Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Intercontinental Hotel Geneva Review

Other than being expensive and having the UN, I had no specific expectations about Geneva. I was booked for five nights at the Intercontinental Genève, two blocks away from the UN.  The rooms and public spaces are superb.  The hotel is older, but appears to have been recently renovated and exceptionally maintained.  For 35,000 points a night, it's a bargain.  The staff is helpful and the hotel is on the 5 bus line with their own stop (public transit is free for hotel guests and top notch).  The wireless internet is free, but everything else costs a fortune.  I also had to change rooms mid stay due to 'security concerns of a visiting delegation' that required an entire floor.  That's a first.
Intercontinental Geneva King Room
Intercontinental Geneva Bathroom
Geneva sights to see are the UN, the lake, and the old town center.  That's about it. The UN tour is well worth the hour or so.  The Palais des Nations is an interesting design.  The old building from the 30's has an amazing art deco design and is very impressive.  The new building from the 60's is a typical architectural disaster; the design is almost nauseating.    The tour guides are friendly and informative and it was fun sitting in on a conference and using the interpreter earphone devices to listen in on the live translations.  
UN Geneva
UN Geneva
UN Geneva
Geneva is a small city and easily navigated. There is a pleasant path along the north side of the lake from the botanic gardens, a short down hill walk from my hotel, to the city center. I poked my head in a McDonald's and confirmed the Big Mac Index was right, Switzerland is expensive. It's also pretty.  The lake is peaceful and the mountains are a great backdrop.  The old town is pleasant and there are plenty of windows to look in at watches, watches, and more watches. Nice place, but one day I was there was a public holiday and everything, including retail, was closed.
Lake Geneva
Water Taxi Included in Free Transport Card
Even with the EBACE13 conference, five days proved too long to stay in Geneva (it would be more fun with an expense account or state sponsor to pick up the tab).  With some help, I was able to change my flights to get out of town earlier than planned, but more on that process in my next post.

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