Evian Resort - A Little Gem on the Shores of Lake Geneva
Until recently, like no doubt many others, I associated Evian with mineral water, mountain air and tennis and golf sponsorship…
Then last December, as part of a travel convention organised by Virtuoso (the upmarket consortium of premium hotels, resorts, cruise lines, tour operators and top quality travel advisers, of which Simplexity Travel is a member - naturellement), I met a couple of representatives from Evian Resort. Another magnificent 5* star hotel were my thoughts… until the futuristic Evian One catamaran was revealed, and I received an invitation to a jazz concert in their very own venue, La Grange au Lac. Jazz in Evian???
Overcome with curiosity, I booked the earliest possible easyJet flight to Geneva and, after a pleasant drive from the airport, had my first view of the amazing Evian Resort complex.
My companion and I were hosted in the magnificently fully refurbished 5* Hotel Royal (built at the beginning of the last century to host Edward VII who never came…) offering spectacular views of Lake Geneva. The place oozes understated elegance with its magnificent reception hall, beautiful staircase, superb Michelin Star restaurant and chic boutique.
There is also a 4* hotel, Ermitage, for those preferring a cosier ambiance and more family feel.
But what do you do in Evian? Well, the resort has a programme for every member of the family (4-legged friends are welcome too by the way!). Their very own 18-hole PGA Championship golf course, featuring a David Leadbetter Academy, is nearby; there are three tennis courts; a myriad of walks; organised activities for the kids (with two clubs covering ages from four months to 15 years) and many sporting opportunities, from skiing and dog sledding in winter to water skiing, fishing and sailing in summer, with yoga retreats throughout the year. There is even a casino on the shores of the lake for those who want to try their luck.
Needless to say, each hotel boasts its own spa, and yours truly enjoyed the benefits of a wonderful massage to overcome the early start and to be in top shape for the evening concert!
Everything is carefully planned by the attentive, multi-lingual staff to make sure residents - from busy executives to families, couples and sporty types - have the best possible time, whether they are there to wind down or re-energise.
We had a superb lunch, with beautiful fresh fish from the lake accompanied by an exquisite Savoie recommended by the sommelier, before being taken on a tour of the facilities.
Come the evening we followed a trail of beautifully lit Christmas trees on our way up to the concert hall (there were lots of smart black cars to take the less agile up the hill), reminding us in a most atmospheric way the festive season was in full swing.
La Grange au Lac turned out to be the most unusual venue; a spacious and spectacular wooden ‘barn’ with a curtain of chandeliers serving as backdrop to the stage: a real ‘wow’ factor. There then followed a scintillating musical programme by Evian Resort’s own orchestra, Sinfonia Grange au Lac, followed by renowned jazz bassist Avishai Cohen and his ensemble.
The final treat came the next morning, when we discovered that our transfer would be courtesy of the Evian One. Straight out of a Bond movie, this 12-metre-long motorised catamaran whisked us back to Geneva in less than 45 minutes.
All in all, a visit full of surprises. In fact there was so much to do that I didn’t have time to check out the hotel boutique. Guess I’ll just have to plan a return visit….
Annick Devillard, an Independent Travel Adviser for Simplexity Travel, was invited by the Evian Resort for the 14th December JAZZ À LA GRANGE concert and hosted at the 5* Hotel Royal. To experience a bespoke stay at Evian Resort, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org