopping bags and then took my son upstairs to swim in the new pool. Then we all went to Il Lago, the hotel’s signature restaurant, and sat outside looking Lake Geneva. After an incomparable tasting menu (which is getting its own post), we did some packing because we were flying back home to New York City the next day. Luckily, we did have time in the morning for breakfast. What a way to finish off a fabulous trip!

Comped but Never Compromised: I received a complimentary stay at Four Seasons Geneva Hotel Des Bergues but I am free to write whatever I want.

16 Responses to Family-Friendly Luxury at the Elegant Four Seasons Geneva

  1. Marina K. Villatoro September 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Can I get a personalized tub? What an experience! Your son is getting spoiled :)
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Theme Restaurants in NYC – Taking it Up a Notch

  2. Andi
    Twitter: andiperullo
    September 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Wow it is so insanely gorgeous!!! Take me there now!
    Andi recently posted..Bluffton, South Carolina: Day 1

  3. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    September 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Oh, I want to go! What an incredibly beautiful place.
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Rolf Potts: Vagabonding at 42

  4. Elle in Spain September 5, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Blimey! That looks beautiful. Nice to have a little luxury on your travels.
    Elle x
    Elle in Spain recently posted..Sending a birthday card from Spain to the UK – The easy way!

  5. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com
    Twitter: ALEAHphils
    September 6, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    A Guest Personal Assistant? I’ve never had that. Then again, I doubt I ever would. I guess it’s not part of any hostel service 😀
    Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com recently posted..Exploring Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen

  6. Sophie
    Twitter: SophieR
    September 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Used to really enjoy staying at Hotel des Bergues when I was at UN meetings a million years ago; it wasn’t a Four Seasons hotel then, but so lovely.
    Sophie recently posted..World at a Glance: A Victorian Mosque in Malaysia

  7. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    September 7, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    I would probably forget that I had the kids in tow if I were staying there – it’s so lovely.
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Tapa Thursdays: Heladería Llinares and its Wacky Ice Cream Flavors

  8. Lillie
    Twitter: WorldLillie
    September 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Positively luscious!
    Lillie recently posted..YUM! An Italian Food Market Tour of Boston’s North End

  9. Gabi (The Nomadic Family)
    Twitter: nomadfamtravels
    September 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Wow…that place is so gorgeous.Those pictures makes me want to go there myself.
    Gabi (The Nomadic Family) recently posted..Family Travel Bucketlist #23: Africa’s Little Ole Mauritius Island

  10. Cathy Sweeney
    Twitter: TravelingWithS
    September 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    I’m quite a fan of the Fours Seasons hotels and it looks like their hotel in Geneva would not disappoint me. I love the architectural details like the spiral staircase. Beautiful!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Making Pasta Fresca in Santarcangelo

  11. Lisa Goodmurphy
    Twitter: GoneWithFamily
    September 8, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    My girls have always loved the Four Seasons hotels because of the spoiling they get!! The Geneva hotel looks lovely – will definitely keep it in mind as I’m considering Switzerland for next summer.
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..A Family Visit to the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology

  12. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    September 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    There’s a reason why the Four Season’s brand is known as one of the best hotel brands in the world. It’s amazing the way they pay attention to little details like your son’s name or greeting you with stuffed animals. In our experience, those kinds of details set the Four Seasons apart from any other hotel.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: African Children’s Choir Brings Hope to the Children of Uganda

  13. Melissa September 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    What a great experience- that spiral staircase alone makes it worth it! I LOVE Geneva!!
    Melissa recently posted..How many hours a day does a freelancing, homeschooling mom really work?

  14. Abby
    Twitter: abbytegnelia
    September 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Four Seasons certainly does it right 😉
    Abby recently posted..A Monthly Treat for Travel Fiends

  15. Michela March 10, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Fantastic, looks like you had a fantastic time in the city of international peace!

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