This summer, I had a perfect, albeit very unique perfect stay at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como. This was my first hotel stay under the new normal of Covid-19. It was also the first summer in Italy for decades without a barage of American tourists. Luxury hotels like Tremezzo felt empty, if they managed to stay open at all.
Italy, like most countries in the world, has been adversely affected by Covid19. I’ve seen the devastating effects on some of the most famous hotels, bars and restaurants in the world. The pandemic hit the whole hospitality industry BUT American tourism is very special for Italy in the luxury sector. It’s a cash cow. While tourists from other countries line up outside luxury stores, there’s a certain segment of Americans that stay at 5-star hotels and villas at Lake Como every summer. Positano, the Amalfi Coast… Italians flocked to Sardinia and the island did very well this summer, but a lot of mainland destinations bread and butter comes from American tourists, with Brits and Russians falling in after.
Unfortunately many of these places remained close during the summer: the cost of operating without that reliable American dollar was just not worth it.
Some people might think, “whatever, woe is me, poor LUXURY places.” “Shame on them for not enticing more locals!” But I implore you to think of the full picture in running a luxury hotel. The staff at these places may come from a very different tax bracket than the clientele. They are hardworking and support their families with jobs they’ve had for years.
So, as you look at these pics of my perfect stay at The Grand Hotel Tremezzo, especially as I slip my mask off for photo opps and hand sanitize at the stations descretely placed throughout the hotel, know that there were hundreds of people on staff trying to give us tourists a hint of luxurious “normalcy.”
In its long history the Grand Hotel has seen the Spanish Flu, and two World Wars.
The hotel was first opened in July 1910 and the Belle Epoque design lives on throughout the hotel. Think The Grand Budapest Hotel. Grand Hotels are amazing stalwarts from this time and their luxury and elegance truly transport you. Attracting noble families throughout Europe, The Grand Hotel Hotel Tremezzo was outfitted for those who truly traveled in style. I packed for such and my looks (shop them in the captions below) and hair were definitely inspired by that seemingly carefree, beautiful period in French history. In 1932, Greta Garbo called the hotel “that happy, sunny place.” We certainly felt this as we took the sun at T Beach and played in WOW. The striped orange and yellow umbrellas looked straight out of an Aperol Spritz ad — truly Italian 1960s dolce vita. Wonderfully Italian, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is also still family owned.
First Impressions. Truly photos don’t do it justice, you drive up to Grand Hotel Tremezzo and you truly feel like you’re in a scene from a movie. An elegant Belle Époque palace, the hotel’s facade (seen above) is impressive amongst Lake Como’s greenery.
The lobby is just as resplendent as you might think with marble columns and crystal chandeliers, and the beginning of that oh so grand staircase. We loved shooting in that staircase and halls. We had to fill out pre-check in to ensure we were “handled” to our liking: do we want to be shown to our room? Valet to sanitized our car everyday etc.
Michele noticed that each landing had a different detail.
And the antique furnishings definitely gave me some home decorating inspiration. I love vintage mirrors
Has that lush green outside of the window caught your eye yet?
It’s the gorgeous palace park: 20,000 sq meters of glorious landscape that used to belong to the Villa Carlotta. Beautiful gardens of villas are a major attraction in the Lake Como area and Tremezzo’s is one of the largest with exotic plant species from all over the world alongside olive trees. I was transported to Jamaica hiding under banana trees in the rain!
Tucked away in the garden is also one of Tremezzo’s 3 pools: Flowers pool. And it still has a beautiful view of the Grigne mountains and Lake Como. The best of both worlds.
Speaking of pools, one of Tremezzo’s other pools is truly… well, WOW. Tremezzo’s Water-on-the-Water pool is unlike anything I’ve seen.
The pool floats on Lake Como, facing the Grigne mountains. You might be thinking, “Nneya, what’s the point? The lake is right there!” Well A, it looks awesome, and B, from dating an Italian, I’ve learned, many Italians do #lakelife much differently than Americans and a lot of the time, lakes aren’t for taking a quick dip! So Tremezzo gives you a pool AND with T Beach, that beachfront fun!
And for Riva fans, Tremezzo’s marina is full of them including taxi and tour services.
The view of WOW and T Beach at night is also stunning with the lights matching the glittering lights of Bellagio across the lake. My room was like a gorgeous jewel box with quite an impressive view. The team at Tremezzo welcomed us with a delicious aperitivo of treats and a bottle of sparkling. We also were given a great welcome set with hand sanitizer and beautiful masks made of lake Como silks. The bathroom was AMAZING. Marble with elegant and Acqua di Como products that I certainly helped myself to.
While we didn’t get to enjoy the highly rated restaurants on property we did take advantage of the beautiful bar with Francesco giving me a quick cocktail lesson.
But we did take advantage of a delicious breakfast buffet.
Keeping with the the mood of the hotel, this is not the kind of place where you go down in your schlubby work out gear. Even going down to breakfast, I told Michele “we have to wear all white cashmere.”
I know a lot of you may be a little leery of buffets right now since Covid but a distanced point-and-ask buffet with a server is one of the many safe serving measures Grand Hotel Tremezzo has implemented. It’s still a magical Marie Antoinette style experience with silver tiered trays of treats. But, instead of standing over everything and taking them yourself someone asks you what you want. Maybe it gets awkward for someone like Michele who says, “yes, another one of that… just a few more… don’t be shy with the plum cakes….”
The a la carte option and ordering of liquids is still there but it was just almost impossible to offer their full spread in a timely way for each guest if everything is to be ordered. In the omelette section, everyone distanced. Would you try a distanced buffet? Depends on what it is right?
Even on a rainy day Grand Hotel Tremezzo is magical and the opulent rooms draped in rich Como silks are not only to be looked at but to be enjoyed. Check out the billiards room, which give a very Clue vibe and the music room, recently redecorated by the most recent generation of Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
I hope you enjoyed my photo diary of Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Even if you’re unable to make it there for the time being I wanted my guide to transport you to this luxury experience on Lake Como that you deserve.
ALL PHOTOS BY MICHELE SCAGLIONE AND NNEYA RICHARDS