Villa d'Este, Cernobbio, Italy $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Everything about this grande dame of lakeside hotels oozes luxury. Rooms have enormous marble bathrooms and walk-in closets and most have a balcony or terrace. The Empire-style furnishings swathed in Como silks actually date to the time when Napoleon himself was a guest and the villa belonged to his aide-de-camp. The 152 rooms and suites are split between the main villa and the Queen's Pavilion, a pinkish 1860 Moorish-Venetian palazzo at the far end of the 25-acre property. The heated outdoor swimming pool is built within the lake itself, and the indoor pool is flanked by a sauna and Turkish bath. Activities include tennis on the hotel's eight courts and teeing off at the indoor golf and putting green (the private, Peter Gannon-designed 18-hole course is seven miles away), plus sailing, canoeing, and waterskiing on Lake Como. Built in the 16th century as the summer palace of Como's Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, the main villa served as a home to royalty, from Caroline, Princess of Wales (in the early 19th century), to the last private owner, Tsarina Maria Fedorovna of Russia, before being transformed into a hotel in 1873. Since then it has hosted such cultural royalty as Mark Twain, Clark Gable, Madonna, and Liam Neeson. Besides celebs, you'll see well-heeled older travelers, expense-accounted businessmen, and honeymooners who would never dare spend this much on an ordinary vacation, as well as young families splashing out.
Closed mid-November through February.
From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 91.4
- Activities: 86.0
- Design: 94.2
- Food: 92.1
- Location: 97.4
- Rooms: 89.5
- Service: 88.9
Also appeared in the Gold List in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Amenities: Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sportsSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler ›
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