On the western shore of Lake Garda exists an earthly paradise… Villa Feltrinelli was built in 1892 by the sons of a wealthy Italian magnate as the family’s summer residence. The castellated, pink-striped villa was converted as a labour of love into a luxury hotel of the highest specifications by Bob Burns, founder of Regent Hotels, now resident on site for much of the summer. The former residence of Mussolini (who was imprisoned here from 1943-5 by the Germans) underwent 5 years of renovations with no expense spared, to create the luxurious suites that are spread over the 8 acres of lake front property – 13 in the main villa, the others in the four park buildings.
Villa Feltrinelli has the welcoming ambiance of a country house rather than a hotel. Greeted with a posy of flowers and escorted to their room on arrival, guests are invited to make themselves at home. They can help themselves to drinks and snacks whether from the complimentary minibar, the well-stocked pantry or at Bob’s Bar downstairs. A magnetic key gives guests access in and out of the gates around the grounds.
Despite the opulence of the elegant interiors, the atmosphere at Villa Feltrinelli is convivial and relaxed. The numerous public rooms on the ground floor provide ample space for guests to find a quiet nook amongst antiques original to the house, complemented by contemporary and custom-made pieces that blend in imperceptibly. The house has a strong personality and feels like a grand family home. The salon’s Bösendorfer grand piano is often played by guests or a local musician – a testament to the current owner’s love of music, jazz in particular. Many rooms feature painstakingly restored, priceless frescoes and works of art that were either original to the villa or acquired during the restoration. Much of what appears to be marble is in reality faux as the Feltrinelli family made their fortune from timber. The plaster-covered wood-in-disguise was a more expensive option, grander and more exclusive than marble at the time the villa was constructed. Wood also features heavily throughout the villa in carved furniture and fireplaces, beamed ceilings and polished parquet floors.
The villa is only visible from the lake as the Feltrinellis also moved the lakeside road back behind the village of Gargnano, so this part of the lake, uniquely, is peaceful and protected from traffic. Highly distinctive and innovative the Villa Feltrinelli is always seeking to exceed the guest’s expectations.
Designed as a summer residence, the rooms have been decorated accordingly as the Villa Feltrinelli is only open from April to November. The furnishings are fresh and summery, with lots of white, cream and pale colours, complimenting the materials of the architecture. The delicately patterned draperies found throughout are made from a Venetian fabric called the Feltrinelli Sheer. Headboards of the super king beds are covered in white slips and bed linens are 300 count white Egyptian cotton from Frette. A butler will unpack luggage on request, laundry is complimentary along with the contents of the well-disguised minibar. Each room features a discreet flat screen tv and a state of the art music system offering 8 channels – jazz, opera, classical, contemporary and relaxation. Black and white photographs from the early 1900s are displayed, some are of those who have stayed in the house, others were the inspiration for the room in which they are found.
Bob Burns is credited with introducing the luxury bathroom to the hotel industry and those at Villa Feltrinelli are no exception. Each proffers a huge nickel-plated, walk-in shower with high water pressure and plate sized showerhead, a deep, double-ended, porcelain cast-iron bath, rose petals where you would never expect to find them, covetable Acqua di Parma products, luxurious robes, piles of white towels, heated marble floors and the music system which can play independently from that in the bedroom
Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli offers 21 distinctive guestrooms and suites. Each room and suite is individually decorated. The Villa offers 13 unique guestrooms, two with large outdoor terraces.
The Casa di Fiori guesthouse was previously the Garden House. This three-story guesthouse offers two, one-bedroom suites. The ground floor suite features two separate patios. A private entrance leads to the third floor suite. An additional single guestroom completes the house on the second floor. Casa Rustica guesthouse features three guestrooms. The ground floor unit has a beautiful wooden pergola covering the outdoor patio. The top two floor units offer wonderful views of the lake. The La Limonaia guesthouse is a three-story unit offering one bedroom, a sitting room and a large outdoor covered patio.
The Boat House is set along the shores of Lake Garda. This lovely little house offers a full kitchen, dining area, living room with fireplace, outdoor patio and one bedroom on the second floor with an outdoor terrace, a huge dressing area and a white marble bath.
FOOD AND DINING
In warmer weather, the exquisite cuisine is served alfresco on the pergola extending from the dining room, giving guests an airy view over the lake and the gardens, although they can be taken anywhere guests desire. The talented chef creates tantalising menus inspired each day by local ingredients and Villa Feltrinelli has gained a reputation for the best cuisine on the lake. Private wine tastings can be arranged in the wine cellar of 500 bottles under the villa. There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Tortuga, in Gargnano, the pretty fishing village just half a mile down the road.
The Dining Room serves daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. This lovely room overlooking Lake Garda is dominated by an intricately carved wood fireplace. The Pergola - In the warmer months, alfresco dining is offered in the covered dining pergola adjacent to the main dining room. Overlooking Lake Garda, this airy room with festive Venetian fabric chandeliers and overhead fans is a favorite of guests. Bob's Bar is for those who enjoy a before or after dinner drink and a smoke. A uniquely shaped octagonal room with floor-to-ceiling windows, this intimate nook showcases a collection of Hawaiian and Asian artifacts reflecting Bob Burns' years as a hotelier in both areas. Guests are invited to enjoy a game of chess or cocktails, served in vintage 1950's Italian glasses and shakers discovered at a local market.
An ode to old world luxury, the Villa's private dining room seats up to 14 guests around the original Feltrinelli family table. Beneath a magnificent crystal chandelier, walls are dressed in a fabric hand painted with baskets of figs, a pattern found in the archives of the Rubelli fabric house in Venice. Framed in a beautifully carved 17th Century frame, the queen in the painting, "Allegory of the Senses," is a silent guest at every dinner party.
Include Central heating and air-conditioning, In-room music panel programmed with eight different choices of music, LCD screen television with state-of-the-art video monitor connected to a 100-channel system, DVD and VCR players on request, Direct dial phone sets with fax/modem hook-up, Three phone sets: bedside, desk, bathroom, Magnetic key attached to the traditional house key to allow exit and entry to the property's automatic gates, reading lights on headboard of bed, Complimentary in-room refrigerator stocked with waters, sodas, wines and spirits, Complimentary laundry services, Unpacking services, Dry cleaning available, On-site parking, Twice daily housekeeping service, In-room safes, Valet shelves for storage, Turndown service, 24-hour room service.
Villa Feltrinelli has a 52-foot wooden Riva which takes guests on pre-dinner cocktail cruises a couple of times a week during the summer and can be hired for tours around the mountainous lake or to shuttle guests to lakeside restaurants. There is also a small wooden sailing boat for the use of the hotel’s guests.
The grounds provide as much cause for relaxation as the interior. The restoration of the villa was not limited to the house – the park features a wide selection of olive, orange and magnolia trees vying with ancient oak and cypress trees. There is a croquet lawn next to the lake for an afternoon’s gentle amusement. The long, heated pool is lined with Balinese stone; the nearby pergola provides all factors of sun cream, iced water, fruit and magazines.
Guests may enjoy a personal tour of magnificent Lake Garda in the Villa's own boat, "La Contessa." Designed by Pamela Babey and commissioned by the Villa in a local shipyard, this 16-meter pleasure craft is Lake Garda's largest privately owned boat. With its wood paneled salon, "La Contessa" harkens back to a classic 1920's American riverboat, and is always available to shuttle guests to and from lakeside restaurants or for private hire.
Villa Feltrinelli is very restful and offers the opportunity of true relaxation. Yet there is plenty to do in the surrounding areas - visit the unspoiled lakeside villages, go to the opera in Verona, take an excursion by boat to nearby villas and botanical gardens with a knowledgeable guide.
Eight acres of beautifully landscaped grounds planted with olive, orange and magnolia trees, along with ancient oak and cypress trees encircle the Villa. Even an original limonaia built in the late 1800's and used to protect a grove of lemon trees can be found on the property and enjoyed by guests. Paths, lighted by lanterns, traverse the grounds leading to the croquet green, the individual guesthouses and a tree lined lawn planned for outdoor concerts.
La Contessa, the Villa's private boat, offers excursions of Lake Garda in the Gardone region. Historic villas seen only from the water, ancient limonaia structures and lovely scenery can all be viewed from Italy's largest lake. Villa Vittoriale - once the private estate of Italian poet and military adventurer, Gabriele D'Annunzio, this villa is notable for its Italian Art Deco interior.
San Michele hike - Splendid views await at the end of the scenic path, which begins at the edge of Lake Garda in Gardone Rivera and follows a gently sloping 3-mile hill leading into the charming village of San Michele.
Verona - dating back to the time of the ancient Romans, Verona, the setting for Shakespeare's immortal romance, "Romeo and Juliet", is one of the jewels of the Veneto. Located 45 minutes east of the Villa by car, Verona offers over a thousand years of architectural treasures including a functioning ancient Roman theater, restored Renaissance palazzo and lovely Italian gardens. Annual opera and Shakespeare festivals are popular attractions during the summer months.
Villa Feltrinelli is 2 hours from Milan and Venice
Climate: Italy is at its best in spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November). During these seasons, the scenery is beautiful, the temperatures are pleasant and there are relatively few crowds.
Electricity: 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC)
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 (Central European Time)
Country Dialing Code: +39 - 055