„The west shore of Lake Garda is completely different from the heavily crowded east side,“ confirms Olliver Mayr, hotel manager of Grand Hotel Fasano. „We are more focused on individual tourism and luxury travel“. I believe that immediately, at the sight of the neoclassical hotel, which was built in 1888 and still breathe and exhale a lot of history. The interior in the reception area is completely white, the furniture a reflection of the epochs, in the air a pleasant smell of limoncello. Everything is well selected, very Italian, nevertheless inviting.
„We have a few activities for you“, Olliver tears me out of my daydream. „This evening, a 5-course meal is waiting for you in our gourmet restaurant“ Il Fagiano „. Afterwards, we are expecting you to a gin tasting. After a treatment in our AVEDA Destination Spa we´ll invite you to a duel of two Michelin star chefs. Any questions? „Um, no. „Well, I´m curious about what you´re going to report“ Olliver Mayr says good-bye and lets me go to the room. Whereby the term room is, of course, a joke and insult to the neat suite with the number 108. Even King Ludwig II would not have had to renovate.
I open the door and hover onto the wonderful terrace, which gave me a view of the palm trees, pool and the west bank of Lake Garda. Sounds terribly kitschy? Damn it is. It’s insane! And between arrival and swimming pool are less than 10 minutes and two fine puff pastries on the sun terrace.
The staff is a 5 star house worthy and convince with a warm Italian friendliness. The highlight is however the dinner. Each course is described and explained, the wine does not come easy on the table, but personally down the slope. The lamb does not taste like lamb, but appears in the trinity of loin, shank and mini burger. The brownie is not a chocolate cup, but a coulant tart with matcha tea and raspberry heart. I drown my satisfied smile in an amaretto on ice. Perhaps it is not an amaretto, but … let’s leave it.
I am about to shorten my planned excursion program to the hotel, but in view of the choice of culture and the old town, I finally take my convertible to the missing 700 meters to the Il Vittoriale degli Italiani. This museum complex is the former residence of the Italian writer Gabrielle DÁnununzio, who built the estate in 1921. The site is 9 hectares in size and includes a weathered palace, an amphitheater, various gardens and parks and a Roman mausoleum, where DÁnnunzio’s mortal remains lie.
Only a few kilometers from Gardone away is Salò, one of the most beautiful lake promenades. On the lake side you can enjoy Aperol Spritz and olives, in the old town you can shop and enjoy delicacies. Italy, you can be so mercilessly livable.
And so mercilessly hot! 30 degrees in May, cries for a bath in the lake. With a smile I sink into the gentle floods and get almost a heart attack. Hallelujah! Much better to enjoy an Elemental Nature Facial treatment. Brings my skin to radiation and makes me 15 years younger. So I can look smoothly at Snapchat again.
The evening is breaking and the „Clash of the Titans“ takes its course already on the sun terrace. The „Michelin men“ are thrown in wardrobe and go through all the ingredients, spices and passages mentally once again.
The title defender is Matteo Felter, executive chef at the Grand Hotel Fasano. He competed against no less than Stefano Cerveni, Chef de Cuisine at Ristorante Due Colombe in Cortefranca. The hard-hitting duel extends over 8 courses, which are always served alternately. It all goes to a performance-oriented draw, when Matteo suddenly conjures his Japanese dessert artist Saori Shiotsuki with her coulant tart out of his hat. Like from nowhere, he puts the end point and pushes various chocolate greetings from the patisserie afterwards.
There are no more wishes left in the culinary sky, and I leave the Grand Hotel Fasano a bit wistfully. Does it really exist or was it just a beautiful dream? You´ll find a 360 video proof on my YouTube channel.
This article was published with the friendy support of Grand Hotel Fasano.
Read also my article about the St James Guesthouses in Cape Town.