Review: Garden & Villas Resort, Ischia

As my blog has evolved over the years, my love affair with boutique hotels has grown and grown. For me, the creativity, quirky details and personal service of a boutique hotel will forever trump the safe predictableness of a hotel chain. This has been my view on hotels for a while, but it was only made stronger during my recent stay at Garden & Villas Resort on the Italian island of Ischia.

I stayed at Garden & Villas Resort for 3 nights with my best friend earlier this month. It was the first stop on our South Italy adventure through Naples, Ischia, Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi (more on that later). Unfortunately, like many European boutique hotels, the website of this place does not do it justice and after just a few hours of being at the resort, all of my expectations had been exceeded. Here is my experience of Garden & Villas Resort Ischia…

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First Impressions

Beyond the salubrious gated entrance, a vine-covered path leads the way towards a cosy reception area that is covered in ivy and greenery. After our long journey consisting of a flight, a layover in Naples and a rather choppy ferry crossing, the scent-infused cold towel on arrival was a well received touch. Before our easy check-in and quick briefing was over, our bags had already been whisked off to our room by the porters.

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A Labyrinth of Secret Gardens  

Walking in to Garden & Villas Resort Ischia is the closest I have ever come to entering the Garden of Eden. The rooms and suites are within a selection of larger villas that sit amongst acres of immaculately landscaped gardens. Although Ischia has plenty of spectacular coastlines, this place is all about the land and gardens of Ischia. The peaceful ambience of the gardens and the relaxing fountain trickles was a welcome contrast from the cosmopolitan streets of London.

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We made the most of the gardens by doing outdoor HIIT workouts every morning. At the end of each session I felt refreshed and energised, ready to take on the day. 

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The Room 

There are lots of different room categories at Garden & Villas Resort, but even the entry-level rooms are spacious and come with a large outdoor terrace section. I would say the décor in the rooms is slightly dated and not as contemporary as I would usually like in a hotel, but with so much charm and character, it really didn’t matter. The furnishings were definitely of a high quality.

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Home Grown Produce

One thing that I loved about Garden & Villas Resort is that they grow all of their own fruits, herbs and vegetables right in the grounds of the resort. Everything that is grown on site is then served in the hotel restaurant, so you know you’re eating the freshest local produce available.

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The resort even has it’s own vegetable garden which is an absolute joy to explore. Colourful lemon trees line the pathways and there is fresh basil and mint growing everywhere. Knowing the basil on your pizza and the mint in your mojito was picked fresh under an hour ago makes the taste even better.

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Twinkling lights at La Grotta  

The hotel bar (otherwise known as La Grotta) is a hidden delight within the hotel grounds. Set within a natural cave and surrounded by trees and twinkling lights, La Grotta is romantic, atmospheric and utterly charming. La Grotta’s Bartender Lorenzo is a genius behind the bar and goes above and beyond to look after guests.

On the first night we ordered two Rossini’s at the bar (prosecco with a fresh strawberry puree). He had ran out of strawberries behind the bar so called through to the kitchen staff to bring a new batch over from the restaurant just to make our chosen cocktail. That’s what I call incredible service.

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Poolside Dining

Garden & Villas Resort has just 1 restaurant, but it’s worth returning time and time again for. With an elegant indoor brassiere and an outdoor poolside terrace for casual dining, each meal feels like a different occasion. At lunchtimes the traditional pizza oven is fired up to served guests the freshest, doughtiest pizzas made right in front of you.

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On the first day we had a heavenly lunch by the pool which consisted of a pizza, a bowl of fresh pesto pasta and a caprese salad. I still dream of that lunch today! The sun was shining and I had a glass of delicious local wine in hand. It was the perfect combination of simple pleasures and I will remember that lunch for a very long time!

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Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast at Garden & Villas Resort is an absolute pleasure, where nothing is too much trouble. If you’re still half asleep upon arrival, the fresh Italian coffee and spritely energy of the waiters is enough to perk you up in no time.

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There is an expansive continental buffet to choose from and hot dishes are made to order. Those feeling extra indulgent can help themselves to a morning glass of prosecco or two, which of course we had to try out at least once!
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The Verdict

From Lorenzo behind the bar to the welcoming waiters in the restaurant, it’s the staff at Garden & Villas Resort that set it apart. Although it’s a 4-star resort, the service here is undoubtedly 5-star. I loved the feeling of being tucked away in a secret garden and enjoyed discovering all the charming nooks and crannies of the grounds. If you’re looking for a unique and tranquil boutique hotel on the Island of Ischia, Garden & Villas Resort is perfect for you.

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Perfect for; Older couples looking for total rest and relaxation. Those with a love of nature and peaceful  surroundings.

What did you think of Garden & Villas Resort? Are you thinking of a trip to Ischia? If you enjoyed this post I’d love you to write me a comment in the box below x

My stay at Garden & Villas Resort was complimentary as part of a press trip. All views are my own.

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6 Comments

  1. 21st June 2016 / 2:06 pm

    This looks so pretty! I definitely agree that boutique hotels are the way to go – I stay in chain hotels all the time on layovers so always try to pick somewhere with a bit more charm when we’re going on holiday! Looking forward to reading about all of the other places in Italy you visited, I’ve just been to Bologna which was a lovely city (and of course you can’t beat Italian food!).

    Rachel
    http://thedubaidiaries.me/2016/06/17/sunshine-aperol-in-bologna-italy/

    P.s. Where is that gorgeous skirt/top combo from?! xx

    • 23rd June 2016 / 2:26 pm

      Hi Rachel! Totally agree that chains can be good for a quick pitstop as you know the quality is guaranteed and you know what to expect, but for something little more adventurous or a personal holiday, boutique is the way to go! Bologna sounds beautiful, I am going to read your post on this now! xx P.s Skirt and top combo is from Miss Selfridge but last Summer season! xx

  2. 20th June 2016 / 10:30 am

    I love this hotel. I totally agree that boutique hotels (if chosen carefully) often trump chains. Although chains offer you a certain predictability and safety, they are more often than not soulless. It’s a shame that many boutique hotels have off-putting websites. it is so easy and cheap to have a nice website these days.
    This hotel seems beautiful. I particularly like the garden and the home grown products!

    • 23rd June 2016 / 2:27 pm

      You’re so right Katharina! This place could do with a major website re design but at least it means when you arrive you are even more impressed by the whole place! It exceeded all of my expectations. The home grown products were a lovely touch xx

  3. 20th June 2016 / 9:38 am

    I often find room in Italian hotels can be dated (even the Four Seasons) but it’s actually part of the charm. The beautiful grounds, friendly service and amazing food make up for it.

    • Jessica
      20th June 2016 / 1:40 pm

      So true Angie! There seems to be a common thread but there’s something about the quirky decor that makes it even more charming. Xxx