Winter travel delivers the most magic when I’m not looking for it. In 2018, I refused to come home from our initial winter trip. We spent 2 weeks road tripping through Italy with no pre-planned destination. That’s how we ended up at Borgo dei Conti in Umbria. A whole new world opened up when I discovered Relais and Chateaux hotels. During 2020, I read R&C hotel guides cover to cover and flagged hotels I wanted to visit. Having an ongoing hotel list makes last minute trip planning easier. It’s how we found ourselves at Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais in the days leading up to Christmas in 2022.
Officially located in Cavaion Veronese and a short drive from both Verona and Lake Garda, Villa Cordevigo is straight up magical. The grounds are quiet and serene. The rooms are elegant and comfortable. The spa offers plenty of space to relax and revitalize yourself. The restaurants are absolutely delicious and of the highest quality. And, the staff is incredible – warm, kind, and committed to making your stay an incredible experience. We will absolutely be back here.
We loved everything about our experience that we feel like others should have this property on their Italy itinerary, too!
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Pre-Arrival Experience at Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais
I didn’t think much about our trip after booking Villa Cordevigo. I had a lot going on with work in November and December ,and I decided that we would figure it out when we arrived. A few days before arrival, Franchesa sent me an email asking that we confirm our arrival time and providing information on a variety of experiences for pre-booking experiences for our stay. She was able to make a dinner reservation at Bistro Cordevigo, confirm a Veneto wine tasting, and let us know that we could book the spa upon arrival. Perfect. This allowed me to start putting some structure in our trip while providing the most flexibility. Other activity options included a cocktail class at the Bar Fiordilej, Italian cooking classes, a tour of Verona, spa treatments developed specifically for the hotel, and afternoon tea.
When we arrived, we announced ourself at the gate (similar to both Borgo dei Conti and the Meneghetti wine resort in Istria) and drove up to the guest parking lot. The bellhop met us with a golf cart, unloaded our luggage, and carted us the short distance to the hotel. Our luggage was whisked away and we enjoyed a welcome drink at the hotel bar.
Paolo, the Guest Relations Manager and resident wine enthusiast, was happy to welcome us to the hotel. He poured us a glass of a bubbly rose from the resort’s wine collection and let us know that he would be providing our wine tasting the following day. We didn’t feel any pressure to rush. It was a perfect introduction to what the next 3 days would be like for us.
Room 104 – Elegance Room with Hydromassage Bath
After our welcome drink, we were provided a short tour and introduction. Our classic double room was upgraded to an elegance room on the first floor.
Villa Cordevigo is an 18th century villa that was used as a retreat by Venetian aristocrats. You can see this in the room design. Our large room featured high ceilings with wooden beams and GORGEOUS Murano chandeliers. (We spent a lot of time shopping for these when we were renovating our house. I know Murano chandeliers; these are stunning.) Our room faced the garden, which meant that it was exceptionally quiet and the views were exceptionally beautiful. We had windows in the bathroom and the bedroom that were covered in rich fabrics – think Venetian silks and brocade. Pure elegance is right.
The mattress was high-quality, feeling a bit more like a Tempur Pedic than a traditional European mattress. The bedding was high quality and soft, providing plenty of warmth in the winter. (So did the heater. We cooled the temperature in our room by opening the windows. You can do this when the air conditioner is off in Europe. It’s perfectly safe and more sustainable than using AC year-round. The bed was very comfortable. This was the first time that I slept through the night since we arrived in Europe for this trip. We had no problem sleeping late at Villa Cordevigo!
Our room offered a large round table that was perfect for enjoying an in-room snack and doing some work. Admittedly, we preferred to do our work in the bar with a glass of wine or a cocktail! Our room had great wi-fi connectivity, a flat screen TV (that we completely ignored), as well as a minibar, safe, and every other standard amenity that you need. The wardrobe had plenty of room and even more hangers, which is a really thoughtful touch.
The bathroom was HUGE with its own Murano chandelier and marble details. It offered a pedestal sink, as well as an additional table that we could use for storing our bathroom products. The corner bath had dual shower heads (overhead and hand showers), as well as a hydrotherapy massage tub. I didn’t use the hydrotherapy massage or chromotherapy, but I did enjoy a lovely bath on our last morning at Villa Cordevigo. The water pressure was great, and there was no issue with hot water – it was often TOO HOT for us! (Good problem to have during winter!) The heated towel rack made it easy to dry our swimsuits between spa visits and made getting out of the shower feel especially luxurious.
Villa Cordevigo provides Clarins and Villa Cordevigo bath amenities (I loved the shampoo!), plush slippers, and bathrobes for the spa. They assured us we were free to come and go from the spa utilizing the hotel robes and slippers.
What is there to do at Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais Hotel?
Personally, I think if you’re doing it right, you’re relaxing at Villa Cordevigo and enjoying everything about the property. And, that means doing whatever bring you the most joy and relaxation. For us, that meant indulging in the property’s many wines, enjoying the spa, and walking the grounds. Once we parked our car, we left it – but for one evening when we made a trip the Lidl for picnic supplies. (Spoiler alert: I don’t recommend that plan.)
In the summer (or warmer months), that might mean enjoying the swimming pool. It might mean taking a cocktail class and enjoying apertivo on the terrace. Or, it might mean taking a fresh pasta class. Whatever relaxing means to you, Villa Cordevigo is the place to do it.
Essentia Spa at Villa Cordevigo
The Essential Spa is the perfect place to start and end your day. (At least, that’s what we did with it!) It’s open from 10:00-12:00 and 3:00-8:00 by reservation, and we had no problem getting same day reservations for either time. In addition to massages, facials, and more, it also offers two whirlpools, a sauna, and a Turkish bath. The relaxation room offers a variety of tea to try. We spent at least an hour each day in the sauna, whirlpools, and the showers. We rarely saw other guests. The spa is only available to guests over 15-years-old. Thus, I think it will be calm and peaceful at any time of year.
Looking back, I definitely would have booked a Cordevigo massage during our time there. It is first on my list to book when we return to Villa Cordevigo.
Wellness Path around Villa Cordevigo
Our friends at Borgo dei Conti got me into exploring the wellness paths around these resorts. Similar to the Conti, Villa Cordevigo offers a map with a 2.0km walk around the property. The wellness path will take you through the olive groves and vineyards and up to an observation point to see Lake Garda. The path allows you to experience the tranquility of the resort. There are a series of exercise points that allow you to test your balance and strength, too. We did this each day. It provided a great way to enjoy nature without venturing too far from the resort. The Villa Cordevigo wellness path starts near the guest parking and ends in the beautiful garden behind the resort.
It took us about 2 hours when we stopped to take everything in. You can do it in 45 minutes-1 hour if you don’t stop. You can pick up a map at the front desk. There are also white arrows that will keep you on track throughout the path.
Villa Cordevigo Wine Tasting
Located in the heart of the Valpolicella wine region, Villa Cordevigo offers three distinct wine tasting options. The tastings include wines from the Villa Cordevigo and the Vigneti Villabella wineries. We originally booked the La Rossa tasting, which would have allowed us to try the best red wines of the resort vineyards, but after an exceptional first meal at Bistro Cordevigo, we decided to do a wine tasting that included red and white wines, La Nostra Terra. Paolo taught us so much about the production of the wines around Verona that we booked a second tasting – Verona e Dintorni – which included some different red wines. The wine tastings included several “house” blends, as well as a selection of IGT and DOC wines. You can learn more about these distinctions on my Italian wine tasting post!
The wine tastings include local specialities. I think the Ripasso and Amarone are the best, but Tom really loved the 50th anniversary Bardolino Classico. They make a lovely white Passito, too. We ended up purchasing 5 bottles to take with us, including 2 bottles of Amarone, the most famous wine from the Valpolicella region. Whether you like red or white wines, you’re sure to find something to enjoy at Villa Cordevigo.
When we return, I would like to take advantage of the grape to glass experience and see more of the vineyards. Paolo’s passion is wine, his knowledge is incredibly vast, and he is very excited to share that with guests.
Villa Cordevigo Restaurants
Villa Cordevigo offers two restaurants on-site, Bistro Cordevigo and Oseleta, a Michelin star restaurant. I booked the bistro for our first night because we didn’t know how tired we would be after starting our day at 4:00am. We enjoyed it so much that we booked it again for our last night at the resort. We skipped Oseleta restaurant, the Michelin starred restaurant led by Chef Marco Marras. That was probably a mistake, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the veal and chestnut pasta at the bistro.
We were the only guests at Bistro Cordevigo on our first night, but the staff didn’t treat us any differently. I dare say they went above and beyond to ensure that we had an excellent meal. We ordered the veal and Monte Veronese cheese tortello and the double-yolk taglietelle with winter truffle and porcini mushrooms as our first courses. They were both exceptional. They were so exceptional that we ordered them again on our second night. (Don’t judge.)
For our second course, I ordered the braised beef cheek and Tom ordered a pizza. While the margarita was the only pizza on the menu, the waiter insisted on trying to do something special for Tom. Tom asked for picante spinata (spicy salumi), and his pizza turned out perfect. The real star of the secondi was the braised beef cheek though. You could cut it with a fork, it was so tender. We loved it so much that we both ordered that on our second night.
For dessert, I ordered the apple tart with cypress ice cream. The wine list for both restaurants is extensive. Everything we tried was incredible. They have several wines by the glass, so you can switch between courses. After our wine tastings with Paolo, we felt more comfortable ordering wine that paired well with our food. The staff makes great recommendations as well.
One of the things that we’ve gotten better at doing is enjoying apertivo, especially at our hotel. This was a big thing when we went to the Conti in April. We were determined to enjoy at Bar Fiordilej, too. Each evening, we headed down to the hotel bar for apertivo before dinner. I would have a Hugo, and Tom would have a glass of wine. Our drinks were served with snacks, and it was a great way to open our appetite before dinner.
We also did a great job of heading down to the bar to work in the afternoon. We would open our laptops, order a drink and take advantage of the quiet to get work done. (Drinks make data entry much more enjoyable!) The bar staff was very friendly and didn’t seem to mind. Since it was winter, we opted to sit inside, but there are some lovely tables that overlook the garden. They also face west if you wanted to enjoy the sunset. I caught a few of the last moments of sunset from our room one night, and the sky looked stunning. I wouldn’t miss it, especially if you are there during the warmer months.
Our room rate included breakfast, and it is served in the same restaurant as the bistro. We only took advantage of it once during our stay, as we were often too full from dinner. The international breakfast included a selection of cold items, as well as a few made-to-order items that were included. More upscale items, such as eggs benedict, did incur an additional charge. (it is clearly stated on a menu at your table.) We opted for fresh scrambled eggs and sausage, as well as a selection of meats and cheeses. The prosciutto was probably the most delicate and the most flavorful I’ve ever had. I loved it. The cheese included a lactose-fee option, which tasted the same as some of the other Veronese cheeses we’ve tasted.
The buffet had beautiful, seasonal fruit and fresh pastries, including pain et chocolat, cornetto, and muffins. You could also opt for cereal or granola, if that is more your speed. Beverages included fresh juices, tea and coffee, and water. I also saw a bottle of prosecco, so you could make a mimosa if you wanted one.
Honestly, we were so impressed by the quality of the food at the resort. We didn’t feel the need to leave the resort at all. If I could do anything different, I would have made a reservation at Oseleta, instead of opting for a picnic in our room. But, we had some stuff that we had to get done that day. Tradeoffs of travel sometimes.
Getting to Villa Cordevigo
Hopefully this has convinced you to visit Villa Cordevigo as part of your trip to the Veneto region of Italy. It’s off the beaten path, but not too far that it’s overly difficult to get to. It’s the perfect place to pair with a visit to Venice or a trip to Emilia Romagna. We flew into Bologna, picked up a car, and drove about an hour and a half to the resort.
After leaving Villa Cordevigo, we drove to Verona for a couple days before heading to Venice for Christmas again. We dropped off the car the airport and headed to the Hyatt Centric Murano. You could also take a train to Verona and pick up a car there; it’s only a 30 minute drive. (The resort offers pick up options as well.)
Other airport options, depending on where you are flying from, could include Verona, Padua, Bologna, Venice, or Treviso. None are more than a 2 hour drive from the Villa Cordevigo, and I assure you, it is worth a few days. You won’t be disappointed.