My wife and I spent a fortnight at the Hotel du Lac late July early August this summer. This was our first visit to the Italian lakes and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This was due in no small part to our choice of accomodation.
This hotel is tucked away behind a petrol station which makes it sound awful, but believe me, it isn't! You would never really know the filling station was there apart from when you enter or exit the hotel onto the road. Bearing in mind that the hotel backs directly onto the lake and the lovely promenade that runs to Bardolino town itself (at most a 10 minute amble) and onwards to Garda town, why would you want to exit onto the road?!
When the coach dropped us off we turned out to be the only people on it who were staying there. I admit that this, plus the sight of the petrol station, caused me a little trepidation. However, from the minute we entered the reception it was clear that my fears were unfounded. Not only was the lady on reception friendly and welcoming but the other guests passing through all seemed to have a smile on their face.
The room we were allocated was on the side of the hotel which, if you sat on the balcony, gave you a view of the lake. The room itself was of a very good standard. Nothing looked worn or tatty and there was more than ample storage space. Pool/lake towels were provided as were bathrobes and slippers. Also, importantly, for me anyway, the air conditioning was efficient (I can only take so much sunshine and heat before I have to cool off!).
As I say, the hotel backs onto the lake and as well as a verandha area behind the bar and restaurant there is what they call "the beach". This is a shingle area within the hotel grounds with lots of sunbeds and parasols as well as various trees and other shrubbery which is handy if you need a bit of shade. This is raked over, the vegetation watered and the sun beds wiped down religiously every day. The first week we were there, the hotel wasn't quite as busy and there was no problem geting sunbeds. The second week was more busy and there was a little bit of sunbed reservation going on, but it wasn't ridiculous and you could still usually get somewhere to sit. Step out of the gates to the beach and cross the promenade (checking both ways for bicycles!) and you walk straight down into the lake. The lake is fine to swim in and very refreshing. Initially, it is a little disconcerting, whilst you are paddling about, to have a duck swim past you, but you soon get used to it and the ducks seem completely unpeturbed by the presence of us humans! Note, it is worth taking a pair of sandals you can go into the water and swim wearing, otherwise it can be a bit hard on the feet! All this is worth knowing because, whilst the hotel does have a swimming pool, this is pretty small and tends (understandably) to be the safe haven for the families with young children. We didn't bother using the pool in the fortnight we were there!
Now onto the food! Breakfast was buffet with plenty of choice although I confess to not being able to face any scrambled egg yet since my return (enough is enough!). As for the evening meal, the food is fantastic! Dinner consists, if you include the salad bar and desert, of a five course banquet. You nominate two of the courses for the evening at breakfast, but there is a good choice and you won't be disappointed whatever you choose! If you like a glass of wine, then you are in for a treat! There is a host of great local wines to try both in the hotel and anywhere else you go in the area......Bardolino, Valpolicella, Soave, Lugana, Garneigia.....fill your boots!!! Try the Lugana and the Bardolino DOP from the recomended list! Lovely!
On the subject of drinks, my missus developed a real taste for a drink known as an Aperol Spritz. This seems to consist of half and half Prosecco and this stuff called Aperol tipped over a load of ice and topped up with a dash or two of soda. Very refreshing so I am told, I was too busy with my Peroni to try it. Apparently, one of the major constituents of Aperol is rhubbarb! Bizarre!
As for Bardolino itself, I really liked it. It is one of those places where it is really nice to take an amble around after dinner and then sit at one of the many bars or restaurants and people watch! We went in a number of nice places, but one place we did repeat visit on a number of occassions was the Mate bar. This is quite trendy and gets some youngsters in it, but we didn't feel out of place (both 50+) and were made very welcome by the two youngish lads who seem to run it. It's primarily a cocktail bar and the cocktails are good and reasonably priced (comparatively) at about £5 a go.
We did quite a number of trips. The lake tour is worth doing (although it is a long day) because it gives you a much better feel for the place and the contrast between the different parts of the lake. The trip up into the Dolomites was spectacular if you are into mountain scenery and you can have a ride on a cable car. Verona itself is a pretty city and we combined this with the wine tour which made it a fun day. We also went to Milan (I had to get to the San Siro!.........and my missus indulged me!). However, of the city visits, I think I enjoyed Padova (Padua) best, there was something about the atmosphere of the place with the big outdoor food markets etc!
This was our third visit to Italy in five years and it confirmed again to us both how much we like Italy, it's atmosphere, its culture, its food and its people. Which brings me onto the staff in the hotel who I think deserve a bit of a special mention. Yes! I know that they are doing there jobs, but nonetheless I think I can tell when a welcome is forced. This hotel is staffed by a great bunch of hard working friendly people from the cleaners to the porter to the waiters/waitresses to the bar staff. They pretty much all seem to be able to speak passable German and English as well as there own language and interchange between them effortlessly, which always amazes me. We certainly felt welcomed and looked after! What more can you ask for?!
A couple of other things to note. The majority of the clientele in this hotel seem to be German. However, there seems to be a hardcore minority of Brits who they tend to sit together in the restaurant in the evening. What struck me from talking to some of the other Brits was just how many of them were on return visits not only to Lake Garda but also to this hotel, which is about as good a recommendation as you can get. One Welsh couple had been visiting for the past twenty years! Me, I like to see different places, but I confess that I would consider returning to Lake Garda, Bardolino and the Hotel du Lac.....maybe in a few years when my wanderlust has subsided a bit!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Du Lac et Bellevue is located at the shore of Lake Garda, on the beautiful lake promenade. It is just a short walk from the historic centre of Bardolino. It consists of three close buildings: the main building, the annex and the Bellevue building. The hotel boasts a private beach with deck chairs and parasols, pool, restaurant and bar, spa area (with sauna, turkish bath and whirlpool) and a fitness area. Bike rental available. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Du Lac Bardolino
- Hotel Du Lac Bardolino
- Du Lac Hotel Bardolino
- Hotel Du Lac Et Bellevue Bardolino, Lake Garda, Italy