The final part of our series looking at European lakeside locations that offer rest and relaxation, sees Director editor, Lysanne Currie, sample the delights of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como
I had wanted to visit Lake Como for years but never quite made it. I used to daydream about cream-coloured villas, George Clooney zipping across the placid waters on his speedboat, and lazy lunches al fresco – and first impressions didn’t disappoint when, after an hour’s drive (in a hired Fiat 500, of course) from Milan Malpensa, we drew up in front of Como’s most palatial hotel.
We were only there for one night but any budget airline stress dissipated the moment we pulled up. Old-school glamour takes over the moment the uniform-clad valet takes your car keys and it’s not surprising – Greta Garbo used to stay in suite 113 (now named after her) and called the Tremezzo ‘that happy, sunny place’, while 2006’s Casino Royale was filmed there.
The hotel was built in 1910 on the west shore of Lake Como, just south of Bellagio, as a luxury escape for Italian urbanites. Over a century later it manages to keep its grand vibe – there’s a reading room in which newspapers are hung in wood presses from coat hooks and a billiards room – but it brings in a contemporary feel with the bright, candy-coloured furniture in the cocktail bar and warm, friendly staff.
But it’s the combination of the Tremezzo’s informal luxury with the majesty of the natural landscape that took my breath away when I stepped out onto the balcony of our room. The views are stunning – the little villages on the lake sparkled in the gentle Lombardian sunlight and the calm of the waters, combined with the protection offered by the mountains, allow even the most stressed weekender to relax.
Bedrooms are elegant and comfortable and there are 14 suites – rooftop suites all have outdoor Jacuzzis situated on a panoramic private terrace looking onto Lake Como. These terraces can be covered, creating a ‘sky bed’ so that guests can sleep outside and gaze at the stars.
The region is wonderful for wandering round, but if you’re there for a short recharge, don’t feel guilty about not moving from the hotel: there are three pools – the main one, Water on the Water, floats on the lake – along with vast gardens, and a floodlit tennis court overlooking Lake Como.
The restaurants are presided over by Gualtiero Marchesi, founder of modern Italian cuisine, and guests can choose from fine dining in La Terrazza, fondue and wine in the cave-located L’Escale bar, and pizza at the T Bar. Wandering, eating, relaxing, gazing at the mountains… think of it as honing your skill for what the Italians, and regulars to the Tremezzo, call ‘dolce far niente’ – the sweetness of doing nothing.
Getting to Grand Hotel Tremezzo
FlyBe flies direct from Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester to Milan Malpensa.
Accommodation at Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Prices at Grand Hotel Tremezzo start from €421 (£299) per room per night including tax.
More European lakeside locations
Part two: Lefay Resort and Spa on Lake Garda