My Weeks in Lake Garda by Dinah Stocken, September and October 2017
StockenBridge rightly decided it was time to return to Italy and Claudia’s extensive research really paid off. Villa Arcadio is up in the hills amid olive groves on the west side of Lake Garda and within reasonable walking distance of the pretty town of Salò down at the lakeside.
Over 11 years ago, Finnish Jaana and her Italian husband, Francesco, converted a ruined monastery into a magnificently sumptuous hotel with the country house feel so loved by StockenBridge. It has style and elegance, excellent food, friendly staff and with just 18 bedrooms we had a small group size of about 32 guests - perfect numbers for a bridge holiday.
The views from the hotel terrace and beautiful gardens are stunning and, unexpectedly on the first of two separate weeks we awoke to see snow on the mountains opposite – apparently unheard of in September. It melted quickly and the weather was mostly very warm and sunny, with plenty of time to sunbathe and relax by the pool. The October guests enjoyed a glorious Indian summer with not a drop of rain and high temperatures.
As is now usual there was a mix of old friends and new ones and with a dinner seating plan for the first few nights everyone very quickly got to know everyone. Bridge was of course the main attraction and Zeb delivered fun and exciting topics with his usual panache and humour. There was gentle supervised play for those who wished.
Trips were arranged to nearby Verona and to the Isola de Garda, a privately owned island accessed by boat, with a very dashing skipper.
An all-round excellent holiday and we very much hope to return to the Villa Arcadio in the future.
Many, many thanks for yet another lovely holiday and for all your hard work, care for detail and brilliant planning. You make it look so easy!
We thoroughly enjoyed our week. Villa Arcadio was lovely and the setting was stunning.
Thank you so much for another brilliant holiday, as always you all worked so hard to give us such a great time. We loved it!
I cannot tell you how lucky we feel to have found the delightful, talented Stocken family. Your bridge holidays have opened up our horizons again with lovely hotels, lovely companions, lovely meals, lovely family atmosphere and superb organisation.
Many, many thanks to Claudia, Zeb and Dinah for a really great holiday. It was such fun .....the bridge was great, good crowd of people and the hotel was wonderful. A definite find!