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Our review : the Royal Evian

Considered the most beautiful hotel in the world when it was inaugurated in 1909, the Royal Evian has lost none of its splendor. Majestically overlooking Lake Geneva, this veritable Palace has been a benchmark for relaxation and well-being for decades. Pascal Languillon, Director of Luxe Wellness Club, had the pleasure of staying here to find out why this legendary hotel attracts such a loyal clientele. With its luxury spa, Michelin-starred restaurant, prestigious golf course and majestic views over Lake Geneva, it’s easy to understand why this Palace is so popular. A significant bonus if you want to indulge in this rejuvenating interlude: Luxe Wellness Club guests are guaranteed a room upgrade.

A legendary establishment in a dream setting

Located in Evian-les-Bains, on the shores of Lake Geneva, the Royal Evian is one of only a handful of luxury hotels in France that can boast of having seen the world’s greatest pass through their doors. A legendary establishment over 110 years old, it hosted the G8 heads of state in 2003 under President Jacques Chirac.

Pascal on his arrival at Royal Evian (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

This magnificent lakeside hotel combines historic architecture with contemporary design, having been completely renovated in 2015. It belongs to the Evian mineral company, and therefore de facto to the Danone group.

Overlooking the vast park, the building is very imposing. Despite the grandeur of the premises, once inside you feel surrounded and enveloped in a gentle, almost intimate atmosphere. Numerous works by famous artists are scattered throughout the hotel. On the first floor, Gustave Jaulmes’ 1909 frescoes of floral motifs are breathtakingly beautiful. I loved the hotel lounge and the Fresques restaurant. What a cachet!

Magnificent lounge with restored frescoes (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The lobby is furnished to a high standard, with comfortable bergères and sofas facing large skylights through which you can admire the ever-changing view of the lake. When night falls, you can even see the lights of Lausanne on the horizon.

The highlight of the show is the magnificent outdoor infinity pool, whose waters merge with those of the lake. It’s heated to 26°C, even in winter, so I was able to take an early-morning dip in it, just to wake up. A privileged moment, alone in the pool…even if the biting cold of the air prevented me from daydreaming too long about the splendor of the view.

The pleasure of outdoor winter bathing (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

We could easily spend days lounging in the comfort of the Royal, but we’d be missing out on an extraordinary region, a playground for nature lovers.

In my opinion, one of the real added values of Royal Evian is its “Sport & Culture” service. A dedicated team organizes sports and leisure activities tailored to guests’ needs, with a vast choice.

Snowshoeing in the hills above Thollon (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The first source of well-being is a beautiful natural setting. Here, the list of activities on offer seems endless: while Europe’s largest ski area, the Portes du Soleil, is located not far from here, in winter you can also indulge in snow biking, ice diving, snowshoeing and dog sledding. In summer, water sports, hiking, paragliding and much more are on offer. The Evian Resort is also famous for its golf courses, reputed to be among the finest in the world.

I was lucky enough to take part in a wonderful snowshoeing activity on the heights of Thollon with a very friendly and extremely knowledgeable guide, Virgile Delamare. We were able to walk in powdery snow among the fir trees, see chamois and white rabbits, and breathe, finally breathe deeply as we took in the breathtaking panoramas! I love this activity, which can easily be done over half a day.

The magical view from my room (Photo: Pascal Languillon – Luxe Wellness Club)

Another special mention goes to the Children’s Kingdom: a separate world entirely dedicated to children aged 4 months to 16 years, and free of charge, with numerous activities, parties and three play areas adapted to each age. The icing on the cake: free meals! Enough to forget about your children all day long.

Ultra-cosy rooms with breathtaking views

Behind its Belle Époque façade, the palace houses 118 beautifully restored rooms and 32 suites spread over six floors. I stayed in a beautiful 30 m² “Séjour Vue Lac” room on the 3rd floor, which had a small balcony and a breathtaking view. I was also able to visit the park-side rooms, which have the advantage of being south-facing and therefore sunnier. My preference remains for the rooms facing the lake, as such a view allows the mind to escape so easily…

My beautiful living room with lake view (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The decor features delicate tones of cream, yellow and blue, with elegant Art Deco furnishings. Everything is in its place, and we’re looking in vain for a fault of taste. I’m not always a fan of carpeting, but here it was so fluffy and soft that I didn’t even feel like putting on the hotel slippers. Of course, the bed is extra comfortable, with a full pillow menu.

Sleek marble bathroom (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

In the ceiling-high marble bathroom, a double washbasin and walk-in shower ensure that you don’t feel cramped. A few surprises: some excellent Fragonard welcome products in packaging dedicated to Royal Evian, and, as a little wink, an Evian atomizer.

For me, one of the great pleasures of this type of palace is the in-room breakfast…. and with a view like this, why deprive yourself? Here, it’s served in your room at no extra cost.

Wellness” breakfast in a room overlooking the lake (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The hotel offers a range of in-room breakfast options, and I chose the wellness option, which consisted of a plate of fresh fruit, muesli with oat milk, detox tea and a delicious juice. What better way to start the day!

The Evian Source spa with its historic charm

Let’s start with the facts: the Evian Source spa was the first hotel spa in Europe, and it spans 1,200 square meters, with 24 cabins, 2 pools, an outdoor aquatic course, a sauna, a hammam, a vast gym and an LPG Endermolab room. The spa even has a room dedicated to Thai massages and Reiki.

Enjoy a relaxation room like no other (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Let’s be honest, some parts of the spa could do with a little refreshing, and a project to that effect will soon be underway. However, I was absolutely charmed by the historic “Aga Khan” lounge,one of the most beautiful post-carerelaxation rooms I’ve seen to date. Sophisticated Belle Epoque details, and the feeling of spending a moment out of time…

I appreciated the virtues of the hydro-contact course: outside, in the middle of the vegetation, you can follow this aquatic path in which eddies, currents and jets relax your muscles.

I was also pampered in the treatment room by Gina, a very talented masseuse, who used products from the certified organic Altéarah brand. An added bonus is the view of the pool and lake from the treatment room.

Another treatment we tried out was hydrotherapy with chromotherapy in a bathtub whose 180 jets provide a relaxing massage.

Treatment room with lake view (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

One of the spa’s flagship treatments is the Himalayan salt pouch massage, which combines relaxation and revitalizing gestures. It’s worth noting that the Evian Source spa uses the excellent Biologique Recherche brand, which we’ve often featured, for its facial treatments.

Wellness packages have been created for 2, 4 or 7 days. They allow you to follow a fitness and beauty program.

Delicious gourmet cuisine

The palace boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant in a magical setting, Les Fresques, where you can savour the subtle cuisine of chef Patrice Vander. It is named after the works by Gustave Jaulmes that adorn the dining room ceiling. It is open only in the evening.

It was a great experience for me. First of all, there’s the extreme comfort of the chair, an important detail when you’re supposed to spend three hours at the table. You’ll then be enchanted by the beauty of the room, with its tree in the middle of the room, its remarkably painted ceilings… and it’s then that the multiple courses of the tasting menu, skilfully orchestrated by the chef and his brigade, take center stage. The cuisine is inventive without being heavy-handed, and the quality of the produce is excellent.

Creative, tasty dishes (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

My taste buds tingled with such finesse. Luckily, the main course combined some of my favorite foods and flavors: scallops, pears and almonds.

La Véranda restaurant serves brasserie-style cuisine. I’ve had delicious oysters and excellent beef with morels and charlotte purée.

Breakfast is also served at La Véranda, as a buffet with a wide range of options. You can, of course, indulge in pastries, but for those who want to keep their figure, it’s possible to put together your own fruit plates with assorted nuts.

Royal Evian boasts a 3,000 m² organic vegetable garden, with heirloom vegetables and herbs used in the kitchen. The hotel also produces its own organic honey from beehives on the grounds. A much-appreciated locavore approach.

Our feeling

The Royal Evian has not stolen its coveted “Palace” distinction. Everything here invites you tosoothe, calm and serenity, while offering guests a host of adventures just a stone’s throw from the resort. With a spa offering a wide range of treatments and a fantastic Kid’s Club to keep children and teenagers busy all day long, in our opinion this is also one of the best hotels in France for a family introduction to wellness.

Luxe Wellness Club

Book (with exclusive Luxe Wellness Club benefit)

Rates : from around 300 euros per night in low season for the first room category. Golden benefit: Benefit from a guaranteed room upgrade when booking through Luxe Wellness Club.

Call us for France on +33 1 85 73 22 14, for the USA: +1 (646) 980 6652 or for the UK: +44 20 4577 3258 to discuss your holiday plans.

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