It’s 12pm when we land at Geneva airport, the first moment of what would be a three-day-two-night stay at Évian-Les-Bains. As Lolita and I look for our hotel transfer at Arrivals – a chauffeur who would be taking us to Evian One, a futuristic speedboat straight out of a Bond film – I can’t help but notice that film of sebum that one always seems to get after a flight. My appearance stood at stark contrast to the level of grandeur we were about to face, but it was easily addressed with a slick of red lipstick and a spritz of Delune facial mist. Whoever associated high maintenance with anything less than an apothecary in a travel bag really doesn’t know their skincare. Cars are also a viable transport alternative, but varies between 75 minutes to two hours, depending on the time of day and traffic.
It was a smooth one hour ride across the infinite blue as we were headed to Hotel Royal Evian resort with Heidi Klein, on one of their beautifully curated #HKEscapes.
Hotel Royal is the five star establishment on the edge of Lake Geneva (the French side), so yes we were in three different countries in less than 24 hours! Some of the highlights of this hotel are the infinity pool, 18-hole golf course and beautiful restaurants, including the newly awarded Michelin Le Fresques (photos and mini review below!). The building itself is massive, where rooms boast ample balconies overlooking the water and during the evenings, vibrant watercolour sunsets from a Michael Bay movie. And just as we thought we had managed to see everything on our first day, it was only until we arrived home that we realised there was probably 40 acres that we had left unexplored.
We spent the first few hours after check-in being dutiful bloggers, taking photos by the pool. But we’re all about balance, enjoying an aperitif and sampling fresca, a local fish from the lake at dinner. The restaurant also offers a wine from the region, Clos de Pont. If you love sweet, heavy wines with strong honey notes this is the one for you.
wearing the black/pink reversible one piece
I was treated to a full Heidi Klein wardrobe for the resort stay, which included beautiful one piece swimsuits, bikinis and resortwear. When the weather got too hot (and when it was time to play after a shoot), taking a dip in the pool was so refreshing in the the reversible one-piece that seemed to maintain a comfortable body temperature. The looks were also chic enough to pair with my daywear or throw over a kaftan or tunic from Heidi Klein and walk around the upscale grounds without feeling underdressed.
If you’re one of the lucky ones that happen to live somewhere peaceful near a vast body of water, this may not apply. But for most of us, there are few moments in life where you wake up with an overwhelming sense of awe. I wouldn’t consider myself much of a ‘nature lover’ but no one can hold back from the panoramic, obstructed view of a brilliant blue sky and sea first thing in the morning. We were treated to room service for breakfast, which put us right in the mood for photos.
wearing the Gili Islands Smocked Tunic
The grounds at Hotel Royal have a charming, rustic garden. Arcs of spray roses burnt dry by the 30 degree summer sun lead the way to the various thriving herbs and vegetables growing there. And although the golf course and serviced areas are manicured as you’d expect, these little ‘off-road’ gems are full of wild flowers, bird feeders and quaint countryside titbits that feel so far away from the realities of urban life. Even if you have other things on your mind, a stroll around the resort really sheds the weight off your shoulders.
wearing the Cassis smocked stretch-pique bandeau bikini top
Not to mention that the spa is essential to anyone’s stay. There’s a relaxation room, Salon Aga Khan, which looks just like that room from the 1970’s remake of The Great Gatsby, the backdrop of the scene where Robert Redford’s character is shot. Trust me, it’s very scenic and beautiful – both the film and the lounge. I was treated to the Tranquility regime, which comprises of a facial and a full body massage aimed to relax clients. What outfit could be more appropriate than Heidi Klein’s glamorous black halter neck cover up (which even has a little padding if you’re wearing it without a bikini top, ideal for small chested girls like myself), which was elegant enough that I could wear it straight to dinner.
Our last day was made perfect with a stunning meal at Le Fresques, a bittersweet end to one of the most interesting travel experiences I’ve had this year (and I have eaten my way through Bangkok’s cafe scene, visited Hong Kong, shot everywhere photogenic in Singapore, Instagrammed my way through Lisbon and wandered around Zurich so far!).
wearing the Oman halterneck voile maxi dress
A central theme to Hotel Royal are their beautiful frescoes, featuring their monogram and delicate pink flowers. It’s then fitting for their treasured fine dining restaurant to be named after this iconic feature. The cover of their menu even has a Renee Magritte-esque mirror for diners to view the details of the ceiling above them. But do not fear, although it’s an elegant place with thoughtful details, guests are more or less free to dress as they wish and the staff are attentive and friendly.
We are told that the terrace is a newly opened space for Le Fresques and with the mountains on the right and an intense sunset on the left, it’s hard not to opt for this romantic location. It’s also difficult not to imagine your honeymoon here, even if you are accompanied by another blogger (not single by the way, guys). On offer are two types of tasting menus but we chose the à la carte, where main courses are divided by land and sea. Hotel Royal recommendations are highlighted below – for starter I opted for crayfish from the lake with ‘Royal foie gras and chicken liver’ (€32), followed by the Bresse chicken (€46). To finish we were highly recommended by the hotel manager the Morello cherry soufflé (€21), a magical combination of hot and cold (which involves flambé!) fluffy and dense, served with a vanilla ice cream.
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