Lefay Resort & Spa: a supremely luxurious spot above the shores of Lake Garda

Resort proclaims to be a union of ‘luxury, wellness and nature’ – and delivers on each in absolute spades

Views of Lake Garda from a terrace
Views of Lake Garda from the terrace of the luxurious Sky Suite
(Image credit: Lefay Resort and Spa Lago di Garda)

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

High up in the north Italian hillside, the resort proclaims itself to be a union of “luxury, wellness and nature” and it delivers on each of those in absolute spades.

Luxury and wellness

I’ll start with the luxury and wellness. Think multiple saunas. Think multiple pools. Fancy an infinity pool? You have one. Like your pools to be indoors? You’ve got one of those. Want a sauna with a panoramic view of the glorious surroundings? Got that! Add to the mix a dizzying array of steam rooms, relaxation areas and a spa offering every kind of health and beauty treatment you can think of, plus complimentary snack bars stocked with fruit, nuts, homemade herbal teas and suchlike behind every corner.

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Indoor swimming pool

There are five pools at the hotel, including this one found within the adults-only spa
(Image credit: Lefay)

I had an almost religious experience during my detoxifying massage, which employed 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 well-catered for you are at Lefay.

Let’s move onto wellness more specifically. Beyond the multitude of bathing and steaming options, there is a well-stocked onsite gym, offering, once again, rather delightful views of the surrounding lake and 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 class varies but group sessions are included with your stay. Personally guilt-ridden by quite how much I was indulging in Italian food during the trip, it seemed only sensible to take part in a number of these classes. From Fit Ball (think bounding around on a bouncy ball in a variety of athletic poses) to Rebounding (think bounding around on a trampoline in a variety of athletic poses), I worked myself into a satisfying sweat while also having rather a lot of fun, all under Veronica’s excellent tutelage.

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

Panoramic sauna

The panoramic sauna features breathtaking views of the glorious surroundings

A resort at one with nature

Which brings me neatly onto nature.

But first, let me offer a criticism. The facilities at the resort itself are so excellent that it becomes dangerously tempting to spend your day lounging about in your bathrobe and holding fort at the property rather than venturing down to the lake below. And you are frankly blameless if that’s your choice.

For those who are strong-willed enough to head down the hillside, there is, of course, a shuttle service, which will ferry you back and forth. But there is also nature on-site which can meet your needs. I can recommend a particularly beautiful walk around the resort grounds in which you cover a couple of kilometres and take in bits of forest, curated gardens and freshwater streams.

The design of the resort itself is an homage to the nature in which it sits. From the outside, what you can see of the buildings are rows of robust stone pillars and rustic wooden beams, which integrate neatly with the surrounding grassland, trees and mountaintops.

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

A bedroom

Rooms feature parquet flooring made from the delicate wood of local Italian olive trees

Eating and drinking

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

La Limonaia restaurant

La Limonaia offers ‘Mediterranean-inspired cuisine’ with a ‘contemporary twist’

La Limonaia was offensively good. There’s no other way to say it. Offering “Mediterranean-inspired cuisine” with a “contemporary twist” I betrayed my vegetarian aspirations for the night and munched down tartare to start, followed by a raw prawn dish which sounded terrifying but tasted exquisite, and finished things off with an ethically-questionable breaded veal escalope which tasted like crunchy angels.

I also enjoyed dinner at the resort’s newly opened Gramen restaurant which makes a point of cooking “without using meat, dairy products or derivatives”. After opting for the plant-based tasting menu, I sampled an array of visually creative dishes from a seaweed cracker hors d'oeuvre, which was embedded in a sandy beach of breadcrumbs, to a bottoni pasta stuffed with artichokes.

Gramen restaurant

The newly opened Gramen restaurant makes a point of cooking ‘without using meat, dairy products or derivatives’

As an ashamed carnivore and faltering vegetarian, I must confess that I was missing some of the indulgent qualities which you might otherwise expect from Italian food. But I am certain that for people who are more committed to a plant-based diet than I am, this meal would represent the jackpot.


Overall, I had an absolute blast at Lefay.

After chatting with Mirella, Lefay’s communications manager, I found out that what the resort wants to achieve is something called “neo-luxury”. I’m not sure what’s wrong with old luxury – but if this is what new luxury has to offer, then we’re all in for a real treat.

A five-night health programme at Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda starts 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.

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Kate Samuelson is the newsletter editor, global. She is also a regular guest on award-winning podcast The Week Unwrapped, where she often brings stories with a women’s rights angle. Kate’s career as a journalist began on the MailOnline graduate training scheme, which involved stints as a reporter at the South West News Service’s office in Cambridge and the Liverpool Echo. She moved from MailOnline to Time magazine’s satellite office in London, where she covered current affairs and culture for both the print mag and website. Before joining The Week, Kate worked as the senior stories and content gathering specialist at the global women’s charity ActionAid UK, where she led the planning and delivery of all content gathering trips, from Bangladesh to Brazil. She is passionate about women’s rights and using her skills as a journalist to highlight underrepresented communities.

Alongside her staff roles, Kate has written for various magazines and newspapers including Stylist, Metro.co.uk, The Guardian and the i news site. She is also the founder and editor of Cheapskate London, an award-winning weekly newsletter that curates the best free events with the aim of making the capital more accessible.