Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Garden Spa walled gardens | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

Cloistral Calm

Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Miniamlist Hotel Interiors | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

Cloistral Calm

Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Wellness landscape and modernist design | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

Cloistral Calm

Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Original monastery flaking whote pain pre restoration - girl on a n old bed frame | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados
Monastero Arx Vivendi is a sanctum created for the modern pilgrims seeking solace in style


Monastero Arx Vivendi is a new style refuge of luxury set within thick sacral walls dating back to the 17th-century. Located in scenic Arco, sandwiched between the peaks of the mountain and the palms of Italy's Lake Garda, the hotel and spa hug a pared-back design of distilled sophistication. 

Once the home of devout Sisters, its aged cloistral heritage has been recast following an exacting narrative of preservation, reframing the monastic aesthetics for the modern nomad without corrupting the patina of austere beauty and timeworn touchpoints.  

Holding true to the ecclesiastical vernacular of vaulted architecture and sanctum of the walled convent gardens was charged to architectural studio noa* from Bolzano, aka Lukas Rungger and Stefan Rier. The duo are acclaimed hotel designers known for their innate tenet of spatial structure, strong sense of place and exacting purpose.

This style refuge was the perfect project for noa*, who effortlessly strive to 'build stories, not just houses'. The old monastery allowed them to tease out the character of its ancestry – the vaulted cloistered entrance hall is quite the wow-factor reception - whilst letting the minimalist wellness construction shine with their brand of sleek, holistic design.

The former and the new conjunction are in distinct contrast; yet share a familiar DNA of puritan whites, simple linear forms, bare timbers, and polished cement. The wellness resort, set within the original walls of the herb-scented monastery garden, sings from the minimalist hymn sheet with clean lines, glass frontages and pillared facades, while interiors build on the existing patina; bedrooms are a soothing palette of raincloud greys and creamy-whites, Terrazzo floorings, with those creature comforts of life, freestanding tubs and private saunas.

By looking at the project as a whole, the result is a hushed reverence that melds the two spaces in harmony, offering quiet yet sophisticated solace. But despite its monastic charm, Arx Vivendi – translating as 'the art of living well' - is not a place of devoutness, luckily succumbing to pleasure here is all too easy, with the Monastero bar dispensing cocktails and vino and chilled spa time in the 'secret garden' with its hammam, Finnish sauna and outdoor heated pool. 

Monastero Arx Vivendi is a sanctum created for the modern pilgrims seeking solace in style, we think our 17th century Sisters would be thoroughly content.

Suites & Rooms

Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Luxury modern accommodation | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

The domestic quarters of Monastero Arx Vivendi have been refreshed with a light touch restoration, where the 38 rooms and two suites, spread out over three floors, are the perfect melange of a monastic austere aestheticism and refined simplicity with a functionality of furnishings, again with the help of noa* architectural studio.  Using the original features as a starting point, the high ceilings give bedrooms a soaring airiness; while glazed loggias, robust wooden beams and original walls give character in droves. Bathrooms are spacious and luxe, many with free-standing marble tubs.

Although the rooms on the first floor are in fact the former residences of the nuns, fear not, you won’t find space or luxury compromised. By merging two cells into one, you lose the economical interior and gain a spacious bedroom with a large bathroom and dressing area. The ‘Lux’ rooms on the second floor are aptly named from Latin – meaning ‘light’ as they are flooded with brightness from a vast 35-metre skylight that covers the length of the building. The Loggia Suite comes with its balcony partially closed, making the curved windows part of the design. On the ground floor, the Hortus Suite is rather special with its own sauna and private garden.


Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Restaurant in minimalist hotel design | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

Taking breakfast under the vaulted arches of the monastery ground floor is certainly a relaxing way to start the day. Unlike the nuns who lived here in the 17th century, your repast will be as varied and wholesome as you would like. A market-style buffet is spread out along one end of the room, allowing you to graze at will. Fresh bread, Italian marmalades, sweet and savoury pastries and treats are tantalisingly on offer, and orders for eggs can be made any which way you prefer. 

There is no restaurant at Monastero Arx Vivendi so it’s an opportunity to take some local tips and stroll or bike down to Lake Garda for some lakeside dining. Before you go, have a cocktail or vino from the local vineyard at the Monastero Bar which opens out into the garden, perfect for an Aperitivo and something tasty from the finger food menu.


Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Spa and wellness interior design under vaulted ceilings of the convent | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

Taking inspiration from the monastery’s garden the spa was created with the former building’s modus operandi in mind – ‘Cura animae et cura corporis’ - to cure souls and bodies. An apt starting point, the modern construction of the spa is in juxtaposition to the 17th century monastery, yet the overarching sense of harmony bonds them together. The spa is characterized by seven cubes which consist entirely of glass and have large sliding doors, creating three green inner courtyards for shady chill time post treatment.

A holistic approach was taken for the spa concept, using the surrounding herbs, medicinal plants and pomegranate tree to create a treatment plan for facials and massages, and traditional monastic knowledge was applied to revitalising brush massages which uses a monastery brush (an ionized body brush made of horsehair and copper).

The hammam area adds an added dimension of relaxation to the spa, where the ambience is dedicated to purification and de-stressing of the body and mind. Follow the seven steps which include a steam bath, soaping with Savon Noir, a peel and head-to-toe clay application followed by an oil massage and we defy anyone not to be heaven-bound!

Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Spa Treatment Suites | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados


Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Woman in white sitting on an old window of the monastery pre restoration | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

Monastero Arx Vivendi is located in the heart of Arco, just 4 km from the shores of Lake Garda which is easily accessible by bike route. The hotel can arrange a bike for your stay so you can meander at your own speed. Make time to explore Lake Garda and its spa towns of Sirmione and Bardolino, either by boat or drive. Discover lush vineyards or stop at vantage points for espresso or prosecco.

Arco itself, set on the southernmost point of Trentino-Alto Adige, has a history of wellbeing yet its medieval castle ruins, hilltop convents, interesting Austrian architecture and distinctive sentry-like limestone cliffs makes it an attractive place to relax for a few days. The nearest airports to Arco are Verona and Bolzano, just a 75-minute transfer away.


Hosts Steffi and Manuel are the convivial welcome team at Monastero Arx Vivendi and their aim is that you enjoy the calm, peaceful atmosphere away from the chaos of life and leave with your joy de Vivre fully charged.

Originally from South Tyrol, owning a monastery in Italy was never part of the master plan but the pressures of their commercial professions with family life in Zurich allowed them to re-evaluate what was important to them. After a heart-to-heart with Steffi’s entrepreneurial father, Steffi’s realised that she was looking for an alternative way of life – she dreamed of owning a small Bed and Breakfast with a yoga studio. But when Steffi’s dad showed her and Manuel the crumbling, atmospheric Arx Vivendi in Arco, it was love at first sight, and the start of their restoration journey.

Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel | Owners Steffi and Manuel | Architects: noa* | Lake Garda, Arco Trentino, Italy | The Aficionados

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