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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.