It’s 5:40 am and pouring in Venice right now. Porter is fast asleep, and I’m sitting on the floor of our room with all of the windows cracked open hoping that he’ll subconsciously hear the rain and know he doesn’t need to wake up because of it. I think it’s working. Also, I like white noise while I’m writing, and despite what people probably envision when they picture a blogger blogging (desk, laptop, put together outfit, neat posture) I almost always put these posts together on notes on my phone at the crack of dawn while attempting to very quietly sip a cup of tea (which Port would say I fail at). I actually wrote all of my college essays this way too, then would email them to myself, format them, and hit print. For some reason I’ve always found a blank page on Microsoft word too formal and just creatively discouraging.
Anyway, today’s post is about our stay in Lake Garda in Salo. If you read the post before this one or just generally travel to places a little bit off the map, you’ve already heard of it. During our time here we’ve been staying at Villa Arcadio, a restored monastery on a plot of land with just about every imaginable fruit, vegetable, seed etc. growing around the property. The design is ultra organic, lots of neutral tones, sporadic pieces of art, and accents that are usually purposeful more so than just decorative. There’s an infinity pool that overlooks the lake and mountains, and an incredible restaurant serving property-grown cuisine. I’m getting a little ahead of myself so let me just jump straight into the 8 things we love about this place:
1. The views – the pictures sort of say it all on this one. Maybe it’s because I didn’t really see breathtaking mountain views until I was at least 18, but I was in awe, which leads me to item number 2…
2. The outdoor seating – the hotel has three areas for outdoor seating: the pool area, a back terrace, and a front terrace / porch area with grape vines hanging above it. Because the weather was so great during our time there we could eat “afuera” breakfast lunch and dinner (and the occasional twice daily coffee break). All summer long people visiting Lake Garda make a point of reserving a special night for dinner at Villa Arcadio, and the pictures make it clear why.
3. The driveway – the drive into the hotel is down one of those long, winding, quintessentially “Under The Tuscan Sun” driveways with olive groves lined up like checker pieces on either side. It’s absolutely beautiful.
4. The fitness trail – throughout the property there’s a fitness trail, which is basically a trail run with 17 different activities to stop at. I called it a glorified obstacle course because most of the time Porter and I did it we were laughing (partially because all the pasta and pizza we’ve been eating hit us hard). There’s monkey bars and balance beams and ab boards and it honestly was just a blast. We had kind of a blah afternoon one day and decided to do it and it completely turned things around – probably because Porter got to watch me attempt to hop over these two foot bars on the ground (feet together) and face plant.
5. The linen – the rooms here and the general decor had a lot of linen accents in neutrals and light blues which Porter and I were really loving. Especially the linen duvets, which felt straight out of Kinfolk Magazine, and were heavy without making you too warm (which is almost impossible!).
6. The gardens – our first afternoon there we started to realize that almost every tree had some kind of recognizably fruit and that leading up from the olive groves there were lots of clean parallel gardening lines. When we were walking around checking everything out, we noticed the chef come out with clippers and start trying and pocketing a few different things before heading back into the kitchen. We LOVE seeing this sort of thing and anything farm-to-table. We both are addicted to the Netflix series “Chef’s Table” and it reminded me of the episode on Dan Barber, which is one of my absolute favorites (but let’s be real, choosing a favorite is basically impossible).
7. The restaurant – our second to last night we had the opportunity to eat at the hotel’s Michelin star restaurant and wow was it amazing. Porter and I have had “fine dining” experiences a very small handful of times and usually went home hungry / feeling like it was more of an art or theatre experience than food experience. Not at Villa Arcadio. We did a tasting menu called “a walk through the vegetable garden” and it was all vegan and very straightforward, but without a doubt one of the top 3 meals I’ve ever had. Ever. Full stop. Things that sounded so basic were crazy flavorful (tomato water?!) and they had the best homemade pesto either of us have ever had (sorry Mum). The presentation was gorgeous but the food itself really stole the show. It just goes to show that simple never has to mean less-than. Which is basically what we’re all about.
8. The laid back formality / friendliness – At Villa Arcadio there’s definitely a level of attentiveness and formality from the way the staff dresses to their command of a whole bunch of different languages, but it’s done in a way that doesn’t keep the place from feeling laid back. The staff sort of tend to predict your needs (like bringing Porter a latte when we’d sit down to breakfast before he’d ask for one) but they don’t hover or rush anything (even at their Michelin star dinner, we sat at the table for a long time after finishing and never got any clues that we should be on our way, or at least didn’t pick up on any haha).
Hope you enjoy the pics – just looking at them kind of has a lavender-oil calming effect on me. The rain is showing no signs of stopping and Porter is showing no signs of waking up, so it’s back to bed for me.
*Thank you to Villa Arcadio for sponsoring this post, as always all thoughts and opinions remain our own.