Zest of wellness

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Zest of wellness

JANET BRICE discovers the spa retreat of the future in a modern-day Italian lemon house known as Lefay Resort & Spa…

I pride myself on my sense of direction but after trailing through the tranquil spa for the seventh time, as I ventured back and forth from my suite, I thought it was about time I checked the map as I didn’t want to disturb fellow spa-goers.

But on careful inspection I discovered the spa at eco-friendly Lefay Resort, which sits neatly above the majestic Lake Garda in 27 acres of national parkland, is actually the heart of the hotel and guests are encouraged to weave their treatments and cuisine seamlessly into their stay. A spa hotel of the future.

So, as you’re literally staying in the spa, which has been designed to offer a zest of wellness from its Classical Chinese menu it’s hard to resist the lure of the four wellness pools, saunas and smorgasbord of spa treatments, even if you’re a first-time spa-goer. After all there are not many outdoor treatment tables with views across an oriental water garden towards Monte Baldo and the Dolomite Peaks.


Lefay Resort and Spa 18 wellnessImages courtesy of Lefay Resort & Spa

And to compliment the array of treatments the Il Grande Limonaia, rooftop restaurant and Trattoria La Vigna, offers a light menu so you can continue your wellness programme at dinner if you wish.
But there is always a glass of wine and choice from the Mediterranean-inspired menu, known as the Lefay Vital Gourmet, with locally sourced produce such as fresh lake Perch, for guests who are just seeking to relax.

Although I am here to sample the spa, Lefay is essentially a luxury retreat offering you a taste of the simple things in life from space, nature, peace and quite simply time for yourself.

It’s the perfect destination for couples seeking a romantic break this Easter. For a special treat you can book the palatial private Royal Pool and spa suite, inspired by Roman mythology, which are regularly booked by A-list Italian celebrities.

It also caters for family breaks (there’s a crèche for over threes) and despite having two qualified staff doctors, it is not a medical spa but prides itself on being a five-star luxury resort woven together with a touch of eastern philosophy and fusion of modern western techniques.


The Il Grande Limonaia rooftop restaurant offers a light menu so you can continue your wellness programme at dinner if you wish.

Lefay is the passion of the Leali family, who sold their company, Air Dolomiti, and invested the proceeds into their dream of opening a sustainable spa. The building was inspired by the local Limonaia, greenhouses for lemon trees, and credit for this vision has to go to Liliana Leali who was a trained architect.

Nothing beats a woman’s touch as this is evident everywhere you explore from the olive wood used for the floors in the 93 suites (which all face outwards with views across the lake and the temperature naturally regulated by thermal water panels in the floor and ceiling) to the woman’s hammam and The Four Seasons gardens which act as mini meditation sanctuaries.

“New luxury” is how Alcide Leali Jnr, managing director, sums up Lefay who told Spa Traveller Wellness they were not willing to compromise on the resort and took more than two years to even find the best plot of land for the building.

He sighted this would be the future of spas;
“The spa makes up the core of the hotel and is not just a building that has been added on.”



Lefay Resort and Spa 15 banner plunge pool

To relax after my quick flight from Gatwick to Verona I took a dip in the breath-taking salt water infinity pool, which juts out over the mountainside offering amazing views of one of Italy’s most famous lake’s 450 metres below.

And as the sun started to set, it was time to head indoors for half-an-hour of weightlessness in the grotto which is a heated salt lake (38 C) lit only by the glow of a giant paper moon. There is a lot to be said about total relaxation and the ability to leave the world behind. However, a note of caution, do not shave your legs prior to a dip as the high concentrations of salt will cause stinging!

I was booked onto a two-day Discovery programme, which includes massage, an anti-ageing facial and exercises to stimulate the meridians. My treatments began with a consultation with Dr Barbieri, a doctor trained in both occidental and Chinese medicine who identified my season as startlingly, Black Turtle!

This essentially meant I was winter and the treatments selected would help boost my energy levels and kidneys with the use of geranium, zypruss and birch.

He tailored my bespoke programme to include massage, anti-ageing facial, plus moxibustion (a Chinese form of acupuncture which involves heat being directed to the body’s meridian points) and a special herbal tea to rejuvenate the liver (which you are also given to take home).

One word of warning; male therapists make up part of the team and take a rather European approach to massage so if you would prefer a woman it would be best to ask at the spa reception when booking your treatment.



Lefay Resort and Spa 11 banner

Not all treatments can be given on the outside treatment beds (due to the equipment needed) so best to check ahead if you desire a massage with the world quite literally at your feet and book accordingly. But there are 21 treatment rooms available in the 3,000 square metre spa so no shortage of choice.

One of my favourite treatments was the inner energy facial which started with a stimulation of the meridians on the hands and feet before the therapist worked up to my face. But this was surprisingly relaxing and this top-to-toe massage helped iron out those worry lines and smooth my complexion.

By the end of my taster programme I looked and felt rejuvenated which I also think was helped by the holistic approach of eating from the light menu.

With its new luxury, smorgasbord of spa influences and majestic views we cannot wait to see the two new properties Lefay has in store for us…





Additional information and tips:

  • Continue your wellness programme at home by drinking the tea and using the bio-organic range of Lefay products, rich in olive oil and honey.
  • Spa outside and take advantage of the gardens which offer a running circuit, fitness path and therapeutic garden.
  • Hop aboard Lefay’s new power boat and treat yourself to a sunset trip to Salo on Lake Garda.
  • Wellness programmes on offer include weight management, beauty of body and soul, sleep, fitness and postural.
  • The resort has become the first luxury hotel in Italy to achieve zero carbon emissions.
  • Lefay’s energy is almost entirely generated from a biomass processor while water for the pools and spa comes from recycled rain water.
  • The Lefay Resort is the first of a trio. The second is being built in the Dolomites mountain range, and will offer an après ski spa in 2017. The third will be set in the Tuscan countryside. We can’t wait!

You can find more information by clicking here…



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