Lake Como is a beautiful location in the north of Italy. In addition to the serene blue lake and mountains jetting up to the sky, there are countless villas and grand hotels dotting the coast. One of the most renowned luxury Lake Como hotels is Villa d’Este. This year marks the hotel’s 150th anniversary. Previously, it was a private villa owned by Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and then Caroline of Brunswick, Princess of Wales.
Located at the southern end of Lake Como, it’s easy to reach and rich in history. The sprawling gardens are filled with majestic buildings, hot pink flowers, and elegant sculptures. You could wander for hours. The property hosts multiple luxury events throughout the year including vintage car shows, wood boat events, and luxury brand events. While staying there for the weekend, we heard rumblings of Cartier, Bulgari, and Louis Vuitton events that were being held in the coming days.
One of our favorite places to relax was the patio on the lake. With large trees and red flowers lining the walls, you can step out onto the pebble terrace and read a book or sip Champagne while watching the sunset. We also suggest a guided tour of the lake in the hotel’s vintage wooden boat. The service at Villa d’Este is superb. They made bottled gin martinis for our sunset boat ride before dinner – including lemon twist garnishes and all.
You also won’t want to miss the floating pool. Being surrounded by water, you’ll get the perfect tan by lounging on the sun deck in the lake. While there, we highly recommend having lunch at The Sundeck Bar. They serve the best club sandwich we’ve ever had. You can also opt for a more refined lunch like grilled octopus.
We were fortunate enough to have a private tour of the culinary gardens and kitchens with Chef Michele Zambanini. Chef Zambanini oversees the three restaurants at Villa d”Este. The kitchen is a fine-tuned machine with stations for fish, pasta, and more. Chef Zambanini’s team ages their own meats and butchers whole fish. The culinary garden, started in 2011, provides fresh herbs, zucchini flowers, tomatoes, and more.
Chef Zambanini created a personalized tasting menu for our dinner so we could try a variety of dishes including lobster with asparagus and bellini ceviche and house-made stuffed pasta topped with summer truffles.
We were coincidentally there for the opening of the new Louis Vuitton boutique on the property but also love the hotel’s own boutique with a lovely collection of high-end and unique products. It’s always worth a stop in to browse the collection.
If you’re looking for a luxury lakeside escape on a grand historic estate, Villa d’Este is the place to stay in Lake Como.
Note: Villa d’Este provided support for the reporting of this story.