A quick one hour’s drive from Geneva Airport, the 5* Evian Resort (AKA Hotel Royal), dominates the hillside overlooking Lake Geneva in beautiful Évian-les-Bains. The only destination of its kind in France in close proximity to the Alps, there’s no end to what’s on offer here. Their 245 acres house indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hotel spa, evian® thermal spa, Evian Resort Golf Club with a Championship Course, an exceptional Kid’s Club and even a bee farm.
Commissioned as a luxury hotel by the Evian Mineral Water Company in 1905, a name was needed that would reflect the prestige of its future guests. And thus the ‘Hotel Royal’ was borne as a nod to King Edward VII’s upcoming visit. The King died in 1910 without ever having visited the suite set aside for him. But the name ‘Royal’ remained. And yet, it’s so very fitting for this regal palace. You see the initials ‘HR’ throughout the hotel and somehow it gives an additional elegance to the building.
The hotel’s 150 rooms and suites have been lovingly restored and modernised in 2016, over half of which guarantee a lake view. I loved my Junior Suite with jaw-dropping views over the lake, I particularly loved my bathtub in the corner of the suite which cleverly maximises the view and would be amazing at any time of the year (the hotel is open nearly all-year-round apart from a month in mid-November to December when they’re closed for annual renovations and a well-earned rest!).
With over 30 activities on offer in both summer and winter, there’s no end to what you can do here. In the summer months, you can explore nearby medieval village Yvoire. Once a former fishing village, the village has retained its charm with its small, stone houses and cobbled streets. The highlights of which are the 14th-century castle (which has been inhabited by the Bouvier family since 1655) and Le Jardins des Cinq Sens – The Garden of Five Senses – which invites you take a unique sensory walk through their gardens of touch, taste and smell. We had a fabulous lunch at Hotel Restaurant du Port where breaded perch is very much the dish of the day, fished straight from the lake that morning, served with pommes frites, a green salad and a crisp glass of rose.
And in the winter months, downhill skiing is tantalisingly close, with the ski resorts of Thollon-Les-Mémises and Bernex, just 15 minutes’ drive from the hotel. The largest ski area in Europe, Les Portes du Soleil – with its 300 runs and 12 resorts – is 50 minutes away. The resort has its own ski shop so boots, skis and even ski clothes can be provided. For non-skiers, snow-shoe walking and dog sledding can get you out into the mountains. For the more adventurous, ice diving (!) and mountain biking on snow are on offer.
We were surprised (and thoroughly spoilt) to be taken from Yvoire back to base on a yacht which was an amazing way to see the surrounding area in style. Back at the hotel, you can enjoy the tennis courts, padel courts, championship golf course, indoor pool, spa, theatre and hotel e-bikes. They also shuttle you into town on a complimentary shuttle until 2AM. The hotel has two restaurants: the informal La Véranda and their Michelin-starred restaurant Les Fresques from world-renowned chef, Patrice Vander. They also have a Mediterranean buffet restaurant, L’Oliveraie, that is open in the summer months.
For those looking for the ultimate family escape, their Kids Club takes kids on a complimentary basis from age 3+ (the holy grail for families as most hotels don’t offer this until kids are at least 4 years old). The Kids Club is housed in a huge 1,000 sqm area with indoor pool, craft room, dining room and dressing up area with theatre.
So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to book Evian Resort for your next trip