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