Villa D’Este is a legendary property on the shores of Lake Como – located just a stone’s throw from the village of Como. Sitting directly on the lake and on 25 acres of gardens and land that is landscaped to perfection, this hotel is a sanctuary of beauty and luxury that has the ability to redefine the meaning of the two words.
The hotel was built in 1568 as a private residence and has been operating as a hotel since the late 1800s. Offering 152 stunning rooms and suites – this property has a firm grasp of hospitality, and compromises nothing for their guests’ desires. Inside the park-like setting, you can truly disconnect while immersing yourself in an aura of unparalleled service that is sometimes hard to find in travel.
Walking through the hotel, including the rooms, is like stepping back in time to a bygone era where grace and gentility reign supreme. The palatial surroundings are littered with art from various periods – including biblical and renaissance paintings. Marble statues flank stairwells and suites are adorned with antique furnishings painstakingly restored from the period.
Stepping-out of the hotel and onto the lakefront, you can’t help but notice lilacs dripping from gazebos around the pool area and a pathway leading to the impressive marble mosaic walls of the gardens. The 16th century Nympheum is stunning, and water cascades down the hill from the upper gardens. Any lover of botany will be in heaven as blooms of camellia, hydrangea, roses, jasmine and azaleas peek through. Pine and cypress trees stand tall at the edges of the property – as they have for centuries.
Villa D’Este is stately and formal, yet retains a comfortable atmosphere. The service is stellar and the hotel offers much to experience on-site. You can exercise in the large gym, swim in the pool, sip coffee on the lake, take-in an incredible massage at the gorgeous spa or meet friends for lunch at the pool bar or grill. Their spa offers a curated list of facial and body treatments – as well as a sauna a Turkish bath. Sport lovers can indulge in waterskiing, golf, squash, tennis, windsurfing and jogging through the property’s trails.
My personal favorite part of the hotel is the food. Like an orchestra, the kitchens here are organized and executed to within an inch of their existence, parading endless dishes in and out to the varying dining spots on-property. I toured the kitchen and met with many of the team members – I don’t think I have been so impressed with a hotel’s culinary operation in my life. In fact, dinner at the beautiful lakefront Veranda restaurant is a “must” for their regional Italian cuisine.
Quite simply stated, Villa D’Este is the best. It has the reputation of being so internationally, but, as a recent guest, I can assure you it lives up to the fairytale.