We have just returned from an unseasonably very hot week's stay at Hotel Lido followed by 2 nights in Sirmione. Hotel Lido was spot on for us - a small hotel with limited facilities, so not suitable if you are looking for sports/entertainment/lounge/bar as it has none of these things. However for us the most important criteria are 1) Position 2) Comfort and quietness of rooms 3) Food 4) Service and the Lido scores 150% for all these.
Position: Couldn't be better, directly on lake (just shoreline and water in front of hotel) and only about 5 mins walk (8 mins stroll in the heat!) to Limone centre. The room balconies all look out over the lake and mountains on the other side - as others have said, just the lapping of the waves to lull you to sleep. Many hotels were on the main road or the other side of the main road up the hill, but at the Lido you can escape the traffic altogether.
Rooms: Yes they are old fashioned and a little tired, as said by others, but this didn't bother us at all. The room was spacious with a sofa, plenty of hanging/shelf space, plenty of hooks, lovely refurbished bathroom, very large balcony with good plant screening on either side, also had a very useful fridge for milk and cold drinks (we always take our travel kettle as tea making facilities are a rarity in Europe). Quiet at all times (no noisy pool activities), also no noisy indoor corridors - all the rooms are accessed by an external corridor with several sets of steps going up to the first floor. No air con (which we didn't expect to need but as it got hotter every day, this would have been a bonus) - however there was a ceiling fan which cooled the room sufficiently. Comfortable beds, no disturbance from neighbours so we slept really well.
Food: Delicious, a 4 course meal every night (excluding coffee which is extra) and all cooked to order, no dried up buffet food here - the only buffet food was the starter salad. You can sit inside (dining room is in need of a facelift, and has very 60s style fluorescent lighting) or outside on the terrace surrounded by plants, which is what we preferred. More spacious here, dining room was crowded with tables very close together, there were tables not being used so I think they could seat people a little differently to give everyone more room. Breakfast with all the usual stuff, liked the way we could boil our own eggs and that the yoghurts were kept chilled, not out in a big bowl on the counter getting warm as is often the case. Coffee excellent and a good variety of types of coffee. All very yummy indeed.
Service: Absolutely faultless. Everyone we met was so polite and friendly. We were the only English people there so it was quite funny when we arrived, they had to specially translate (with the help of our waitress Irina who had good English) the dinner menu for us as it was only written in Italian and German. After the first night we had a menu typed in English. Irina was especially charming, but everyone was ready with a smile and eager to help if necessary. We didn't notice that the final bill did have a mistake, a bottle of wine was charged wrongly, but that was really our fault for not checking - there was a long list of items to go through and normally we do check the bill carefully before paying and leaving.
There is a small pool which was hardly used, no deep end which was fine for me not being a good swimmer! It's all at 1.25 metres. You can swim in the lake, which was colder than the pool. There are also plenty of cool shady spots with sun loungers and we often took our morning coffee down to the sun loungers right next to the lake, just a few steps away from the hotel. Absolutely idyllic.
Parking was easy at the hotel, but quite expensive in all the towns (1 or 2 euros per hour) - however the driving was an experience only for the brave! The main road going round the lake is absolutely horrendous. It is wide enough for a single lane of cars in each direction, but you have to constantly contend with motorbikes charging up the middle of the road and also many, many cyclists - there just isn't room to overtake them but the Italian drivers seem to think there is and get very impatient if you stay behind the cyclists. Much tooting and waving of arms! We took this road from Verona airport as we wanted to see the east side of the lake on the way to Limone, but if you don't want to do any sightseeing on the way, I think the motorway is definitely the safer option.
Limone (and all the towns) was amazingly pretty with its harbour, cobbled streets, hidden alleyways, fascinating shops. Every town has its own character, we visited Malcesine by boat (9 euros per person return) and took the cable car to Monte Baldo - for me not a pleasant experience as they pack 45 people into the car and I felt really claustrophobic, couldn't enjoy the ride at all. Once there the air is cool and the views pretty good, but you get a lot of mist and heat haze so you won't necessarily be able to see very far. The cable car cost 20 euros per person which for me was paying a lot for 15 minutes of torture, not something I would do again. Other places we visited by car - the Hbruska gardens at Gardone are amazing, really unusual, Riva is a lovely town on a grander scale, fantastic views from the tower, the waterfall at Varone and Lake Tenne and the mountain villages also very interesting. You can just travel by bus I think, though we didn't notice many buses on the roads, or by boat (could be costly). You can hire motor boats but this costs 65 euros per hour. Everything is quite expensive, I would say a little more than at home for ices, coffees etc. Their iced coffees are to die for (about 5.50 euros). All the towns are extremely well kept and clean, despite the number of tourists. And we managed to catch one of the firework displays at Limone, they only happen every 2 months or so - brilliant.
Sirmione is similar to Limone and Malcesine but without the mountain backdrop, just lake all around it. See my review of Hotel Pace.
All in all, Lake Garda is a stunning place and Hotel Lido is the best! Next time perhaps we will try going in April or May to avoid the 35 degree heat!
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Lido Limone Sul Garda, Lake Garda, Italy