Lake Como (Lago di Como) is one of the famous Italian Lakes destinations, not far from Milan in the north of the country.Based in the Lombardy region, it is a lavish resort area well known for its breathtaking landscape. The Swiss Alps offer a beautiful backdrop to Lake Como, which incidentally, is extensive in length (50km), slender and extremely deep. The southern end forks into two long ‘legs’, with the quaint town of Bellagio situated on the point between them. All along the shoreline, there are luxury hotels, some with swimming pools that float in the lake, and splendid Mediterranean villas of all shapes and sizes with formal gardens, where some are open to the public.
I was staying at the supreme Sheraton Lake Como Hotel, recently renovated by the renowned Italian architect, Ruggero Venelli, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a delightful property located in one of Italy’s most desired locations, offering the beauty of Lake Como in close proximity and dramatic views of the Alps. The hotel boasts 116 bedrooms, four newly-refurbished suites, three restaurants and two bars. An excellent range of leisure facilities are available too, comprising of a fitness centre, two outdoor swimming pools, Jacuzzi and a private park which is ideal for sunbathing during those warm summer days.
My generous sized, light, and air-conditioned Club Floor room was situated on the higher level of the hotel, allowing me to take in the stunning mountain views from the private balcony area. Warm and welcoming interiors combined with elegantly fitted contemporary handcrafted furniture from an acclaimed collection of Italian designers set the tone. A comfy king-sized bed, parquet flooring, marble bathroom, work desk, mini bar, free Wi-Fi and a flatscreen TV with satellite channels completed the room.
The Club Floor category also grants access to the marvelous Club Lounge which offers complimentary breakfast, a variety of all-day snacks, as well as well as a wide selection of hot beverages and cold refreshments.
For dinner, I was so pleased to sample the Gusto restaurant at the Sheraton Lake Como, as it was a real pleasure to indulge within the majestic menu that was prepared by the talented head chef, Carlo Molon. For guests looking to experience fine Italian dining, this restaurant is for you. It offers a very relaxed ambience, excellent service and traditional cuisine with a very modern twist.
Exploring Lake Como further, it was evident that there is so much to see and do at this iconic and dazzling destination in the heart of the Lombardia region. I took a motorboat cruise in order to get up close and personal with Lake Como, and it was a truly magical experience. My first stop was to see the impressive Il Palazzo del Vice Re, which is an endearingly restored aristocratic palace that has been tastefully converted into a unique boutique hotel. Situated just minutes from the charming lakeside town of Bellagio, I had a refreshing cup of tea and some delicious pastries in the courtyard, and with the sunshine bursting through, it was an ideal spot to enjoy the splendor of Lake Como.
My next stop took me to the incredible Villa Del Balbianello which is located just one kilometre outside Lenno. This outstanding property is world famous and has been used as a location site for such films as Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II. It is clearly one of the most thrilling villas on Lake Como with its finely sculptured gardens and its Hollywood panoramic views. It was a real pleasure to visit this handsome property.
My journey had now taken me to Bellagio which is known as the “pearl Lake Como”. It is a pretty village populated by hotels, restaurants, cafés, gelatarias and various shops showcasing the finest Italian designer wares. As I wandered through with an ice-cream firmly in hand, it was awe-inspiring to be amongst century-old buildings, stone lanes and picturesque cobbled stairways that made up the scenery of this petite slice of Italian paradise.
By now I had worked up an appetite, and my next stop was to have lunch at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. It is a glorious lakefront Art Nouveau hotel with a remarkable beach-inspired restaurant which is just a stone’s throw from the lake, and has a brilliant floating swimming pool too. The interior design is the epitome of luxury, and the striking rooftop suites add butlers and terraces with whirlpools and hot tubs. Lunch was absolutely divine, and the service was as warm and inviting as the sunshine piercing through.
After lunch I visited Villa Carlotta, which is the most famous villa on Lake Como, and I was mesmerized by the many sculptures and paintings, as well as the alluring botanic gardens which are filled with sparkling colour and wonder.
My next dinner encounter was to feast upon a variety of Italian dishes at the exquisite Kitchen restaurant which is located less than a two minute walk away from the Sheraton Lake Como Hotel. The menu was majestic, and the overall hospitality received during my sitting was of the highest order.
The climax to my exciting Lake Como visit was the discovery of the old town of Como. Como’s history dates back to the Romans who founded the first township. The old town was alive with the hustle and bustle of daily life in full swing. As I breezed through the narrow and pedestrianised lanes, I came across an abundance of shops, little bars, restaurants, in addition to numerous piazzas, the local marketplace, an astonishing Cathedral and a variety of other important buildings of culture.
Lake Como is a truly stand out destination with so much to offer and explore, and with the Sheraton Lake Como Hotel located within touching distance, and providing excellent service and a premium bedroom product that caters to the single traveller, couples and families, it’s the perfect partnership that will continue to blossom. It will certainly have guests coming back to experience this dreamy piece of utopia.
Lake Como – Where and How?
To book a room at the Sheraton Lake Como Hotel, visit www.sheratonlakecomo.com.
IC Bellagio provides travel and tourist services in Bellagio and throughout Italy. To book memorable trips and excursions in and around Italy, go to www.icbellagio.com.
By Jamie Ndah