Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Villa Feltrinelli


An immaculate lakeside 5-star boutique hotel

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Villa Feltrinelli
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Villa Feltrinelli


Gargnano, on Lake Garda's western shore

Travel Information

1.5hr drive from Verona, 20mins by helicopter

Top Tips

Dine on the terrace under the stars, then wake up to take the hotel’s original 1920s lake cruiser, La Contessa, for a tour of the lake.

5-Star X-Factors

Impeccable style, impeccable service, impeccable 2-Michelin star cuisine.

Grand Hotel Villa Feltrinelli

Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda is the best hotel in the world. There, I’ve said it. Multiple visits (it’s a tough life I know) have only served to reinforce this fact. In fact its perfection has only grown with every visit. At this point I would like to establish that I am not prone to hyperbole and generally manage to find flaw in even the finest of establishments. For me at least, Villa Feltrinelli is the perfect European destination for romantic long weekends or celebrating life’s milestones.

Located in the charming village of Gargnano on the Western shores of Lake Garda and enjoying its most beautiful stretch of lake front, the villa is nestled in immaculately landscaped grounds and surrounded by traditional limonaii. From the moment you pass through its gates you enter into a charmed world. At its heart is a beautiful 1892 Belle Epoque house, a delectable pink hued villa complete with turrets and star shaped windows. The interiors evoke a bygone era, a Gatsbyesque loucheness prevails. Much of the joy of Feltrinelli is in its diminutive scale. With just 20 rooms, all suites, it’s very much the grandest boutique hotel you have ever stayed in. The welcome however is such that it feels like a good friend’s home.

Welcome to the best hotel in the world

On arrival ladies are greeted with a posy of fresh roses from the garden. These are magically later transferred to a silver vase on your bedside table. As you climb the steps into the villa you are not sure where to look first. A flash of the clear blue lake beyond beguiles, drawing you deeper into the gloriously appointed, almost theatrical principal rooms.

Fresco decorated ceilings rise above you, a vast flight of marble stairs lead to the bedroom suites above. There are sitting rooms, drawing rooms, salons, a library and bar, all waiting to be explored and each more exquisitely decorated than the last. Beyond, in the immaculately groomed grounds a slate clad pool is served from a red and white gazebo. Delightful corners in which to hide abound across the property.

Accommodation is housed in the main villa and thre1e buildings set in the parkland. Having stayed both in the main house and its grounds I can confirm all are wonderful. I have yet to stay in the principal suite with balcony overlooking the lake, but what is life if not to dream? All rooms are sumptuously appointed. Comfort is paramount. Chairs are so soft that you dissolve into them, pillows light as air. The scent of Aqua di Parma and freshly picked roses envelopes you. Peace prevails, no sound from neighbouring suites, creaky plumbing or chatty housekeeping break the serenity of this lakeside idyll.

What really sets Villa Feltrinelli apart, however, is the service. Long standing manager Markus Odermatt from South Tyrol brings a potent mix of Teutonic efficiency and Italian charm with an unexpected dose of English eccentricity befitting the style of the property. His ability to read people and situations and find the perfect response is a rare gift. Most staff are recruited from the local village and have worked at the Villa since it opened. Service is genuine and almost telepathic. Nothing is too much trouble or unreasonable to dream of. You set your own timetable and venue.

Mouth-watering 2-star Michelin Cuisine

Maybe it’s the kind of night for the mouth-watering 2 Michelin star dishes of Feria-trained Stefano Baiocco served lakeside under the stars? Or could it be the night for the best pizza you have ever tasted, served by the croquet lawn while you finish a closely contested game? Perhaps you decide to wander into the village of Gargnano itself to try one of the other nearby Michelin star restaurants, or a local trattoria? A tour of the lake at some point is a must. The hotel’s original 1920s lake cruiser, La Contessa, stylishly plies its way around the lake taking in further fairytale villas, picture postcard villages and local lunch spots. Trips to the opera in nearby Verona can also be organised. Better still, do nothing more than find a shady corner in the grounds and enjoy the views of the lake and mountains beyond and joyfully wallow in the decadence of your surroundings. Whatever you choose to do it will be memorable.

Villa Feltrinelli is located an hour and half away by road from Verona or just 20 minutes by helicopter, departing from next to the croquet lawn. After a couple of days of being enchanted by La Feltrinelli you know the latter makes complete sense…

For the 2023 season, Villa Feltrinelli re-opens on April 21st until October 15th.


Sarah  Surtees
Sarah Surtees

Luxury Explorer