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Independent Minds: Alcide Leali, Lefay Resorts

Developing a unique “green identity” means creating a concept “for a few people which will benefit everyone,” according to Alcide Leali, CEO of the wellness-forward Lefay Resorts & Residences. Both carbon neutral properties in Lake Garda and the Dolomites were recognised with our Stay Small, Stay Considerate title at this year’s SLH Awards, with Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda winning the prestigious Hotel of the Year. And the eco-credentials do not stop there…inheriting his sense of harmony with the environment from his trailblazing parents after their successful venture with Air Dolomiti, Alcide knows what it means to be green on the inside and out.

The Lefay wellness experience is driven by innovative methods created by its own Scientific Committee, blending Eastern medicine with Western research. Nurturing an outstanding outlook that “personal wellness should never overlook environmental wellness”, the Lefay brand philosophy always keeps its natural surroundings front of mind. Preserving the pristine settings of the Italian lakes and mountains for future generations is close to Alcide’s heart and his family’s vision, which will soon extend to the rolling hills and forests of Tuscany, with plans to open a third resort alongside Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda and Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti. Watch this eco-friendly space…

What does being ‘Independently Minded’ as an hotel owner mean to you?

Lefay Resorts & Residences is a family owned group. This has allowed us to design our brand identity in a completely independent way, following our own vision and mission and creating a completely unique concept based on new luxury, sustainability and holistic wellness. The Lefay experience is primarily based on environmental respect and on an innovative wellness method created by our Scientific Committee: two features which are not reproducible and that are intrinsically part of our company, in every step we take. Lastly, the Lefay wellness holiday excellence is based on a series of standards that we have set according to our personality and practices, a choice that enables us to always be free-spirited without any restrictions from third parties.

What was the inspiration behind the hotels, and where do you continue to find sources of inspiration?

Wellness, green identity and Italian lifestyle are the main drives of my family inspirational vision. After the successful venture with Air Dolomiti, my parents felt that the world was changing, and that being in complete harmony with ourselves and with the territory would become an urgent need in contemporary society. This was just before 2006, and their approach was definitely forward-thinking for the time.

These concepts are cemented in each aspect of a Lefay stay; in the bio-architecture of our properties, respecting the principles of landscape integration and using local, natural materials; in the innovative and exclusive Lefay SPA Method, an unprecedented wellness philosophy combining Classical Chinese Medicine and Western Research; in the vital Mediterranean cuisine, prioritising the health aspects of food and in the Italian spirit enveloping everything.

How do you think your hotels stand apart from other boutique hotels?

Innovation, nature and a unique wellness method are the principles of the Lefay wellness philosophy, blending together east and west to recover inner harmony. We believe that exclusivity means doing what no one else has yet thought of, investing in the present and the future, creating something for a select few that benefits everyone. The Lefay SPA Method is an innovative wellness philosophy born from the studies carried out by a pool of medical experts in various holistic disciplines, which grew over time thanks to a well-established wellness hospitality experience and a highly skilled, internally trained staff – this is something which cannot be easily replaced, as opposed to beautiful luxury properties in beautiful locations (there are plenty of them worldwide). Such a professional estate is the result of years of striving for excellence.

How would you describe your own perfect luxury experience?

Luxury to me means time, space, and silence. It means feeling totally comfortable. Above all, I am pleasantly surprised when people bring my requests forward: they already know what I need before I even know that I need something myself. Probably I would have realised what I needed afterwards, while they ask me something I might like later. In other words, when everything goes smoothly…

If you only had 24 hours to get a taste for your hotel experience, what would you recommend a guest must do?

Waking up means opening your eyes in one of our Suites in complete harmony with nature – a wide space furnished with natural local materials, where light and the surrounding landscape awaken your senses. The first thing you might want to experience is our fitness centre, which features the latest Technogym equipment and beautiful views. When you are done, help yourself to a vital gourmet breakfast, offering the freshest seasonal produce.

Next, spend your day enjoying the nature around you and the intimate Lefay SPA world, where fire and water create a unique holistic atmosphere, the ideal setting to rediscover the most genuine emotions. Pamper yourself with one of our treatments, touching on meridians and energy points.

End your day with a special dinner and a moment for yourself – read your favourite book in our enchanting lounges or let your soul fly along to the sounds of soothing music.

Do you have a vision for the future of the hotels?

Actually, we have a vision for the whole Lefay Group on which we work every day. After the successful results obtained with Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda and the recent opening of Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti, the group aims to complete its Italian portfolio of three owned properties with a third resort in Tuscany. At the same time, the company is developing the fee-based business model, in search further opportunities abroad.