It’s not just the splendour of the building and its wonderful, far reaching views over Lake Garda that make the Villa Arcadio such a delightful, secret find.
It’s the joy and warmth that Finnish owner, Jaana, brings to her hotel that makes one feel so utterly relaxed and infinitely welcome.
Not once did I walk in from exploring the gorgeous town of Salo, stretched around the placid lake, without Jaana greeting me with her smile and offering an aperitif, or a sauna, or whatever assistance she could. Nothing is too much trouble.
So very soon you’ve settled into this converted monastery, with vaulted ceilings, painted white beams, and glass walls which let the light flood in, and made it your home from home.
The 18-room boutique hotel is filled with stylish artefacts hand picked from Finland and across Italy, the glasses, sculptures, paintings and sofas.
I loved my room with its crisp cotton sheets, perfect pillows and deliciously comfortable bed.
Below my window was a grassy slope of vines and olives trees, and beyond that the glistening lake and surrounding mountains, all quite sublime when you open your curtains first thing in the morning.
The restaurant is fabulous, with fresh home grown produce, delicious breakfast eggs still warm from their hens, and impeccable service. I had a top class dinner here and the best one in Salo.
What more could you want for a weekend break from London.
I went in autumn when the walk to Salo was filled with birdsong and spectacular russet coloured trees.
A serene town, Salo seems to float on the lake and reflect its Palazzos on the glassy surface in the soft light.
Boats bob on the water, fishermen gaze into the distance, locals walk their dogs, and the women look as stylish as ever.
Only down the road from Milan the shopping is ultra good for a tiny town and had me hooked, in spite of concerns over how to get all my new clothes into a weekend suitcase.
Needless to say I managed, and ended up carrying far more than one coat I can tell you!
Via Palazzino 2, Salo (00 39 0365 42281)