Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy

Floating pools. Technicolour design. Gardens overflowing with flowers. Gazing out over Lake Como, Italy’s most famous body of water, Grand Hotel Tremezzo deserves cult status. Expect an award-winning spa and a pizza-cocktail combo that’s hard to refuse.

a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in The Grand Budapest
Hotel, we are dispensed from a tiny glass-and-brass elevator into a
magnificent lobby. Behind us, well-heeled lobby boys cope
remarkably well lugging our luggage in the Italian sun.

It’s September and still boiling – though you wouldn’t know it
as you step into the crisply cool, rose-scented air of a reception
set on a floor so high that sublime views stretch out across
Lake Como to San Giovanni and Bellagio beyond.
Inside, between fresh flowers and huge candy bowls stacked with
sugar canes and sherbet bonbons, you check in effortlessly for one
night at Grand Hotel Tremezzo. It’s a hyper-real atmosphere of
incredible systematic function and whip-smart staff dressed to the
nines. The hotel’s symmetrical facade is one of epic grandeur; one
can only assume Wes Anderson paid a visit some time back.

Whether you envisaged a Como break that is all fresh fish and
pressed-linen trouser suits or something more casual, Grand Hotel
Tremezzo is surprisingly apt in catering to each guest’s needs. I
see old, I see young, I see analogue cameras and I see selfie
sticks. The quirky design details are certainly not lost on the IG
crowd; though it’s got to be said that the golden hour’s light
paired with the reflections of magenta, orange, yellow, purple and
blue furnishings smattering the hotel’s insides mean that no filter
is really necessary.

Reached easily by bus, taxi or water taxi after you arrive in
the region by train, Grand Hotel Tremezzo has become quite an
institution for seasoned Como-lovers, but its very recent facelift
makes it the perfect SUITCASE stay: sharp yet welcoming, cosy yet
epic. After days spent idling at the waterside T Beach club, where
retro sun loungers gaze over the floating lido, make your way to
the outdoor pizzeria. A few slices go down very well with a
cocktail pairing – no one here will look down on you for wearing a
bib while imbibing that marg-marg combination.


Those running the hotel are that remarkable grand-dame type who
are able to read a guest in a heartbeat – either that or they’re
nifty enough to scroll through your socials to see what kind of
colour palette you’re drawn towards, because these guys were bang
on. Our lake-facing purple boudoir was a snug, glorious little
thing with a stash of chocolate, fruit and prosecco waiting on a
silver table next to the balcony doors. A spacious marble bathroom
with a tub you can practically swim in is kitted out with locally
made bath salts, Bluetooth speakers and ample, brilliantly lit
mirrors ideal for pre-aperitif preening. Upgrade for a hot tub,
terrace and in-room silver-service dining, and prepare to
experience the best pillows you’ve ever laid your head on – no
pillow menu necessary.

What’s for breakfast?

The question really should be: “what’s not for breakfast?” Thank
goodness there’s a gym and three swimming pools is all we can say.
For starters, there were fresh fruits that looked like jewels and
what seemed like every cheese ever churned on this planet. Next up
was the usual hot Full English et al, as well as the more dainty
cured salmon and perfectly pretty tins of sardines, bubbles on ice
and bread so fresh that the smell makes your mouth water.

What about lunch and dinner?

The pizza-and-cocktail pairing in the garden pizzeria will wow
even those who are unenthusiastic about pizza and al fresco dining
(though we wouldn’t recommend brining these types to Italy). The
marg-marg pairing is wild. Order the zucchini fritters to
accompany. For something slicker, try the restaurant’s trattoria La
Terrazza Gualtiero Marchesi; it’s whispered about all around town.
You can also arrange private cooking lessons with the restaurant’s
seasoned chefs. Expect the usual: fresh pasta, lightly
falling-apart baked lake fish, salads, flavourful oils and wine,
wine, wine – typically of the Lombardian variety – before grappa,
grappa, grappa.

Is there a bar?

If you’re still standing after dinner, undo a few buttons on
that cream linen suit you just knew would suit Como, in fact maybe
go for an outfit change. Because if you’re hitting the bar, you
will likely be dealing with Campari at some point and what with the
breeze of the evening, the twinkling of the stars above the lake,
the piano melodies coming from the terrace and the amount you drank
at dinner, you’re going to have had more coordinated moments – but
you won’t have had a more brilliant night.


The allure of this art-nouveau space alongside its lake-floating
swimming pool and pizza parlour is the award-winning T Spa in which
to pamper should it rain. Products used are made at Florence‘s Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, the
world’s oldest serving pharmacy. Here, 17th-century monks created a
batch of smelling salts called Aceto dei Sette Ladri, or “Seven
Thieves Vinegar”, after a band of seven corpse robbers during the
plague who doused themselves in strong smells to protect themselves
from the disease. The salts are still produced on-site today,
though no longer by monks.

Opened in 2020, the waterside T Beach club evokes the yesteryear
glamour of Como with red-and-white striped sun loungers gazing out
over the hotel’s floating lido. Start the day with a wellbeing
session by the pool before quaffing cocktails as local DJs serenade the sunset.

Things I should know…

If kayaking isn’t your thing, be sure to get out on the lake
waters some how. Boat tours from Bellagio
are designed to let you see all corners of Como’s vast
stretch at leisure. Such an excursion calls for headscarves,
wide-brim boater hats, extremely high factor sunscreen and
sunglasses (Valentino or nothing in this locale, darling). If being
a passenger feels too hands-off, you can also do some light sailing
under the supervision of the captain and company CEO Carlo
Tettamanzi, who is from noble origin and we like to imagine has
been privy to a notable tale or ten. Arrange a sailing tour on the charming sailboat Dama di
Bellagio with him, or on the larger sail yacht, Stai Serena,
designed by Philippe Starck.

Within a short walk I can find…

The epic mountains plus low key cafés and restaurants, artisanal
souvenir shops, a bus stop and not much else. There’s so much going
on at the mini-nirvana complex that is Grand Hotel Tremazzo that
you won’t need to stray far. Lay on one of the gigantic orange
beanbags and read an in-house hardback history book on the glitz,
glamour and transformation of the locale, its guests and the wild
nature that surrounds.

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