Voted by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top 50 hotels in Italy, the five-star Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is a feast for the senses. Surrounded by the panoramic vistas of Lake Como, along with beautifully manicured Italian-style gardens, the prestigious hotel is a lakeside sanctuary.
Originally built in 1850 as a holiday villa for an aristocratic family from Milan, the property was opened as a hotel in 1873. With fresco-painted ceilings, gilt-framed art and marble staircases, its Neoclassical style has been impeccably maintained. Open April through November, the hotel is an incredible destination for families who want luxury and pampering.
Ideally placed in Lake Como’s most desirable town, Bellagio, the villa sits perched on the shore overlooking the center of the lake where it splits into two branches. The charming village of Bellagio offers an exquisite shopping experience and excellent dining options. This central location offers easy access to all of the lake’s most picturesque towns.
The villa houses 95 rooms and suites with spectacular views of the lake or the gardens. From the Classic Double to the Senior Suite, there are multiple possibilities suitable for families. The hotel allows for adding a third bed to the Deluxe Double room and a fourth bed to the Executive Double and Senior Suites. The linens are of the finest quality and the spacious, luxurious bathrooms leave you wanting for nothing.
The hotel provides indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, tennis courts and the Beauty Farm Spa, with full beauty treatments, sauna and steam bath. The spa is open from April to October, 9a to 7p daily. With Pilates sessions offered in the gym, you can keep up your exercise routine while traveling. One of the most exciting amenities for kids is the cave-like pool area, which includes a slide. There’s plenty of room to play and swim without the feeling of disturbing the other guests in the adjoining lap pool.
Set back along the peaceful trails of the gardens is a playground with spectacular lake views for mom and dad as the kids let out their energy. With swings, slides and a climbing house, there is plenty to keep little ones busy. Weather permitting, children will also love the diving platform and trampoline on the lake.
There are two options for dining at the hotel. Located on the terrace overlooking the lake, the Michelin-starred Mistral Restaurant provides an elegant dining experience, with culinary delights to satisfy every palate. The Mistral is formal, with a coat required. I suggest booking babysitting services through the hotel to enjoy your time here without worrying about the children’s behavior.
The more informal La Goletta Restaurant is on the garden level and is the perfect place for dining with children. We found the Mediterranean cuisine here to be affordable and delightful, while enjoying the friendly hospitality from the restaurant staff. Live music is provided every night in the lounge area.
There’s a multitude of activities for families while visiting Lake Como. The hotel offers a private dock for boat excursions around the lake. The public ferry is also easily accessed from the hotel and has ongoing trips to all of the towns along the lake. For more adventurous families, the hiking options around the mountain areas are endless. Explore one of the many trails or go horseback riding.
There are several historical villas and gardens to visit around the lake, but our favorite for children is Villa Carlotta. Located in Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta is an 18th-century home once occupied by a princess. While the art- and relic-filled inside may be desirable for mom and dad, it’s the English-style gardens that will delight the children. It is an enchanting experience for them to explore the statue-lined pathways, walk through the vine-covered tunnels and get lost in the bamboo forest. This garden provides the perfect magical backdrop to any child’s playful imagination. Tours of the villa are available from 9a to 6p, spring to autumn.
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Editor’s Note: Laurel received a media rate at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. As always, our opinions are our own.
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