The Hilton Evian-les-Bains is a new hotel, having opened in July 2006. We had the pleasure of being one of its first guests, visiting at the back-end of the year. The moment you step inside this hotel, you are immediately struck by the spaciousness of the public areas, and by the eye-catching reception with its suspended lights. We stayed two nights in room #3162, one of 42 executive guest rooms. It occupies a great position with fabulous views across Lac Léman and a balcony from which to enjoy it. The room was very spacious and modern with beige tones intermixed with splashes of rich purple. It may sound an unusual combination but it worked well. The room has a fully-equipped, modern bathroom, with mosaic tiles echoing the same colour scheme, with lavatory, twin basins, bath and separate power shower. Everything was in impeccable condition, no doubt because it was all so new, but I’m sure too that this will be a standard that they will seek to maintain once wear and tear sets in. The hotel has 173 guest rooms and suites and I was also lucky enough to be shown the Presidential Suite on a tour of the hotel. Here the purple is omitted and instead a more subtle, soft style has been adopted, albeit with a similar feel. The suite is extremely spacious and very well-equpped, with its own kitchen and more. Breakfast and dinner are served in Cannelle’s Restaurant led by Jean-René Trique on the ground floor of the hotel. Here you can sample contemporary and inventive dining – healthy dishes that combine some of the very best ingredients, flavours and spices. Alternatively, the Riva Restaurant Bar & Lounge offers a more relaxed setting. The hotel is particularly well suited for conferences and business meetings. Although it caters for both businessmen and tourists alike, I think this is where its niche primarily lies. There is extensive meeting and conference space, which can be arranged to cater for a variety of options, audiovisual facilities and a business centre with internet access. Boardroom meetings and conferences can spill out on to the terraced garden that surrounds the hotel, the main feature of which is an overflowing swimming pool which extends indoors towards the spa and fitness centre. If weather permits, it is on this terrace where coffee is served during business meeting interludes. Still under construction at the time of our stay (but now completed) was the ‘buddha-bar Spa’, offering guests a new experience for a peaceful mind and body. It combines Oriental technqiues inspired by Tibet, Thailand and India over an area of 1,800 sq. m. Facilities include a sauna, a hammam and meditation areas. The staff at the hotel couldn’t have been more charming and helpful, from the manager through to the reception and maintenance staff. To exemplify this, our elder son had watched the in-room movie for his age (twice) and so I asked reception if it would be possible to borrow a portable DVD player (since we’d come equipped with a handful of his favourite DVDs). I assumed they might have such an item to cater for business meetings and presentations, but they didn’t. Not to worry, I thought… I was sure we could keep him entertained in other ways. An hour later, however, there was a knock at our door. The hotel had gone out and bought a DVD player (on a Sunday!) and were calling to set it up. Now that’s what you call service! Well done to them – they deserve to well and early indications on Tripadvisor suggests they will go far.
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