For a serene getaway of elevated Italian villa charm on the glamorous stretch of Lake Como.
This is lustrous lakeside living with only the best of the best Italian comforts and cuisine. Days revolve around scenic strolls, Aperitivo hour and losing oneself in the majestic, near hypnotic views of mountains and deep blue water. It would be all too easy for the day to slide into pure slothful relaxation were it not for the pull of the invigorating waves of Lake Como.
Set the scene
Pack your glad rags and best shoes for Villa Lario and be prepared to rub shoulders with the stars. Fear not the despair of suitcase creased silk. One call to the concierge and a steamer shall appear (or take advantage of the hotel’s luxury laundry service). Glamourous couples and enviably chic extended Italian families sip on frothy cappuccinos under the morning shade before slipping off to lounge by the 20m long infinity pool or dive off the villa’s private pontoon into the cool waters of Lake Como. After a day on the water, come 6.00 o’clock, with immaculate precision, the cocktail stirrers begin circling. Irresistibly good negronis and daringly dry martinis soar out from the lake-level bar with a seamless speed. Once the last Nocelarra olive has been enjoyed and the sun has sunk behind the mountain, guests make their way gently to the restaurant, now honeyed in the romantic glow of soft lanterns and candlelight.
Interiors are considered and refined at Villa Lario. Occasional splashes of colour by way of antique bowls of lemons and cult art books are positioned with the unmistakable eye of someone who understands the value of ‘less is more’ when it comes to curating distinguished style. Suites are carefully designed by interior designer Pietro Castagna. All come complete with charming views, luxuriously soft beds, and (always delightful) Ortigia bath products. Perhaps the most romantic is the Il Palazzo Tower Suite. Velvety soft interiors in tones of nougat and honey are met with striking views over the villa’s historical gardens. Set between the cedar trees with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the real world seems far away in this serene spot. Couples can enjoy morning espressos and evening nightcaps from their private balcony with an uninterrupted vision of the glittering Lake Como.
Food and drink
Quality is the word that best describes the food at Villa Lario. The menu is focused around five Italian products, each sourced from regions recognised for their excellence. Supper begins with a trio of some of Italy’s best ingredients; a crunchy taralli made with onion from Puglia, a peppery green olive oil from Tuscany, and a generous rock of 24 month aged Parmigiano Reggiano. And there is bread too, freshly baked and still steaming from the oven served alongside creamy young butter (no doubt made from thoroughbred Italian cows). Before even looking at the menu, one is bowled over by the enchanting and delicious confidence of Italian ingredients. Standout dishes are the Cannolo alla norma (generously filled with slow-cooked jammy aubergine and tomatoes), and the risotto allo stracchino (served with Ligurian basil and Amalfi lemon). Breakfast is equally joyous, with baskets of flaky croissants, freshly pressed ginger and orange juice, and irresistible jars of chocolate hazelnut spread (made with Piedmontese hazelnuts).
Perhaps the heart of Villa Lario is its lakefront villa, Il Palazzo. Originally a 19th Century family-owned villa, it was fully restored in 2020. A stunning mirrored reception hall is now home to the striking Villa Lario bar which spills out onto the marble terrace. Split onto three levels, Villa Lario is home to the Pavillion and the Garden Villas (both self-contained, private villas), and Villa Biancha which is perched elegantly (and somewhat miraculously) on a cliffside overlooking the lake and hotel gardens. Rooms here have a clean and restorative feel with arched ceilings, Fior di latte white walls, and artwork from sculptor Nathalie Decoster. A grand past life is evident at Villa Lario and the hotel maintains a distinct charming glamour.
Although boutique, families are welcomed at Villa Lario. Cots can be provided on request and for larger families the Palazzo penthouse offers two bedrooms with a private living room and terrace.
Whilst there is no spa at Villa Lario, there is ample opportunity to restore and relax. Stretch it out in one of the morning yoga sessions in the gardens (private sessions organised on request), or take a dip from the hotels private pontoon into the majestic waters of Lake Como. Wild swimming is gaining headway in the wellness space and for those new to the concept there is no better place to dive in.
Perched on an idyllic stretch of Lake Como, the magic of Villa Lario lies in its view. Glossy dark waters meet the striking Italian mountains with the only disturbance being an occasional boat carving a gentle white frothy line into the deep blue. Driving around Lake Como is an adventure in itself, with the area notorious for poor parking. Fortunately, Villa Lario provides a sheltered car park as well as complimentary valet service so all rental car woes can be avoided. Water taxi is the best way to get around and can be arranged easily by the concierge as can a gourmet picnic basket. The picturesque towns of Bellagio, Cernobbio, and Como are all within reach, but perhaps the most rewarding trip is the short walk from the lakeside veranda to the small village of Pognana Lario. Quiet and quaint, there is no need to ring ahead to avoid the tourist supper rush here. Go early evening before heading back to the Villa Lario bar for a nightcap.
Junior suites from €595, villalario.com
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