As I was pulling these photos together a wave of calm washed over me. There are few places that live up to expectations but Lake Como really was every bit as glamorous as we had hoped. Originally built as a summer residence for the Cardinal of Como, Tolomeo Gallio, in 1568, Villa d’Este is considered one of the most beautiful architectural works of the 16th century. For centuries the property was the residence of the aristocracy – princesses, marquises, sultans and tzars, until (lucky for us) a group of Milanese businessmen purchased the property to open it as a hotel in 1873.
Checking in at Villa d’Este instantly transports you to the old-world glamour of a bygone era, and the names of former guests flick past your mind, Lauren Bacall, Gene Kelly, Bette Davis… and then you learn that Cartier is hosting the launch of their latest collection at the property next weekend – even after 400 years they’ve still got it.
While there are certainly many opportunities to soak up local culture, you’ll find it hard to pull yourself away from the property’s simple pleasures. Leisurely lakeside breakfasts, nestled at a table under the shade of a tree watching the glittering mid-morning sun on the water and boats coming to and fro. And then there’s the floating swimming pool – the first of it’s kind that started the trend in 1966 which is lined with loungers that rock with the wakes, lulling guests to sleep. We loved quiet afternoons sipping champagne on our private terrace, looking out on a hidden garden and if we hadn’t already toured the lake by boat earlier on our trip I would have definitely booked a boat ride there. One of my favorite pastimes is people watching – especially so when in Italy, and joining the glamorous guests that congregate at the lakeside piano bar each evening was a highlight of our stay.
One of the major perks of working with Maupin Travel to plan our trip was the upgrade to our suite. Because travel agent’s cultivate long term relationships with the properties they recommend, guests that book through Maupin are the first to get an upgrade when one is available, and they know which rooms have the best terrace, soaking tub or views based on what is important to you. Maupin also planned for us to join Villa d’Este’s head chef on his morning visit to the hotel’s herb garden to gather ingredients for the day’s menu. I probably wouldn’t have thought to book that myself but it was so fun learning about how he uses each herb, and getting the inside scoop on the weekend’s upcoming Cartier event. You can see more in my highlight from Lake Como, but this short 40 minute outing is well worth it and not to be missed!
Dolce and Gabbana Lace Dress (old, similar in black here, blue here) // Pearl Earrings (from a small shop in Venice, similar here) // Sarah Flint Perfect Block Sandal 60mm c/o // Vintage Snake Ring (similar)
Marta Scarampi Elena Dress // Monbouquette Pearl Drop Earrings c/o // Mark Cross Madeline Bag (the best price here!) // Emme Parsons Metallic Sandals (similar here, and love these)
Eres Les Essentiels Aquarelle Swim Suit // Dolce and Gabbana Floral Mini Skirt // Kate Spade Pearl Earrings c/o //Peter Beaton XXL Galley Hat // Emme Parsons Metallic Sandals (similar here, and love these) // Altuzarra Straw Bag
Eres Les Essentiels Aquarelle Swim Suit // Agua by Agua Bendita Pareo (similar here, also here) // Kate Spade Pearl Earrings c/o // Peter Beaton XXL Galley Hat // Altuzarra Straw Bag
J.Crew Linen Shirt // Tyler Boe Linen Shorts c/o (Sold out, similar here) // Haverhill Lang Studs c/o // Mark Cross Madeline Bag (best price here)