This is my review of the Crowne Plaza Geneva hotel.
When I was in Geneva last year I stayed at the InterContinental Geneva which I reviewed here. I was impressed by it, despite the slighly off-beat location and ugly exterior, because of the impressive refurbishment and lovely swimming pool.
This new trip was a quick turn-around – I didn’t land until 6.40pm – so paying a premium to stay in the city centre seemed a waste. My IHG Rewards Club ‘Accelerate’ promotion would allow me to trigger a few different bonuses so I decided to go with IHG. (I discussed my IHG Accelerate targets for Autumn in this article.)
The only other IHG option was a Holiday Inn Express where I stayed once about 7 years ago – and which was fine – but as the Crowne Plaza was virtually the same price I decided to try that.
Yes, it’s ugly
My Crowne Plaza Geneva experience didn’t start well. Despite being very close to the airport – albeit not visible – I waited 20 minutes in the hotel shuttle area with no joy. It was a pleasant evening so, armed with Google Maps, I set off to walk. A pedestrian bridge leads from the shuttle area over the six lane motorway beside the airport, dropping you into an office park and a small housing estate! 13 minutes later I was at the hotel.
It doesn’t look great, but I knew that already.
It turns out that the shuttle bus runs every 20 minutes so it is possible that I just missed it. It wasn’t a great start, but my mood improved when I walked in and saw that the hotel had clearly received a full refurbishment recently.
I had booked the cheapest possible room. I was told I had been upgraded to a ‘deluxe’ (the difference was not clear, perhaps the coffee machine in the room and the high floor). More importantly, as a Spire Elite member of IHG Rewards Club, I was offered the choice of a few hundred bonus points, a drink and tapas in the bar or club lounge access.
On paper, lounge access was a no-brainer. In reality, it wasn’t.
The lounge only serves wine and tapas from 5pm to 7pm. It was 8pm when I arrived. All that was on offer was coffee (but I had a machine in my room), a single tray of patisseries and a fridge of cold drinks. I made myself a capuccino, grabbed two mini pain au chocolate and immediately headed back to my room.
I did have a continental breakfast in the lounge the next day. However, if your employer pays for breakfast but won’t pay for alcohol, and you miss the 7pm happy hour cut-off, you may prefer a free drink and tapas in the bar and an expensed restaurant breakfast. Tourists should take lounge access.
I’ve got ahead of myself though. Here are a few shots of my room.
As you can see, everything looked pretty new.
There was no desk but the table did the job. The room had exterior blinds which were activated with a switch and ensured that no light got through.
Toiletries were from Rituals. There was no stand-alone shower, only an ‘over bath’ one. As you can see below, the wall between the bathroom and bedroom slides back. I’m not sure why you’d want to do this, especially as the mirror disappears!
Being on the 7th floor out of 8, I had a decent view. This is not a pretty part of Geneva, however, and everything I could see looked pretty similar to the hotel itself – concrete and boxy.
Wi-fi was free. I didn’t pay for the premium service but it was still pretty zippy.
Crowne Plaza Geneva club lounge
In the morning I went up to the 8th floor club lounge for breakfast.
It wasn’t a feast but you can’t complain. It even had a boiled egg machine!
There were only two other people there at 7.30am. It isn’t a large space as you can see here:
….. and I don’t think the lounge is seen as a major selling point by either the hotel or guests. Extending the evening drinks beyond 7pm would be a good place to start improvements.
Whilst you can’t see it from the photographs, you get good views over the mountains from the lounge.
And that was that. I didn’t try the bar or restaurant but they have been fully refurbished and looked pleasant. There is also a gym but no pool.
The hotel will give you a free card for Geneva’s public transport. With my return flight not until 3pm, I decided to head into town for a few hours. I could have got an Uber or taken a bus from outside the hotel. Instead, I took the shuttle bus (departs at :00, :20 and :40) for the literally 3 minute trip via the motorway to the terminal and jumped on a train for the 5-minute ride into the city centre.
Would I stay at the Crowne Plaza Geneva again? Possibly.
There are no hotels at the airport so wherever you go will involve a shuttle ride. Given that the hotel was only about 5% more expensive than the Holiday Inn Express on that particular night, and I did well with my Spire Elite benefits, I probably would.
Given how short the train ride is into the city centre, it wouldn’t have been a strain to do that. The real issue is cost, with the InterContinental selling for more than double the price of the Crowne Plaza. If I had arrived at lunchtime and was leaving later the next day I might have splurged – it was warm enough to enjoy the IC’s outdoor pool – but would have been a waste of money on this short stay.
The Crowne Plaza Geneva website is here if you want to book or find out more.
IHG Rewards Club update – December 2020:
Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards Club points, you can buy them here.
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