Ultimate Family Vacation: Unforgettable Lake Como’s Top Hotel

The mesmerizing green hue of Lake Como’s water captivates all who set eyes upon it, evoking a sense of discovering the secret essence of all things green. In the shallower parts of the lake, the water resembles a rejuvenating broth, while in the middle, it appears as thick and glossy as emulsion paint. Surrounded by hills, Lake Como possesses an elegance that surpasses the turquoise bays and lagoons depicted on social media. It is a place that calls for sunglasses with lenses in the color of the Italian lakes.

Passalacqua, a 24-suite hotel nestled amidst seven acres of terraced gardens on the southwestern shore of Lake Como, offers an ideal spot for indulging in contemplation amidst the greenery. During a visit to this opulent hotel last September, the author and their family experienced the tranquility of the surroundings, especially their two-year-old son who, usually full of energy, was calmed by the serenity of the hotel pool. Lake Como, with its deep waters, nestled in the Alpine foothills of north Lombardy, has long been a destination of understated exclusivity, maintaining its allure without reaching the saturation of other popular Italian destinations.

While tourist numbers have been steadily increasing, Lake Como has managed to maintain its air of sophistication and discretion. The lake is home to protected villas owned by low-key Italophiles and Italians, with a few exceptions like George Clooney. The absence of a central gathering place or beach adds to the discreet charm of the area. Passalacqua and its sister property, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, have contributed to Lake Como’s renewed popularity. These hotels offer a blend of classic and contemporary elements, with lavish interiors and impeccable service. The De Santis family, owners of Passalacqua and Grand Hotel Tremezzo, have created an atmosphere that is both glamorous and welcoming, attracting famous guests such as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

Passalacqua Villa, now a hotel, is steeped in history and elegance. Originally built in 1787, the villa has hosted renowned figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill. The recent renovations led by the De Santis family have added modern touches while preserving the villa’s neoclassical style. The hotel’s interior features a combination of luxurious elements, including handblown chandeliers, marble accents, and bespoke trunks. The open kitchen invites guests to explore and indulge in refined domestic cooking. The hotel’s inviting atmosphere and attentive staff create a sense of staying in a grand 19th-century mansion rather than a hotel.

For a change of scenery, guests can venture to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, situated at the mid-lake point where the three branches of Lake Como converge. The hotel’s timeless charm and idyllic location make it an excellent base for exploration. Nearby attractions include Villa Carlotta with its impressive sculptures and botanical gardens, as well as the picturesque village of Varenna. While Bellagio attracts many tourists, Moltrasio offers a more understated charm with its quaint square, gelateria, church, and scenic bar. Exploring the hidden gems of Lake Como, whether by car or bicycle, is a delightful way to immerse oneself in the local culture and savor the flavors of Italian gelato.

Concluding the Lake Como experience, a visit to the city of Como itself is worthwhile. Often overlooked as a mere transit point, Como boasts a vibrant atmosphere and a stroll along the Passeggiata Lino Gelpi provides glimpses of charming villas, the Como Aero Club, and seaplanes. The city’s lived-in feel adds to its appeal, making it an excellent destination to extend one’s stay and explore further.

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