BY Lisa Lindblad
May 11, 2014
Markus Odermatt, owner and General Manager of Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli, says of his lovely 21-room retreat, “This jewel box is for lovers.” Let’s widen the definition of lovers, as I am sure Markus would do, and say that it is for lovers of beauty and serenity, enjoyed by a couple or, as with me, by me and my sister. Located up the western edge of Lake Garda in Gargnona, this Art Nouveau villa is a haven of tranquility, a treat for the eye, and a respite for a weary body and mind. It is a place out of time -not only because of its historical significance but also because of the Odermatt vision that it embodies. “We do not have a spa,” says Markus, “we are not a spa hotel.” He believes, contrary to the general trend, that the spa should be a specialized offering, not ubiquitous to all hotels. “This is a spa for the mind,” he says, indicating, with a wave of his arm, the 5 acres of gardens, the lemon groves and the stand alone Casas dei Fiori, Rustica, Boat House and Limonaia.
One of the great pleasures of my work is having the privilege to see unique properties and to experience the different viewpoints of my colleagues. What is your definition of luxury? Of comfort? What is necessary to offer a guest? How should staff be trained and what is the ideal ratio of staff to guest? How should the guest composition be handled? So many elements go in to making a visit remarkably unremarkable, to making the guest feel as comfortable as if they were at home. You know excellence the moment you encounter it, and revel in the pleasure of real quality. Feltrinelli is in a class with only a handful of others, and it is extraordinary to see the attention to every detail that goes in to making this such a unique hotel.