The Villa d’Este has been a luxury hotel since the nineteenth century, and delighted Victorians with the same natural inducements that draw worldwide travelers today. Hailed as one of the best hotels in the world, this grandeur and magical resort destination has been widely praised for it’s beautiful gardens, exquisite cuisine, gala celebrations, impeccable decor and extraordinary hospitality.
After returning from my second trip to this marvelous place, I wanted to share my experience with you. It is one of my favorite destinations in the world, and I highly recommend that if you ever have the opportunity to visit, you do.
To give you a little background, the Villa d’Este was built as a private home in 1568 and has been considered a marvel ever since. Before opening as a hotel, centuries of visitors came to admire the mansion’s architecture and the deep blue lake in which it sits. The Italian lake is a hybrid of sensual southern European living and Alpine elegance. Also known as la dolce vita.
The hotel is about an hour or so drive from Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Upon arrival, you are welcomed with old world hospitality and led into the gorgeous lobby full of chandeliers, marble columns, fresh flowers, stunning views of the lake, and a pair of staircases worthy of a royal entrance. Once checked in, you are escorted upstairs through hallways full of portraits and sculptures, to rooms with high windows and a complimentary basket of fresh fruit. The bedrooms are all of different sizes and configurations and each is tastefully decorated with grand, antique furnishings. If you can wait (it's hard to), take a shower or bath - in the luxurious bathroom - and change your clothes, and head out to wander around and explore the luscious and impeccable property (you will never find even pebble out of place!).
The stunning and iconic gardens are dominated by a beautiful mosaic nymphaeum. It's breathtaking. Just a short walk up the hill, you can find lovely, old-word statues and a jogging (or walking) trail, which leads you through castle remains that offer marvelous, aerial views of the lake. But, the beautiful features don’t stop there. A fabulous floating swimming pool and jacuzzi, lined with deck chairs, is positioned within the lake itself. It's great for sunbathing or taking a dip during the hot summer months. Furthermore, you can utilize the bordering dock to take a swim/jump in the lake, to go paddle boarding, or rent a boat to cruise around in. If you’ve had too much sun, or are looking to get a workout in, you can use the indoor amenities which include a spa, gym, indoor pool and virtual golf.
The heart of the property is the terrace, which faces the lake and green mountains on the other side. In the morning, this is where you can enjoy an indulgent breakfast (hot drinks, freshly pressed juices, pastries, fruit, etc.), and, during the day, it is beautifully calm with chairs and tables to relax and grab a small bite to eat, read a book, unwind, etc. In the evening, you will see waiters bringing cocktails and small snacks over to guests in formalwear while a pianist plays beautiful background music. The picturesque patio is romantic, peaceful and positively stunning.
Following aperitivo, you can enjoy a meal at one of the hotel’s restaurants - the Michelin-starred Veranda or the Grill, which is less formal. You can’t go wrong with either option! The food is incredible, the service is superb and the atmosphere is undoubtedly gorgeous. That's true Villa d'Este form.
If you wish to leave the property, there are many charming restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. But, I’ll save those, as well as, other Lake Como excursions for another article.
Below are some photos from my trip. Ciao!
So next time you're in the area, head in and make your debut to see what you discover!
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