The story of Eastwest Hotel begins when a career break allowed owner, Anne-Marie Morrongiello to reflect on her passions and prioritise what was really important to her – deciding that she wanted to give up her job as a European marketing manager and focus on turning the art of hospitality into a vocation. Thus, she purchased a faded hotel in Geneva’s bohemian Les Paquis neighbourhood and set about transforming it into a luxury boutique hotel.
Anne-Marie had travelled a lot for both business and pleasure and was determined to use this wealth of travel knowledge to make the Eastwest Hotel truly special. Her former professional life had taken her to a myriad of hotels that lacked both warmth and character – offering guests a bland and unremarkable travel experience that she felt was anathema to everything a hotel should be. Anne-Marie wanted the Eastwest Hotel to be warm, friendly and authentic – a home away from home in the heart of Geneva.
She began by enlisting the interior designers, Marc Hertrich & Nicolas Adnet – renowned in the hotel industry for creating unique ambiences for luxury hotels, and they set about creating the perfect luxury urban getaway for visitors to Geneva. Anne-Marie wanted the Eastwest Hotel’s theme to reflect her own unique upbringing, which blended eastern and western culture into a harmoniously unique package. Her father was French and was a passionate advocate of the art de vivre, while her mother was Filipina and passed on a love of eastern arts and philosophy. The mix of cultures also reflects Geneva itself – a renowned melting pot throughout its history that was once a treasured refuge of dissidents from a multitude of different cultures and is now famous as a diplomatic centre.
Anne-Marie wished the décor of the hotel to reflect this cross-cultural theme – balancing modernity and tradition, technology and comfort, sophisticated and casual. This is especially true of the eclectic artwork and decorative objects that adorn the hotel, which have actually been carefully assembled to inspire wanderlust. A discreet Amour crystal sculpture by Swiss designer Ben is thoughtfully positioned in the lobby to extend a playful welcome to guests, while in the restaurant, the mysterious portraits of an androgynous figure may startle: these works, by French contemporary artist Jacques Bosser, portray Sue Tyler, the iconic muse of Lucian Freud, in the elaborate costumes and outlandish make-up that characterise traditional Japanese Kabuki theatre. Everything in the hotel is deliberate and even the books in the library have been chosen to inspire wanderers.
The same is true of the guest rooms – intentionally designed to be oases of comfort, where guests can escape the rigours of the outside world. With stylish common living rooms ideal for professional travellers who want to get some work done, guests can socialise or simply sit back and relax. The restaurant is also an important part of the Eastwest experience – using locally sourced fresh produce to create delectable treats from around the world, creating a fusion of eastern and western gastronomy, it fits perfectly with the hotel’s theme. The friendly staff provide the kind of discreet and unobtrusive service that you would expect in a luxury boutique hotel.
The Eastwest Hotel encapsulates everything that travel should be – nomadic but safe, eclectic but organised and daring but sensible. The kind of place that fuses cultures together into a beautiful symphony of different influences. The perfect reflection of the owner’s passion for the art of hospitality.
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