Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Geneva Switzerland – 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award Nominee

At the extreme southwestern edge of Lake Geneva, the city of Calvin is a prodigy ‎combination between architecture and nature and undoubtedly its greatest asset.‎

Whether you are a late sleeper or an early riser, walk along the lakefront up to the “Pâquis” ‎lighthouse. When the sun rises, the surface of the lake looks like a mirror by reflecting the ‎Old Town and the mountains.‎ My favorite moments are during summertime. I invite you to experience “Les Aubes ‎Musicales” an outdoor early morning music festival on the pier to celebrate the sunrise. ‎
Time stands still. Notes of the musicians transport us.‎

Then, take a bike and explore the nature of Geneva. Parks and gardens are everywhere. ‎
The city owns itself 40 000 trees, as many rose bushes, 310 hectares of public gardens and ‎green spaces. Indulge in the pure fresh air, relax, and enjoy a picnic.‎

Switch for another green transport: go with a “Tuk-Tuk” in the vineyards, between the mount ‎Jura and mount Salève. Small producers will open you their doors for a private visit, tasting ‎of their “AOC” production, a well-deserved designation.‎

Continue your journey to the extreme point of the Junction and discover the incredible ‎meeting of the two rivers “Rhône” and “Arve”. It creates a beautiful and unique natural ‎phenomenon. They have different colour palettes and do not mix immediately. Admire the ‎scenario standing from above the “Viaduct Junction”. ‎

In this omnipresent nature, surprising and not to be missed architectures coexist. Let me ‎present you my favorite locations.‎

Just behind the main train station, the unknown district of “Les Grottes” hosts the Smurfs ‎Buildings, extravagant and funny-looking.‎  It looks like they came straight out of a comic book. They were designed by Frei, Hunziker & ‎Berthoud. Some of the ingredients dear to the Catalan Gaudi and the Viennese ‎Hundertwasser can be found there: asymmetrical volumes, twisted lines and spiral halls. ‎

How can we talk about architecture without mentioning “l’immeuble de la Clarté”? One of ‎the residential projects of “Le Corbusier”, which introduces the modern movements in ‎Geneva.‎

Another architectural masterpiece is the “Pont Hans Wildorf”.‎  Originally, the bridge was a simple wooden footbridge and was not intended to last. Indeed, ‎it was initially built for the National Exhibition of 1896. The watchmaker Rolex, through its ‎foundation “Wildorf”, rebuilt it in 2012.‎

At nightfall, the bridge is dressed in a light reproducing an alpine landscape at dawn and ‎dusk, in reference to the origins of the river “Arve”, in the heart of the French Alps. A warm ‎color reminiscent of the first or last rays of sunlight illuminates the interior of the work. ‎While the outside is illuminated with blue, the reflecting white colours reflect the blue of the ‎sky at dawn or dusk.‎

The city of Geneva is always oriented towards the international scene, but remains a city on ‎a human scale.‎ Above all, it does not forget to look to the future by protecting its strength, which is its ‎nature surroundings.‎


Pierre-Felipe Valladares is a candidate for the 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.

Meet the Author
Pierre-Felipe Valladares

My encounter with the Concierge trade was during my various professional experiences from 2008 ‎at the Normandy Barrière Hôtel in France while I was working as a receptionist. I found myself at ‎the desk in front of an impressive team of Concierge, whose sense of service, abnegation, ‎and desire to always push the limits of the possible made me dream.‎ They quickly sparked in me the secret desire, hidden for many years, to be part of this group of ‎members whose only primary desire is to satisfy their clients at all costs. All this in the respect of ‎a code of Honor and Friendship.‎ I had the opportunity to join Mandarin Oriental, Geneva as a receptionist. After ‎a period of adaptation, I had the chance to transfer to a Concierge position a few months ‎later. I quickly had the will to finally cross this imaginary border.‎ This team, of which I am now part of, represents for me the sublime ideal of a hotel business ‎which gave me the possibility of combining a profession and passion.‎ I recently joined the Geneva Clefs d’Or Board to continue developing my passion and network. ‎

Mandarin Oriental, Geneva

With a peaceful setting blending breathtaking mountain backdrops with stunning River Rhône ‎vistas, Mandarin Oriental, Geneva is a five-star hotel with contemporary Swiss hospitality. ‎Combining luxury, style and unbeatable service, it is the perfect city retreat.‎ Many suites enjoy private terraces with supreme views of the River Rhône, Old Town and snow-‎capped mountains. Fine dining, unparalleled service and luxury make it the ideal choice for ‎discerning travellers.‎ The property offers two main restaurants. SACHI’s innovative design features stylish table seating ‎for guests to share exquisite combinations of modern Japanese signature dishes. Chef Mitsu, ‎trained by the master Nobu Matsuhisa, is a renowned local figure in Japanese gastronomy. He ‎guides guests through a range of unique and surprising flavours.‎ SACHI also features an intimate Omakase Bar, where guests can enjoy a live 6, 8 or 10-course ‎dining experience.‎ Yakumanka is a Peruvian restaurant in the heart of Geneva serving authentic cuisine centred ‎around fine seafood. The menu presents a traditional cebicheria, headed by Chef Daniel Galvez ‎Estrada, Gastón Acurio's right-hand, who worked with him at the celebrated Astrid y Gastón ‎restaurant.‎ Quai Turrettini 1, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland Instagram: @mo_geneva


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