We spent the 2 weeks of school vacation for Easter at Hotel Ermitage, and we highly recommend it. It was great!
We have three children between the ages of 3 and 6, and we could not have dreamed of a more relaxing and fun vacation. Although I think kids can stay free in their parents' room, we did not want the children right on top of us. We opted for a Privilège suite facing the lake communicating with a Privilège room for the children. (Deep discount on the second room, and well worth the money for extra room on a long stay.) Our rooms were ideal, and we hope to reserve the same ones next year.
The parent's room and terrace were very large with beautiful views of the grounds, lake, town, mountains. There was a "communicating room" with sofabed and TV (it would have been easy to bring a friend or babysitter) with doors to the parents room and to the children's room. And the children's room was large with two single beds, a sofabed, its own mini bar and it's own full bathroom. (I had to sleep one night in the sofabed with my 3-year-old, and it was perfectly comfortable.) The kids' room had a terrace as well, but we blocked it off in view of the age of the children. Essential for such a long stay, there was ample storage in both rooms--hanging closets with shoe racks, and cabinets with lots and lots of shelves. The rooms were very airy, bright, impeccably maintained. Big, powerful tubs and a shower in both rooms, well-stocked with amenities. Free, easy wi-fi. And when I wanted something additional for the children's room, it was obtained and installed right away.
Room care. Upon arrival, we had lovely welcome gifts in our rooms (champagne, fruit, and madeleine pastries for the parents; fancy juices, snacks, and adorable child-sized bathrobes, slippers, and "Kids' Resort" nylon bags and activity books for the kids, Evian waters for all). The housekeeping was excellent, twice a day. Someone had a real flair for arranging the children's rooms--setting their blankies, pajamas, and stuffed animals up in different jaunty ways each evening, to the children's delight. I meant to take a picture, it was so cute. Every once in a while, more madeleines would appear in the parents' room with more large complimentary bottles of water, and every night the night housekeeping supplied fresh bottles of Evian water to each guest.
Staff friendliness and family-friendliness. When we arrived, the valet/bellmen were very friendly and welcoming. We were anxious, but they told us not to worry about our children's noisy excitement, saying something sweet in French that meant something like "children are the heart or life blood of the hotel." The waiters in the restaurant were very sweet and attentive to our children. That being said, while this is a very family-friendly place, it is still an elegant hotel, suitable for romantic stays and business events--it is not overrun with wild children. My husband and I would have been equally happy to visit without the children, and my husband had previously been to the hotel for a business event and thought well of it. On the ground floor, there is the lobby, a library, several informal eating and drinking areas, and a game room for kids (foosball, pool, ping-pong, and little-kid stuff). For the most part, children seemed to stay at the "Kids' Resort," which was a 10-minute walk through the hotel grounds to a special building near the tennis courts.
The Kids' Club was awesome. There is always someone super-friendly and multi-lingual to greet you and welcome your kids. The Kids' Club staff are all very energetic, great with kids, able to coax friendliness and enthusiasm out of the shyest, most reluctant of children. They are also very well-organized--your kid comes back with the same clothes, toys, bathing suit, etc., that you sent her with. The building itself is large, airy, has lots of different rooms, a playground outside, and an inside kid-friendly pool. I think there are three different "clubs" hosted in the building: the baby club for babies from a couple of months up to 36 months, kids club from 3-10 years, and then a teen club. The 3-10 year group often split into subgroups by age for some activities. Most or all of the staff speak English as well as French, but in the end, our kids knew enough French that the staff mostly spoke to them in French, and it was a great French-immersion situation (their teachers back in Switzerland report great improvement in the kids' French abilities).
Our kids were in the 3-5 year subgroup but also spent time with the older kids. Most days there was a theme-based activity for the 3-5 years group--cooking, super heros, gardening/ flower-arranging, decorating Easter baskets, surprise party, practicing a performance for the parents at end of day, etc. It is the easiest thing in the world for parents--you can take your kids as early as 9:00am and leave them as late as 6:00pm, and you can do whatever you want the rest of the day! If you wish, the kids club personnel will take your kids up to the restaurant for lunch and back down again (they also provide snacks, swim towels, etc.). But, at any time you can go join your kids in the kids' club pool, or take them out to spend time with you. And bring them back! After an hour and a half break at the end of the day, the kids can rejoin the kids club for dinner, and when there are enough kids, this means a buffet in a conference room, with some games and activities afterwards. My older two girls loved going off without us for dinner. For days when they were too tired, we could stay in and have room service for dinner. For days when they were particularly charming and well-behaved, we could take them down to the restaurant ourselves. On in-between days, we could eat with them outside on the terrace and let them join the other children running, rolling, or cartwheeling down the steep, grassy hill next to the terrace, while we enjoyed the gorgeous views of Lake Geneva.
Easter. The hotel did a really nice job at Easter. To the children's endless thrill, the hotel set up a little fenced garden in the lobby with 6 or so bunnies hopping around, in and out of their hutches. The hotel commissioned a huge, artistic chocolate egg to display in the lobby, and it sponsored a children's Easter Egg hunt, as part of the Kids' Club--parents could attend, but it was a long, activity-based affair, rather than over in 15 minutes. It was the one day when there were a LOT of children, but it was fun. There were some nice Easter brunch and spa treatment deals, but we slept in and didn't go.
The gym was smallish but had everything I needed, and I never had to wait. There is a pool and hot tub, sauna, inside the hotel near the exercise room and the spa rooms. There is also a heated outdoor pool, which was comfortable when the weather outside reached 18 degrees or more. It looks like there is a snackbar there during summer months, but it wasn't open for our visit.
Sadly, we never made the time to play tennis or golf, and I only managed one spa treatment. I was just having too much fun enjoying the quiet, and catching up on reading, and trying to learn French. (Most people did seem to speak English when my French didn't work.) We drove to the resort, in case we wanted use of our car and to make transport of two-weeks of baggage easier, but then my husband took the ferry to Lausanne a couple times for work and reported that it was very easy and a short commute.
The food was good-to-great and mostly included in our room price (we picked demi-pension which meant that breakfast and dinner were free, but for some reason we didn't seem to get charged for lunch either.
Next year we'll do more activities, which seem easily arranged, but this year we just wanted to relax. This is the perfect vacation spot for ex-pat families in Lausanne or Vevey--the ferry boat makes the office accessible if you really have to go in, and the hotel is friendly and accommodating of all different people with different needs.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Ermitage enjoys a stunning location in Evian-les-Bains, on the French bank of Lake Geneva only 45 km from Geneva and its international airport. You are surrounded by nature and this is reflected in the decor of the house. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. You will find a unique, exclusive environment at the Quatre Terres Spa and in the hotel's restaurants. Enjoy a holiday in Evian, its sport and culture, and try something new. The Activities Department at Evian Resort offers a wide range of activities which can be practised all year round depending on the season. And if you want your children to enjoy a really memorable holiday, send them to the Kid's Resort, where they can flourish and play to their hearts' content. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Ermitage - Evian
- Evian Royal Ermitage Hotel