Lefay Resort & Spa’s infinity pool, Lake Garda
You can’t help but fall in love with Lefay. Perched high on a hilltop on the outskirts of picturesque Gargnano village, an hour’s drive from Verona, the expansive views of Lake Garda and pretty olive tree terraces instantly lift the soul.
However, it’s the heated infinity pool that really rocked our world. Take a dip at moonlight to luxuriate beneath a full sky of twinkling stars for a real rejuvenating boost.
The main pool lies inside the heart of the resort’s large, gleaming white spa and at first glance looks unspectacular. However, once you’ve slipped off your fluffy white robe and slippers and dived in, you’ll discover a glass door that automatically slides open to reveal an enormous outside pool.
Feel like the leading lady in a James Bond film as you swim through into the open air to an awe-inspiring view of towering peaks. Bubbling Jacuzzis and multi-coloured underwater lighting create a real romantic vibe, mingling with the steam off the water’s top – a clever trick as the heat rises off the warm surface to hit the cool night air – creating a wonderfully romantic atmosphere. By day, swim to the rim of the pool and rest your head in your hands as you watch boats sail across sun-drenched Lake Garda below.
Unless you want to end up looking like a raisin, you can’t spend all your time swimming at Lefay (although we gave it a good go) so, when you’re not floating around, try one of the fantastic treatments instead. This really is a spa destination in its own right, with the longest menu I’ve ever seen, from dietary intolerance and stress check-ups, through to ancient Ayurvedic massages.
In the name of research I tried several treatments, the best of which was the Lefay Gocce di Lago massage using olive oil (they make their own) and essence of lemon and lavender. The 50-minute massage was pure bliss and left my limbs super soft.
If you can’t decide on a particular treatment, book a package, such as the Oriental Dream for Two, which includes a 90-minute face, head and body massage with your nearest and dearest. Another must-do is a private 30-minute session in the low-lit saltwater grotto in the World of Water and Fire (sounds a bit Armageddon, but it’s actually a series of interconnecting steam rooms, saunas and Moroccan-style chill-out areas).
Time to dine
If the phrase ‘spa resort’ puts you on celery-stick-alert, fear not. Italians aren’t prepared to give up good food for a spa experience. Consequently the two restaurants, rustic La Vigna and the more romantic La Grande Limonaia serve up delicious dishes using local, organic ingredients where possible, like Lake Garda-caught perch and sirloin of deer with rosemary potatoes and roasted pumpkin.
The delicious desserts are rather sinful – like magnets, you’ll find yourselves drawn to the sweet buffet laden with tarts, crème brulée and cakes with pistachio ice-cream and orange Grand Marnier sauce – but there are low calorie courses marked on the menu if you don’t want to pile on the pounds post-wedding.
The corridors of the resort are a bit of a let down: swirly carpets, long passageways without much on the walls and soft Euro rock music piping out aren’t up to the high standards of the rest of this chic hotel. The rooms they lead to, however, hit the spot.
Each has a private balcony overlooking the lake and hills where you can sit and watch the sun shift gently across the bright blue sky. Cream and wood are the furnishing choices, including a large king-size bed, a lounge with white chairs and a slick bathroom with a cheeky window through to the bedroom (although there is a blind you can pull down if you’re feeling shy).
Prices for a two-night health special (anti-stress, anti-ageing, slimming or sports) from €650pp, incl. breakfast, lunch and dinner (drinks not included), interview with the doctor, one Lefay Spa method energetic massage, one body peeling, one energetic facial, physical energy rebalancing activities to tone the body and relax the mind, one hydroaromatherapy with hydrojet, one session in the salt lake and personalised phytotherapy. For more information visit lefayresorts.com
British Airways offers a seven night fly-drive to Verona from £149 per person for travel until May 25. Price includes return British Airways flights from Gatwick and Avis Inclusive car hire for the duration, based on two sharing (0844 4930758/ba.com/verona).
British Airways (ba.com, 0844 493 0787) flies daily from London Gatwick to Verona during the winter and twice daily throughout the summer, return fares cost from £80.70 including taxes.
By Amanda Statham