As you zigzag higher up the winding four-mile road to Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda, watching the speedboats zipping across Lake Garda getting smaller and smaller, you can quite literally feel the pressures of the daily grind ebbing away.
Carved into the mountainside overlooking the pretty lemon tree-jewelled town of Gargano. Lefay Resort & Spa occupies a space that is nothing short of idyllic. Set within 11 hectares of parkland there are, quite literally, views from every angle; whether it’s the famed Lake Garda below, or the surrounding verdant green mountains.
THE PACKING EDIT
Unpretentious luxury: think soothing neutral tones, blonde woods, and accents of locally-sourced marble. Here relaxation is fundamental. The soundtrack to your stay is the gentle pipe music that emanates from the spa, and the melodic slap of flip-flops as guests transition from treatments, to the outside pool, cocooned in their fluffy robes. The hotel reopened this spring having undergone an impressive revamp: existing suites and the hotel lobby have been modernised, and there is the new addition of glossy Sky Suites and a slick Adults Only SPA – but more on that later.
The spa truly is the beating heart of the hotel; indeed, many suites are accessed by passing through the spa reception. Extending over 4,300 square metres, the spa is a temple to wellness. It’s so vast, that even at full-capacity, there’s no risk of being shoulder-to-shoulder with another guest in the sauna. Guests can hop between six saunas heated to varying degrees, enjoy a Turkish hammam, brace ice pools, or simply unwind with a fresh herbal tea in one of the many relaxation areas, including the dimly-lit Turquoise Grotto – an ethereal space lined with softly-warmed water beds.
There is a heated saltwater pool that stretches from the interior to the exterior of the spa, yet the real masterpiece is the infinity pool – on a clear day you can watch the lake mesmerically blend into the sky, giving the illusion of an endless blue. Complete with a running track, the gardens make the perfect spot for some al fresco exercise, whilst an all-singing, all-dancing gym is complete with whizzy Technogym equipment. The gym also hosts an impressive weekly schedule of group exercise classes: from low-impact stretching and Pilates, through to high-intensity circuit training and body conditioning.
The true jewel in the crown is the new Adults Only SPA: a vision of blanched wood, grey stone, and marble, with floor-to-ceiling windows to further highlight the views of Lake Garda below. Guests can enjoy a panoramic Finnish sauna-with-a-view, a vigorous whirlpool for deep relaxation, or simply recline on one of the chic grey loungers.
THE LEFAY METHOD
Taking their wellness offering very seriously, Lefay Resort & Spa offers a catalogue of different programmes to address various health concerns: including sleep, detox, and fitness. The latest programme, Longevity, draws upon the Chinese wisdom of “Yang Sheng”, meaning to nurture one’s personal potential. The aim is to recalibrate and de-stress, tackling both the internal and external symptoms of ageing. Combining the practices of classical Chinese medicine with Western science, the five-day programme begins with a consultation with Doctress Gavazzi to discuss health niggles whilst a pulse reading is taken to intuitively decipher the link between organ health and emotions – a personalised herbal tea will be prescribed on these findings to restore equilibrium. Next follows a series of restorative treatments, from an intensely mollifying massage using Moxibustion – heating acupuncture points on the body with a smouldering stick of fragrant herbs – to Reflexology so soothing it is near impossible not to be lulled into an instantaneous slumber. The Senza Tempo facial is both glow-inducing and ultra-sensorial, using products from the Lefay spa line harnessing the power of natural ingredients like delicate rose and nourishing olive oil. Guests can also enjoy a bracing stint in the Cryotherapy chamber to soothe tired limbs, whilst a trip to the floating pool is particularly blissful.
Nutrition is a key pillar of all programmes; the focus of Longevity is less about calorie counting, and more tailored to nourishing the body. The menu is a hearty feast consisting of dishes like creamy kale and broccoli soup, corn-based pasta with Jerusalem artichokes, and surprisingly virtuous desserts. So, no need to eye your fellow diners’ plates with envy.
There are a variety of rooms on offer, from romantic boltholes to family suites. The Deluxe Junior Suites have a private balcony to further admire the lake views. Having undergone a chic revamp these rooms boast neutral hues and marble accents, echoing the serenity of the spa. Vast bathrooms complete with deep bathtubs are kitted out with fragrant Lefay products – an extension of the spa offering.
For the ultimate luxury, the hotel has unveiled three new Sky Suites this year. With superlative views over the lake, these expansive suites offer seclusion away from the rest of the hotel, and are finished with a private sauna and a heated Jacuzzi positioned on the terrace.
Guests not partaking in a specific spa programme have free reign of the gourmet offering – and there’s plenty to savour. A pre-dinner drink at the hotel bar is a serene spot to watch the sunset whilst sipping on an expertly mixed Bellini. The hotel’s main restaurant, La Limonaia, offers an extensive menu of Italian dishes with a twist, championing locally-sourced ingredients. Think featherlight sea bass carpaccio, and freshly-caught fish slowly cooked in artichokes, olives and tomatoes. For those hankering after something a little more indulgent (you are on holiday after all) decadent pasta dishes like ravioli generously stuffed with burrata are bound to sate appetites.
The new fine dining restaurant, Gramen, overlooks the Therapeutic Garden which inspires the plant-based menu, comprising of locally-sourced raw ingredients paired with fish. Opt for the tasting menu for a truly theatrical affair: a series of small dishes arriving in succession, each one almost too pretty to eat.
Take the customised Lefay speed boat from the picturesque port of Gargnano to discover the far-reaching corners of the lake, stopping off for lunch at the local’s favourite haunt, San Vigilio, for spaghetti alle vongole and an Aperol Spritz.