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Hotel Reviews: The Evian Resort, Évian-les-Bains, France | International | To travel

The Evian Resort is your smartphone’s camera with HDR mode activated. The manicured lawns are such a vivid green, the alpine sky is such a vivid blue, the rows of rose bushes and rows of rhododendrons are so radiant that every time you pull out your phone to capture the prismatic panorama – which Stretches from the lower peaks of Haute-Savoie to the silvery gray waters of Lake Geneva, your exposure settings are crippled. LG is expected to shoot a promotional video for its OLED TVs here. John Lewis could play them on repeat in their home technology departments. #No filter. Certainly not. It’s true!

There are two ways to get to Évian-les-Bains, the famous spa town of the Belle Epoque which invites pilgrims of high society to take the waters since the middle of the 19e century.

The four-star Hotel Ermitage, one of the two hotels of the Evian Resort

The first is on board Evian One, a state-of-the-art catamaran that looks like something the accessories department of Interstellar dream. Thanks to state-of-the-art aerodynamics, the floating space cat is able to transport up to 10 people from a gangway near Geneva airport to the shores of Evian in just 45 minutes. Guests staying at the Evian Resort, which stretches across 245 acres of green Kermit mountainside approximately 500 meters above, are welcome to use the boat for the duration of their visit.

The second, more classic mode of arrival is the car; a journey that only takes half an hour longer from the same starting point. The route winds around the perimeter of the lake through a series of medieval villages and the Franco-Swiss border, before arriving at the source of what is, supposedly, the most balanced mineral water in the world.

The infinity pool at the Hôtel Royal

Both arrival methods end at the end of a majestic driveway, which winds through towering cedars and grass that would make Augusta gardeners jealous, before you indulge in an Evian water logo. on a human scale illuminated by spotlights and surrounded by international flags.

Even before entering its cathedral-like entrance hall, the Royal Hotel, the resort’s flagship hotel (there are two of them) looks like a place that would welcome heads of state during a international convention. Oddly enough, in 2003, the station helped host key G8 summit delegates.

The lobby of the Hôtel Royal

Nine years later, the hotel having recently celebrated its centenary, interior design Guru François Champsaur and historic architect François Chatillon have been tasked with overseeing a head-to-toe renovation. I have no idea what the place looked like before, but if Coco Chanel had designed a hotel (she maybe did) you would imagine it would have looked like the renovated Royal – all floors in white marble and trendy chandeliers.

The rooms – there are 150 in total, as well as 32 suites – are a bit more casual; the furniture from the turn of the century rubs shoulders with the canary yellow armchairs; a navy on white color palette on light wood creating a nautical quality. Indeed, with the teetering lake as a constant companion, the hotel’s long linear layout almost feels like it’s stranded on the largest of cruise ships.

The Bar of the Hôtel Royal

All bedrooms, except those on the fifth floor, have balconies large enough to accommodate a table and chairs. You can enjoy the lake view for free or sip Aperol Spritzs for around £ 20 a time. While we’re on the topic, you might expect bottles of Evian to be provided for free, given that you’re sitting on the mountain spitting the stuff out for free. No no no. While the 33cl bedside bottles are replenished each night, for each additional 750cl bottle that will cost € 8 Please.

It’s easy to stay cocooned at the Royal Hotel. It features an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and a state-of-the-art spa, complete with hot tubs, hammams and an open-air hydroelectric circuit. But the Evian Resort is much more than its flagship hotel. The four-star Hotel Ermitage, located a few hundred meters upstream, has an outdoor swimming pool and a spa. There’s a concert hall, kids’ club, garden trail streams, and just a short drive away, a championship golf course – the only course to host a Major in mainland Europe. In the city of Evian, the resort even has its own casino. A period wooden funicular will take you there for free.

The centerpiece of the complex is the legendary Les Fresques restaurant. Artist Gustave Louis Jaulmes came to the other side of the water in Lausanne. In 1909, barely out of his work at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, he crossed the lake to apply his work to the Royal. Its monumental hand-painted frescoes were painstakingly restored during the hotel’s overhaul and now crown what must surely be one of the most elegant dining rooms in the world.

The menu is the work of seasoned chef Patrice Vander, who has worked at the hotel for over 20 years. The fish come from the lake below; beef and cheese from the mountains above; tomatoes and herbs from the hotel’s vegetable garden, one square kilometer. It is top notch cuisine served in a fairytale setting. You can’t help but feel this Michelin was a bit stingy when he chose to give the Frescoes a single star following his last visit.

The restaurant Les Fresques, holder of a Michelin star

In 2010, the French Minister of Tourism decided that five stars would not be enough for the best guesthouses in his country and therefore devised a new classification of hotels. “Palace” status has been awarded to hotels which “embody French standards of excellence and help enhance the image of France in the world”.

The resort’s six-hole lake course

Even the most hallowed of the 25 hotels currently on the list – the Crillon de Paris, the George V and Le Bristol; The Byblos in Saint-Tropez; and neighbors Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Le Cap-Eden-Rock, among them – require an element of compromise. A downtown location comes at the cost of a decent-sized room; an underground spa sets aside a large swimming pool; a reputation as a party palace attracts a certain type of pleasure merchant. It’s hard to pin down the opportunity cost of a stay at the Evian Resort.

“Grand,” “opulent” and “chic” are lazy, word-stock images, but they do a pretty economical job to spell out this chicest French resort.

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