LA DOLCE VITA
HAILED AS ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST ROMANTIC HOTELS, VILLA D’ESTE EXUDES SPLENDOR, ENCHANTMENT, AND INTRIGUE.
Home to George Clooney, one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, Italy’s Lake Como is a famous resort destination widely praised for its beautiful landscape, exquisite cuisine, star-studded celebrations, timeless architecture and extraordinary hospitality.
Hailed as one of Europe’s most romantic hotels, Villa d’Este exudes splendor, enchantment, and intrigue. Set on the banks of one of the most stunning lakes in the world, the hotel is an accessible 60-minute drive from Italy’s fashion capital of Milan. Originally built as a summer home called Villa del Garovo in the 16th century, the patrician residence was enjoyed by Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio of Como. Occupied for decades by members of Italy’s royal family, the estranged wife of King George IV renamed it Nuova Villa d’Este in 1815. Transformed into a luxury hotel for the nobility and high bourgeoisie in 1873, the name Villa d’Este was retained to take advantage of the apparent link with the famous Villa d’Este in Tivoli near Rome.
Surrounded by a 25-acre park, Villa d’Este is more than a hotel. The luxury and magnificence of a bygone era is maintained intact. Continuously renovated and updated, without sacrificing any of its old-world charm, Villa d’Este today offers 152 rooms, all different in décor but linked by the superior standards of hospitality that you expect from one of Europe’s truly legendary resorts. Every air-conditioned room features period furniture, oil paintings, furnishings upholstered in Como silk, drapes in silk brocade and linen sheets. Suites feature private balconies or terraces that frame Lake Como and the town beyond on the opposite shore. Set on the shores of one of the most important crossroads between Italy and Northern Europe, Villa d’Este has been named best hotel in the world by Forbes and hosts prominent events including the annual Concours d’Elegance for vintage and concept cars and the Ambrosetti Forum, an international workshop attended by prominent figures from the fields of politics, finance and business.
Renowned for its gardens, the design of the lower part of the estate is from the Renaissance period. The two most outstanding landmarks are the 500 year old plane tree and the 16th century Mosaic with its Nympheum – an ancient sanctuary dedicated to water nymphs. Apart from the topiary hedges and the bushes of bamboo, azaleas, camellias, oleanders, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, there are roses and jasmine bushes. The trees range from chestnut, magnolia, oleafragrans, wisteria, palm, cypress, pine, ilex, privet and mediar.
Executive Chef Michele Zambanini is the hotel’s culinary maestro and ensures that every private function held at Villa d’Este is complemented by his team’s impeccable cuisine and service. Often referred to as one of the most authentic dining venues in Italy, the hotel’s signature Veranda restaurant is formal and elegant with tie and jacket required in the evening. With seating capacity for 250 guests, choose a glassed-in or al fresco setting. Windows are automated and can disappear into the ground. In summer months, tables are set up on the terrace to allow guests maximum exposure to the breathtaking views. Featuring traditional Italian haute cuisine, a staff of 30 is on hand to ensure impeccable service and an unparalleled experience. House favorites include Veal Carpaccio with Artichokes and Mustard Sauce and Quail Stuffed with Aromatic Bread with Farmhouse Polenta. Lake fish can also be ordered in addition to the traditional seafood. A must try is the dessert Zabagliome Al Marsala with yolk, sugar and wine from Sicily.
When a more casually elegant atmosphere is à propos, Villa d’Este doesn’t disappoint. The ambience at Grill is cozy and chic. The menu offers an interesting variety of regional dishes with a choice of the best Italian wines. In the summer, meals are served in the garden under the century-old plane trees. With sweeping vistas over the floating swimming pool, the sundeck Pool Bar serves light lunches and snacks, salads, sandwiches, and a specialty pasta dish of the day. Lounge in the elegant Bar Canova, named after famed Italian sculptor, Antonio Canova, or dance ‘til dawn at the hotel’s very own d’Este Club.
In addition to the gastronomic delights, there are a variety of outdoor and indoor pursuits available. The Sporting Club is directly connected to the Cardinal Villa through an underground corridor and includes an indoor pool, gymnasium, sauna, Turkish baths, squash court and gold simulator. Three heated swimming pools, including one for children, create a relaxing post- or pre-lunch activity any time of the year.
At the hotel’s Beauty Farm, a delightful blend of light, color and water create the perfect environment for serenity and relaxation based on Zen philosophy. This is the place to go when you need to replenish mind, body and soul. Located on the first floor of the Cardinal building, it is connected to the Sporting Club by an underground passage. Enjoy a selection of massage treatments including traditional relaxation, lymphatic, reflexology, shiatsu and an innovative facial treatment called the power peel. The cosmetic line of Villa d’Este has been created after years of scientific research with formulas that include exclusive ingredients such as polyvitamin functional complexes, plant extracts and natural essential oils.
Just seven miles from Villa d’Este, you’ll find a beautiful 18-hole parkland course designed by Peter Gannon. Winding its way through chestnut, ash and pine trees, golfers are sheltered from the August heat. Villa d’Este is considered one of the most challenging and difficult par 69’s in Europe with several holes and a spacious clubhouse overlooking Montorfano Lake.