Located about one hour by car from Milan's Malpensa Airport, sits one of the most majestic hotel properties I've had the privilege to stay. Villa d'Este sits on Lake Como as the Grande Dame of hotels. With its 16th century history and all the grandeur that evokes, this hotel is a must for your Bucket List. It has been host to royalty, aristocrats and stars of stage and screen. The hotel roster lists notables such as Mark Twain, Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcok and Clark Gable to Madonna and Ralph Lauren.
The rooms are filled with period furnishings and the general feel from the lobby to all of the public areas is of opulence and splendor.
I thoroughly enjoyed lounging in the floating pool – it sits in the lake and often when boats go by, you will find yourself undulating with the waves – it's the ultimate water bed!
Then there are the gardens filled with the most beautiful trees and flowers, along with the chef's garden where your meals will be prepared with the freshest herbs and ingredients. They serve a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning. Lunch and dinner is also served on the property overlooking the gardens and lake – really breathtaking.
Also on the grounds, you will find a Spa, Beauty Center and Sports Club along with Squash and Tennis courts. I walked in the gardens and surrounding areas each day to take in the magnificent views of Lake Como and nearby communities – be sure to take your camera.
The staff, as you can imagine, is superb and can arrange golf outings, boat trips and other excursions. You are merely 5 minutes from the Swiss border, so be sure and get on the train to Switzerland.
You are also just a short distance form the town of Como, the home of silk, so hop a water taxi and enjoy the luxury of buying scarves and ties where the top designers go. Be sure and visit the Educational Silk Museum. While there, get on board the Brunate Funicular Railway from Como (about 5 Euros) which takes you 2,200 feet above the Lake – the views are spectacular!
Back at the hotel, you can unwind and sip cocktails out on the Veranda and listen to the music coming from the Piano Bar. As if all this was not enough, if you look out in either direction, you might spot a familiar face like George Clooney – just saying!
It's not inexpensive, but it's definitely worth the splurge.
Website: Villa d'Este
April 24, 2013