Please, let me explain the title of my review:
My wife and I stayed here for a week in August.
Firstly, this place has absolutely breathtaking views and is set on a relatively quiet stretch of shingle 'cove', right on the lake. I cannot stress how amazing the view is from the front, with the never ending lake and mountains either side really giving it that 'wow' factor. I'm a photographer and It's exactly what I hoped Lake Garda would look like.
It is half an hours stroll into Malcesine or 5 minutes on the tour bus which stops directly outside the hotel. The stroll in lovely on a morning after breakfast, but hard work (the last bit up a hill) if you've been out walking / sightseeing all day.
The hotel was spotless. From the lovely pool area, all the way through to the restaurant, outdoor terrace and gardens, it was immaculately clean and well kept. At breakfast and evening meal you even get cutlery wrapped in their own paper bags (and on an evening, even an envelope to place your napkin into when you have finished your meal). It may be a bit extreme, but we thought it was a nice touch.
The staff were fantastic to us. They don't speak much English, but if you try to speak a bit of Italian and make an effort to talk to them, they are lovely people. The manager and two waitresses, in particular, were great. The waitresses work unbelievable hours as well but were always available and well presented. We heard that the staff were rude to English travellers and at first we thought this were true, but getting to know them a bit really worked in our favour (more on that later).
Now onto the food. We didn't know what to expect having read other reviews being a bit 'middle of the road', but it was good. It's hard at first to come to grips with how they serve evening meals (if you're staying half board). At breakfast you fill out a card with your room number on it, then tick the choices of starter, main and dessert you want for your evening meal. Apparently most hotels adopt this service and to be honest, it was never a problem. The breakfast itself was fresh fruit, cereals, cold meats, cheese, breads and scrambled eggs - some days with cheese and ham. It's Italy and this is their culture, so don't expect sausage, bacon & beans. There were the usual array of jams etc to choose from for a continaental breakfast and to us, this was all fine.
We never ate from the snack menu so cannot comment on the food served but the evening meals were good. Different every night, with three choices of each course to choose from (at breakfast). The salad bar was always there to go upto but each of the three courses was served to you by the waitresses. No serving yourself buffet. We were always quite full after our meals and they were all decent.
This all sounds brilliant so far, but unfortunately, there was a downside and it was a big one, but keep reading on after and it can easily be rectified.
The room we had was ridiculous to behold. The whole room was about 12ft square and included the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet you can stretch your legs and arms and touch the adjecent wall. The shower (just big enough for a 6ft, 13 stone fella) leaked all over the floor, creating a slippery pool on the tiles.There was no air conditioning and that wonderful view, well, from our room, turned into a clay banking with fire escape. It was easily the most uncomfortable room we've ever stayed in. On holiday, a room is just a room to sleep, shower and get ready for us. But it has to be comfortable. On all three counts, it was not. We couldn't sleep - it was very hot and we woke to sweat dripping off our heads every night. It was hard to shower and we tripped over each other and the beds while getting ready. Talk about claustrophobic.
The one good thing was that the safety deposit box was free...
NOW THIS IS WHERE THIS REVIEW MAY HELP OTHERS:
Do not book with travel operators if you can help it, or if you do, make sure of an upgrade facitity within the booking. A room with a lake view is firstly, essential. You get a balcony!
We upgraded to this while we were there (we tried with our tour operator before we went - but were told we could only do it at the hotel, which is pot luck). This though, does not guarrantee you a bigger room. It was identical to our last room, but with a spectacular view and the space of a small balcony.
Earlier on in the review of this hotel, I mentioned making the effort with staff, well it certainly helped me gain info from the manager. Tour operators do not book out the better rooms. They offer only the cheapest, budget rooms (with and without views) to gain bigger profits. They also don't want to be lumbered with rooms they cannot shift.
Let me say this, We got a guided tour of what our holiday could have been, if we booked through them directly. Room 102 (first floor - the same floor as ours) was an execttive room and spectacular. It was like a duplex apartment with huge bathroom, big LCD TV, balcony with lake view, side opening window with pool view, air conditioning, cooking facilities, a fridge (not available in the budget rooms - how you will miss that!!!) and everything was built in. Room 104, next door was a superior room. A bit smaller but again with lake view, balcony, air conditioning, fridge and huge bathroom. This would be perfect for anyone staying here and at least twice the size of our room(s). They had ground floor room the same as room 104 that had a garden!
On the second floor, we were shown a room the same as ours but with air con and truth be told, it was slightly bigger. Air con is free to rooms that have it as well.
If you're reading this thinking they were lots more expensive, they were not. Booking through the hotel would be cheaper and you get a choice of far superior accommodation. I would wholeheartedly reccomend this hotel to anyone, as long as you get a decent room.
Just please, make sure you do. It would transform your holiday and this hotel from a 3 to a 5 in my opinion!
Rooms 102 (Executive), 104 (Superior), The one below (Superior with garden) and on the second floor...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.