Pulling up at the spectacular and iconic Grand Hotel Tremezzo, you already feel like you’re at home and will never, ever want to leave. I’ve been to Lake Como for work trips twice but had never spent the night, so this time I was armed with a long list of things to tick off, which ended up almost completely untouched thanks to the utter perfection of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
Since our return to Italy came together at the last minute I leaned on my friend Jordan’s fabulous travel agency Maupin Travel, to plan a few fun days in Lake Como before our project with Marta Scarampi started in Torino. This was my first time working with a travel agency to arrange a trip, and all I can say is we are hooked! With only 5 days notice before our departure and a quick phone call to describe our travel preferences, Maupin Travel was able to recommend and book the prefect 4 day trip in Lake Como, selecting the most spectacular hotels and restaurant recommendations, while also ensuring we had everything in place to navigate the ever-changing Covid guidelines. And since we booked through Maupin, there were lots of little surprises included in the trip, from major room upgrades to a complimentary dinner for two – to a private tour of the chef’s kitchen garden. Maupin’s team has experts for every type of travel from domestic family vacations to all-out trip-of-a-lifetime honeymoon itineraries, and our 4 nights in Como were definitely among our top travel experiences ever!
Where to begin with this place!?! The Grand had been on my bucket list for a long time. At every turn it brings the fantasy of a glamorous Italian holiday to life. An iconic art nouveau masterpiece sitting on the western shores of Lake Como, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is one of the oldest hotels on the lake. Opening in 1910 as the realization of the dream of Enea Gandola and his wife Maria Orsolini who wanted to create a hotel of incredible elegance and sophistication for a new, illustrious type of traveler. Frivolity and exuberance, decadence and excess: the Belle Époque was a fabulous time to be alive. High society took long voyages overseas in pursuit of art, culture and knowledge, and Lake Como was a favorite destination. With views spanning the crystalline waters towards Bellagio and the Grigne Mountains, stepping into the hotel really does feel like you’re being transported back to a more glamorous era. With a chic blend of old and new, it’s a grand dame without the stuffiness. Greta Garbo referred to it as “that happy, sunny place” upon visiting in the 1930s and I couldn’t agree more.
While we were there, my DMS were flooded with personal stories of special moments you’ve enjoyed at this hotel and I loved hearing what this place has meant to so many of you. From the three stunning pools (one in their lush gardens, another floating on the lake) to many restaurants all perfectly poised to take in the views – it seems no one has a bad time at The Grand.
If there is one must do-while in Como it’s touring the lake by boat. The hotel has its own boats which you can hire to enjoy a cruise with a glass of prosecco in hand. We visited 12 of the lake’s most iconic villas as Carlo, our captain, shared details of the architecture, notable owners and scandalous histories that accompany each property – from Villa del Balbianello (of ‘007 fame) to Villa Gerli (owned by a distant relative of my friend Rachel(!))
Emilia Wickstead Boat Dress (one left!) // Emme Parsons Metallic Sandals (similar here, and love these) // Pearl Earrings (souvenir from Venice, similar here) // Pamela Munson Pearl Clutch c/o // J.Crew Sunglasses // Haverhill Hudson Bracelet c/o
If you need a break from lazy poolside lounging and lunching, a visit to the spa and Villa Carlotta are also musts. The spa is situated in an elegant villa adjacent to the main hotel, filled with detailed mosaic floors and hand-painted ceilings. I only came in for a manicure, but it was the perfect excuse to relax in the gorgeous space for an hour. Similarly, Villa Carlotta is also celebrated for its mosaic floors and ceilings but a walk through the gardens is really something special. With plant species from around the world, it’s easy to envision the fabulous parties of a bygone era as you stroll the grounds.
Each night we enjoyed dinner with a view of the lake at The Grand – it was so good that we didn’t even consider going anywhere else. (Though several of you also recommended a small family restaurant at the top of the hill behind the Grand – though no one could remember it’s name!) Meals are an event here, and fashionable guests dress the part. Most of the restaurants have a dress code, simply stated as “elegant” which makes for fabulous people watching. We’d settle in for an aperitivo as the sky turned pink each night and then lingered over dinner for hours, the candlelight mixing with dancing lights of the villages across the lake. Our first night Maupin had reserved a table at L’Escale Trattoria (the whimsical casino themed plates below) and the next we ate at T Bar. Both of which continue the legacy of the late Gualtiero Marchesi – the first Italian chef to be awarded three Michelin stars, he is largely considered the father of modern Italian cuisine. Writing this has me dreaming of another meal on this terrace – we can’t wait to return someday soon!