Early October, I was supposed to travel to Namibia but that did not happen because of the ongoing pandemic (and government advice against travel outside the EU, where I am based). Instead, I planned a last-minute holiday to some of Italy’s most beautiful areas. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily
- Review: Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, Sicily
- Review: Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel, Sicily (to be published later)
- Review: Lefay Resort & Spa, Lake Garda (today)
- Review: Forestis, Dolomites
- Review: The St Regis Venice Hotel
Today (November 18, 2020): Review of Lefay Resort & Spa Lake Garda (Italy)
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Lefay Resort & Spa Lake Garda
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Surrounded by natural terraces, woods and olive groves, Lefay Resort & Spa is a little-known gem and magical place designed to blend in with the magnificent Italian countryside. The property features 93 spacious suites, which all offer an amazing view towards the lake. Situated on 27 acres of parkland along the western shores of Lake Garda, this destination resort revolves around its guests’ total health and well-being. Lefay Spa is the exclusive temple of wellness, where body and soul are rejuvenated through the rediscovery of vital energy. Lefay Vital Gourmet offers a fresh, seasonal take on traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
Lefay Resort & Spa Lake Garda features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels on the Italian Lakes.
Have you ever stayed at Lefay Resort Lake Garda? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE – REVIEW OF LEFAY RESORT & SPA LAKE GARDA
- Lefay Resort & Spa is the best resort on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake. The lake’s wider part to the south is surrounded by morainic hills that were left following the glacier recession, while the narrow northern part is enclosed by imposing mountains that create a spectacular fjord-shaped scenery. The lake’s luminous environment, mild climate, and flourishing vegetation – mainly olive and lemon groves, palms, cypresses, and orange trees – along with the majestic landscapes and many cultural sites spread all around make Lake Garda one of Italy’s most popular holiday destinations, connecting the Alps with the rest of the country.
- Lefay Resort & Spa lies claim on Lake Garda’s most spectacular location, in the heart of the Riviera of Lemons, whose splendid landscapes and air perfumed with the sweet fragrance of lemons have inspired great poets who stayed there, such as DH Lawrence and JW Goethe. Set on a mountainside high up the lake, above the picturesque, lakefront village of Gargnano, the hotel offers a tranquil getaway and welcome respite from the tourist franzy of Lake Garda. Every vantage point of the property is a postcard, affording phenomenal view of the lake’s pristine waters, magnificent Alpine mountains, and verdant rolling hills.
- Designed by Italian-born architect Hugo Demetz, the hotel is housed in an L-shaped building that fits into the morphology of the landscape with minimal visual impact. The exterior, with its rows of stone pillars supported by wooden beams, takes inspiration from tiered lemon houses which cultivate lemon trees typical of the area. A bright central structure housing all the main facilities (lobby, spa, & restaurants) lies at the property’s heart, while the suites extend along two wings that follow the hillside’s drop. Through a southward orientation and large glass walls, all rooms and public areas enjoy incredible views of the lake and abundant daylight.
- The hotel features 93 rooms, all of which are actually suites. All suites were designed in order to capture the beauty of natural surroundings right into the room, with the use of natural materials such as red Verona marble, olive tree wood and Italian walnut. During my stay, I was upgraded to a family suite, which comprised two separate bedrooms, a larger one with a kingsze bed and a smaller one with two twin beds. Both bedroom had their own bathroom, the largest one (belonging to master bedroom) equipped with two sinks, a large bathtub, and separate shower and toilet cabins. The suite opened to a small terrace, offering amazing lake views.
- The resort’s extensive wellness center is the nucleus of the guest experience and one of Italy’s best spas. All guest room corridors depart from the spa’s reception area, so that when you walk from your suite to the restaurants, lobby or the pools, you have to pass by the spa and are reminded of wellness. The wellness center features a wide range of facilities: six different types of saunas, five relaxation areas, hammam, ice pool, whirlpool tub, 21 treatment rooms (half with lake views), and two outdoor massage gazebos. There’s also a large fitness area with Technogym equipment and a fitness studio for classes.
- The wellness center’s pièce de résistance is its wet area, which comprises three saltwater pools. The outdoor infinity pool is truly spectacular: lined by a row of palm trees, it merges with the horizon, offering heart-stopping views of the lake and mountains. There’s also a heated indoor pool that connects via a sliding door to another external pool, which stretches into the park and overlooks the lake. Between both pool areas is a large outdoor “Source Roccolino” whirlpool. The wet area is completed by the enticing indoor thalassotherapy pool “La Luna nel Lago”, which is a salt-water pool in a spacious grotto lit by a giant artificial moon.
- Lefay Resort & Spa has two excellent restaurants, which both use seasonal ingredients, extra virgin olive oil, citrus fruits from the lake, and locally grown herbs:
- La Grande Limonaia is the resort’s signature restaurant. Located on the hotel’s top floor, the menu features contemporary flavors and colors to create dishes that give a nod towards the evolution of traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Each morning, an excellent breakfast buffet is offered here as well.
- Located on the lobby level, Trattoria La Vigna is a more informal venue with a large panoramic terrace, offering delightful al fresco dining in summer. Recreating the simplicity and warmth of typical Italian trattorias, this venue serves delicious regional cuisine for lunch and dinner, with dishes such as breaded lake perch fillets with capers and risotto with Robiola goat’s cheese.
- Lefay Resort & Spa is set in 11 hectares of a private natural park – called “Parco dell’Alto Garda” (Upper Garda Nature Park). Surrounded by gentle hills and natural terraces rich in woods and olive groves, the park hosts a 2 km (1.2 mi) running circuit as well as a fitness trail with eight stations for improving muscle tone and elasticity. The park is also referred to as a therapeutic garden, even with the possibility to practice mediation and other psycho-physical rebalancing activities. The park offers spectacular views at every turn, from the mountains dropping down in to lake Garda, and the terraces against the slopes allow you some stunning views.
The Lefay Resorts brand was launched in 2006 by the Italian entrepreneurs Alcide and Liliana Leali, founders of Air Dolomiti, the first Italian regional airline to obtain the most prestigious international awards. Their aim was to build a collection of eco-resorts based on a modern reinterpretation of the traditional notion of “luxury”, a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and a new innovative concept of global wellness. Two years later, in 2008, the first hotel of the collection opened on the Brescian banks of Lake Garda. A decade later, in 2019, Lefay Resorts added a second property to its portfolio, the Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti located in the Madonna di Campiglio ski area, in Pinzolo.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW – REVIEW OF LEFAY RESORT & SPA LAKE GARDA
- The main issue I have with the property is its dated decor. Despite the fact that the resort opened only a decade ago, the overall ambience is that of an 80s 5-star hotel that is in urgent need of a refurbishment. Arriving at the resort’s lobby feels like walking into a mediocre airport lounge, and IMHO, the room’s mix of (expensive) red marble and walnut wood paneling is an eyesore. One can only hope that management will soon undertake an overhaul of the interiors, in order to match the interiors with the stunning setting and top-notch facilities.
- The hotel enjoys a somewhat remote location, high above Lake Garda (although that is the appeal for most guests). You will need a car to explore the area, as there is nothing of real interest in the immediate vicinity of the property (no shops & no restaurants). That said, the remote location on a winding road, may discourage you from venturing out, especially in evenings. For guests without a car: the resort does operate a shuttle, which is complimentary until 7pm and charged afterwards (35 euros one way per room).
- In the winter season (November to March), the outdoor infinity pool and the “Source Roccolino” whirlpool are closed, although the indoor and outdoor salt-water swimming pools remain available to guests.
MY VERDICT – REVIEW OF LEFAY RESORT & SPA LAKE GARDA
- Location: 10/10
- Design: 5/10
- Pool: 10/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 8/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 9/10
- Service: 8/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good – 8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY – REVIEW OF LEFAY RESORT & SPA
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD spa credit, and one complimentary lunch or dinner for two).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Lefay Resort & Spa Lake Garda (and/or receive many free perks).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT – REVIEW OF LEFAY RESORT & SPA LAKE GARDA
The best time to visit Lake Garda is between April and October, when warm temperatures and mostly sunny days. The territory is characterized as having a subcontinental climate, with cold winters and muggy summers; humidity is particularly high through the whole year. July and August are the hottest months and the best time for going to the beach and enjoying the cool breeze. In addition, water temperatures are ideal for many sports. July is also one of the driest months of the year. The best spring and autumn months to visit Lake Garda are May & June and September & October, when temperatures are mild but sometimes there are days with torrential rains.
HOW TO GET THERE – REVIEW OF LEFAY RESORT & SPA LAKE GARDA
Lefay Resort & Spa Lake Garda is easy reachable by car from Milan, from the Swiss border and from all the most important international airports of the area: Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Bergamo Orio al Serio and Lugano Agno.
PHOTOS – REVIEW OF LEFAY RESORT & SPA LAKE GARDA