Dream des­ti­na­tion

Where ele­gance meets ex­trav­a­gance. The Evian Re­sort is fit for a King... as its his­tory shows

Today's Golfer (UK) - - Contents -

France’s Evian Re­sort is fit for a King, as its his­tory shows.

‘AL­MOST EV­ERY FAIR­WAY CAM­BERS TREACHEROUSLY TO­WARDS WA­TER, SAND OR CLUB-TAN­GLING ROUGH.’

Skirt the edge of the Alps, past Lake Geneva and into the vil­lage of Evian-les-bains where many roy­als and celebs have gone be­fore. Perched on a hill­top lies an 18-hole cham­pi­onship course scented by fuch­sias, gera­ni­ums, and cen­tury-old wood­land. This is not Au­gusta Na­tional, but there’s enough pink to do a pass­able im­pres­sion.

Evian Re­sort Golf Club has hosted The Evian Cham­pi­onship – the women’s fifth Ma­jor – since 2013 and is ad­joined to one of the most ex­clu­sive sport & spa re­treats in the world. Crowned France’s Lead­ing Re­sort at the 2017 World Travel Awards, the com­plex is made up of two ho­tels, 11 bars and restau­rants, and Eu­rope’s largest themed casino.

A fleet of shut­tle buses fer­ries guests around the 47-acre es­tate, which sits at the foot of the French Alps where the fa­mous min­eral wa­ter flows. The real lux­ury is re­served for the five-star Ho­tel Royal – a glo­ri­ous palace which was built in 1907 as a sum­mer res­i­dence for King Ed­ward VII.

One of the best spots can be found at the Evian Source Spa, where a pri­vate lift for ho­tel guests leads to 24 ther­apy rooms, two saunas and a heated hy­dro- cir­cuit pool link­ing seven dif­fer­ent hot tubs.

If you get bored of loung­ing around in a robe, you can pre­tend you’re at Au­gusta by strolling through the aza­lea gar­den or head to Le Manoir du Golf. The lat­ter dou­bles as a lav­ish B&B and a golf academy.

Sur­rounded by an un­der­cover driv­ing range and a four-hole short course, it’s the per­fect pit-stop be­fore the main event. The 18-hole course is one of the old­est in France and snakes in and around tow­er­ing pines, moun­tain tops and sun-kissed ter­races.

To ramp up the dif­fi­culty, the team be­hind Celtic Manor added 77 bunkers and planted 176 trees in 2013. Al­most ev­ery fair­way now cam­bers treacherously to­wards wa­ter, sand or club-tan­gling rough. At un­der 6,500 yards, length isn’t the prob­lem on the par-71 course. Deal­ing with the slopes is. The newly-en­larged greens would be invit­ing were it not for the deceptive un­du­la­tions and tier changes.

The warn­ing bells start ring­ing on the short par-3 2nd, which drops dra­mat­i­cally to a put­ting sur­face di­vided into two sec­tions by a large knoll.

The next par 3 – the sig­na­ture hole – ar­rives on the 5th and de­mands a 100-yard carry over two lakes with Dent d’oche, the high­est sum­mit of the Ch­ablais Mas­sif, in the back­drop.

If the heart hasn’t started rac­ing yet, it will by the time you reach the clos­ing four holes, dubbed the Evian puz­zle. There, your ball will flirt with more wa­ter and leave you wish­ing you had paid more at­ten­tion to the pro’s ad­vice on the course guide.

You can mull over your mis­takes in the An­gloSaxon club­house, and en­joy some lo­cal del­i­ca­cies on the ter­race over­look­ing the 18th green and the lake beyond. The only prob­lem is you won’t want to leave.

GET­TING THERE

Di­rect flights to Geneva in­ter­na­tional air­port from 21 UK air­ports. Ser­viced by var­i­ous air­lines, in­clud­ing Bri­tish Air­ways, Swiss, easyjet, Flybe and Jet2.com. The flight time is one hour and 45 min­utes.

TRY IT YOUR­SELF

Two nights’ B&B at Ho­tel Royal and one round of golf, costs from £472pp. 0033 450 268 500 www.evian­re­sort.com

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