I have been suprised by the positive reviews on this hotel which don't match our experience in any way. I think the main issue with this hotel is that it is clearly not a 4 star hotel. If it was a 3 star hotel, and charged accordingly most of the grievances would go away, but speaking as someone who stays regularly in 4 and 5 star hotels for business and leisure I am clear that this is the worst 4 star hotel I have ever stayed in.
A lot of reviews comment on the friendliness of the staff which is absolutely true, but I am afraid this is a feature of most Italian hotels, and in fact most Italian people generally. Friendly staff in an Italian hotel should not be a distinguishing feature.
So. Where to begin? The decor in the hotel is awful, with Art-tex paterns on the walls in the hallways, unpleasant slightly metallic wallpaper in the rooms, and pervasive smell of air freshener everywhere. Furniture in the room was basic with, in our case, an enormous wardrobe that took up about a fifth of the entire available floor space. The room itself (superior lake view) was absolutely tiny. I have seen bigger cabins on a cruise ship. There was around two feet of space round the beds. Our room was situated above the terrace where they hold the wedding receptions. Fun if you are a part of them. Ghastly if you are not. They also have live music on the terrace every night until 11.15pm - for "live music" think one man lustily singing stevie wonder hits in an Italian accent. Thankfully the air conditioning worked (after we complained and it was repaired) so we could have the windows closed. Room had (empty) minibar and no visitor information at all. Bathroom was fine, although I am not wild about shampoo in sachets in four star hotels - they should do better than this. Overall the room reminded me of a Mark Warner room - clean, sparse and definitely not four star.
Swimming pool was fine. You have to pay a deposit at reception for the honour of a (small) swimming towel - a must because the recliners have no cushions. And they don't recline properly because they are all broken. None of this is 4 star behaviour. Waiters serve the pool in theory, although you generally have to walk through the hotel to find someone to come and take your order.
Now. The food. You can't really go wrong with breakfast - it is the same in pretty much every hotel in Europe, but the Exelsior managed to make things pretty unappetising with tinned fruit salad, and no muesli for example - it all felt as if costs were being cut. We were also expected to order dinner at breakfast time which is slightly depressing. Dinner wasn't great- clearly dishes had been precooked and kept warm so that they had dried out by the time we were served them. Presentation was fussy as was them menu - they would be better off serving simpler food well. We didn't manage to finish a single dish between us during our stay. Wine list is good, with waiters happy to offer advice.
The other guests were delightful. I am not being disparaging, but the average age was probably somewhere around 68, mostly British. It meant that the pool was pretty empty which was the only redeeming feature of our stay - thank heavens we had had sunshine for three days so we stuck by the pool, read books and tried to forget where we were staying.
I am a positive person, so let me end on a positive or two. The sunsets over the lake from the terrace were stunning. The view from the room was amazing. The location of the hotel is good, with a short walk to a pretty little town (full of English and German seniors, but pretty all the same)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.