Magical waterfront villas, sparkling blue waters and unspoiled forests and mountains make Lake Como in Lombardy an unforgettable part of Italy to visit. Many of these hotels are family-fun and boutique in beautiful villages at different points along the shore, from Bellagio, where the lake splits in two, to gorgeous Gravedona at the northern end and Laglio in the south, where George Clooney has a villa.
Keen that guests get the most out of a visit to this part of Italy, Hotel Borgo Antico publishes four PDF guides focusing on different aspects of Lake Como — locations that appear in films; golfing destinations; waterfront gardens and food and drink. As a base from which to explore, it offers 27 elegantly understated rooms in a traditional townhouse in Como itself, a 10-minute walk from the old town and the lake’s shoreline. A light continental breakfast is included in the nightly fee and the neighbouring Pizzeria Borgovico is excellent.
The intimate, luxurious Casa Santo Stefano is situated in the town of Cernobbio on Lake Como’s western shoreline. Its four suites combine rustic charm with Italian chic and all have generously proportioned living rooms and terraces overlooking either the lake and Como itself, or the hotel’s manicured gardens and pool. You mustn’t leave Cernobbio without dining at Materia, a creative new restaurant that cultivates weird and wonderful herbs in its own greenhouse and sources wines from Italy’s best small winemakers. Casa Isola, Santo Stefano’s sister property, is located a half-hour drive north.
Wine enthusiasts and foodies won’t do better than Villa Mojana, a collection of upscale, lakeview suites near the village of Bellagio, at the point where Como splits in two. Attached to the villa is the privately-owned Cantine Radino winery, whose seven offerings can be sampled on a romantic terrace overlooking the lake. Breakfast and light bites focus on quality local produce such as honey, jams, cheeses and hams, and cooking courses are held in the ground-floor kitchen. Relaxation spaces comprise a heated outdoor pool and a green space with sun loungers, both with unbroken lake views.
Luxury accommodations in the heart of Como’s old town don’t come much more personal than at Palazzo Albricci Peregrini. Owned and run by husband and wife team Max and Lidia and their son and daughter, it offers accommodations that marry sharp contemporary design with touched-up original features such as fireplaces and wooden beams, centring around a romantic garden. This is where the family serve their legendary breakfast every morning, amid flowers and candles and to a soothing soundtrack. The lake’s southern shores are a 10-minute walk away.
Sporty types will love the Filario, a hotel and apartment complex in the town of Lezzeno, on Lake Como’s western arm. Staff can arrange activities such as waterskiing, kayaking and wakeboarding, or hire you a boat if you want to go speeding about by yourself. All accommodations, whether elegant hotel suites or posh apartments in the gardens, have access to an infinity pool, a classy restaurant and a private beach with a bar serving cocktails and gourmet pizza.
Domus Plinii 1792 Suites is housed in a lakeside mansion in the municipality of Faggeto Lario dating from 1792. Acclaimed local chef Luca Robledo oversees a five-star culinary offering that includes smoked fillets of lake-fresh fish, in-suite tasting experiences, cooking classes and demonstrations. All 12 garden or lake-view suites were redesigned in 2018 by a team of leading Milanese architects, including a former director at Italy’s Vogue. You can bathe at the private beach or in the pool, which is surrounded by formal Italian gardens and ancient trees.
Situated in Laglio, where George Clooney owns a villa, Villa Regina Teodolinda takes its name from Queen Teodolinda of Italy, who lived here from 589 to 616CE. In the late 1800s, it became a fashionable country hangout for the Milanese elite. Nowadays, six renovated suites showcase the sparse elegance of the former Queen’s digs, and offer views out over the lake and the villa’s traditional courtyard, where the fragrant foliage has been decorated with hundreds of lights. Guests have direct access to Como from a private pier, on-site parking and can rent canoes from reception.
In the village of Bellagio, at the meeting point of Lake Como’s eastern and western arms, the two-star Hotel Bellagio has been owned and run by the Leoni family for three generations. It offers 29 bright rooms filled with light from the lake, some of which have balconies looking out over the water. The central piazza is connected directly to the hotel by one of the winding, cobbled lanes for which the village is famous, and the ferry stop is right opposite. Don’t miss the gardens of the Villa Melzi D’Eril.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo is housed in a beautiful palace on the waterfront in Tremezzina, on the western side of Lake Como. It boasts a wonderful spa as well as an excellent restaurant named La Terrazza, which, as the name suggests, features a terrace overlooking the lake. The restaurant honours the legacy of the masterful Gualtiero Marchesi, one of the most renowned chefs in Italy, through the creations of executive chef Osvaldo Presazzi.
Established in 1880 as a family-run hotel and passed down from one generation of mother and daughter to the next, Hotel Belvedere Bellagio is a lakeside retreat where any guest will be treated like a member of the family. Located in Bellagio, a village in the province of Como which stands at the centre of the lake where the two southern branches divide, this is the ideal place for a holiday of pampering, relaxation and comfort.
An agriturismo is generally a restaurant which offers traditional local food made with the freshest ingredients and friendly service. In some cases, it may offer hospitality to tourists or those who happen to be in the area and are looking for a cheap place to stay overnight. Agriturismo Il Talento nella Quiete, Italian for ‘the Talent in the Calm’, was opened by Milena and Fabio in 1999 and was intended as a place of refreshment for those trekking or climbing in the area of Como.
CastaDiva Resort & Spa is a place where luxury and nature meet amid wonderful villas and green lakeside expanses. A romantic place for couples, each and every guest will be able to enjoy the perfect location and the excellent spa treatments. CastaDiva Resort offers 73 suites and rooms, each with a different style and layout, as well as two private villas for those looking for an extra-special holiday.
An authentic beach hotel on the waterfront, Hotel Regina boasts a swimming pool directly on the lake and is close to the centre of Gravedona at the northern end of Lake Como, which allows you to enjoy lake life while at the same time being able to appreciate the cultural side of the area. A family-run hotel, Hotel Regina will embrace any guest with an affection that is typical of Italian hospitality.
An opulent palace on the waterfront with ample greenery surrounding its wonderful buildings, Villa d’Este is a five-star hotel with elegant decor and first-class service. The hotel guarantees an unforgettable holiday marked by luxury and refinement, with a property that offers tennis courts, a sports area and a floating pool on the lake, as well as a marina and enchanting gardens.
Hotel La Perla is located in Tremezzina on the western side of the lake and is housed in a beautiful villa in the hills. Formerly a summer residence, the building was constructed in 1962 for the family of a wealthy silk manufacturer from Como. In 1980, it was transformed into a hotel with an enchanting view of the area. You have rooms with either a view of the lake or the pretty garden, as well as suites for those who are up for a special treat.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Luca Pinelli.
These recommendations were updated on September 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.