Even before George Clooney scooped up a villa along Lake Como in Northern Italy, it was a spot for grandeur and relaxation. The March 5 opening of Grand Hotel Victoria in Menaggio—the newest property in the family-owned R Collection Hotels group—aims to capture that vibe, too.
Lake Como is enticing to many travelers, and the opportunity to stay at this elegant property could add to the allure once travelers are able to visit. “It is a destination that has evolved in the last seasons, also attracting a younger clientele with its unique offering in terms of landscape and activities,” said Ludovica Rocchi, CEO of R Collection Hotels.
A five-story, 19th-century neoclassical villa and new Palazzo comprise 81 guest rooms with no shortage of glitz and glam woven into the interior design, such as ornate columns, staircases, and chandeliers. High ceilings and decorated windows and stucco are also in abundance. While it’s always been a hotel, to transform the property into its even more upscale state, R Collection Hotels launched the meticulous makeover in late 2018—from handmade furnishings to tailor-made pillow cases—keeping the hotel closed during this time.
During the Belle Epoque period (1880s through 1914), the Grand Hotel hosted affluent, noble families from across Europe and Russia, who arrived via carriage rides from Engadin, Switzerland. “The history is not forgotten,” said Rocchi, about the storied villa. “It is highlighted by inserting modern touches. The 19th-century high ceilings and stucco are perfectly blended with the modern lights and contemporary pieces of furniture.” The hotel worked with regional artists and artisans from the Brianza district, located between Lake Como and Milan, and a major furniture-making hub, including Riva 1920.
Guests aren’t resigned to dining or lounging in the same spaces every day: there are two each of the property’s pools, restaurants, and bars. Nine different room categories provide lots of choices, and the property is also pet-friendly.
The upscale Lago Restaurant serves all-day Italian cuisine prepared with locally grown ingredients and is in the hands of executive chef Martin Vitaloni. The other option, Gourmet 1827, is a bit more casual. Grand Hotel Victoria’s wine cellar is stocked with Italian wines, naturally, sipped in either Bar Manzoni or Bar Griso.
A focal point of the hotel is Erre Spa, flaunting glittery mosaic columns poolside, plus a tea room, indoor and outdoor pools, Turkish bath, and fitness center. Multiple relaxation areas and four treatment rooms ensure the pampering never ends.
Despite the many on-property amenities, hotel staff encourage local excursions and will even help arrange them. “One of the mandatory activities when traveling to Lake Como is the boat tour,” said Rocchi. “It could be just a couple of hours for a glimpse of the most renowned villas or a full day including a stop for lunch in one of the traditional lake villages. Starting point is our private pier.” Bicycles (including e-bikes) can be rented right in front of the hotel. What’s widely considered to be one of Italy’s best golf course (the 18-hole Golf Club Menaggio & Cadenabbia, founded in 1907) is a 10-minute drive.
Rates start at $340 per night.