Steam rises from the rooftop infinity pool that looks out over Lake Como as we enjoy a few laps. A family relaxes in the hot tub as a seaplane skims the still water and church bells ring. It is November, but the sky is a deep blue.
Italy was not an obvious choice for a long weekend. The lively and somewhat chaotic scene that makes it so appealing was usually not what we were looking for, but relaxation.
However, after just a 90-minute flight from London to Milan and a 45-minute train ride to Lake Como, plus a five-minute taxi ride to the hotel, you can grab a snack and take in the views to die for.
There are ‘views to die for’ from Hilton Lake Como, says Sarah Hartley of The Mail on Sunday. Above is the hotel’s impressive rooftop infinity pool
Hilton Lake Como’s ‘masterstroke’, Sarah says, is that it occupies prime space just behind the boardwalk
Sarah recommends a boat trip on Lake Como – you will pass ‘jaw-dropping and unimaginably beautiful 16th century villas’
Como is known for giving visitors an eerie sense of calm, hemmed in by the slopes and the Alps beyond. And in low season, everywhere you breathe deeply.
The days when Como was a world leader in silk production are over, but the heritage remains.
The masterstroke of Hilton Lake Como, built in and around a former silk factory in 2018, is that it occupies prime space just behind the boardwalk with what feels like a modern Asian vibe around a glass lounge and gardens. internal. And it has brought out the post-closing yearning of all the hotels: first-rate staff.
Duplex loft suites are popular with couples who can retract their glass ceiling and look at the stars in bed, says Sarah
Value: B&B rooms start at € 180 (£ 150) per night at Hilton Lake Como
Space is the buzzword. Cool duplex loft suites are popular with couples who can retract their glass ceiling and gaze at the stars in bed, while interconnecting suites with balconies are a bonus for families.
And it’s a hub for corporate events and weddings: 1,000 guests arrived in Como from India a month in advance for a summer wedding.
The luxurious amount of space in the hotel will put you at ease immediately, so it’s not difficult to relax in the spacious and airy Satin Restaurant for breakfast or stroll through the light and airy corridors – a relief for those with wheelchairs or strollers.
Unlike most hotels around Lake Como, the Hilton is open all year
Hilton Lake Como’s Satin Restaurant, upstairs, is where Sarah had breakfast
If the clouds descend, Sarah says, retreat to the comfort of the Hilton’s adults-only spa with pool (above), sauna and steam, where treatments include the signature Silk Touch massage.
Unlike most hotels around the lake, this place is open all year round (as is the rooftop pool) and should be spectacular on New Years, although according to locals it is just as impressive in April when the azaleas light up on the hillside.
If the clouds descend, retreat to the comfort of the adults-only spa with pool, sauna and steam, where treatments include the exclusive Silk Touch massage.
Continue for the few minutes from the hotel to the lake to find the elegant Villa Olmo, where dogs run through the ornate public gardens and statues run to the water’s edge. Follow the path past swans, feed the ducks with leftover focaccia, watch for herons, and take part in the passeggiata, Italians’ staple night walk, along the beautiful waterside.
Hilton Lake Como’s “ lavish room amounts immediately put your mind at ease, ” Sarah writes
Getting to Hilton Lake Como is very simple: the journey from London involves a 90-minute flight, a 45-minute train ride and a five-minute taxi ride.
With a bit of luck, you will see a seaplane gliding smoothly down, or take a trip yourself with Aero Club Como (from € 240, aeroclubcomo.com). Do you want to get on a Vespa? The hotel can arrange this, along with picnic bike rides and private boat tours. Beyond the marina, a flotilla of yachts marks the elegant Yacht Club Como, one of the oldest in Italy.
Besides Hollywood star George Clooney, who bought Villa Oleandra in 2001, the other luminary in Como is Alessandro Volta, the city’s favorite son and pioneer of electricity, credited as the inventor of the electric battery. This accounts for the extravagant lighting everywhere, from the parks to the hotel’s flowery clusters.
What looks like a concrete water tower looms over the lake shore, but on closer inspection there’s a monolithic World War I monument, commissioned by fascists in the 1930s.
For a chilly experience on Lake Como, take the slow boat to Torno, pictured. Its church and villas are romantic, Sarah says, and in the off-season it’s quiet.
The Temple of Volta is a museum dedicated to Alessandro Volta, Como’s favorite son and pioneer of electricity, credited as the inventor of the electric battery.
Sarah’s verdict: ‘While high-priced hotels [at Lake Como] as Villa D’Este and The Mandarin Oriental are stunning for one night, Hilton Lake Como’s understated luxury makes for a stress-free, no-drive getaway. ‘
Sarah Hartley was a guest of Hilton Lake Como, where B&B rooms cost from € 180 (£ 150) a night. EasyJet flies to Milan Malpensa from Gatwick, with one-way fares starting at £ 29.50. Trains from the airport to Como San Giovanni station cost € 16 (£ 13) round trip.
From the dock, choose between fast or slow boats that call at stops along the lake, past dozens of stunning and unimaginably beautiful 16th-century villas. Buy tickets first; You’ll soon remember the Italian style of queuing, so get them early.
Bellagio, possibly the most charming town in the area, draws carefree hordes to its maze of cobblestone streets, so for a laid-back experience, take the slow boat to Torno. Its church and villas are just as romantic, but in the low season it’s quiet, so you can step onto the pier at Piazza Casartelli and have a snack at the Il Belvedere hotel, or join the locals for pizza at Bar Italia in al side.
Back in Como, instead of tea, have an ice cream before exploring designer boutiques like Armani and Fendi on the streets surrounding the 14th-century Duomo, which is the real star here. Take time to admire the tombs, paintings and the amazing blue ceiling that reflects the blue of the lake. Return for dinner at the Glass Terrazza 241 rooftop restaurant and bar, brioly run by Vincenzo. Their special creation is the smoked Negroni (don’t try to make it at home!), And don’t miss the Lago di Como gin served with rosemary and dried orange.
Jaded taste buds will be refreshed by a short menu, including seafood gnocchi with black squid ink. The children’s menu can be predictable, but the pesto pasta and penne al ragu were good for dinner.
It is a quiet place to relax. Live guitar or saxophone add to the low-light atmosphere at dinner, where couples and families mix easily, though babysitting is provided.
While the high-priced hotels here, like Villa D’Este and The Mandarin Oriental, are fabulous for a night, the low-key luxury of the Hilton Lake Como makes for a stress-free, drive-free getaway.