Hotel La Cour des Augustins, Geneva
Will Ross, August 23, 2018
Science nerds and outdoor enthusiasts can both appreciate Geneva, a city that on the one hand embraces the timelessness of its alpine location, while on the other embraces the major advancements made by European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). Seeing trams headed to the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, while locals paddle in the Lake, serves as a reminder that outstanding work can be done within an adorable setting, a fact that the United Nations and over 300 other NGOs also acknowledge.
For a short visit to Geneva, Hotel La Cour des Augustin is a good fit for athletic tourists. Centrally located, two blocks south of the university, the hotel and its 40 bedrooms, have been tastefully designed within a discreet setting. Sleeping options range from large suites and long-stay apartments, to small and compact rooms suited to the solo traveller passing through town for the night. Regardless of room type, all rooms include the extra trimmings of a design hotel, with fixtures to savour, and a mini-bar setup to plunder.
A snug spa has been dug into the foundations of the hotel, complete with black towels, black tiles and a sizeable sauna, ideally suited to guests who want to freshen up after check-out but before their departure from Geneva. A gym is also hewn into the basement of La Cour des Augustins, furnished with a WaterRower, treadmill, spinning bike and assortment of dumbbells. For a more robust gym, head around the corner to MyClub Fitness where you can pay for a drop-in pass and use their barbells, pull-up bars and cages (CHF 27).
The dining setup at La Cour des Augustins requires some advance navigation. Breakfast is served from 6:30am on the ground floor, a decent spread of typical Swiss options (cured meats, cheese and muesli), while afternoon and evening meals can be ordered through the concierge, to be sourced from nearby restaurants Café Jules Vern and Le Chat Gourmand. Simple snacks like sandwiches and soups can be ordered as room service, prepared in the hotel’s own kitchen.
For other healthy food and coffee, you’ll need to venture further afield. Find decent coffee at one of the three Boréal Coffee stops, or settle in at Café Paradiso, the smartest stop in town (also, English language newspapers). For brunch and lunch, head to Birdie, distressingly closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Café de la Paix can be your typically Swiss venue for seasonal lunch and dinner, or head to Sushi Misuji for poke bowls and other Japanese dishes. For smoothies at any point in the day, head to Green Gorilla Cafe, open from 7am on weekdays.
Geneva’s compact city centre and nearby mountains cater to cyclists, runners and swimmers very well, with La Cour des Augustins providing a convenient base. I visited during two hot days in July and was able to swing by Piscine Vernets to cool down in the outdoors area before enjoying indoor laps in the 50m pool. Summer visits to Geneva also demand a dip in the Rhône or the lake. Drop by Bains de Pâquis for open water swimming in a safe area of the lake.
Runners can head along the promenade bordering the lake, or take the tram south to a running track workout at Bout-du-Monde, open to the public throughout the day, but closed on Sundays. The stadium is one mile south of La Cour des Augustins, but its location next to the river and adjacent pull-up bars make it well worth the trip (restrooms are accessible at the back of the grandstand).
For more information, visit lacourdesaugustins.com.