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Hotel Villa Florida
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Reviews (471)
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Reviewed 20 October 2012

We were going to Italy in mid-October and on the back of the reviews on Hotel Villa Florida on Tripadvisor, we added a couple of nights here onto the start of our stay.

Thanks to flight delays, we didn't arrive until late evening when it was dark so not the best start. The restaurant we wanted to eat at had closed, so our first experience of the hotel was sitting in its bar eating a rather good takeaway pizza that the staff kindly organised. As it turned out, it was rather fun.

We had one of the first floor rooms which was a 1 bedroom suite, consisting of a lounge room with dining area, a kitchenette, double bedroom and separate bathroom. The room was beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. The furnishings were all period, along with the wall coverings and lovely painted ceiling. The whole feel was very classic, like going back in time, although the suite was complemented by a large flat screen TV on the wall and very effective air conditioning unit. There was also a ceiling fan in the bedroom.

The bed was amazing, possibly one of the most comfortable I've ever slept in. The combination of a luxurious mattress and very firm pillows (which served to remind me that I need to get similar firm pillows for back home). Perhaps best of all were the shutters that, when lowered, made the room completely dark and I'm sure this contributed to a very good night's sleep.

The bedroom had plenty of built in wardrobes, with lovely hand painted handles. The bathroom had a shower only - which was fine as we had booked just that - which was a huge walk-in shower with a fixed rain head as well as a detachable hand-held head. There were plenty of clean towels as well as fluffy bathrobes. One thing though; Italian toilet rolls are no way as long as UK ones, so make sure that there is a spare one.

In the morning we went down for breakfast out on the terrace. It was the last weekend of the season and we weren't expecting much, even though many of the reviews on Tripadvisor have highlighted the breakfast as being exemplary. All those reviews are right - the breakfast has to be experienced to be believed. It consisted of, well, just about everything; choice of cereals, yogurts, meats, cheeses, breads, rolls, filled savouries & croissants and then cooked panchetta and filled omelettes. And if that wasn't enough, then there was a collection of pastries, cakes & meringues.

Everything was laid out with care & precision in the breakfast room and the waiting staff brought out the items you selected from the buffet style presentation.

Topped off with lovely coffee and fresh juices, it was a very memorable breakfast; sitting out on the terrace looking across the lake.

We then spent the day touring around the lake and came back to the hotel early evening. We had planned to eat out in one of the local restaurants - reviewed separately on here - but that didn't work out, so we came back to the bar and had another takeaway pizza. Not exactly a good advert for the region (well the pizza was nice) but the hotel staff were very understanding and even embarrassed at the way we had been treated elsewhere.

The following morning we repeated the breakfast experience and then packed to leave. As we checked out, we discovered that we were in fact the last guests to leave for the season before the hotel closes for the winter. It was rather an honour.

You have to bear in mind that the hotel doesn't offer meals in the evening (although many people may still be full from breakfast!) and there isn't room service. However, the owners & their staff are very helpful and will do anything they can to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable. There are supermarkets in Gardone so one should be able to buy provisions to stock up the kitchen prior to or during a stay.

The age of the other guests suggests that this is somewhere for the older traveller although this may be because it was the end of the season.

Those seeking a modern, cutting-edge and full service hotel will be disappointed but having stayed here, this perhaps misses the point. Hotel Villa Florida is a throwback to a long-gone age where quality & service were paramount. The building is lovely, the rooms wonderfully finished and the staff professional yet engaging. Compared to the rest of our stay in Italy, Hotel Villa Florida was the highpoint.

If you want a classic guest experience, don't hesitate to stay here. Thank you to the Cipani family for your fantastic hospitality.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Propaganda_Machine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2012

This is not a "conventional" hotel but has wonderful suites and apartments with well equipped kitchens and terraces that look out over the whole Lake - a terrific pool too. It's quite special having breakfast on the terrace with home baked cakes, wonderful breads and a delightful range of meats and cheeses. As it is a family run business there is a lot of personal involvement and you feel part of the family from the moment of arrival. You definitely need a car because of the location. Do explore the hinterland too, interesting restaurants and D'Annunzio's crazy house. Highly recommended!

Room Tip: Apartments have the best views!
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Mazeyhill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2012

I'd mailed ahead to say we'd be late, maybe around 9pm due to flight times and hire car access. No problem they said, check in doesn't close till 11pm.

After getting hopelessly lost in the dark, we did a full tour of all the roads south-east of the lake (except the one we wanted). Italian road signs are 'quirky'. You get one saying Lake Garda South, and then nothing for miles. When you turn around you see a sign from the opposite direction that you couldn't possible see from the other side. If driving, hire a sat nav or kidnap a local!

Anyway, we eventually arrived at around 10.40pm, tired, frustrated, fed up as it was our silver wedding anniversary and had spent it in the car! Andrea (An-dray-ah) greeted us at reception and made us very welcome. Check in was easy, straight up to room 208 and a beautiful, clean, bright and airy room. At that time it was pitch black outside so we couldn't see the view.

Andrea had offered to reserve a table for us at a local restaurant that would still be open, but we were too tired. We did however, go down to the bar where Andrea cracked open the beers.

Next morning we saw the view. Brilliant! A full panoramic view of Lake Garda from windows and balcony. The room itself has a lounge with TV, desk and breakfast table at the windows; a small kitchen; a balcony with table and 2 chairs; a bathroom with large walk in shower but no bath, sink, toilet and bidet; and bedroom with comfy bed, 2 pillows and lots of wardrobe space. Our only criticism of the room itself was that the drawers inside the wardrobe had been put next to the door which opened only halfway against the bedside stand. As a result we couldn't open the drawers. This may have been an issue had we been staying for a week or more, but we didn't need to use them at all in 4 nights.

Note: other reviewers have mentioned the road noise, as the main west lake road runs between the hotel and the lake. The speed limit is set to 50kph here, so noise is minimal. You may notice it if you live in a sound-proofed room but it was not a nuisance to us, in fact we heard more noise from ducks on the lake!

Breakfast was good. All the food was set out to look pretty, and did. Hot food was limited although the variety of sides (olives, tomato, pickle,etc) was good. The staff was exceptionally friendly and worked hard. Breakfast is served on a lovely terrace with views of the lake while you enjoy a leisurely coffee.

Location - we were about 20-25 minutes flat walk from the promenade, and about 20 minutes uphill walk from the old town. The lake front was pretty although not exactly bustling (last week in September), and it was good that as 40-somethings we felt the youngest in town!

We were glad of the car. We took a trip north through tunnels which were quite disorientating as you constantly switch from bright to dark, stopping at Gargnano (very pretty, proper backstreets, small and compact), Limone (reminds me of 1970s Spain) and Riva. Riva had a very dramatic backdrop, nestling right under the mountain, and is worth a visit.

We also took a trip south to Sirmione. This is right at the southern end and a mecca for tour buses. It had rained all day when we were there but it was still heaving with tourists. Well worth a look though this town on a peninsula within a castle. Beautiful.

Malcesine was reached by 'speedy-boat'. We wanted to take the cable car up Monte Baldo but were put off by a 2 hour queue. Instead we spent a happy hour watching the world go by in lakeside bar, drinking coffee, beer and sampling ice cream. We also went to the castle. Just before the entrance there is another ice cream shop which the locals use as it's the best in town.

We had never been to Lake Garda before and wanted to see a good deal of it, which we did. Weather was mostly kind, and the Hotel Villa Florida provided an excellent base.

I cannot compliment highly enough the efforts of the Cipani family to make us welcome. Each and every member of staff worked hard to make our stay enjoyable and memorable. Any guest walking through reception who looked in need of help were immediately assisted.

The whole hotel was sparkling clean. Every work surface, every floor, every fitting looked clean and new. The rooms were huge and tastefully decorated. Absolutely fantastic from check in to check out. Andrea deserves a special mention. He lent us his umbrella on our last night as it was lashing down outside and we were off out for dinner. He also gave us a bottle of limoncino as a gift from the hotel to mark our anniversary.

Top notch hotel, fully deserving its number one status on Tripadvisor.

Thanks to all at the hotel
Mark & Elaine

Room Tip: All rooms appear to have a great view. Each has A/C and a whisper quiet ceiling fan in the bedroom. We did not notice the road noise, but if you think you may be affected request a room on a high floor.
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2012

Great view & awesome breakfast. Location could be better, you need a car, but the nearby village also has some awesome restaurants. Get a car, stay here & drive around the lake. Not cheap but really great

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank jamesrose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2012

We (a family of 3) stayed for a week in this fantastic hotel in August. We travelled by car from Moscow and were naturally a bit nervous about whether our destination will be really as good as people had described it in the booking.com and tripadvisor, since after you have covered about 3 thousand km, it would have been a disaster to be disappointed.

When we arrived the first strong impression was the stunning panoramic view of the lake. The second was – the excellent design of the interior both in the rooms and in the lobby (mirror-polished white-and-rose marble floor in the reception area is just a piece of art). You can really breathe the air of Belle Epoque everywhere! Every morning a FANTASTIC breakfast is served on an open terrace. The pool is large and comfortable with ample space around for sunbathing. With only 22 rooms in the hotel it is never overcrowded.

You can expect all thinkable assistance from all three generations of the Cipany family running the hotel, and the excellent reception team (my greetings to Maura and Filippo). When we decided to take a boat trip over the lake, the general manager Dr.Gianmario Cipany called the boat station and arranged everything himself in just no time. After a week-long stay in this hotel we moved over to Toscana in hope to spend the rest of the vacation on the sea-shore. But the hotel there disappointed us and we decided to return to Garda. One email to Villa Florida was enough, and the next night we were back. It was like coming home! So cosy, so comfortable!

To make a long story short, this is a place you will never forget for 3 reasons: excellent service, top-quality design and stunning views. While driving back to Russia our thoughts were back on the Lago di Garda, in Hotel Villa Florida (btw, forgot to ask Gianmario Cipani, why “Florida”?).
Hope to stay there again.

Jamil, Moscow

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Jamil197
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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