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Chocolate-themed hotels, foodie haunts and sultry cities are all very well, but sometimes, the heart just yearns for simple pleasures. Grab a picnic basket and head for the hills: Prati Palai, our new Lake Garda stay, has us hankering for long lazy days in the Italian countryside.

You’ll love The tranquil setting •  Breakfast on the terrace • The in-room tubs
Don’t miss A splash in the lake-view pool • A taste of limoncello • Motorboat jaunts

When owner Domenico set about restoring his family’s charmingly rustic farmhouse, he opted for pared-down contemporary rooms, a scattering of antique pieces and vast roll-top baths in show-stealing colours. Sitting pretty at the heart of the Veneto countryside just a 20-minute walk from Bardolino, this tranquil escape calls for little more than idle afternoons spent in the cerulean pool.

Get a taste of Prati Palai’s home-grown hospitality with our half-price offer for stays in March, September and October – but be quick, you’ll need to book by 23 February 2015. Our tip? Hire a car, jump on a boat and take your time exploring this bucolic corner of Italy.


Lakeside larks

Klimt-patterned pad Just across the lake in Gardone Riviera, Bellariva juts out over the sapphire waters (top right). We love its enticing shore-edge pool, opulent gilded rooms and view-blessed balconies.

Classic, monastic, fantastic From the historic town of Salò, Villa Arcadio overlooks the mirror-flat expanse of Lake Garda (bottom right). This is a chic, enchanting escape, with elegant interiors, a striking infinity pool and a refined restaurant.

Rustic romance A short walk from George Clooney’s Lake Como retreat, Relais Villa Vittoria enjoys equally peaceful mountain-and-lake views (left). Its crystalline pool, bijou spa and gourmet restaurant make it a perfect hideaway for two.

For a modern take on the Grand Tour, check out our boutique hotels in Milan and Verona.


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