Stayed here with Newmarket Holidays, arriving at the hotel at about 2.30 in the morning to be greeted by a rather dour night porter/receptionist who swiftly took our passports and waved us to our rooms, without explaining the key system for the electricity or carrying our bags... so not the best first impression...
When we eventually worked out how to work the electricity, albeit a couple of epithets and stubbed toes later, in our travel weary, befuddled state, the room was reasonable, dated decor but very clean, with a spacious bathroom (terrific power shower, which nearly knocked me off my feet the first time I used it). Lots of space in the wardrobes and a handy room safe, which unusually we only had to pay a fully refundable deposit for - a pleasant surprise. We were at the back of the hotel with a small private terrace (the outside light fused every night and in the end we couldn't be bothered to ask to have it changed) but hadn't paid for a lakeview so this was reasonable enough and I must say we slept well throughout our holiday.
The beautiful views the next morning soon lightened our spirits, as did the breakfast buffet with a lovely selection of delicious fruit (pears, peaches and nectarines that tasted the way fruit should, but never does now from UK supermarkets), various breads, olives, bacon, mushrooms etc and copious amounts of coffee.The waiting staff were friendly and helpful, despite being rushed off their feet and all in all we thoroughly enjoyed the meals we had in the hotel. Admittedly the free wine on offer weren't exactly vintage but was reasonably palatable with dinner, leaving more euros to spend on cocktails in the many charming bars in Limone itself. The little pizza restaurant is well worth a couple of visits, and easy enough to book at reception - in the morning of the day you want to dine. I was surprised at the number of complaints about this relatively simple procedure here, because the hotel do have a comprehensive room/hotel guide in the room which explains this in several languages, including English.
We tended to be out for most of our stay, exploring Venice, Verona, the Dolomites and thesurrounding area but loved coming back in the evenings/afternoon to make full use of the hotel pools after busy days sighseeing & exploring in the sun. Both the indoor and outdoor poools are kept meticulously clean and large enough so as not to feel cramped when the hotel is busy. The indoor pool is open till 10pm, with a small (not terribly bubbly?!) jacuzzi and despite sampling every flavour of Italian ice cream I could find, not to mention the cocktails, I went home a 1/2 stone lighter - it was so pleasant to have a long swim before dinner and then another later on in the evening before hitting the 'high life' of Limone.
All in all, the good outweighed the bad, the staff, especially the waiting and bar staff were lovely, the views from the hotel were breath-taking and mixing with the various nationalities staying there added to our experience. It is quite alarming that some reviewers here regard European hotels sole purpose for being are to cater for only English tourists, heaven forbid that they go abroad and have to mix with locals and other nationalities, shock, horror, blah de blah.....
If you have time, do try and make the crossing to Malcesine and experience the cable car ride up to Monte Baldo, there are regular boats across, ours was 'The Orient Express' and will probably be the closest I get to experiencing the real thing!. Once you're in Malcesine, the locals will point you in the right direction, the knack is to ask with a smile and a bemused shrug with a Sophia Lorne/Al Pacino lilt 'Fumi-asi?' (cable car). Even the smallest attempt to speak a bit of Italian is well received, don't be afraid to have a go. Some very valiant Germans walked up the mountain path and came down by cable car, needless to say we went up in the car and walked down. Malcesine itself is much livelier than Limone with some great shops, not just the usual touristy tat, lots of pretty amber, coral and silver jewellery and curios etc.
Limone is a charming village - pretty with a great choice of restaurants and bars, and a good base to explore the area, although unless you can drive you will be dependent on tour company trips. Take the time to speak to the locals, the Italians are amongst the friendliest people you will encounter in Europe and justifiably proud of their beautiful country. Enjoy the Royal Village and vive la difference!
- Also Known As:
- Royal Village Hotel
- Hotel Royal Village Limone Sul Garda, Lake Garda, Italy
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