Lake Como is undoubtedly the most famous of all the Italian lakes, and probably thanks to a certain espresso swigging silver fox who goes by the name of George Clooney. He has put Como on the map for Americans, making it much more popular with our neighbours from across the Atlantic than it’s equally pretty counterpart Lake Garda. And sticking with a Hollywood theme, the area feels like it might suffer from a reputation that could be hard to keep – its villas and verandas have been the filming locations for everything from Star Wars to James Bond; and while it could teeter on Disney-esque, Como has reigned itself in just the right amount to feel bonafide. The mountain’s steep slopes veer in to crystal calm waters, dotted with white, pink and yellow 18th century palazzos, each grander than the last. It feels untouched, unspoilt and very, very beautiful.
But, if you want to live the full fantasy of Italian movie star glamour, the only place to be seen is the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. With a look straight from the pages of a Wes Anderson storyboard, it’s tall yellow façade with orange canopies, and bold graphic painted sign that looks like its faced out over the lake existing from a bygone era of luxury travel of steam trains and leather trunks (It has been a must stop on the tour of elite Euro-travellers since opening in 1910).
Inside, the hotel feels sumptuous yet modern – a traditional bar has been given licks of candy-colour in bright velvets and the lobby is filled with fresh roses that float in tall vases. A huge help-yourself pick ‘n’ mix selection of sweets in glass jars on an Italian antique Baroque desk is also there to delight the inner child. Rooms face either the lake, or the gardens behind the hotel, where bright and aromatic flowers line walkways that one could spend hours idling along.
There are enough swimming pools to keep you going – from an infinity pool next to a pizzeria in the rear gardens with mountain top views, and an indoor/outdoor spa pool and jacuzzi terrace, to the piece de resistance, the mountain glacier water filled pool that floats in the very lake itself, accessible down two wooden walkways that has its own beach, bistro and bar. There are also tennis lawns, hiking trails, a five star spa and gym, a snooker room, and a variety of restaurants to indulge in from cheese and wine fondues lakeside, to the finest Italian pasta on the veranda, each stocked from the fine cellar full of vintages. The hotel even has its own vintage traditional dark wood speed boat to whisk you away on day trips, visiting the lake’s towns for shopping, museums and gardens.
The hotel offers some of the best service we have come across – from the second you step in to the ground level lift and are whisked in to the foyer, you feel a part of the family – and part of Tremezzo’s story. It’s pure elegance in the highest of taste, in the country that does refined glamour like no one else. A stay at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo will leave you feeling like Hollywood royalty.
Grand Hotel Tramezzo, Via Regina 8, 22019, Tramezzo, Lake di Como, Italy