Almost in countryside, yet close to the centre of Merano, standing in apple orchards, the pale yellow Villa Tivoli is surrounded by an exquisite terraced garden filled with over 2,000 different plants. Inside all is cool and chic, spacious and light, yet not intimidating. The ground floor is open-plan, with a glass-walled dining room; over the bar an extraordinary contemporary fresco of many-breasted Artemis, a recurring theme in the hotel. Another corner holds a sitting area, elegantly furnished with antiques and there is a traditional wood-panelled Tyrolean stube. Outside, a terrace with tables shaded by yellow umbrellas, as well as a new rock-lagoon surrounded by cypress and stone, and in the basement, a pool room with gaily painted walls.
Bedrooms, named after Mediterranean flowers, are all different, all comfortable, with south-facing balconies. Some are huge, with separate sitting areas; some are furnished with antiques, others are very contemporary. Bathrooms are large, with double basins. Our reporter was hooked: 'Smart but relaxed; staff warm and welcoming, owners genuinely friendly and aiming to please; mountainous breakfast buffet, designed to see you through till evening, and a delicious dinner (half board includes five courses) with excellent local wines.'