Walk through the door of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and you leave the 21st century behind you.
Harking back to a bygone era, this hotel shrouded in beauty and rustic romance sits proudly in Bellagio on Italy’s Lake Como. Built as a holiday villa for an aristocratic Milanese family in the mid-19th century the neoclassical building opened as a hotel in 1873.
|Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Lake Como|
Murano chandeliers, ceilings embellished with frescoes, marble columns and staircases as well as numerous examples of trompe l’oeil give you a flavour of what it would be like to peel back the centuries.
If you want to leave the rat race behind and enjoy a languid pace of life in the Italian sun you should check into the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. It is the perfect retreat for five-star R&R.
There are 95 rooms and suites, all different sizes and styled classically. My spacious room, decked out lavishly and resolutely traditional, was discreetly layered with essential modern sophistications. Despite it being grand this family-owned hotel has a warm and homely feel to it.
The staff are friendly and the service is impeccable. There is a personal touch which so many establishments in this day and age seem to have forgotten. This luxury hotel understands its clientele.
Breakfast is served in an elaborate mirrored room adorned with gold leaf that could have jumped out straight from a set of the TV series Versailles. It is a wonderful way to start the day!
If a restaurant having a Michelin star is what you hanker for on holiday, you can try out the Mistral where live music serenades you. I love Mediterranean cuisine so I plumped for La Goletta, which is less formal.
Sitting outside by the lake watching the sun retire for the day, the lights twinkling on the mountains that tower above the lake, had me entranced.
The food equalled the setting. The kitchen insists on using good quality produce and this came through with every mouthful. I started with the octopus salad with dried tomatoes and black olives which was delicious. To follow I chose the grilled mixed lake and sea fish accompanied by mixed vegetables that went down a treat.
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has an impressive wine list. Staying in a hotel of this stature you would expect the hotel to serve up a good house wine and I was not disappointed. I had a glass of prosecco, which was not at all sweet as some can be, as an aperitif and a glass of rosé with my meal. Both excellent.
Not to have ice cream in Italy would be sacrilege so I indulged in vanilla and chocolate with a scoop of mango sorbet. If only I could always eat out so well!
As my stay in Bellagio was short I did not have enough time to make the most of the hotel’s spa and indoor and outdoor pools. Lake Como and its pretty towns were calling out and they won.
Having to say good-bye to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni was sad. I could have stayed at this grande-dame for ever!
By Daralyn Danns
British Airways flies to Milan (Malpensa Airport) from £45 each way. Visit britishairways.com to book and for the cheapest rates
Take a short train ride from Milan to Como (for times visit trenitalia.com) and take either the slow boat (2 hours) to Bellagio or the hydrofoil (1 hour). Alternatively, take a train to Varenna and take the ferry from there
For more information about the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and for best rates visit villaserbelloni.com
For tourist information about Lake Como visit lakecomo.it
Or call IAT in Como phone 031/269712 firstname.lastname@example.org , Bellagio 031/950204 email@example.com (You can also visit Promobellagio’s website bellagiolakecomo.com) and Menaggio phone 0344/32924 firstname.lastname@example.org