First things first. Riva and Lake Garda in general are very beautiful. We had some reservations regarding a “lakeside” holiday. However Lake Garda did not disappoint. Riva itself is a lovely Italian town with something for everyone. Lots of lively cafes, shops and restaurants in in a locality whose old town is mainly pedestrianized. It’s certainly a resort that appeals to all age groups including the older folks who can stroll around in a safe and “family” environment and to the younger generation who are clearly attracted by the windsurfing and huge number of other aquatic activities. Lake Garda itself is the star attraction. Lots of ferry boats will take you to all the lovely towns and villages that surround this huge lake. Our favourites were Limone and Malcesine. Get to Limone early before the “crowds” arrive. It’s basically a very pretty village with about three tiny streets and lots of shops selling all variety of products featuring lemons. Well worth the visit though. The ferries are rather on the expensive side but what’s the point of going to Lake Garda and not having a sail? So, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Riva Del Garda as a holiday/vacation location. There are many other beautiful towns on the lake that are worth exploring. We took a couple of trips to Verona and Venice – yes, they were both long journeys for a relatively short time spent in these two fantastic cities. However, the bus journeys were interesting in themselves and were quite relaxing and, of course, it whetted the appetite for a future, longer visit. However, you might just want to give the Riva town Museum a miss. I encountered there probably the rudest individual (the Concierge?) I have ever met in a life-time of travel. Now folks to the main event. The Hotel Sole. Well, given some of the observations/comments here on Trip Advisor we had some concerns – especially regarding the food. All in all our ten day experience was very enjoyable. Our room had a balcony that overlooked the lake – this was truly the “icing on the cake”. The room certainly looked somewhat tired, the furniture quite old-fashioned and the bed and pillows rather hard (not the first time we have experienced this in Italy!). However, the room was comfortable enough. Alas, the bathroom had one of those awful “telephone” style showers in the bathtub that “Continentals” seem to love. How older people are expected to wash/shower using one of these is a complete mystery to me. A simple walk-in shower would be so much more sensible. Now to the food. First of all I can’t praise the Maître d’ enough. He was a very friendly and charming man who greeted us every morning and evening with a smile; a real professional of the old-school. I can’t truly say that all of his staff in the restaurant were as courteous. I recall one waitress actually arguing with a British customer as to the suitability of the food. Rather odd. The food itself was reasonably good if not a little predictable after ten days. A heavy reliance on veal and pork (to appeal to the large German clientele I presume?) seemed to be in order. Starters and desserts were excellent. We chose to sit out on the terrace overlooking Lake Garda which was absolutely lovely. Most of the “bus party” crowd including many Brits chose to sit inside. As has been mentioned in other reviews of Hotel Sole non-resident customers seemed to have a much greater choice of food from a menu not available to residents. We found this rather annoying. Also, dinner for residents finished at 8.30pm whereas non-residents could dine until the early hours. I suspect the management wanted to make “our” tables pay by opening up the resident’s tables to the public by “getting rid” of the residents early. So, defo not “Cordon Bleu” but not nearly as bad as has been painted by some here on Trip Advisor. In the end the sheer monotony of the daily “set menu” wore us down after a week or so and we dined out on a couple of occasions. I would thoroughly recommend the curiously named “Ristorante Al Vaticano” which is a short walk from the Hotel Sole. Great food and a great atmosphere served up by the very friendly Fava Bassetti family. Try it! Many posters here have referred to the “very friendly staff” at the Hotel Sole. Well, I’m sad to say they must have – with the exception of the Maître d’ – all been on holiday somewhere else in Italy. The girls behind the desk were pleasant enough as were our very helpful chambermaids. However, the management seemed to regard their guests as an annoying intrusion to the important task of sitting at Reception attending to their important “paper-work” while staring expressionless into computer screens. I recall one very amusing occasion when the “Director” and the Head Chef had the kind of stand-up row in the lobby that would not go amiss in a 1950’s Sophia Loren film. A smile or two would not go amiss. Please note that if you want to use the “Whirlpool”/Jacuzzi at Hotel Sole this might be something of a problem. Despite being featured on much of hotel literature at every opportunity it seems “unavailable” during the summer. We did get the key for the “Spa” from the front desk. We did attempt to discover how to turn the cold water hot. We did phone the desk and was informed by the girl that a “man would be sent up”. After waiting for nearly an hour we gave up. When we handed the key back at Reception we attempted to find out from the girl why no “man” had turned up. The rather sheepish looking girl was quickly interrupted by the “Director” and mumbled something curtly in Italian. What was said I can only guess? To end on a positive note the Hotel Sole has a perfect location in a very beautiful town and is only spoiled by some eccentricities and failure to attend to detail. I had lost an item - I suspect in my hotel room – and emailed the hotel last week to see if they could have a look for the lost item in my room. I’m still waiting for a reply. PS The cat was cool.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With its splendid lake front facade adorned with arches, balconies and decorative ovals that recall the historic porticoed buildings of the square the hotel boasts large lounges, an impressive staircase and a terrace looking out onto the lake. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sole Hotel Riva Del Garda
- Hotel Sole Relax & Panorama Riva Del Garda/Nago, Italy
- Sole Riva Del Garda