It is 150 kilometers from Tbilisi to Kvareli in the Kakheti wine region and worth even walking each kilometer to enjoy the natural beauty and fresh air of one of the best new resorts in Georgia – the Kvareli Lake Resort.
Opened in September 2010, the resort features a small but very impressive hotel with panoramic views of the lake and the vast Alasani valley. Surrounded by a virgin forest, the resort is easily accessed by an asphalt-paved road which is well-lit at night. Walking along this forest road is especially pleasant in the evening when breezes from the Kvareli mountain cool the area.
All hotel rooms - 16 standard rooms (GEL 180) and three suites (GEL 200) – are modern and comfortably appointed with king-size beds and private tiled baths. Each room features a small terrace with a view of either the lake or valley. Flat-screen TV, mini-bar, WiFi and 24-hour room service are standard amenities. Recreational activities include fishing, hiking, jogging, badminton and other leisure activities. Boats, water bikes, mountain and utility bicycles are all available for on-site rental. For families, there is a children’s playground and even outdoor cooking facilities. Guests can sunbath beside an open swimming pool on the third floor of the hotel or enjoy drinks and panoramic views from the terrace-bar there.
The hotel also has conference facilities and a helipad. For group retreats or conferences, the hotel can organize, upon request, feasts in the “Garden” of the Kvareli Lake Resort - a small guesthouse and catering facility located 12 kilometers from the main hotel.
Those who have fled the urban environment only briefly may not have any desire to leave the resort compound, especially given its range of sports and recreational possibilities. However, longer-stay guests may wish to venture beyond the hotel territory to explore the surrounding environs.
Kvareli is the home of the renowned Kindzmarauli wine. Kindsmarauli Marani (Kindsmarauli Wine Cellar) is the largest wine factory in the village of Gavazi, located just three kilometers away. You can arrange a prepaid visit to the Kindsmarauli Wine Cellar (www.kmwine.ge; Tel: 2 91 73 37) or plan a regional wine tour online at www.winetours.ge. The Kindsmarauli cellar features one of the world’s most voluminous wine cellars – a two-kilometer-long tunnel with a stable year-round temperature of 140C. The tunnel has been under reconstruction; it is therefore recommended that visitors inquire beforehand with the hotel staff or tour agent before heading for the cellar.
Kvareli Fortress (XVI-XVIII cc), located in the center of town, is one of the best-preserved architectural monuments of the Medieval Ages. Nearby, you can also visit the separate house museums of revered Georgian writer and public figure Ilia Chavchavadze (at 2 Rustaveli Street) and famous Georgian stage director Kote Marjanishvili (at 24 K. Marjanishvili Street, open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The Kote Marjanishvili house museum features a Nineteenth-Century traditional Kakhetian wine cellar on the ground floor; a new exposition on the first floor displays billboards of performances staged by the famed director, along with his personal items and various sketches and designs by noted Twentieth-Century Georgian theatre painters Irakli Gamrekeli and Petre Otskheli.
Those willing to travel a little farther may want to visit Gremi, ancient capital of the Kingdom of Kakheti which prospered from 1466 until 1762. Here stands the Sixteenth-Century architectural monument Gremi – the royal castle and the Church of the Archangels built by King Levan of Kakheti – which survived the 1616 invasion by armies of Shah Abbas I of Persia.
On the way back to the Kvareli Lake Resort, stop off at the Nekresi village and visit one of the oldest churches of Georgia – the Nekresi Church, established in the Fourth Century by one of the Assyrian fathers, Abibus. From Nekresi, you can also enjoy one of most spectacular panoramic views of the Alasani Valley.
The lodging cost at the Kvareli Lake Resort includes three meals a day, served buffet-style. Tables are also installed on the terrace at the bank of the Kvareli Lake, where you can enjoy a magnificent sunset view of the southern range of the Caucasus Mountains. The wine menu is diverse with selections to satisfy a range of tastes. Unfortunately, the food menu and quality leave a lot to be desired with few buffet choices besides salads saturated with mayonnaise and pasta saturated with fat. An a la carte menu is also offered, but we failed to find anything better there. The food is the one disappointing detail that undermines the otherwise very pleasant environment of the Kvareli Lake Resort.