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The Lido Palace Hotel, Riva del Garda:
What makes a hotel ultra luxury? For me, it’s end-to-end perfection – a place where from the moment you reach the entrance you are living the dream. The perfect setting helps too and Riva del Garda, a small town in the northern part of Lake Garda, is a part of Italy I have grown to love.
Drive up to the imposing solid metal gates that protect the privacy of Lido Palace Hotel guests and you can’t help but feel impressed. Then, the sweeping driveway with immaculate lawn where you are greeted by a doorman who takes your bags and offers to park your car.
The entrance lobby is stunning. Built as part of the hotel renovation in 1999, it’s contemporary in style, a large glass windowed and ceilinged space with the kind of modern furniture that for me epitomizes Italian style. The floor gleams from constant cleaning. I’d worry about coming in here wearing muddy boots.
I came here last year to try the spa and fell in love, so, when I decided to return to Riva del Garda this year, I was delighted to be offered the chance to stay at the Lido Palace Hotel. It is somewhere very special, where you feel nothing is too much for the staff. Installed in my suite on the top floor, I looked out over the lake to the mountains beyond. This is my kind of place.
A perfect view from the freestanding bath, I could happily have stayed put forever and turned into a prune. Toiletries from Acqua di Parma helped. The main bathroom came with his and hers sinks and a shower. And there was plenty of wardrobe space to store all my Armani dresses;)
My junior suite had a balcony too, with a couple of chairs and a table. And, plenty of space for a desk and a comfortable seating area. It could be extended to include a full sitting room.
The top floor with the suites is only accessible by one lift and was added when the hotel was renovated. All the rooms on this floor benefit from huge panoramic windows to take full advantage of the stunning views out over Lake Garda.
The Lido Palace Hotel first opened in December 1899. At that time, this part of Italy, the Trentino region was part of the Hapsburg Empire and Riva del Garda, an important strategic border town was chosen by the Imperial family and their guests as a holiday retreat. It really was a ‘Grand Hotel’ – guests included the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the American millionaire Vanderbilt and many other leading figures of the time. Even after the Great War and the unification of Italy, the hotel remained popular and there is evidence that the then King and Queen of Italy, Victor Emanuel and Elena stayed there. But, after the Second World War, the hotel gradually declined, to such an extent that in 1999 a design competition was announced for the renovation and redesign of the hotel.
The result is truly impressive. The number of rooms was reduced from 70 to 42, most rooms are 35 to 45 sq metres, though the suites are considerably larger and there are 3 wheelchair friendly single rooms of 20 sq metres. Old merges seamlessly and elegantly with new – the beautiful stone staircase winds its way up from the contemporary hallways of the ground floor and there’s a large public space, the Columns Room is a stunning room which has been carefully restored and stripped back of all the ‘improvements and additions’ added over time, to create a light open room with the original Ionic columns. Furnished with beautiful, contemporary seating, it’s the perfect spot for aperitivo.
The spa is an elegant space, with three steam rooms, sauna, salt room and treatment rooms to complement the indoor pool with hydrotherapy fittings. With a holistic theme, it would be the perfect place for stressed executives to escape for a day or two. And, there’s an outdoor pool too with rather luxurious jacuzzi waterbeds. Charmingly my room came with white robes (for indoors) and grey robes (for outdoors).
The elegant bar with its watercolour abstract lake fascia serves a surprisingly well-priced selection of cocktails, Italian style, with complimentary aperitivo that is enough for a light supper! And there are two restaurants.
What is the fine dining restaurant at night (review to come) is where breakfast is served for residents. There’s such a good buffet that I’d defy anyone to need to order from the a la carte.
But all of this would be nothing without service and what the Lido Palace does best is provide that perfect level of service where the staff anticipate your needs and ensure that those needs are met. My god daughter arrived with a water damaged phone and was immediately provided with a bowl of rice. My car was parked and then collected ready to be loaded with luggage without any question. And, those things I managed to leave in my room were sent back to me in the UK without question.
This is somewhere to visit and feel pampered, special and cared for. It’s somewhere where I can imagine any issues are ironed out quickly and efficiently and it’s somewhere you can’t help but relax. There’s nothing to find fault with.
Thinking of visiting? why not pin this post for later
00 39 0464 021 899