Via Provinciale 1, Sale Marasino
The largest lake island in Europe, Monte Isola, lay directly opposite our room. There was an elegant selection of fruit on a slate to pick at as we pulled up chairs at the picture windows. It would be a perfect spot for sitting with your head in a book, except the scenery acts as a constant distraction. Like so many of the locations we visited in Italy the views were as immaculately alluring as an Italian garden. From the moment we checked in, Hotel Villa Kinzica felt as relaxing as slipping into a warm bath.
As a base for exploring Lake Iseo and especially Monte Isola, the Hotel Kinzica is in a beaut of a spot. A short walk leads to where the ferries regularly depart from Sale Marasino to the island in the middle of the lake. The unusual rock formations known as the Pyramids of Zone aren’t far away (we never got to them). However, the hotel is so elegantly comfortable that it can be difficult to drag yourself away from it. A wide, arched terrace overlooking the lake positively demands your presence, with a glass of something in hand to sip at whilst you appreciate the vistas. The interior of the hotel is typically Italian; stylishly elegant and classic designs, regal without being pompous.
Apart from the ferry, there’s not a lot to Sale Marasino; a couple of restaurant/cafés and a supermarket. There’s also another supermarket hidden in the streets above the hotel which we would never have found if it wasn’t for the exceptionally helpful American receptionist. Not having much around it is part of the attraction of the place. It isn’t a destination for people who wish to rush around ticking things off a list, the Hotel Kinzica is for people who want to absorb and digest their surroundings. People who subscribe to slow travel.
It’s a bit special to wake in a comfy, king sized bed to a view of Monte Isola looking fabulous in the early morning sunshine. Lemon coloured walls bring the sunshine into the room, gently billowing drapes add to the notion that I’ve wandered into the pages of an interior design mag. The décor is as tasteful as that in the rest of the hotel, making the room fit like a soft leather glove. It’s simply an easy room to spend time in. Fluffy silver bathrobes add to the ‘just chill out in comfort’ feel of the place. There’s wifi and a flat screen TV, but with the sort of view we have outside our why would we need a TV?
The Villa Kinzica has a pool and sunbathing area located in the small garden area whilst there are bikes for anyone feeling more energetic.
Breakfast takes place in another beautifully designed room and is the usual affair of Sicilian orange juice, fresh fruit, prosciutto and smoky cheeses. Pastries and homemade biscuits are particularly plentiful and attractively tempting.
Best of all is the hotel’s chic restaurant. It took us some time to choose from a menu as mouthwatering as everything else in Villa Kinzica. In the end we had sun-dried sardines on polenta, risotto with battered perch (a revelation), pike hamburger and finally tiramisu with coffee mousse – all artistically presented and with ‘Mmm, that’s good’ flavours. There might not be a great choice of restaurants near the hotel, but who cares when you’ve only got to walk down the stairs to get to a restaurant as good as the Kinzica’s.
The Hotel Villa Kinzica has the elegance of a small palace, the friendliness of a family home, the cuisine of a top restaurant and is located beside one of the most scenic lakes in Italy. Yeah, we liked it.
Hotel Villa Kinzica; Via Provinciale 1, Sale Marasino; tel: +39 030 982 0975; double rooms cost from around €99 per night (breakfast included). Main courses at the restaurant average €17.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+