Review of Lefay Resort & Spa Lake Garda

Spoiled absolutely rotten. I admit it. For two days and two nights, I was pampered at the beautiful Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda, an extremely luxurious location nestled in the hills of Gargnano on the western shore of – you guessed it – Lake Garda.

High in the hillside of northern Italy, the resort proclaims itself to be a union of “luxury, wellness and nature” and it offers each of these in absolute spades.

Luxury and well-being

I will start with luxury and well-being. Consider multiple saunas. Consider multiple pools. Fancy an infinity pool? You have one. Do you like your pools to be indoors? You have one. Fancy a sauna with a panoramic view of the beautiful surroundings? It’s understood! Add to that a dizzying array of steam rooms, relaxation areas and a spa offering every type of health and beauty treatment you can think of, plus free snack bars stocked with fruits, nuts, homemade herbal teas and others on every street corner.

I had an almost religious experience during my detoxifying massage, which used the principles of Chinese medicine, and my cleansing facial left me glowing inside and out. I’m not trying to brag, I promise. What I’m trying to convey is how welcome you are to Lefay.

Let’s go more specifically to well-being. Beyond the multitude of bathing and steaming options, there’s a well-stocked gym on-site, offering, again, some rather lovely views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, however, the resort offers a range of exercise classes led by the vigorous Veronica. The price of a private lesson varies but group sessions are included in your stay. Personally guilt-ridden by the fact that I indulged in Italian cuisine during the trip, it seemed logical to me to participate in several of these courses. From Fit Ball (think bouncing on a bouncing ball in a variety of athletic poses) to Rebounding (think bouncing on a trampoline in a variety of athletic poses), I trained in a satisfying sweat while having loads of fun, all under the excellent tutelage of Veronica.

And, of course, all classes take place in a room with a glass wall offering that absurdly good view of the surroundings.

Panoramic sauna

A resort in harmony with nature

Which brings me perfectly to nature.

But first, let me make a review. The facilities at the resort itself are so excellent that it becomes dangerously tempting to spend your day lounging in your bathrobe and holding strong on the property rather than venturing into the lake below. And you are frankly blameless if that is your choice.

For those with the will to go down the hill, there is of course a shuttle service that will transport you back and forth. But there is also nature on site that can meet your needs. I can recommend a particularly beautiful walk around the grounds of the resort in which you walk a few kilometers and admire bits of forest, well-kept gardens and fresh water streams.

The design of the complex itself is a tribute to the nature in which it is located. From the outside, what you can see of the buildings are rows of sturdy stone pillars and rustic wooden beams, which blend seamlessly with the surrounding meadows, trees and mountain peaks.

The resort also places sustainability at the forefront of what it hopes to achieve. The rooms (which again have sweeping views of this stupidly beautiful lake) feature a number of eco-friendly offerings, from the natural fabrics that adorn the beds to the parquet flooring that uses the delicate wood of local Italian olive trees.

Room

Eat and drink

This emphasis on building a relationship with the environment continues at the resort’s on-site restaurants – La Limonaia and Gramen – which rely on seasonal produce and source as locally as possible.

La Limonaia Restaurant

The Limonaia was offensively good. There is no other way to say it. Offering ‘Mediterranean-inspired cuisine’ with a ‘contemporary twist’, I betrayed my vegetarian aspirations for the night and nibbled on tartare to start, followed by a dish of raw prawns which looked terrifying but had a exquisite taste, and I ended things with a dubious ethic breaded veal cutlet that tasted like crispy angelfish.

I also enjoyed dinner at the resort’s new Gramen restaurant, which makes a point of cooking “without using meat, dairy or derivatives”. After opting for the plant-based tasting menu, I sampled a range of visually creative dishes from a seaweed cracker appetizer, which was embedded in a breadcrumb sand beach, to bottoni pasta stuffed with artichokes.

Gramen-Restaurant

As a shaming carnivore and shaky vegetarian, I have to admit that I lacked some of the indulgent qualities you might otherwise expect from Italian cuisine. But I’m sure for people more committed to plant-based eating than I am, this meal would be the jackpot.

Verdict

All in all, I had a blast at Lefay.

After talking with Mirella, Lefay’s communications manager, I discovered that what the station wanted to achieve was something called “neo-luxury”. I don’t know what’s wrong with old luxury – but if that’s what new luxury has to offer, then we’re all in for a treat.

A five-night health program at Lefay Resort & SPA Lake Garda from €3,200 per person (£2,763), staying in a Prestige Junior Suite (double occupancy), including all meals and spa treatments in the programme. The cost excludes flights and transfers.

Richard F. Gandhi