We discover the 5-star palace hotel in the heart of The Evian Resort on a restful trip to Lake Geneva
Words Joy Montgomery
WHAT IS IT?
Hugging the south shore of Lake Geneva and just outside historic Evian-les-Bains, the Evian Resort is a multi-starred haven of manicured grounds and grand interiors. Stretching over 47 acres, the resort houses two luxury hotels, the 5-star Palace Hotel Royal and 4-star Hotel Ermitage, and I’m here to visit the former.
With six floors and 150 rooms, the Palace Hotel Royal’s turn of the century structure cuts an impressive figure on the waterfront. The panoramic views across the lake and mountain-flecked horizon paired with the hotel’s impressive spa facilities and activity offering (it has its own sports and culture office) means it is well equipped as a wellness hotspot.
WHAT TO DO?
From paragliding and mountain biking to rafting and snowshoeing, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to activities within and around the Palace Royal, whatever the season. On my first morning I find myself up at the crack of dawn to join in one of the hotel’s spring yoga sessions, led by seasoned yogi Julien Levy. Held in the light-flooded gym space, it is the perfect way to prepare for an action-packed day ahead.
Undeterred by the unseasonably chilly weather, I link up with one of the hotel’s activity leaders for a hike into the mountains, specifically to visit the impluvium, where Evian water begins its 15-year journey down the mountain to the source. With stunning views across the Alps, lush fields and grazing cows aplenty, it’s an idyllic and revitalising experience.
A trip to the Evian Resort would not be complete without a visit to the spa. Voted France’s Best Resort Spa in 2017, you can expect 24 treatment rooms, a relaxation room, two heated pools (indoor and outdoor), jacuzzis, sauna, steam room and cold pool. If that’s not enough, there’s even an outdoor hydro-circuit, a unique feature that incorporates whirlpools, currents and water jets. After rotating from sauna to steam room to pool, I take to one of the private treatment rooms for an indulgent salt scrub and mud wrap. Stretching over 75 blissful minutes, it leaves my skin feeling baby smooth.
WHERE TO EAT?
To recharge after an exhausting morning of spa treatments (sorry not sorry), I head to Le Veranda, one of the hotel’s in-house restaurants, for a light lunch. In the same room where the hotel’s bountiful breakfast is served, I enjoy a plate of fresh fish sourced from the lake (which, incidentally, can be seen from my table) served on a bed of crunchy veg.
If you’re looking for a more formal dining experience, however, Palace Hotel Royal’s Michelin-starred offering, Les Fresques, is the one for you. With a magnificent ceiling fresco and uninterrupted views of Lake Geneva, it is ideal for a romantic dinner for two and offers a delectable menu from Chef Patrice Vander and Head Pastry Chef Stephane Arrete. Highlights include line-caught sea bass served with layered swiss chard and a decadent dessert of dark guanaja chocolate, which is swirled onto the plate with flavours of blue mountain coffee and passion fruit. You deserve it after all that pampering.
Rooms at Hôtel Royal are available from 249EUR (approx. £221) per night, based on two adults sharing a Sejour Park View room on a room-only basis. For bookings, contact: T +33 450 26 85 00 or E: [email protected]
Quai Baron de Blonay 74500 Evian-les-Bains France