Villa Arcadio

Salo, Lake Garda, Italian Lakes & Verona, Italy Book from Book from £234 per night

Elegant villa hotel set among olive and citrus groves in the hills above Salò, with heavenly views of Lake Garda
A former monastery, it had been empty for decades when Francesco and Jaana bought the villa in 1996. A seasoned travel-industry pro, Jaana was looking for a new project. And this was some task; transforming a medieval ruin into an 18-room boutique hotel took the best part of 10 years.

Behind rough rubbled stone, she has created elegant salons illuminated by walls of glass and furnished with a stylish collection of English grandfather clocks, Italian prints, antique mirrors and smart Casa Milano armchairs. There is a candlelit dining room under a vaulted ceiling, an inner courtyard of trailing bougainvillea, and a glamorous outdoor pool lined with loungers. But the location is the thing. Step onto the terrace, where laced wrought-iron chairs sit beneath a vine-draped pergola, and look at that heavenly view: lush gardens speared with cypress trees and, beyond, the sparkling waters of Italy’s largest lake. Watch the sun slip behind the green mountains, or the twinkling lights of Salò against a fading evening sky. Pure magic.

Highs

  • Those views - blissing out by the pool as boats shimmered across the lake below was unforgettable
  • Sensational food in the beautiful restaurant, with 4-course tasting menus and produce grown in the gardens
  • Nearby Salò, a charming lakeside town with bars, restaurants and upmarket boutiques (30-minute walk or short taxi ride)
  • Superb rooms where sleek furniture and expensive linens sit under beamed ceilings or fragments of 13th-century frescoes
  • Excellent service

Lows

  • There’s a constant hum of traffic from the nearby road, though the double glazing cuts out most of the noise in the rooms
  • If you're visiting outside of peak summer season there are no lunches or light bites offered during the day - you'll need to drive out
  • Rooms can be rather pricey in high season
  • You'll need a car to explore the area, although taxis can be arranged and there is a bus stop close by
  • Garden view rooms have the same price tag as lake view rooms, but some do have private terraces

Best time to go

Come in spring for blossom and balmy weather, or in early summer for beautiful gardens, fragrant jasmine and bright geraniums. Autumn is also spectacular, with wine and olive oil harvests; warm weather often lingers until late October. It can get hot and quite busy around the lake in July/August, though the air-conditioned hotel is a cool escape from the crowds. Villa Arcadio closes from December to March (exact dates vary).

Our top tips

Drive the road which hugs the western shore of the lake, plunging in and out of rock tunnels and skirting vineyards and handsome villages. The journey up to Riva del Garda at the northern tip takes around an hour.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 18
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome.
  • Closed: 18 Dec 2018 - 31 Mar 2019
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Boat hire available
  • Fitness trail
Room:

Rooms

The hotel’s 18 rooms have simple, natural, textural décor. No jazz, no frills, instead the luxury lies in the detail: expensive linens, dark wood, subtle lighting, soft non-allergenic pillows and super-comfortable beds.

The best vistas are from the hotel’s only Suite, which is arranged as an open-plan apartment with a bedroom and living space. There is also a trio of roomy Junior Suites, each with an entrance hall and sofa area. The Standard and Deluxe Rooms vary in size, but this is one place where you won’t feel short-changed if you go for the smaller categories. One of the most petite, ground-floor Room 1, is a lovely little room with French windows opening onto a dinky terrace overlooking the garden - but note that it doesn't come with that dazzling lake view.

In some rooms there are beautiful walls of exposed stone, in others, remnants of vintage frescoes. Some of the upper rooms (there are 3 floors) have high beamed ceilings, but all share the same soothing style. Sunlight pours in through the windows, each framing an Arcadian view of the lake, the garden, or both. If watery views are important to you, state your expectations when booking to avoid disappointment.

Bathrooms are light and efficient but tend to be on the small side, with glass shower cubicles and marble basins, but no tubs. Toiletries, slippers and bathrobes are provided.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Whether it's breakfast on the vine-shaded terrace overlooking the lake, or dinner in the elegant restaurant, eating at Villa Arcadio is one of the joys of staying here. Tables are laid with sparkling cutlery and crisp linen. In summer, scents from the garden waft in through open doors (or you can sit outside); in winter, it’s cosy and candlelit, with fireplaces at either end.

The à la carte dinner menu changes seasonally, but we highly recommend the 4-course 'menu of the day'. During our visit, this kicked off with artichoke and pecorino appetisers, followed by rabbit-filled ravioli with pesto. Our main was melt-in-the-mouth pork ribs with a sweet and sour borretane onion and beer sauce. Dessert was a rich chocolate swirl with raspberries and crushed nuts, followed by a top-notch port. Amongst the wine list, you’ll find bottles chosen from smaller vineyards, with every region of Italy represented.

Breakfast is a decorative buffet of meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, breads and pastries – we also enjoyed some wonderfully creamy poached eggs.

If you want to eat out, there are dozens of waterside restaurants in Salò or Gardone Riviera - ask hotel staff for recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: Salò

Activities

  • Chill out among the bougainvillea on the terrace, or lounge by the pool and gaze at the view
  • Spend some time in charming Salò, which was the home of the Italian Social Republic during Mussolini's reign. Today, it remains a pretty lakeshore town of narrow streets, squares and waterside walkways
  • Explore Lake Garda by boat - either on the hotel's own boat, on an organised excursion or on one of the frequent local ferries. From Salò quay, you can sail to Gardone Riviera, Desenzano, Sirmione and Garda
  • In summer, you can also take a boat tour from Barbarano di Salò to Isola del Garda, a tiny, private island. The 2-hour tour takes in the Borghese Cavazza family’s neo-Gothic villa and its glorious English and Italian gardens
  • There is wonderful walking in the Alto Garda National Park, or just follow the hotel's mapped out fitness trail around the site
  • Ask staff to organise a trip to the Comincioli Numero One factory - producer of the world’s best olive oil (10 minutes away) - or to the Bresciano wine cantinas of the Groppello and Chiaretto regions
  • A round of golf, perhaps? There are 7 courses in the area, the nearest at Soiano al Lago (8km away)
  • Bikes are available for guest use - with quiet roads and some challenging hills, this is classic cycling country
  • Back at the hotel, relax with a massage, yoga or some time in the hotel's Finnish sauna (available for exclusive use, by the hour)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

The hotel feels a little too grown-up, too chilled, for hordes of kids, but they are welcome.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Suite is best for families, as it has a living room with sofabed. All rooms can hold a baby cot, most have space for an extra bed.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Location

Villa Arcadio sits in the Salò hills, in the drive-through village of Villa di Salò, just above the south-western edge of Lake Garda in northern Italy. It's 3km from the lakeshore town of Salò.

By Air:
The nearest airport is small Brescia (35km), but there are more flights to Verona (50km); Bergamo (90km) could also be useful. Transfers can be arranged, but we'd recommend hiring a car to get the most out of your stay. The hotel has private garaging for cars with key-card entry/exit.

By Train:
The nearest railway stations are Desenzano and Brescia (transfers can be arranged). Public transport in the area is good and there are bus services from both stations, plus a bus stop in Villa di Salò (just 200 yards from the hotel).

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Brescia Gabriele D'Annunzio 35.0 km VBS
  • Verona Valerio Catullo 50.0 km VRN

Other:

  • Beach 5.0 km
  • Shops 3.0 km
  • Restaurant 3.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
8/10
Food
9/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
Overall

One of our best hotel experiences ever. Really deserves the name boutique hotel. Perfect place to relax at the pool or under olive trees with a magnificent view over nearby town of Salo and lake Garda. At the same time many options for excursions and very friendly competent staff looking after us. We already placed a reservation for next year and looking forward to our next stay at this lovely place.

10/10,

We had a very enjoyable weekend break at Villa Arcadio for our 10th wedding anniversary. We received a very warm welcome and the service was excellent throughout our stay. The food was also very good - so much so that we ate lunch and dinner at the hotel for the whole of our stay. The hotel is well situated and very comfortable. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

9/10,

Overall a lovely hotel with great views and excellent staff. Shame the pool is not heated as it was a bit cold and under used. Recommend having a car.

9/10,

Stunning hotel in an amazing setting. Eating breakfast on the terrace, overlooking the lake, was a highlight of the holiday. The staff were very attentive and we had a really relaxing time.

9/10,

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