Northern Italy’s famous Alpine lake has long been an idyll for European royalty, celebrities, diplomats and, of course, honeymooners. Take a look at the most romantic hotels in one of the most romantic regions in the world.
Situated in the quiet village of Blevio, the 75-room Casta Diva & SPA sits directly on picturesque Lake Como. Each of the lavishly decorated rooms, suites and villas are unique in size and decor, and many have incredible views of the lake. With hardwood floors and elegant yet understated furnishings, most rooms have either a balcony, terrace or private garden, and all have flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Depending on the layout, some rooms have kitchens as well. The luxury resort features an Italian restaurant, cocktail bar, full-service spa and two pools — including one floating in the lake.
The 95-room, creme-de-la-creme Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni opened as a hotel in 1873 and features a pure neoclassical style. It’s hard not to get lost exploring every luxurious crevice of the interior, from the antique Persian carpets and imperial furnishings to the marble staircases and crystal chandeliers. The lobby, restaurants, hallways, spa and rooms are as lavish as the architecture and decor. As beautiful as the inside of the hotel is, the picturesque views of Lake Como and the Alps are equally, if not more, stunning. Everything about this hotel drips with wealth, and the rates reflect the five-pearl status. Both Villa Serbelloni and Casta Diva have lavish spas and fine-dining restaurants, but we gave Casta Diva the edge for its intimacy and style (Serbelloni’s rooms have some dated fabrics and carpets).
The upscale Hotel Villa Flori occupies a restored 19th-century villa with Old World charm and exquisite lake views — the highlight for most guests. All 53 rooms and suites enjoy stunning views of the lake, but only some rooms feature private balconies. All units include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, minibars, blackout drapes, bathrobes and slippers, and free Wi-Fi. A free buffet breakfast is served each morning, with lunches and dinners available in Restaurant Raimondi and drinks and light snacks in the Lounge Bar. Villa Flori’s small spa is nowhere as grand and impressive as Serbelloni’s, but it does have a sauna, Turkish bath, solarium and some fitness equipment.
Hotel Belvedere has been in the same family since 1880, with three generations of women currently involved in its operation. The hotel’s collection of classic buildings is nestled into Bellagio’s peaceful hilltop outskirts, affording the property stunning views of Lake Como. The hotel is generally more dated and basic than Villa Flori, but it has heaps of Italian charm and packs in extensive facilities like a heated outdoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, Turkish bath, gym and spa. The 62 air-conditioned rooms feature a mix of classic and modern decor; most have lake-view balconies. The buffet breakfast is free and the pleasant restaurant serves seasonal local meals. Note that the hotel closes out of season and requires an uphill walk back from town.
Grand Hotel Imperiale has beautiful grounds and spectacular lake views, but interiors that are a mixed bag of styles. The property consists of the Villa Imperiale, a 1926 Art Nouveau building with a dozen rooms, and two modern wings. Rooms generally don’t live up to the regal surroundings; some have lake views, but decor can be basic and tired. A large outdoor pool and a gourmet restaurant, Imperialino, both offer beautiful lake views (though breakfast is not included here as it is at Hotel Belvedere), and there is a relaxing spa on site as well.
Royal Victoria’s storybook quality is apt for Lake Como’s escapist atmosphere. Originally a textile mill in the 1800s, the three-and-a-half pearl hotel sits in the little fishing village of Varenna, which is a decidedly less touristy spot than the other resort areas surrounding the lake, but local attractions are easy to reach on foot and regular ferries offer transportation to neighboring towns. The 43 rooms reflect the hotel’s 19th-century influences and some have gorgeous lake views. The historic charm of the building, terrace pool, free hot breakfast and stunning vistas are built-in perks. Grand Hotel Imperiale has even more impressive features, though, with multiple pools, picturesque grounds, fitness room and tennis court.
Locals and visitors alike rave about three things at Hotel La Darsena: the views, the food and the service. The 13-room boutique property is located directly on the shores of Lake Como in the charming village of Tremezzo, so there are incredible views of the water and mountains from the Italian restaurant, which serves a delicious free breakfast spread, and many of the rooms. As a small boutique hotel, there aren’t many on-site features. For example, don’t expect to find Royal Victoria’s chic outdoor heated pool and deck and two on-site restaurants and bars.
The exterior of the hotel is exactly what one might imagine from a family-run Lake Como hotel: It’s absolutely charming, with balconies dotting the facade and tables spilling out in the front. More impressive than the building, however, are the breathtaking, widespread views of Lake Como. The hotel was renovated in 2016 and the majority of its 24 spacious rooms overlook the water and the town’s main piazza. Like Hotel La Darsena, a fantastic free breakfast is the extent of the features here. Between the two properties, La Darsena has the slight advantage for its direct lakefront location and the fact that it primarily caters to couples (many of Garni Corona’s guests are families who are attracted to its triple and quadruple rooms).
Hotel Du Lac is a family-run boutique hotel that’s exceptionally well-located on Lake Como in the heart of Bellagio. The three-pearl hotel has a first-floor restaurant and a second-story breakfast room, both with outdoor terraces offering awesome lake views. Breakfast is free, and drinks are served at the restaurant and on the rooftop sundeck, which also overlooks the lake. However, some areas of the hotel are worn or dated, and there’s no wellness facilities on-site. The hotel’s 48 guest rooms range from fresh and contemporary to slightly dated, but all have AC, minibars, coffeemakers, satellite flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi, and some have furnished balconies with epic lake views. Just be aware that while Hotel Garni Corona was renovated in 2016, many areas of Hotel Du Lac feel dated.