Just come back from a lovely time in Riva despite the weather not being too kind. We stayed in the Hotel Garda and loved it. Both the management and staff here are really friendly and cannot do enough to help. Special mention has to go to Anna, Sonja and Hakim.
The hotel is situated in Viale Rovereto and is accessed by a paved avenue giving it a nice air of exclusivity. First you come to the swimming pool and terrace area, and then enter the hotel by going down some steps, quite unusual I thought. There are two lifts in the hotel. One which is painfully slow (but gets there) and a modern one. However the latter broke down on our last night and we decided it was quicker to take the stairs. Good exercise too! Perhaps the bar could do with a face-lift. It’s painted lilac yellow if that’s a colour and reminded me of a bus shelter.
Had a lovely room with fabulous views of the lake and magnificent cliffs that characterise Riva. The room itself was spotless, sheets changed every day, shower hot and spacious, and yes, a proper walk-in one! I found the bed a tad hard but I’ve slept on worse.
When visiting Riva do check out some of the local tipple. My favourite was ‘Hugo’ (pronounced ugo) which is a local speciality made from Prosecco, lime, mint (and I’m sure a secret ingredient!). It’s delicious. And as another tripper pointed out elsewhere Sonja makes the best one. In fact she makes the best Hugo in all of Riva! Another very popular drink is Aperol Spritz, which is pink coloured, but a little too sweet for my taste.
A few people have commentated that dinners in the Hotel Garda are small. While this is true, the quality of the food is excellent, and there is a large salad buffet as a pre-starter (followed by three courses). So with that we found the portions to be just right. Throughout our stay they had some excellent fish on the menu; including trout, sole and, my favourite swordfish. The pasta dishes and contorni were also very good. The package we were on included free wine and water with dinner. So all round very generous. For breakfast they do a smashing bacon and eggs, as well as a variety of cold meats, cereals and fruit. The range of bread was not extensive and sometimes could be a little hard. The buffet lunch was very generous.
They have weekly gala nights in this hotel, but apart from the addition of a pianist there’s nothing really to distinguish them; the menu doesn’t actually change. However, they do go the extra mile by putting on various treats throughout the week: for example, some nights there would be aperitifs and nibbles in the bar/terrace before dinner. This would be alternated on other nights by after-dinner delights. This included Alaskan ice cream one evening, and chocolate fondue with fruit another. Fondue can be tricky at the best of times and unfortunately didn’t really work out. The post dinner treat, while a good gesture, is perhaps ill-timed as we were all too stuffed to enjoy it!
More goodies include free coffee or hot chocolate and as much cake as you can eat between 4 and 5 pm each day, and between 5 and 6 all drinks are half-price. So you can avail of your Hugo then for only 2e (it’s normally 4).
Maybe a low point was there was no fresh coffee served in the restaurant. Coffee from a machine never tastes the same to me, but this seems to be a growing trend in continental hotels of late. A shame because you can’t beat the freshly brewed stuff.
One thing we found strange was when you bought a drink at the bar you had to go to reception to pay for it. There wasn’t a problem but we found it cumbersome and rather pointless, instead of paying the bar at the end of the evening. It’s a practice which they might consider reviewing. Also the mini bar in the bedrooms while well stocked with minerals had only one can of beer per room!
In any case you’re not confined to the hotel for entertainment. The Viale Rovereto is dotted with little bars and eateries. Particularly I would like to mention Floral Parc: ice cream to die for! I’m not kidding. And for some good German beers try Bavaria Biergarten, a stone’s throw from the hotel.
Riva, to my mind, is probably the nicest town on Lake Garda. The proximity to the mountains gives it that extra magical touch, and there’s lots to see and do in the town: such as a trip to the Bastione (or if you’re really fit all the way up to Santa Barbara), climb the 165 steps (I counted them!) of the Apponale tower for exquisite views of the town centre, visit the Reptile museum, or the beautifully ornate Baroque Church of the Inviolata, or just lounge in the countless coffee bars in the historical old town.
The good news is it’s only a (brisk) 10 minute walk into the centre from the Hotel Garda. Or a 25 minute walk in the other direction to Torbole, a lovely old fishing village. Just follow the path round by the camping area, and then you have a choice whether to walk along the really picturesque route parallel to the car tunnel, or cross the bridge and take the shore walk where you can do a spot of wind surfing if you have energy for it.
You can’t go wrong in Riva, and all-in-all we had a lovely time at the Hotel Garda and will certainly come back.
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- Also Known As:
- Garda Hotel Riva Del
- Hotel Garda - TonelliHotels Riva Del Garda/Nago, Italy