Review: Il Sereno Lake Como

Filed Under: Hotels

Introduction: Italy, With A Refueling Stop In The Azores
Review: Air France Lounge Boston Airport
Review: Azores Airlines Business Class A310 Boston To Ponta Delgada
Review: Furnas Boutique Hotel, The Azores
Review: Azores Airlines Lounge Ponta Delgada Airport
Review: Azores Airlines Business Class A340 Ponta Delgada To Lisbon
Review: TAP Portugal Business Class A321 Lisbon To Milan
Review: Sheraton Lake Como
Why I Didn’t Love Lake Como
Review: Il Sereno Lake Como
Review: Sheraton Milan Malpensa Airport
Review: Milan Malpensa Airport Lounge
Review: Air France Business Class A318 Milan To Paris
Review: Air France First Class Ground Experience Paris
Review: Air France First Class 777-300ER Paris To Houston

Want to receive extra benefits for your stay at Il Sereno, including a space available room upgrade, a hotel credit, and more? Contact [email protected] for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

Ford booked us three nights at Il Sereno over our anniversary several months in advance, as the hotel just opened last summer. Il Sereno looked absolutely stunning online, and I had mostly read good things about it. The website proudly boasts that Bloomberg called Il Sereno “Europe’s most luxurious new hotel,” so I was curious to see if it lived up to the hype.

Lake Como in summer is expensive, and our rate was about 800EUR per night. That’s a lot of money, though at the same time that’s less than half of some of the other hotels on the lake. Ford booked us through Virtuoso, so we also received the following perks:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD Equivalent Resort or Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Based on my understanding, generally Villa d’Este is considered to be the best hotel on Lake Como. We had drinks there one night and the setting was gorgeous, but the style is very much not my preference. Here’s a picture of a room at Villa d’Este. Meanwhile Il Sereno looked like it had incredible modern decor, and reminded me a lot of the Cathay Pacific Pier First Class Lounge in Hong Kong in terms of design. At the same time I recognize that the decor of Villa d’Este is very true to the area — perhaps an old world hotel blends in better than a stunning modern hotel.

Anyway, on to the actual stay. Il Sereno is located in the town of Tomo, which is about a quarter of the way from Como to Bellagio. The hotel is quite small and has an understated exterior, as there’s just a small gate. There were just Mini Coopers in the parking lot. There didn’t seem to be conference or anything, but rather there was some sort of photo shoot, it seemed like.

Il Sereno Lake Como parking

There was a small area for the bellmen, and then a walkway leading to the actual hotel.

Path to Il Sereno

I’m going to try to control my enthusiasm here, so let me just say upfront that the design of this hotel is stunning. The architecture, the furnishing, etc., are all so impressive. This might be the most gorgeous hotel I’ve ever stayed at. There are some hotels that feel palatial, but this hotel actually felt comfortable and like a home. They did an incredible job with the design of this place.

Anyway, the hotel has only 30 rooms, and all of them have views of the lake.

Il Sereno exterior

As we entered the hotel there was a small reception area which was surprisingly crowded for such a small hotel, as about four parties were checking in and out.

Il Sereno reception seating

The associate who welcomed us was friendly, and invited us to have a seat in the huge lobby area, which also doubled as the hotel’s bar.

Il Sereno lobby seating

Seriously, how gorgeous is this?!

Il Sereno lobby seating

To me every part of this hotel felt like it was right out of a magazine shoot.

Il Sereno lobby seating

Il Sereno lobby seating

Il Sereno lobby seating

Il Sereno bar

There was equally beautiful outdoor patio seating, which had great views of the lake and pool.

Il Sereno outdoor seating

Il Sereno outdoor seating

The pool is probably the most picturesque part of the hotel.

Il Sereno pool

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

Il Sereno pool

Our room wasn’t quite ready, so we were asked if we wanted their signature welcome drink. Since it was still early in the morning we instead asked for cappuccinos. These were among the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had anywhere. We were also invited to breakfast, which was a nice gesture, though we declined, since we had just eaten.

Il Sereno cappuccinos

We were initially told our room would be ready within 30 minutes, but it ended up being a couple of hours, and they weren’t very good about providing updates. Fair enough, we were way early, so I’m not going to hold that against them too much.

Eventually we were escorted up to our room on the second floor.

Il Sereno hallway

We were assigned room 202.

Il Sereno room exterior

Il Sereno floorplan


Il Sereno suite

There was a comfortable king size bed, a green chair under a wall-mounted TV, and a desk.

Il Sereno suite

Il Sereno suite

Il Sereno suite

Back by the entrance was a long closet.

Il Sereno suite closet

Il Sereno suite closet

Next to that was the minibar, which was complimentary, aside from the alcoholic drinks. So all soft drinks, nuts, muffins, etc., were free, and were restocked daily. Very nice! However, there was no in-room coffee machine. On the plus side, there was no service charge for room service, so you could order up a coffee at a reasonable price.

Il Sereno suite complimentary minibar

Il Sereno suite complimentary minibar

Il Sereno suite complimentary minibar

Il Sereno minibar price list

Then there was a sliding door that led to the oversized bathroom, which had double sinks, a vanity with mirror, a gorgeous soaking tub, a walk-in shower with rainforest showerhead, and a partitioned off toilet.

Il Sereno suite bathroom

Il Sereno suite bathroom

Il Sereno suite bathtub

Il Sereno suite toilet

Il Sereno suite shower

Toiletries were from Ex Voto and had sleek packaging, but I didn’t especially like the Black Amber scent.

Il Sereno suite toiletries

The room also had a balcony with two comfortable chairs and a bench. It would have been nice if there were a table out there as well, given that there’s not a dining table in the rest of the room.

Il Sereno suite balcony

Il Sereno suite balcony

Il Sereno suite balcony

Il Sereno suite balcony

The balcony had views of the pool and Lake Como.

Il Sereno suite view

Il Sereno suite view

We were also brought a welcome bottle of sparkling wine shortly after checking into the hotel.

Il Sereno welcome amenity

Il Sereno welcome amenity

The room was great, though I do have two things to add — one very minor, and one not so much.

The minor issue is that I find it a bit deceiving that they call all the rooms at this hotel “suites.” To me a suite is a hotel room with a living area and a bedroom, and I think anyone who hears the term “suite” would assume that. In fairness, the hotel does have a floorplan of the rooms on their website, so it’s not a big deal for someone doing their research, though it does seem like they take some liberties with the room descriptions.

My much bigger issue was the quality of the wifi. It was horrible. Sometimes it would work normally, and then sometimes for hours on end it would be the slowest wifi imaginable. I know some might say “well you’re outside a major city, so what do you expect?” I’ve been a lot of remote places, and haven’t had wifi this bad in a very long time. It worked perfectly well at the Sheraton across the lake, just as a point of comparison.

I realize others might not care about that at all, but as someone who needs to still work while traveling, the quality of the wifi here would be enough to prevent me from returning, unless I knew that they did something to fix it.

In terms of the hotel’s other features, the hotel has an all day dining restaurant on the ground floor. You can either take the elevator down from your room, or take a beautiful wooden and glass staircase down from the lobby.

Il Sereno restaurant entrance

The restaurant has a wine cellar right by the entrance.

Il Sereno wine cellar

Much like the rest of the restaurant, the design is gorgeous. There’s indoor seating, covered outdoor seating, and then a fully open air patio.

Il Sereno restaurant

Il Sereno restaurant

Il Sereno restaurant

Il Sereno restaurant

Il Sereno restaurant

For booking through Virtuoso we received complimentary breakfast. The breakfast menu read as follows:

For those who book breakfast inclusive rates, the breakfast includes the buffet, a bread basket, yogurt, and either scrambled eggs or an omelet. That sounds fine on the surface, but the buffet was very small.

Il Sereno breakfast buffet

It consisted of fresh fruit, juice, sparkling wine, and a few types of cake.

Il Sereno breakfast buffet

Il Sereno breakfast buffet

Il Sereno breakfast buffet

Il Sereno breakfast buffet

Il Sereno breakfast buffet

In addition to the above they brought out a basket with croissants, bread, and pastries.

Il Sereno breakfast bread basket

So I got always got some fruit from the buffet, and then they’d bring out yogurt as well.

Il Sereno breakfast fresh fruit

Il Sereno breakfast yogurt

One morning I had an omelet to go along with it, while another morning I had scrambled eggs.

Il Sereno breakfast omelet

Il Sereno breakfast scrambled eggs

I found it a bit cheap that they only included basic eggs, and tried to charge 12-15EUR for eggs benedict, waffles, etc. Ultimately that’s not a huge deal, but it just feels cheap at a hotel in this price range, in my opinion. One morning Ford ordered one of the premium dishes, which looked great.

Il Sereno breakfast eggs benedict

We also had lunch a couple of days at the hotel’s restaurant. The lunch menu read as follows:

We had some tasty aperol spritzes to go with lunch both days.

Il Sereno lunch — aperol spritz

The quality of the food we had was excellent, though I didn’t think the variety was especially impressive. Of course I appreciate that they want high quality ingredients and you can’t do that if you have a huge menu, but this seemed especially limited. I’ll let the pictures of the food speak for themselves otherwise.

Il Sereno lunch — salad

Il Sereno lunch — proscuitto

Il Sereno lunch — tomato & mozzarella 

Il Sereno lunch — chicken

Il Sereno lunch — salmon

One of the highlights of the hotel was having drinks every night at sunset. The cocktails and wine were great, and as is standard in Italy, the snacks that went along with the drinks were great as well.

Il Sereno evening drinks

Unfortunately we had terrible weather for our stay at Il Sereno. While the weather was nice for the first day, for the next two days it rained almost nonstop. The weather was terrible, and I felt bad for the honeymooning couples at the hotel, of which there were a few.

Il Sereno bad weather

The highlight of our time on Lake Como was when we rented a boat for two hours. You don’t need a license to drive a small boat around Lake Como, and Il Sereno has a couple of cute boats you can rent by the hour. Here’s the pricing:

As you can see, two hours cost 270EUR (which isn’t cheap), but at least that includes gas, etc.

Il Sereno boat rental

This was so so so so so so so so fun. Magical, even. Lake Como itself is gorgeous, and since it was a weekday, the lake was mostly empty. We had perfect weather and cruised around for a couple of hours. This is an absolute must, if you have the chance.

Il Sereno boat rental

In terms of the hotel’s other features, rather ridiculously the spa and gym weren’t open for our stay. We didn’t realize this beforehand, but apparently they hadn’t yet gotten the permits for that (as they explained to us “we are waiting for the lawyers to sign”). I’m sorry, but it’s ridiculous if Europe’s “most anticipated hotel” has been open for nearly a year and it’s peak season, and they still haven’t opened the gym or spa. It wasn’t a huge deal, but just shows a lack of organization.

Lastly I wanted to talk a bit about the service. Oh boy. Let me start by saying that there were some nice people working at the hotel. The people at reception were friendly. The bartender in the lobby lounge was friendly. One of the more experienced servers was friendly. The restaurant manager was friendly.

But otherwise I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such incompetence at a luxury hotel. Just to give a few examples (and there are lots more):

  • At breakfast the first morning the coffee ended up coming after the egg dishes, despite following up about it three times. The yogurt I ordered also never arrived, despite asking twice.
  • It was pouring rain one evening so we called down and ask them if the restaurant at the hotel would have availability for dinner. They said yes. We asked if we needed a reservation. They told us it wasn’t needed and we should just come down. We arrived 10 minutes later and no tables were available. They told us to go up to the lobby lounge and they’d buy us a round of drinks, and that we should have a table within 15 minutes. 45 minutes later we hadn’t heard anything, so we went to our room and ordered room service.
  • We ordered room service, and to drink I ordered a bottle of sparkling water and Ford ordered a Diet Coke. They brought us still water and regular Coke.

I could go on and on, but those are just a few examples. While some staff here are good, this hotel really needs to get their act together when it comes to service, as a luxury hotel shouldn’t be this disorganized.

Il Sereno bottom line

Il Sereno is possibly the most stunning hotel I’ve stayed at in terms of the design. It’s exactly my preferred aesthetic. The hotel has a gorgeous setting with great views of Lake Como.

Unfortunately as far as everything else goes, they need to get their act together. The wifi barely works, and the service isn’t at all to a five star level. It’s also incredible disappointing that after being open for nearly a year, the hotel still doesn’t have a gym or spa. The hotel’s website indicates that the spa may have finally opened, which is at least good news.

So yeah, I’m sort of conflicted. Maybe we just had very bad luck with the service? I don’t know…

  1. Would consider a visit here but after reading the last bit, I think I’ll reconsider for a while…hopefully they see this and sharpen things up. Hotel looks beautiful though!

  2. Everything about this hotel is so overpriced. I feel like you’re simply showing off. “oh let me just casually book a 900+USD/night hotel room.” Very out of touch…

  3. Ben, you’re consistently fair in your reviews. That said, you are a bit too forgiving at times. I’ve noticed that in your reviews over the last couple weeks, and you did address that yourself.

    That said, all those service “hiccups” are really inexcusable at a luxury hotel charging 800 Euro per night. I think that speaking to a manager even at check out to let him/her know about the series of issues would be the least you can do to make sure they have that constructive feedback that could potentially save someone else’s experience in the future.

    Just my 2 cents.

  4. I think that service is often the problem at highly seasonal locations, at least until they can develop a returning staff. These seasonal resorts usually have to rely on people like students who are able to work for 3-4 months before returning to University. Often by the time they are adequately trained, the season is nearly over and then they have to do it all again the following season.

  5. Completely agree with EJ a hotel and also I agree with you Lucky the design is beautiful and I do also like the minibar and room service concepts though other wise everything in the hotel seems really bad especially for a hotel of this caliber and price and if I had your experience at this hotel I wouldn’t stay at Il Sereno again unless I got a massive discount even then I would still be very hesitant.

  6. Next time, go to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on the West bank of the lake across from Bellagio. The service is impeccable, the WiFi fast, the spa amazing, the food spread is huge, and the rooms are legit suites and enormous. And go in May. You’ll have a much better Lake Como experience.

  7. Well that Italy for you in the summer time. Lake Como is beautiful especially further up the lake, and there are better places to stay. Is there a lake ferry connection near the hotel, or a private service offered by the hotel to Bellagio or the other towns along the lake? If not this would not be a good place to stay for people looking to see the beautiful towns along the lake. Go to Varenna or Menagio. Sorry, but this review glosses over some pretty major inherent deficits at this hotel, because it was your anniversary. This hotel appears to be totally hype over substance.

  8. Would be interesting to hear what kind of response you’d get from the manager when bringing up these service issues.

  9. Poor Wi-Fi is inexcusable today in most places. I’ve been to hotels and bars in Vietnam and Cambodia that have lightning fast Wi-Fi. No reason places in more developed countries should be slower.

  10. Ben,
    if in the future you’re willing to try another one of northern Italy’s lakes, try Lake Orta.

    It’s the cosy version of Lake Como and has one of Italy’s best hotels, Villa Crespi, with the added bonus of a 2-star Michelin restaurant.

  11. Thanks for the review of this beautiful property. It would be nice to see a bit more information on some of the really stylish places you go that are achievable with points. I’m not spending that much money for this hotel (or the Aman series) anytime soon. Rather, I follow you to learn how/where to maximize points usage.

    That furniture makes me hate my couch.

  12. Beautiful hotel. I mean amazing. 27 euros for a burger? LOL. And at @$900/night the wifi better be blazing.
    Seems like a mediocre value, but dang that’s a good looking hotel.

  13. A lesson from the service industry: if you don’t bring up to the employee the lapses in filling requests, the employee will assume everything went perfectly. If a baby doesn’t cry, baby won’t get fed or diaper changed.

    Ask your dad for his wisdom on how to handle challenging situations. Listen patiently. Pay attention to the coping skills he developed over the years to overcome difficulties. Then do whatever your mother says works best. 🙂

  14. Funny that You’re getting scammed again and again and still find positive words. Paying that price and getting that mehhh breakfast is simply not acceptable!!! Yeah you have the money but every normal person would feel super pissed about that scam.

  15. To me the design of this hotel isn’t really my style, but I realize everyone has their own opinions. The lobby looks like a nice showroom you would see in an upscale furniture store, but I don’t want to come to Lake Como to see a living room. The setting right on Lake Como and the hotel’s pool though looks absolutely stunning. But if your paying 800 Euros a night then to me the disorganization of the hotel is unacceptable. The fact that the spa and gym are not even open after a year of the hotel being open is pure laziness. For those prices, the terrible WiFi and the hotel’s disorganization I would personally pass on this hotel, I’m sure there are just as good hotels in the region for the same price or maybe even less.

  16. I’m with Philip. If the service is awful, then write a legitimately scathing review. Or at least list your grievances. The design of the hotel absolutely DOES NOT make up for awful service and lackluster amenities. You don’t have to be overly rude mean, necessarily, but this is a very lame write-up that is much too forgiving for what sounds to have been a pretty terrible experience at $900+ per night. It’s all pretty inexcusable and needs to be documented publicly, especially since it sounds like you didn’t let them know whilst you were physically AT the property.

    Quit glossing over stuff…it’s ruining your credibility if you partially whine about stuff but don’t take action. You’re kinda all over the map on being objective, bud.

  17. That lunch menu looks like it is from a school canteen. Spaghetti with tomato sauce or bolognese sauce in a 800EUR per night hotel? Come on.

  18. As someone who works in management in hotels, I would absolutely want to know our shortcomings, it is the only way to get better. Also, if we have been having issues with a server in the restaurant and have coached them to get better and still no progress, we may be looking to let them go. If we knew about the issue then we have another documentation and the hotel can get rid of a bad apple. Not saying anything just promotes bad service/behavior.

  19. The food looks very bland, and the menu really lacks any special touch.
    For Italian standards, that is really sub-par. No high level restaurant in Italy would dare serve roasted chicked or burgers. I mean, really, you don’t know what you’ve missed by eating there. Not that Como is the best place in Italy to eat, but my goodness, if I had seen such menu in such a place I would have just stood and went away.

    For half the price, you’d be able to get a room in any of the most iconic luxury hotels, even in tourist places. A room at Gritti Palace in Venice or at Grand Hotel in Cortina would be cheaper. It really looks like that place is catered only for people willing to show off -even the scenery is nothing special for our standards.

  20. More wasted money. While you certainly get value from your premium flights redemptions you certainly waste it on these ridiculous half-rate hotels.
    Your flight reviews I find aspirational – these types of hotel reviews I find laughable.

  21. I just read the reviews on Trip Advisor. This hotel seriously has a lot of work to do before it’s a place I’d remotely consider. It sounds like amateur hour, both based on your review as well as based on literally every review on Trip Advisor. Everybody says it’s beautiful, but then falls flat. Also, I still cannot get over those boat rental prices. Absolutely extortionate.

  22. @marco..that’s the typical menu for ignorant people who just care about “where is the most expensive place to show-off”. I feel sorry for Ben and ford as they don’t see me to hsve learned anything from the past! They should have enjoyed a typical restaurant there where the “mama”of the house cooks. That’s Italy for me when It comes to food. i think they Never take in Account Food blogs or TA and just stay in their overprices Hotels…..which is a Real shame.

  23. What happened to this blog??? You realize the audience for a $900 hotel room is a lot smaller than the audience for a Hyatt point redemption, right?

  24. The last time Lucky wrote a scathing review people got fired. If you guys can identify that this is unacceptable, then he’s done his job. No need for him to inject extra emotions when livelihoods are at stake

  25. I have mixed emotions here. I find the review interesting as I was unfamiliar with the property, yet Poor Points Girl has it exactly right.

    On the other hand, I could understand wanting to carefully expand the scope of the blog, as the points game is slowly winding down …

  26. @betterbub:

    And? What’s your point? Perhaps that’s absolutely what needs to happen. I’d also like to read that review because I don’t recall one. Being milquetoast about a property that is clearly subpar doesn’t help anyone. Properties need to know when they fail and to what degree. And if the weak point is a specific employee or group of employees, then they should be retrained or let go. Full stop.

  27. @Ben. When you spend +800USD a night on a hotel, everything…EVERYTHING had better be perfect. Or, maybe thinking it’s not so bad because you are going to get a tax deduction from it as a business expense somehow makes it fine!? Remember, for most people, that 800USD would be their after tax dollars paying for a vacation. Anyways, I do like reading your blog and congratulations on transitioning to the latest incarnation of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, I guess. :/

  28. Sorry But it gets me agressive that you write stuff like “it’s not a big deal the charge 12-15Euro for premium eggs”. It’s a HUGE deal for me..absolutely ridiculous to treat their own customers like that if you take in account the price range. Every mediocre 5star hotel prepares you the eggs in 5minutes at no additional costs . Really can’t take you serious at all after this post.

  29. While I agree that a poor internet connection is inexcusable at any hotel in 2017, let alone one charging €800 a night, considering how central fast internet is to your livelihood, I’m surprised you don’t have an alternative in place. Have you seriously explored your tethering/mifi options with providers other than the major US networks? Even the poor value packages they offer seem a reasonable expense given your lifestyle and needs. It is penny-wise, pound-foolish, to suffer a poor free connection if it affects your productivity even marginally. I would have felt entitled to request that the hotel cover my data charges at checkout in this specific instance too. If they advertise an included service that is then not provided you deserve compensation for seeking it elsewhere.

  30. For 800€ a night everything has to be perfect. Just perfect, no hiccups. Being Italian I am totally HORRIFIED to see that menu in such an “exclusive” place. Next time spend half of that rate and eat at Michelin Star rated restaurants.
    Ben you should come to Firenze (off peak, may-june or september), you’d love it here.

  31. I find the service at high end boutique or independent hotels to suck compared to high end branded hotels.

    I just came back from a 10 day trip at another hotel and I paid $1400 / night per room for 3 rooms – family trip. The service was borderline incompetent, even though I should have been treated as a special guest. I basically paid them the equivalent of a new BMW for those 10 days.

    I’m going to stick to the St. Regis, Four Seasons, and the Ritz from now on.

  32. I think the hostile comments are extremely uncalled for; you people should be ashamed of yourselves. Don’t like the content? Don’t read the blog.

    Ben, thanks for this review. I feel the same as you – I don’t mind spending (a lot) of money on great travel experiences, but my expectations increase proportionally with price.

    In this case, I think this hotel is a borderline scam. I’ve traveled extensively in Italy, and while you do have to forgive some of their messy attitude towards service, no such leeway should exist in 800 eur/night properties.

    And this, for once, has nothing to do with cultural differences. Believe me, there are plenty of wealthy Europeans around who would absolutely not accept that kind of stress on their holiday. I’d go ballistic if my extremely expensive hotel couldn’t even hold a table for me at the hotel restaurant – after promising to do so. Give me a break.

    I’d like to hear more examples of these service lapses, to be honest.

  33. FYI the designer of the hotel, Patricia Urquiola (who I’ve met as I mentioned on twitter) is probably one of the hottest designers in the world right now. She’s done a few other properties which I know of such as Room Mate Guila Milan (across from the Park Hyatt) and the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona – though Il Sereno is definitely my fav by far!

  34. I thought you were being facetious in your admiration for the hotel design. But, there’s no accounting for taste, which is a personal thing. I was horrified as it reminded me of something out of the 70s. Those ugly furnishings and wood paneling. Yuck! However, what a view! Glad you still found enjoyment despite the awful service.

  35. I love the look of that hotel and – exactly my taste.

    It’s too bad about the service issues. Does anyone know if luxe hotels have soft openings like restaurants? Seems like this place could’ve used one.

    However, what I’d really like to know is where to get the duffle bag in the closet picture. What is it/who can I throw too much money at to get one?

  36. I’m so surprised by all the comments about the high cost of a €800 room at prime location during high season. €800 per night including breakfast seems like a fair price. As point of comparison, the Villa d’Este is charging over €1,200 per night for a room with a lake view (with no balcony) in September.

    The restaurant prices also appear to be very fair given the location. Do people who come read this web site realize that in continental Europe, menu prices usually include tax and service (aka tips for y’all yanks)? €27 for a burger and €25 for a plate of pasta seem expenisve? Try this:

  37. @AdamR

    I recall times when a family member was pitted directly against other employees one-on-one in the workplace and when the “loser” (worse performer of the two) would lose the job. Don’t you ever underestimate the fear of losing a breadwinnerin the family. These people can be retrained, and that’s what I pushed for in my first comment.

  38. The hotel to stay at on the lake is the five star Hotel Grand Tremezzo across the lake from Bellagio in the small town of Tremezzo. Gorgeous hotel. Great service.

  39. I enjoyed this review. I appreciate your promoting Ford/Virtuoso, but I think one problem with booking such rates is it almost requires you to eat in the hotel. You’re in one of the best places for food in Italy, and you ate lunch at the hotel two times!

  40. Can you jump into the lake from the pool area and just swim around?

    Also, Ben, again, youre too nice. COMPLAIN for things so that service can get better! Geez!

  41. I like your review of the Il Sereno at Lake Como. It’s nicely detailed. I have been wanting to go to this hotel before it even opened. Had a chance to book it for a trip this early fall but decided to stay at Tremezzo instead. Given the service breakdowns mentioned in your blog, I’m glad we made the right choice. Thought about staying at Il Sereno at St Barths this fall but will stick with Cheval Blanc and Eden Rock instead after this review.

    The price point is high but it needed to be high as most of the furniture in the hotel is by a brand called B&B Italia. A sofa from B&B easily run 15-25k. So a room rate at 800 euro helps to pay for that level of furnishing. With that said, multiple bad service from different people at this price point is unforgiveable. I love Patricia Urquiola’s work ( stayed at Mandarin in Barcelona last year) but a well designed hotel needs to have great service to accompany it.

  42. @ Ben. At a price point approaching $1,000 per night for this hotel, I will have to say no thank you. While the interior room photos reminded me of the Hyatt Düsseldorf, I stayed there on points . . . which made it even more enjoyable. Get back to your roots with this blog. I tend to agree with your readers who basically say “give us something we can use.” Quantity of reviews and travel stories does not equate to quality.

  43. Thanks for the review, Ben.

    Also appreciated all of the other hotel recommendations from your readers.

    Very helpful trip report with everyone’s insights.


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