Glass enjoys the royal treatment on the shores of Lake Geneva

EVIAN is one of the world’s best-known bottled waters. But few know that its source is a tiny town nestled between the Alps and Lake Geneva. It is here in the crisp, alpine air that Evian-les-Bains, the place from which Evian takes its name and France’s oldest spa town, quietly sits.

The Evian company was founded in 1806 when demand for the healing waters surged through the region and the first bottling factory and thermal spa was opened. Since 1878 the healing power of Evian’s waters have been officially recognised by the National Academy of Medicine. 

The Evian resort

In 1905, the Evian company commissioned the construction of a magnificent hotel to house the increasing number of affluent tourists visiting the spa. King Edward VII of Britain had promised to be one of the first to stay, and so the name Hotel Royal was chosen in his honour.

Sadly, the King died before he was able to visit but since its inception, the hotel has played host to some of the world’s most famous names including Queen Elizabeth II, Stravinsky, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Greta Garbo and Ray Charles. 

The Evian pool with view of Lake Geneva

Today, The Royal is part of the wider resort complex which features two hotels, three fine dining restaurants – including Les Fresques which has been awarded multiple Michelin stars – three brasseries, six bars, a golf course, a casino, two spas and the thermal spa.

View from the Presidential Suite

The Royal boasts a completely modernised decor but still retains its Belle Epoque charm and breath-taking grandeur. There are stunning rooms and panoramic suites to choose from and even two experiential suites, one designed in collaboration with legendary golf instructor David Leadbetter, and one in collaboration with conductor Esa-Pekka.

A stay in these suites includes services and experiences in the theme of golf or music accordingly. There is also a children’s resort onsite providing a baby creche, supervised activities and a children-only pool. Hotel Royal is also part of the Leading Hotels of the World collection – an exclusive community founded by hoteliers in 1926. 

by Nicola Kavanagh

Rooms at the Hotel Royal start at £324 per night. For bookings please visit Evian Resort