In summertime the Italian Lakes are without doubt one of Europe’s most popular destinations as tourists leave the cities behind in favour of the cooler mountain air and the chance to swim and sail.
The towns and villages surrounding Lake Garda are picturesque but busy, so those in the know climb the mountain above Gargnano to Lefay Resort & Spa, one of the most spectacularly located hotels in Italy.
With your back to the mountains and your eyes fixed firmly on the sparkling water below, this feels about as close to heaven as you can get.
Couples and friends who want to invest in their physical and emotional wellbeing and reconnect with one another.
All the guest rooms at Lefay Resort & Spa are classed as suites and look out onto the hotel’s gardens, mountain peaks, and Lake Garda. Depending on the location, you may be able to step straight outside from your room into the gardens, or have a private balcony – just the place for an early morning coffee or a pre-dinner glass of wine. The larger suites have outdoor Jacuzzis, too!
The resort’s suites are huge: even the smallest room categories, the Prestige Junior Suite and the Deluxe Junior Suite, have a floor area of 50 sqm. Whichever option you book, you’ll find the decor has a calm, cool colour scheme, and everything inside is oriented to draw your eye towards the lake. There are large flat screen TVs, of course, but who wants to watch TV when you have a view as impressive as that?
The marble bathrooms are immaculate, with bathtubs, showers, and separate toilets. The complimentary amenities are by Lefay SPA, and fluffy white bathrobes and flip flops are provided so that you can wander back and forth to the spa and outdoor swimming pools – or even take lunch in the restaurant – without having to get fully dressed.
Food and drink
Eating and drinking are essential parts of any stay at Lefay Resort & Spa. There’s an outdoor bar by the pool, which is an unforgettable location for a sunset cocktail; and inside the Lounge Bar is a little more formal, with soft lighting and often a live pianist performing. Do ask the barman to recommend local wines; there are some superb wineries around the lake and in nearby Franciacorta.
For meals, you have a choice of two different restaurants. La Limonia is more laid back and serves Mediterranean cuisine with a contemporary twist. Dishes such as seared scallops with courgette cream and courgette flowers will set pescatarians’ hearts racing; and the homemade pastas with sauces such as wild broccoli and Adriatic anchovies, or burrata, rocket, and almond milk are not only delicately flavoured but also beautifully presented.
Gramen – a Latin word meaning “herb” – is open for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday and has a much more formal feel. The predominantly plant-based menu highlights seasonal ingredients, many of which are wild and locally sourced. The concept encourages diners to think holistically about the environment and their own wellbeing, and Executive Chef Matteo Maenza’s creativity shines through in every dish.
Lefay Spa World is critical to the resort’s offering and has its own scientific committee which is continually developing new products and treatments. In fact, this self-proclaimed “temple of wellness” covers 4,300 sqm, with both indoor and outdoor spaces. There can be few places in the world more scenic to swim than in Lefay’s infinity pool, with the expanse of Lake Garda below you; the sauna and other pools look onto the gardens, which really are a slice of Eden.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the spa, however, is the lunar pool, a warm salt lake beneath a gently lit moon suspended from the ceiling. Due to the salt content of the water, you float much more easily than in normal water; it is almost as if gravity has a lesser pull. This part of the spa is available for private hire so you can enjoy a romantic hour with a loved one.
A one-night Spa Break at Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda starts from 315 Euros, based on two sharing a Prestige Junior Suite. The price includes breakfast in La Limonaia, entrance into Lefay Spa World, one Lefay Bio massage, and one salt lake session.
It’s a steep and windy ascent from Lake Garda to Lefay Resort & Spa, so once you’ve arrived you might well want to stay put. If you do decide to venture out, however, the hotel offers a free shuttle service to Gargnano, the closest village, whose history dates back to 937 AD.
Gargnano is blessed with a very attractive centre, including a large number of churches, impressive villas, and a palace. Fishermen sell their fresh catch in the piazza, and Gargnano is also an excellent place to buy olive oil, cheeses, capers, and lemons, all of which are local.
Splurging on wellbeing is always money well spent, and after a stay at Lefay Resort & Spa you’ll feel completely refreshed and once again ready to face the world.