Our luxury lifestyle expert Kerene Barefield invites you to join her in the slopes surrounding Lake Como, where luxury is available at the tip of your finger at the beautiful and grandiose Hilton Lake Como.
Lake Como has always been somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit. For centuries it’s been famed for its dramatic setting, fairy-tale villages and international high-profile visitors, with many movies, including ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones’, and ‘A Month by the Lake’ filmed there. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to enjoy the city for a few days, I jumped at the chance, inviting a close friend to share the experience.
An early flight from London saw us landing at Malpensa before midday, then it was just a relaxing train ride into Como Lago. On leaving the station we were greeted by our private driver from The Hilton Lake Como, who in 10 minutes had us checking in. The first thing I noticed when we entered the hotel was the beautiful smell - which I later realised was the huge perfumed diffusers dotted everywhere inside.
With our room not quite ready we headed straight up to the 6th floor for a spot of lunch at Terrazza 241. With its breathtaking panoramic views across the iconic lake, this really is the place to be in Como and straight away I relaxed into the weekend ahead. We opted for a light lunch, choosing the bruschetta and shrimp dishes to share as we soaked up the views through the floor to ceiling glass windows.
The hotel is located on the site of an old textile mill and pays homage to the Lombardian city's past (and present) as a major silk center. The hotel's front-most building was used as a silk factory until the early-80s. The city's history in the production of silk began in 1400 when the Duke of Milan, decided to plant mulberry trees around Lake Como to feed the greedy silkworms. Their ingestion of mulberry leaves produced silk, which led to the production of silk. This old part of the hotel has been cleverly connected to the new part by a glass cube, which I loved. It was a very welcoming space with the abundance of large sofas and plants everywhere, it was like a garden room. The sofas are super comfy, and once you fall into one you never want to get out, you could literally lounge the day away. The glass corridors either side too, around that centre courtyard, towards the lift and spa made it feel like a calming art gallery, with the black and white photos displayed throughout.
As we headed into the late afternoon we decided to visit the hotel's award-winning eForea Spa. There is nothing I love more than that feeling you get when you sit wrapped in a fluffy white robe and sink into a lounger around the pool. The spa is a beautiful space, with a lovely sized pool with massage jets, sauna, steam room and experience showers. After a short swim and some heat therapy it was pretty difficult to keep my eyes open as I slipped into a late afternoon snooze.
Not wanting to miss our dinner reservation we dragged ourselves from the comfort of the spa and headed back in our robes to our room. The hotel offers bright and stylish contemporary décor with really clean lines. The quietness of the corridors and design of the main areas really created a sense of calm and privacy. During our stay we saw very few other hotel guests in the hotel, but yet at breakfast and after the rooftop pool, we discovered just how many others were staying in the building, which surprised us. We were staying in a premiere lake view room on the 4th floor of the hotel, which gave us beautiful views of the lakes and mountains. In keeping with the rest of the hotel the rooms are tastefully furnished in a classic contemporary style. Large floor-to-ceiling windows ensure plenty of light, while soft tones of grey, blue and brown echo the colours of the lake. The rooms were lovely and airy, the beds were so comfortable, and felt very luxurious and I really liked the layout of the bed, wardrobes, and bathroom which kept the different areas separate. The first night we kept the blackout blinds shut and both had more sleep than we have had in months. It was pure bliss! The second night we thought we’d better leave a bit of natural light coming through the floor to ceiling windows, we wanted to make the most of our couple of days in Como! Breakfast at the hotel was impressive and there was so much choice, eating much more than I ever would at breakfast time, I managed to pack in about three courses including cereal, fruit and eggs Benedict with salmon.
We weren’t too lucky with the weather on the first morning, so after a walk around the old town we couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel, jump into our robes and head back to the spa where we both had treatments booked. The spa is super indulgent and relaxing, it never felt busy or crowded and was the perfect distraction from everyday life. In keeping with the hotel's history I had booked a Silk Touch massage. Not really thinking about what the massage would entail until I got to the treatment room, I was pleasantly surprised as it was nothing I had ever experienced before. The therapist used ribbons of silk to stretch the body before moving onto a vigorous back massage. The aromatic oil used during the treatment had such a gorgeous fragrance and added to my feelings of relaxation.
That evening we had booked a table at Terrazza 241. We had already met Chef Stefano Ghielmetti during an impromptu fire alarm in which we ended up in the hotel's kitchen after taking our own route down from our room. It was great seeing a little of the magic behind the scenes. The bar at the restaurant looked very inviting so we decided to enjoy a couple of cocktails before taking our seats for dinner. Being able to sit at the bar made the restaurant and bar feel like two separate places. Small touches like the clean and neatly placed spirit bottles along the back of the bar, the candles and the small plants were all noted. I loved the choice of glassware depending on the cocktails and this attention to detail is something I appreciate at a high-end bar, it shows class as did the knowledge of the bar woman who made us a cocktail not shown on the menu. She listened to what we wanted and created us a beautiful drink, that kind of service felt 5 rather than 4, something you would expect at a luxury location. The live musician created a beautiful and upbeat atmosphere.
The food at Terrazza 241 was gorgeous. The starter of octopus was especially good. Really fresh, not overwhelmed by other flavours. We actually shared our mains of the lobster and the beef fillet but both were equally excellent. The beef was tender and cooked perfectly, just served with some simple veg and subtle amount of sauce so the beef was the highlight. The lobster was also amazing, both great flavours, good ingredients cooked perfectly which is all you ever want! Chef Stefano Ghielmetti came out to talk to the diners which was a lovely touch as you rarely see that these days. Born and raised in Como, he has lived and worked in Dubai and Toronto and trained at Michelin-starred establishments such as Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. He spent a lot of time at our table, and with other diners too. It showed he had taken time to consider the number of covers during the evening, enabling time to do this at the end of service. He then went back and personally made us a selection of desserts and the attention and care he gave us was exceptional (as were the desserts). The wine that we were recommended by another member of the team was also exceptional, he knew the wine list well and recommended a wine exactly as we requested.
On our last afternoon the sun shined which allowed us to enjoy a little time at the rooftop swimming pool on the 6th floor. It’s a stunning location, overlooking the lake and we treated ourselves to a glass of bubbles as we soaked up the Italian sun.
We had the most wonderful weekend, in a hotel that is pushing the boundaries of a 4*. It was luxurious, comfortable, relaxing and I had history - which I love. For those looking to book a surprise romantic break for a loved one, the hotel also has a spacious 1689 sq ft Presidential Suite with a lake view and rooftop terrace or Loft Suite in the old part of the building where you can sleep under the twinkling Lake Como stars.
If anyone is thinking about a trip to Lake Como this is definitely the hotel I would recommend!
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