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Villa Sostaga - Review

THE VISTAS FROM VILLA SOSTAGA are knock-your-socks-off sensational. You'd be hard pushed to find better views of Lake Garda than from the gardens of this former ducal hunting lodge, high on a ridge above the glinting lake waters.

We followed the road snaking up the hillside from Gargnano, glimpsing snatches of the town's terracotta rooftops at every turn. After rumbling along the hotel's private forested drive – where there is even a little traffic light to ensure you don't meet another car and have to back up – we suddenly emerged on a sun-drenched slope with inky-blue Lake Garda flung below us.

Woodland shelves away steeply to the sweeping shoreline below and on a clear day from this hilltop eyrie, you can literally see for miles. No wonder Villa Sostaga was once a summer residence for Venetian aristos hungry for fresh mountain air.

Pretty gazebo

Villa Sostaga has been transformed into an alluring hilltop retreat by owners the Seresina family. It has all the feel of a lordly private villa, with views to match.

Named after some of the places you can see from your window, rooms and suites come with elegant period furniture and original parquet floors. Colours range from dramatic reds to pinky pastels. All have a quiet glamour, and the best have a fabulous lake terrace. Other (more contemporary) rooms are housed in a separate wing yards from the villa.

The Campla room has provencal shades and a terrace suspended over the lake. Margia has buttercup yellow walls and cheerful checks, while Mezzane – with a jacuzzi bath – is done out in tasteful florals. Le Volpi sports dramatic Baroque style reds and golds while El Lama has a more bohemian-attic feel.

We woke up to seventh-heaven views next day from our bedroom terrace. You can soak up more of those lake views from Villa Sostaga’s glass-walled Verandah restaurant, whether it’s over an ample breakfast or a candlelit supper watching lights twinkle on the water below. Guests dine al fresco in the pretty gazebo on warm summer nights, where a Latino music quartet adds a touch of after-drinner brio at weekends.

Outside, it’s all about chilling. Sip a glass of vino in the gazebo or bag a lounger on the wonderful grassy pool terrace. Have a soak in the downstairs Turkish bath if you’d sooner melt into the steam.  

Friendly staff and Villa Sostaga's hospitable owners go the extra mile for their guests. You're ten minutes from the resort town of Gargnano –  setting for a slice of the latest James Bond movie Quantum of Solace – and there's plenty to explore on Lake Garda.

Villa Sostaga was reviewed for Room for Romance by Amanda Kingston

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