Worldly charm: hotel les nations.

Author:Mawson, Emily
Position:Travel: hotel review
 
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There is hardly a more fitting name for a hotel located around the corner from the United Nations' Office in Geneva Hotel les Nations hides camouflaged on a street of international companies with granite facades. Behind its mirrored, automatic front door is an unexpected living room complete with sofa, family photographs and an eclectic display of dishes. A kitsch trompe l'oeil (illusionist art) on one wall resembles a library. With many business guests staying for weeks at a time, owner Mr Philippe Guenat aspires to create the look and feel of a home.

I stay in the Geneva suite--a cosy, floral affair with mustard-coloured art deco curtains and artificial flowers (in a blue vase that, until the mid-1980s, was given to Genevan residents upon reaching their 100th birthday). Other artefacts typical to the region include a collection of 20th century plates. Mattresses with AAA-quality springs and windows soundproofed to 39 decibels make for a comfortable stay. Complimentary toiletries, handmade for the hotel by the Ramburi Spa in Thailand, smell lemony and zesty. My generous balcony has a view over Geneva's high-rises. From the Mont Blanc suite opposite, the 4,087-metre massif of the same name is visible.

The hotel's rear facade is a treat. Across its 460-square metre surface, Tetra Pak-shaped cows ascend to alpine pastures in the world's largest Poya (traditional painting). It is one of many unusual art pieces in the hotel. Over 80 original paintings--mostly by Swiss artists--decorate the corridors. A sculpture of 1,500 shimmering glassfish by Francois Marcoville cascades down a window in the breakfast room.

Although it is on a busy road, Hotel les Nations is close to two leafy parks. After breakfast, manager Caroline Leib recommends a...

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