A favourite of Elizabeth Taylor, the sole "Leading Hotels of the World" property on Lake Maggiore situated with the best views of the three Borromeo Islands
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Mountains | Natural world | Short break | Summer
The hotel is a two-minute drive north of Stresa, and commands unparalleled views of the lake’s beautiful Borromean Islands and Isola dei Pescatori, all of which are a short boat ride away. Isola Bella and Isola Madre, both owned by the Borromeo family since the early 16th century, are known for their splendid palaces and gardens. The hotel set slightly back from the lakefront feels quiet and peaceful within, and the views are simply wonderful.
The Belle Epoque mansion which houses the hotel is a rich and opulent affair, albeit a little glitzy, with stuccos, sparkling Murano chandeliers and antiques mostly from the 1940s and ‘50s, although some date back to the end of the 1800s. It’s also decorated with objects the hotel's owners, the Zanetta family, have purchased over the years on their travels. Oriental china, Venetian artisanal mirrors and Middle Eastern Saracen warrior statues marry with the Liberty-style interiors to create a warm and elegant ambience.
All rooms have private balconies or terraces with garden or lake views, and some of the suites, come with their own outdoor whirlpool baths.
With large glass windows offering panoramic lake views, I Mori restaurant serves classic Italian dishes (parmigiana, carbonara, burrata) presented with a little fanfare at the tables (truffles are grated at the table; pasta with lobster is made in front of guests’ eyes; crepes suzette are flambéed at the table). Le Isole offers typical regional cuisine along with international dishes in a sumptuous interior rich in stucco decoration; there’s al fresco dining in the warmer months of the year. Cheese tasting paired with vermouth takes place on Friday evenings, while drinks and nibbles can be enjoyed at the pleasant bar.
The buffet breakfast includes homemade pastries, cold cuts and cheeses, along with eggs prepared at the buffet table.
There’s a garden at the back of the property with azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons, while at the front is an outdoor heated swimming pool looking out towards the lake. A private beach, and three private jetties for docking. Private boat tours of the lake can be organised, along with watersports.
Several golf clubs in the area have arrangements with the hotel, and there are riding facilities nearby too, as well as bike rental.
The spa is one of the most attractive on the lake, with a dimly lit grotto housing a steam room, ice waterfall, aromarium and sensory showers alternating, as well as a hydro chromotherapy whirlpool bath. The six treatment rooms are equipped with the latest technology, including waterbeds for chromotherapy, and massage beds that help improve blood and lymphatic circulation; beauty treatments include detox scrubs, wraps and Zen Shiatsu massages.
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