Italian Lakes hotels
The Italian Lakes have been a popular vacation spot since ancient Roman times, and the hotels along their shores cater to an upscale clientele. Think extravagant Renaissance or neoclassical villas transformed into post-modern jet-setter boutique hotels, Grand Tour–era hotels built as Belle Époque palaces, and lakeside houses converted to family-run inns. Napoleon and Mussolini spent time here, and now you're more likely to see Madonna or Lake Como's most famous part-time resident, George Clooney. The top-flight luxury hotels like Villa Feltrinelli and Villa d'Este tend to attract people who don't blink at four-figure room rates. Those of slightly lesser means (which, in the chichi Italian Lakes, means the upper middle class) patronize the less expensive hotels like Albergo Milano and Villa Crespi. The season runs from around Easter to October, and this is not a place to travel off-season in order to avoid the crowds. Three quarters of the hotels and restaurants on the lakes shut down in winter.