Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda, Italy
Luxury eco spa resort with breathtaking views over Lake Garda
Best for: Anyone looking for a well-being break with five-star trimmings and some eastern philosophy thrown in.
Not for: Anyone in need of a strict health regime.
Takes up to 200 guests
Tucked into the hillside with unrivalled views across to the craggy peaks of the Dolomites and down to the western shores of the great Lake Garda, the family-friendly Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda is self-sustaining and eco-efficient, the architecture inspired by a limonaia, a giant greenhouse for lemon trees which are typical of the area. Set within 30 acres of a national park, it offers rejuvenation programmes and a menu of wellbeing and beauty treatments based upon traditional Chinese energetic medicine and western science It has a strongly Italian flavour, best sampled in one of its gastronomic restaurants.
The stunning outdoor infinity swimming pool is 25 metres of bliss with magical views to the hills and over the lake. There’s a consistently high quality of treatments and programs that are based on the principles of Classical Chinese Medicine, with Western scientific research, which has the ”global wellbeing” of the individual and their health as its goal. It’s also family-friendly and there are kids wellbeing programmes and a crèche for over 3 years.
Guests who are following Lefay SPA Method programs do not have their meals in a dedicated SPA Restaurant and may be surrounded by others enjoying delicious Italian meals.
Come to stay and just relax and indulge, or book onto a wellbeing programme that combines Classical Chinese Medicine with Western scientific research and offers spa treatments (60 of which are Signature) alongside Lefay SPA Method health programmes from 3 to 10 nights to help you with general wellbeing, weight management, detox, sleep, posture or beauty. There are four qualified staff doctors here experts in the various holistic disciplines and lots of excellent therapists.
The Discovery programme is a 3 night taster that includes a Lefay SPA full board treatment, medical consultation, an energy personalised massage, facial treatment, a hydro-aromatherapy session and energy fitness class. Or opt for longer programmes filled with advice and treatments themed around beauty, weight management, sleep, fitness, posture, detox, osteo-physiotherapy, mothers-to-be, wellness for children and men’s wellness.
You can fill your day with therapies and beauty treatments picking from the extensive a la carte menu, or you can ‘do as the Romans’ and lounge by the pool, hang in the pool bar or heated whirlpool or the indoor relaxation areas which include five types of sauna and hammam, floatation salt ‘lake’ and meditation dome.
Treatments on offer include Energy Body and Face
Energy Massages, Beauty rituals and non invasive beauty treatments such as acu-lifting, Thalassotherapy and Thalgo rituals, Pregnancy body and face treatments and medical treatments such as naturopathy, moxa, acupuncture, phytotherapy (herbs), osteopathy, physio and psychological consultations.
For the active guest, there’s a state-of-the-art gym furnished with Technogym equipment, a running circuit of 2 km and free classes day of Yoga, Qi Gong or Holistic season activity (think yoga at a snail’s pace). If you want to leave the cocoon of Lefay and its rambling energetic gardens of the ‘Four Seasons’, there’s a free shuttle bus to Gargnano, the local town, free mountain bikes and boat trips on the lake can be arranged.
Cultural trips can be arranged to visit the traditional lemon houses of the Upper Garda region, to Vittoriale Degli Italiani (the house of the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio) and to Arena di Verona (a poetry festival). The village of Gargnano on the lakeside is 10 minutes drive – the resort offers a complimentary shuttle bus to the village during the day.
Lefay is an upmarket Italian spa and most guests dress for dinner, so leave your tie-dye t-shirts and fisherman’s pants at home and bring something smart; not forgetting to get a nice pair of shades and wide brimmed hat for lounging by the pool.
When to Go
The resort is at its busiest and the climate at its hottest in June, July, August and September. October is a beautiful month to visit, or choose February, March or November for the most tranquil spa experience, when the resort isn’t crowded and the Mediterranean Winter is kind. Lots of people come in December for Christmas. You can swim in the internal-external pool all year, while the infinity pool is open from April till October.
Food for the mediterranean meals here is organic and locally sourced where possible, always seasonal, and absolutely delicious. Try it at the gorgeous formal restaurant, La Grande Limonaia, which overlooks the lake, or at Trattoria La Vigna, the brasserie. Both serve excellent Italian food and wine, so there’s really no need to go elsewhere.
You’ll find the best of a Mediterranean diet here with authentic flavours of the region, including extra virgin olive oil, citrus fruits from the lake and locally grown herbs. The main kitchen is run by a highly rated young chef who composes inventive gourmet dishes and spectacular puddings. Or you can be an epicurist, choosing from dishes like snail and wild mushroom bake or river prawn ravioli followed by fresh lake Perch or cuts of wild goat.
If you’re on a weight loss or detox there’s a spa menu which offers low calorie and raw options such as carrot and ginger soup, light fish and roasted veg. It is really up to you whether you combine the spa experience with gastronomic indulgence. There’s an extensive wine list, and in fine Italian tradition, there’s even a cigar room for the chaps after dinner!
Lefay offers a five star experience while staying true to its environmental values. All the food is organic and locally sourced where possible. The spa’s substantial energy requirements are almost entirely generated from a biomass processor in the grounds and photovoltaic panels. The water for the swimming pools and spa comes from recycled rain water.
Lefay’s beauty products are all made from natural, local produce: olive oil, lemon, orange and rosemary extracts feature heavily in the spa treatments and the facials use phytotherapy (herbs such as hibiscus and horsetail). Staff are locally sourced and trained, rather than shipped in.
Via Angelo Feltrinelli, 136 , 25084 Gargnano, BS, Italia
Verona (88kms – 1.5-hour drive), Milan Linate (150 km – 2-hour drive) or Malpensa (2.5-hour drive)
Desenzano del Garda (37 kms) or Brescia (50 kms)
Transfer Time: 30 to 50 minutes