Grand Hôtel des Iles Borromées, Stresa
Tel: 39 0323 938 938
Concierge.com's insider take:
A hotel famous since 1861 and featured prominently in Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms might be content to rest on its reputation. Luckily, Iles Borromées continues to fuss over the details, and not just those of the manicured grounds, elegant Belle Époque façade overlooking the lake, and grand public areas…not to mention two pools, a tennis court, and a private heliport. In 2003, the hotel thoughtfully added balconies to even the rooms on the back overlooking the mountains. The 172 rooms come in three styles. Most are fitted in the local 19th-century style of intricately inlaid woods and baths sheathed in marble. The junior suites are more ornate, with Murano chandeliers, wall tapestries, lacquer furniture, and plenty of gilded frippery. The Imperial suites are done in full Empire style, with gilded headboards, inlaid stone tables, and frilly plaster decorations in the bathrooms. One room that has remained unchanged: the Hemingway Suite, preserved just as Papa liked it. The room has frescoed ceilings, a large private terrace, two king bedrooms, and three bathrooms. Unlike most top lakeside hotels, the Iles Borromées closes only briefly in winter.
Closed mid-December through mid-January.