At Home In Switzerland: Base Nyon, Lake Geneva
One of Lake Geneva’s most charming towns, Nyon is often bypassed by visitors to Switzerland unaware of the appeal of this undiscovered gem with a fairytale castle, ancient Roman ruins, and superb setting. Only 15 minutes by train from Geneva, perhaps Nyon suffers from its proximity to French-speaking Switzerland’s banking capital; those few international visitors who do make their way to Nyon almost always come for a short visit before returning to Geneva or continuing to another destination.
Times are changing, though, and so is the direction of travel. Thanks to the opening of the very modern Base Nyon, a next-generation hotel a mere 100 metres to the Nyon train station, more travellers are discovering Nyon…and staying here. Base Nyon is a savvy traveller’s alternative to the skyhigh prices of Geneva’s hotels. Technically, Base Nyon is not a hotel, but rather a set of serviced apartments occupying a brand new building in an area of Nyon where revitalisation is making the town centre a highly coveted place to live and work in western Switzerland. Aside from the business travellers to Geneva who prefer to keep their Accounting Departments happy by avoiding that city’s expensive hotels, Nyon itself is home to numerous multinational corporate offices whose visiting executives love the freedom and convenience of Base Nyon’s self-sufficiency. Each of the 52 units comes with a full kitchen; for those who prefer to have someone else do the cooking, Luigia, one of Nyon’s most popular restaurants, is located on the ground floor.
Base Nyon’s innovative concept of hospitality incorporates such aspects as check-in kiosks, free bicycles, and a laundry room for guests, some of whom are long-term residents who stay for weeks at a time while working on special projects. An important concept also is the feeling of space inside the units, which have been well designed to include sleeping, working, and relaxing areas. Base Nyon has three categories of rooms ranging in size from single rooms (called suites) to larger rooms (XL suites) and one-bedroom suites with separate living room and bedroom (and balcony). Four corner suites at the southern end of the building have large windows that let the light pour in. Views of Lake Geneva are possible on the higher floors, but all guests can enjoy the view of the city and the lake from the fifth-floor bar and terrace, a perfect place to unwind after work.
Not that every guest at Base Nyon is a corporate worker. Far from it. With a millennial-friendly atmosphere and rooms reflecting the Swiss reputation for immaculate accommodation, leisure guests are very pleased to stay in a place with a home-like atmosphere with the added bonus of hotel services. Especially or families with children, the ability to make food as necessary and not eat out in a restaurant for every meal is a welcome option. Some rooms have fold-out sofas, though it is also possible to close off the two rooms at the end of the corridor (rooms ending in 07 and 12) on each floor and create expansive suites spanning the width of the building.
Nyon has not always been a town known for corporate headquarters or commuters to Geneva. The ancient Romans were here in the town they called Noviodunum and vestiges of their time here is best seen at the Musée Romain, where thoughtful displays are beautifully presented.
In a twist on the usual relocation of ruins to a museum, the Musée Romain was constructed around the ruins found on the site. Also worth visiting are the Musée Léman, known in English as the Lake Geneva Museum where children and adults alike can learn all about the aquatic life of Lake Geneva and the long history of marine science associated with the region. No visit to Nyon is complete without a visit to the Château de Nyon, the white castle in the centre of the Old Town whose terrace offers splendid views of Lake Geneva and of France on the other side of the lake. The French village of Yvoire is easily reached by boat across Lake Geneva with the services of Nyon CGN. About two kilometres from the Château de Nyon is the Château de Prangins, an excellent museum showcasing a diversity of temporary and permanent collections in a stately castle.