Where to stay in Lake Garda

A historic villa that once served as a prison for Mussolini, versus a stress-relieving spa with fantastic views of the lake.

Villa Feltrinelli

In 1943, Mussolini was kept a virtual prisoner at Villa Feltrinelli. The Germans wanted to remove his political influence but keep him as a figurehead. He hated the villa and complained about the food, but a lot has changed since then. Gone are the drab green walls and anti-aircraft guns. Now you can enjoy beautiful interiors, manicured grounds and food that could compete with the finest Italian restaurants.

How they rate it

There are 13 rooms in the house and seven more in the grounds. But when booking, request the Boat House, a private cottage in the grounds, says The Daily Telegraph. The staff are so friendly, you "feel as if you're staying with friends, albeit ones that own a fabulous lakeside villa. This is everything a small, intimate country-house hotel should be."

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The menu

The food is "fabulous". You can eat wherever you like by the lake or pool, in a gazebo in the grounds, or even in the well-stocked wine cellar.

The cost

A double room costs from €900 per night. The Boat House costs from €4,300. Find out more at www.villafeltrinelli.com, or call 00 39 0365 798000.

Lefay Resort Spa


You can enjoy fantastic views of Lake Garda while improving your physical and spiritual health at the Lefay Resort Spa. The spa, set in 11 hectares of woodland on a hillside high above the lake, combines classic Chinese medicine and Western scientific research to build tailored programmes for individual guests. The facilities are excellent, with indoor and outdoor heated pools, five saunas, a tea bar, a gym, an outdoor spa pool, and a 2.5km running circuit.

How they rate it

After a two-day "abridged" programme to relieve stress, "my resulting sense of calm was noticeable", says Mark Barber in The Times. Massages, combined with a personal herbal tea blend and a series of saunas, had helped redress Barber's "energy imbalance".

The menu

This is Italy so don't assume a spa won't offer food that is mouth-watering. The food is "ostensibly Mediterranean", using the freshest local ingredients to create "revisited traditional dishes". You will dine in the roof-top restaurant, which is "festooned with lemon trees" and offers "breathtaking views across the lake".

The cost

A spa package ranges from €945pp for three nights to €2,940 for seven nights, on a full-board basis. Find out more at www.lefayresorts.com,

What the travel writers are saying

Wondering what to do with a spare million? Try one of these wallet-busting holidays.

"Forget the Alps too many oligarchs, darling and head south. Deep south," says Ian Belcher in The Guardian. Antarctica's Ellsworth Mountains "offer some of the planet's best ski touring". Adventure Network offers guided trips into the amazing landscapes of Antarctica, including Connell Canyon and Mount Rossman (right). A 14-day mini-expedition (next departures are in December), including all meals, activities, equipment and transfers, but not flights, costs from $24,250 per person (Adventure-network.com).

Safari in style and comfort with Ultimate Safaris & Islands. "Fellow billionaires will approve of your choice of three extraordinary camps in the Botswana bush." Kings Pool has a unique underground hide where you can observe elephant herds. Meanwhile, Vumburu Plains Camp offers "epic views from raised rooms open on three sides". Little Mombo Camp even has animals strolling through the camp. A nine-night trip, including full-board, safaris and first-class flights, costs from £21,750 per person (Ultimatesafarisandislands.com).

Get away to your own private island. North Island in the Seychelles, "with its peaks, beaches and lush vegetation, is the ultimate Indian Ocean eco-retreat". It boasts 11 enormous villas, complete with butlers. Hire the whole place, including fishing and scuba-diving trips and "acclaimed cuisine", all for £48,980 per night. Heli-transfers are extra (www.itcclassics.co.uk).