On-Site Review: Cape of Senses, Lake Garda

While Italy’s Lake Como steals the limelight, Lake Garda has quietly upped the ante with the chic new five-star Cape of Senses resort, which opened in July 2023. A slice of serenity with a twist of Italian indulgence, the modern, 55-suite property, perched above the lake with endless shimmery water views, stunning pools and a gorgeous spa is one to put on your radar for 2024, especially for a romantic getaway.

Cape of Senses is the passion project of brothers Christian and Johannes Margesin and their father, Johann, who have been running the wellness-oriented Alpiana in the mountains of South Tyrol since the 1970s. For years, the family dreamed of opening a sister property in the lakes region. When they happened upon an olive grove with spectacular views of Lake Garda for sale in 2018, the opportunity to create the resort they imagined arrived.

Located about 45 minutes driving from Verona, sitting some 700 feet above Lake Garda, the entire property has been cleverly designed by Italian architects Hugo Demetz and Alessia Demetz in a slight curve so that every room offers lake views through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The building, crafted from local wood and stone in understated shades, effortlessly blends into the surroundings. The spa and infinity pools flow graciously out to a Mediterranean-style lawn dotted with replanted olive trees and well-positioned sun loungers for— you guessed  it—soaking up the water views and getting into a slower pace of life by the lake with your partner.

Cape of Senses restaurant
The hotel’s two restaurants encapsulate the rich culinary tradition of the Italian Lakes and use locally sourced ingredients. (Cape of Senses )

Inside, the ambiance is equally serene with soft colors, warm lighting and contemporary Italian-designed furnishings. The reception, lobby and restaurant are spacious with large terraces for enjoying food, drinks and conversation while admiring the views. The crowd is definitely the “quiet luxury” type, with couples relaxing in simple, well-cut resort wear or yoga gear.  While the resort is “adults only,” it will accept children 14 and older. We spotted one family with older teens and a couple with a dog (pets are allowed in five of the suites, but not in public spaces), but they were the outliers.

The staff are charming, happy to share local tips and arrange where to go—that is, if you can be bothered to leave. General Manager Alina Deutsch tells us many people don’t; they prefer to disconnect and enjoy their spacious suites, spa treatments, the beautiful grounds and cuisine that celebrates local produce from northern Italy.

Six Suite Options

Of the 55 suites, there are six choices. All are minimalist and luxurious all at once; smart design and elegant contemporary furnishings make guestrooms feel larger than the square footage, likely because of the expansive views and large terraces. We stayed in room No. 101, a Junior Suite, the most basic, yet still very spacious at nearly 550 square feet. As the suites level up, you get more space and a wellness area with a freestanding bath. It is definitely worth the splurge to book one of the duplex Sky Suites, we saw Sky Suite No. 210, which spreads sleeping and living areas across 800 square feet, with an expansive (750-square-foot) private rooftop terrace with a jacuzzi, a sunbathing area with loungers and a shaded sunbed to enjoy the intense orange sunsets—the color of an Aperol spritz—or relax under the stars in the evening. All rooms have large rain showers, chaise lounges for relaxing and minibars stocked with local products—nuts, olives, even homemade drink mixers made with local lemons and herbs.

Top digs: The duplex Deluxe Sky Pool Suite, which has a full wall of windows offering panoramic views overlooking Lake Garda and a massive terrace (1,000 square feet) with a private pool, chaise lounge chairs and a king-size shaded sunbed.

Cape of Senses
The hotel’s spa offers two pools, an infinity pool overlooking Lake Garda and a lap pool. (Cape of Senses)

Spa and Well-being

The 20,000-square-foot Senses Spa is impressive and, as the name suggests, ticks all the sensory boxes while encouraging guests to embrace the ethos of taking a step back, resting and recharging. Your mood shifts upon entry as scents of lavender, rosemary, citrus and thyme waft through the spa thanks to the use of products by MEI (Migliori Erbe Italiani, meaning "best Italian herbs") made with wild medicinal herbs harvested by hand.

We started our days with a daily yoga session followed by meditation and breathwork (normally held on a platform outside; sadly it was raining). Thankfully, there is a lovely indoor yoga studio, as well, which is one of the reasons the Senses Spa works so beautifully, the space seamlessly blends indoors and out. It is set over two floors with a swim-in-out infinity pool with jacuzzi, a separate outdoor lap pool, an extensive fitness area with the latest equipment, several sauna and steam zones, a curated library and relaxation room. We loved our session in the Finnish sauna with Giulio Tagliasacchi, a wellness director at the spa, who put large balls of ice filled with herbs on the hot coals. He then moved the scent around by using a wet towel; it was incredible.

Cape of Senses spa
The Senses Spa is spread over 20,000 square feet of space. Shown here is the relaxation room. (Cape of Senses )

For restoration, there are seven therapy rooms including a couples treatment room. Spa treatments embrace both Eastern and Western therapies and use the herby, natural products from MEI. We tried the relaxing aromatherapy massage, which uses slow hand movements to improve well-being, and sweet almond oil and relaxing essential oils that are specific to the season. Our therapist Yousra added in lavender.

Another signature spa treatment is the Senses Pinda, a two-hour massage that works on releasing muscles in different ways, first using hot pads with wild herbs to warm the body and then moving into a deeper massage using grape seed oil, olive oil and an essential oil mix of citrus, rosemary and basil, and finishes with a facial massage. Inner Sound is another not-to-miss treatment, just under an hour it combines a head massage accompanied by soothing sounds from Tibetian singing bowls. Most massage treatments can be done as couples or in the privacy of your suite. For spa bookings, contact Jasmine Voltan ([email protected]), spa director.

As promised, in no time you’ve hit all the senses: it smells incredible, everything is very tactile, there is silence or soothing music, the stunning lake views are everywhere, and we loved the tasty and abundant snacks—herbal teas, dried fruit, nuts and homemade cookies.

Cape of Senses
The Spa has seven therapy rooms, including a couples treatment room. (Cape of Senses)


The hotel’s two restaurants encapsulate the rich culinary tradition of the Italian Lakes, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients; plus, there is always the option to dine en-suite. The breakfast spread is something to marvel at, even by luxury hotel standards, with an indulgent selection of high-quality meats, cheeses and delectable pastries. Whether buffet or à la carte, both are best enjoyed seated side-by-side with espressos in hand, admiring the lake.

Osteria La Pergola’s menu celebrates rustic countryside flavors and lakeside cuisine, remaining faithful to the hotel’s Italian heritage. Think dishes like vitello tonnato, spaghetti with three types of tomato and an oh-so-creamy Stracciatella di Bufala cheese, and exquisite fresh fish served with radicchio. As evening falls, Chef Francesco Pavan’s Restaurant Al Tramonto is a glorious spot to take in the orange sunsets with a drink and enjoy some seriously delicious Italian fine dining. Trained in some of Venice’s best restaurants, Francesco’s culinary artistry weaves a story through each plate, presenting surprising flavor contrasts. We loved the beet risotto, beef tartare with wild garlic and rabbit ravioli with green olive juice and roasted red pepper. Definitely leave room for dessert; the lemon tart—which looks like an actual lemon—is insanely good.

Cape of Senses
Breakfast is served on the Terrazza degli Ulivi terrace. Whether buffet or à la carte, both are enjoyed with coffee. (Cape of Senses )

Lake Garda Experiences

Concierge Giorgia Slaghenauffi ([email protected]) shared the most popular experiences range from private sunset sail boat tours and barrique cellar wine tastings to cooking classes and golf. We opted for something more unusual: a tour of Le Prandine, a local olive grove to learn about the varietals and process and, of course, do a tasting of the award-winning oils and enjoy a picnic lunch. We also took afternoons to explore the charming boutiques and cafes of nearby villages of Torri del Benaco and Garda in the hotel’s electric Fiat 500 transport, which is complimentary for guests.

Good to know: The hotel has a three-night minimum stay and the best times to visit are spring through fall; it closes for three weeks in January.

Top Tip: General Manager Alina Deutsch ([email protected]; +39-045-430-1430) is the best point of contact for luxury travel advisors sending a VIP or making special arrangements.

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