“A grand old hotel with a contemporary twist and a turquoise pool, straddling land and lake near the elegant resort town of Gardone Riviera”
The 23 rooms are light, bright and well-equipped, with brushed oak floors, boxy dark-wood furniture and crisp white linen. The pared-back style is a little insipid compared to the striking communal areas, but the beds are wonderfully comfortable, the wardrobes are big, and there are pops of colour in the canary-yellow ceilings and arty headboards, inspired by the work of Lake Garda regular Gustav Klimt. You also get a bit of gadgetry in the form of flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, and banks of snazzy light controls hidden in a bedside drawer.
The real treats await in the bathrooms - huge marble-clad sanctuaries with powerful rain showers, robes and slippers, and Molton Brown toiletries. Larger rooms also have tubs, many set by windows so you can stare at the lake as you soak.
There’s a range of room categories to choose from, but essentially you pay more for extra space, a bigger bed and a better view. The smallest Studio Rooms overlook the road behind the hotel, while the Large Rooms and Deluxe Rooms have a sideways peek of the water; all have kingsize beds (many can be set up as twins on request), and most Deluxe Rooms have balconies. A few Euros more will get you a lake-facing Balcony Room with a super-kingsize bed and 2 balconies - we stayed in one of these and loved watching boats glide past from our bed.
If you really want to splash out, there are also several suites. At the very top of the building (with no lift access) are the Mansard and Loft Suites. They’re packed with luxuries - sink-into sofas, egg-shaped tubs by the beds, even steam rooms in the ensuites - but the sloping ceilings and dormer windows mean you’ll have to crane your neck to see the water. We preferred the View and Terrace Suites on the lower floors, all with full-frontal lake views, sitting areas with sofabeds, and a balcony or sun-trap terrace.
Meals are normally served on a lakefront terrace, accompanied by the gentle sound of water sploshing against the jetty and, when we visited, free entertainment from a pair of ducks waddling comically between the tables. It’s a lovely place to linger with your morning coffee or an evening glass of wine, but if the weather turns you can head inside to the restaurant, which has funky black chairs, traditional blue and white tiles (an unusual combination, but it works) and an open kitchen where the chefs strut their stuff.
Breakfast is a vast continental buffet laid out from 7.30 to 11.00am (no need to forgo your lie-in here). It has all the things you’d expect - bread, pastries, salami, cheese, cereal, fruit, jam, yoghurt - plus a few things you wouldn’t: quiche, bowls of M&Ms, cake stands brimming with muffins, tarts and brownies. Eggs and hot drinks are also available, made to order and delivered to your table.
The lunch and dinner menu (available daily during high season, but not on Wednesdays at other times) focuses on typical Italian fare with a few imaginative twists - nothing gourmet, but it’s tasty enough and very filling. We started with burrata (an indulgent blend of mozzarella and cream) and tangy sun-blushed tomatoes, along with asparagus, poached egg and shavings of earthy black truffle. For mains, we chose ricotta ravioli with lemon and marjoram, and a deconstructed penne carbonara with strips of crispy bacon artfully arranged on top. Our dessert was a sweet yet tangy orange-scented zabaglione.
Sandwiches and snacks can be ordered from the pool or bar throughout the day, and there are some excellent cocktails on offer. We asked the bartender to whip up something summery, and loved the resulting Prosecco, strawberry and rosewater conconction, served with a bowl of big, juicy olives.
If you’re staying for a while and fancy a change of scene, you’ll find plenty of trattorias and cafés in Gardone Riviera and Maderno - just ask staff for recommendations.
This is a great option for a stress-free family holiday, with good facilities, a relaxed atmosphere and easy access to Lake Garda’s attractions. Children will love the shallow pool, the bikes and the big gardens; parents will appreciate the babysitting service, on-site restaurant and bar, and extremely helpful staff.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
A baby cot (free) or rollaway bed (additional charge) can be added to Deluxe Rooms, Balcony Rooms, the Mansard Suite and the Loft Suite. The Terrace and View Suites have lounge areas with sofabeds (free for under 10s, but with a supplement for older kids) and can sleep up to 4. Many rooms can be set up as twins on request, but if you want a bathtub then book a Balcony Room or suite.
Babysitting can be arranged on request - just ask at reception.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food is available all day. Although there is no set kids’ menu, there are a few child-friendly pasta options and the chef can rustle up special meals if you have a particularly fussy eater in tow. Children will love the breakfast buffet, which includes rice crispies, yoghurt, toast and Nutella, along with cakes and bowls of M&Ms
A waist-high hedge separates the grounds from the lake, but you might want to keep an eye on mischievous youngsters who might stray too close to the water