One of the most romantic locations on the planet, the legendary Grand Hotel Tremezzo has it all, with panoramic lake views, glorious Italian cuisine and even a floating pool – a truly tranquil destination just made for honeymoons or a luxurious pre-wedding treat
Words Isabella Eckett
A trip to Lake Como has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. The dazzling reputation lives true to this day, with the likes of George and Amal Clooney among its residents, so when it came to choosing a minimoon destination we looked no further. Admittedly, we do fall into the category of ‘pre-wedding honeymooners’, an emerging travel trend of 2020 due to postponed celebrations, but our chosen spot is about as special as it gets, a perfect place to celebrate being almost married.
The butterflies of excitement build as we wind through the mountains, on the hour-long drive from Milan Malpensa Airport. The road begins to warp around the lake, showcasing incredible views. This is early September, meaning the trees are luscious and the water is a deep emerald green. We pass through a handful of colourful towns until we reach Tremezzo home to Villa Carlotta, a Lake Como landmark known for its neoclassical interiors and botanical gardens. We are staying at the 5-star, Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Boasting a rich history and still family owned, it has looked after the great and the good for a century and counting.
The exterior is breathtakingly lovely, with a pale-yellow façade, sweeping staircase and statement palm trees swaying in the light breeze. We’re warmly greeted, our luggage is unloaded and our (slightly embarrassing) hire-car is whisked off by the valet to be parked among the Ferraris.
Inside, the hotel’s grandeur exceeds our expectations from the photos – it is palatial. It has all the traditional features you’d hope for. The walls and ceilings are painted in bold Italian tones, there are towering marble pillars, ornamental furniture and luxurious velvet sofas for lounging. The air is scented by vases and urns of fresh red roses, all adding to the opulence. We check into a Prestige Lake View Room, which strikes the perfect balance of old meets new. There’s a golden antique king-size bed, mirrored wardrobes, marble bathroom and delightful balcony – perfect spot for an aperitif.
Later, we sneak a tour (already thinking ahead for a return visit) and if you’re searching for a real love nest, Suite Greta was designed with honeymooners in mind and has a four-poster bed looking straight out onto the water. Newly refurbed rooftop rooms also boast stunning views, but we are both taken with the Balbianello Suite where the vibe is effortlessly cool, there’s a large terrace, hot tub and avant-garde furniture. We learn that all the suites are named after powerful ladies of the lake, each deeply connected to the hotel’s heritage.
On our first afternoon, we head lakeside, to the recently created hotel beach area. Bright orange (the hotel’s signature colour) parasols and comfy sun beds look pristine against the white sand. Staff are relaxed, wearing orange Supergas and white shirts – even the uniforms are noticeably chic. We settle at the wooden-decked bar area for light lunch and order two Aperol Spritz, the famous Italian cocktail much loved by us. Later we take a dip in the floating pool, described simply as ‘water on the water’ and definitely the hotel’s crown jewel. You can feel the sensation of the lake’s waves rocking underneath as you’re totally immersed in the amazing surroundings.
Breakfast is a truly grand affair, definitely not to be missed and located in the former ballroom of the hotel. Cured Italian meats, crumbling cheeses, delicate pastries and all the classics are served from silver finery. Tables on the terrace are dressed in pale linens, with fun matching china and a single coral rose for decadence.
After indulging, we decide to burn off a few calories by exploring the tropical gardens. We follow the zigzag pathway up the steep landscape until we reach the viewing point. We’re met by the hotel’s mascot, teddy-bear Bobo, who sits proudly on the bench overlooking the splendid grounds. Here, you can take in the panoramic scenery and spot Bellagio in the distance. The garden is also home to the tranquil Flowers Pool and pizzeria for delicious lazy lunches. T Pizza boasts a wood-fired oven and menu with all the signature toppings.
The T Spa is another quiet haven with an infinity pool (again, with lake views) that can be privately hired after 8pm if you’d like it all to yourselves. Many of the treatment rooms have beautiful mosaic floors and hand-painted ceilings – a superb setting for a spoiling couple’s massage. If a wellness retreat is what you are after, you can stay in the hotel’s Spa Suite for the ultimate pampering extravaganza.
A real highlight of our stay is the opportunity to sample the signature tasting menu of the great Maestro Gualtiero Marchesi. He is considered by many as the founder of modern Italian cuisine, and is even rumoured to have (fabulously) turned down Michelin stars as he valued guest feedback first and foremost. Today the menu is created by the hotel’s Executive Chef Osvaldo Presazzi and served on the terrace – said to be one of the best spots in all of Lake Como. It’s certainly the place to feast on the finest Italian cuisine over five courses, including the restaurant’s world-famous rice decorated with glistening gold and saffron at the table. The sommelier is on hand to pair each course with wine. Later, a nightcap at the hotel’s traditional T Bar rounds off a perfect luxurious culinary experience.
The location of the hotel is hard to beat, with Bellagio only a 10-minute boat ride away. Tremezzo itself is small, with a handful of great restaurants including La Darsena (request a table outdoors). A short taxi ride up the hill takes you to the family owned La Fagurida. Here, copper pans hang from the stone walls and the candlelit terrace couldn’t be cosier. The simple menu of traditional dishes is exceptional. We make the mistake of sharing the tiramisu, and find it really is too good to halve.
We discover there’s only one way to experience the lake in all its glory, and that’s from the water. Captain Carlo meets us on the hotel’s jetty to welcome us onboard Ruy, a magnificently restored period Venetian motorboat. A natural host, Carlo pops open a bottle of prosecco and points out all the sites dotted along the shores. These include Villa del Balbianello, made famous by Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, and Le Rose where Winston Churchill stayed. We also pass 18th-century Villa Sola Cabiati, owned by Hotel Grand Tremezzo and now available for exclusive private hire.
For maximum wow factor, do what we did and book the boat tour at golden hour. The sparkle of the water as you sip Prosecco and watch the sun melt away behind the jagged spikes of the mountains is unforgettable. In fact, Captain Carlo’s tour was one of the most memorable, magical moments we’ve shared together to date.
With the dramatic backdrop and everything on offer for guests, it occurs to me, that this isn’t simply a hotel, or resort, it’s a destination you can’t help but fall in love with. The home of our honeymoon, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, we’ll be back.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo is located at Tremezzina, Lake Como. For information and bookings, visit grandhoteltremezzo.com
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