AN EXOTIC BREAK ON YOUR DOORSTEP
JIVA HILL RESORT
by Chené Koscielny
Your brain feels fried and your screen time is approaching addict levels. You need a break – a holiday, somewhere beautiful, exotic and calming, where you can unplug, enjoy a bit of pampering, some delicious food and the chance to reboot your batteries and your life.
Before you type Easy Jet into your browser, consider not only your ecological footprint, but also the stresses of flight cancellations and lost baggage to name a few. Just think of the luxuries you can afford with the money you save on flights if you opt for something closer to home!
STAYCATION IN NEIGHBOURING FRANCE?
How about a staycation that ticks all the boxes above in neighbouring France, a mere 20-minute drive away from Geneva
We’ve recently (re)discovered Jiva Hill Resort, a five-star Relais & Chateaux resort, set in the most beautiful 110 acre estate between the sky and the mountains, offering a luxury spa and top facilities. Even better for those of us living in Geneva, it offers luxury at French prices!
Although the resort has been around for years, it underwent a comprehensive two-phase makeover in 2019 – including new décor, new facilities, an additional restaurant and new chef.
THE NEW LOOK JIVA HILL RESORT
Jiva Hill was created by Swedish owners who had spent time in South Africa, which is reflected in the design of the resort – the hotel blends seamlessly with its natural surroundings much in the same way as South African lodges and cabins of the Swedish archipelago.
As you enter the redesigned lobby, you step into a stylish, calming space with touches of walnut and concrete, see-through book cases and artworks, many featuring horses – the other passion of the Swedish owners.
Shades of cream and copper, rust and natural fibers add to a feeling of understated style, yet intimacy and warmth.
The bar area has been redone too in and features a lovely little self-service LP station, where you can listen to your own choice of music. We can see ourselves settling in with a glass or red wine for the night.
The architect in charge of the project is Italian-born Cristina Gherardi Benardeau – who first focused on the communal spaces, the restaurant, bar and exteriors.
The second phase of the project involves the construction of an extension that will increase the resort’s capacity to 51 rooms by early 2020 from the current 21 rooms.
These rooms are set to include family suites and smaller rooms for those on a slightly tighter budget. Hurray!
We didn’t experience any treatments during our visit, but the spa menu featuring Carita© products offer many different facial and massage treatments.
As it is a glorious day, we did spend some time enjoying the stunning new outdoor swimming pool with teak-clad beach and sun loungers under taupe-coloured parasols, which has beautiful views and is as close to the perfect chilling spot you can find. It’s also very instagrammable – as we discovered.
The Nordic spa ritual experience includes a sauna in a circular cabin made from Canadian red cedar and little barrel pool at 10 degrees for dipping in afterwards. We couldn’t get ourselves to go in!
The 17-metre inside pool and surrounding Jacuzzi, hammam and sauna offer more chances to relax.
The resort has a 9 hole, 18 starts golf course. It also boasts a tennis club, waterskiing, wake-boarding and cycling. Facilities.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Le Jiva (formerly Le Shamwari) was booked out for a business lunch during our visit, but we caught a glimpse of the terrace overlooking the lake at the end of the resort and on a clear day, the Mont Blanc. For me the terrace evokes memories of luxury lodges in South Africa with endless views that broaden your horizons.
We enjoyed a light lunch at the renovated restaurant Le Jardin, which is overseen by French chef Jean-Francois Vasseur, who also looks after Le Jiva. The Jardin overlooks the pretty little Japanese garden and has loads of natural light.
The menu at Le Jardin is a mix of Mediterranean food and we enjoyed the courgette stuffed with a vegetable coulis as a starter followed by a very tasty Moroccan-spiced vegetable tagine and chicken and vegetable tagine, both with root veggies and cranberries. Deliciously light and tasty.
We enjoyed colourful and fresh fruit cocktails with tangy pineapple and lemon touches.
For dessert my partner enjoyed a Café Gourmand with delightful little pastries, including a rose-petal shaped delight with pistachio filling.
Jiva Hill welcomes families and soon they will cater even more for young guests with the newly built family suites, which will be completed in 2020.
Spa treats for children, children’s menus, golf and tennis lessons and a kid’s playroom are some of the attractions for children.
A series of exclusive literary and musical events make this resort definitely worth considering for a trip out from Geneva.
Events include wine tasting workshops, brunch on Sunday and a market featuring local producers and partners of the hotel on the helipad in April every year.
DELUXE room from EURO 300.
The setting and surroundings, as well as the interiors, beautiful gardens and tasty and well-presented food, make this a luxury experience for all the senses. Spending a weekend there would be no stress, easy to get to and heavenly.
Our meal and entry to the spa was sponsored by Jiva Hill Resort.