This exquisite hotel overlooking Lake Garda must be the best B&B ever! There is no restaurant – but to be fair, each of the 22 rooms and suites has a kitchenette for self-catering and the management offers to provide light lunches and evening meals if required – to be enjoyed on your private terrace or balcony. They will even order food supplies or pizza deliveries. So everything is provided for and there is a good choice of restaurants within 5-10 minutes walk – ranging from 5-star cuisine to traditional Italian and pizzerias.
The main features of Hotel Florida (apart from the location) are the elegant and spacious rooms and the memorable breakfast service on the terrace overlooking the lake. In addition to an extensive self-service buffet catering for all tastes, there are three marvellous ladies helping out and also bringing special ‘surprises’ to the tables. It was a perfect start to the day!
The hotel is family owned, and Dr. Cipani himself is much in evidence every day, as well as his son who sets an example to all the staff for attentiveness to the needs of all the guests. In particular, the reception staff are charming, multi-lingual, helpful and knowledgeable. The swimming pool and its surrounding terraces are spacious and well-equipped; and there is a pool attendant ready to serve drinks and snacks as needed.
Overall, the ambience of the Hotel Florida is relaxing and luxurious and the guests were a mixture of those making a one or two night stopover during a driving tour of the area, and those (like us) who were looking for a long, quiet holiday in a wonderful location.
Gardone is one of the less busy Lake Garda resort towns (compared with Sirmione, Limone and Salo, for example). It is on the west side of the Lake, nestling against the background of the mountains which surround the northern half of the lake. There are three distinct parts to the town – Gardone Riviera has the Grand Hotel, the promenade and shops, and the jetty where various passenger boats operate to locations around the lake; then there is hilltop old town area which features a selection of restaurants and the Vittoriale home and museum of Gabriele d’Annunzio (who led a fascinating life in the first half of the 20th century) and also the Botanical Gardens; and then the Fasano area of hotels and residences, including two 5-star hotels – and the Hotel Florida.
Finally, a few words of advice for Silver Travellers about local transportation if you decide not to rent a car to get to Gardone from Verona airport. You should bear in mind that the other areas – the old town and the Riviera – are a longish 20-30 minutes walk in warm weather (mostly uphill to the old town). And as a small town, there are only 2 or 3 taxis so booking them in advance is advised. If you get a late evening thunderstorm, as we did, you may be stuck for a while – but there is a half-hourly bus service from the Grand Hotel/Riviera which passes the Hotel Florida.