Geneva has always, and I imagine, will always, feel like home. I feel at home in Washington DC, I also feel at home in Louisiana, yet somehow when I land in Geneva I feel like I am in my “first home.” The “special feeling in my stomach when I land” kind of first home.
For as long as I have been coming home from the US, I have stayed with family. First with my parents (during and early after college), sometimes with my grandma’s, and more recently with my sister Rachel (and her husband and daughter).
Earlier this year, because of quarantine requirements, I had for the first time to “find a home in my first home.” As my husband and I decided that a ten-day quarantine would be too painful in a hotel, I looked for an AirBnB in my hometown, which seemed oh so very odd.
The apartment I found looked “corporate” (without anyone’s personal stuff everywhere). The furnishings seemed modern and high end (my favorite). There was a small courtyard (outdoor space seemed essential for sanity during quarantine). The location was the heart of Old Town (where I would dream of living should I ever live in Geneva). Sold! I booked it for our two weeks here in July. And as always, things were meant to be.
Little did I know the amazing community we would be introduced to. The Hamlet is a family-owned business, which ten years ago was a single apartment in an old townhouse that belonged to Tara and Christoph. The couple decided to renovate the rest of this 18th-century townhouse and create a collection of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The result is 16 unique homes – The Hamlet.
When you stay in one of The Hamlet apartments, you also have access to a communal space known as The Square, which is comprised of a Library, a Gallery, and an Epicerie. Pretty much all of life’s necessities can be found here – emergency food and drink (think Nespresso coffee, Toblerone, local pasta and sauce); a quiet space to work or conduct meetings (you can even reserve private meeting rooms); and a yoga studio.
I love the attention to detail and amenities (Kartell-Laufen bathrooms, Aesop bath and body products, strong Wifi that can support simultaneous Zoom calls, twice weekly cleaning service). I love the team, in particular Clarence who makes any special request happen, including an outdoor heater during this winter stay. I love how Tara and Christoph support other local Swiss brands, including most recently QWSTION, a Swiss brand of bags sustainably made from plants. (Spoiler alert: beautiful partnership with Forever Institut coming soon!).
We discovered this place over the Summer. We are back staying in “our” apartment (Courtyard One) over the Christmas holiday. And I think it is safe to say we will continue to stay here anytime we come back to Geneva beyond any quarantine mandates. Indeed, this has become “our home.”
(PS – This is not a sponsored blog post – I just love this place that much.)