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Connected holidays

Two writers go on bonding countryside breaks in Italy and France – with and without children – in the hope of experiencing togetherness as a couple and as a family


Caroline Sylger Jones and her husband, Tom, leave their daughter with the grandparents to spend quality time together at the Lefay resort and spa in Italy

LEFAY, WHICH MEANS ‘the fairy’ in Celtic mythology, is a family-owned resort and spa that sits on a hilltop 20 minutes’ drive from Gargnano on the shores of Lake Garda. My husband, Tom, and I have chosen it for a five-night wellbeing break to relax together and reconnect, leaving our eight-year-old daughter in the loving arms of her grandparents back home. As we haven’t been away without her for years, we’re determined to make every minute count. On our early evening arrival, we are taken straight to La Luna Nel Lago – a private salt lake at the spa – where we strip off and float naked in the liquid heat, a lilac moon above us. It prepares us nicely for a celebratory dinner, where we sup on homemade ravioli and a sustainably caught fish of the day cooked in seafood broth with capers and lemon.

“We find ourselves delving deeper into blue-sky life, planning as we both truly relax”

Water of life

Next morning, we’re in hot water again, this time the huge outdoor hydrotherapy pool, chatting as we watch the glittering expanse of Lake Garda below us with a backdrop of gentle hills and natural terraces scattered with olive trees, Italianate churches and yellow and pink houses. After breakfast, we make our way to Il Giardino Energetico Terapeutico, Lefay’s extensive therapeutic garden set in 11 hectares of grounds, designed to remind guests of the four stages and seasons of life, from birth to death; spring to winter. It’s fun to find our way around, and we connect most deeply at La Tigre Bianca, ‘the white tiger’ – a calming grassy area designed to represent autumn and the start of meditation and maturity. It’s a place we revisit every day during our stay, come rain or shine.

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