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“Classic, old world hotel experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

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Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Via Roma 1, 22021 Bellagio, Italy   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 17 hotels in Bellagio
Memphis
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Classic, old world hotel experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2012

This was our second stay at the Villa Serbelloni - the first being some eight years back. Thank goodness, very little has changed. This fine, elegant, and grand property deserves high merits for maintaining what makes this hotel experience so special, and what truly defines a grand, old world hotel.

First, the property: If you are looking for perhaps one of the best lake views on the planet - this Villa sits at that precise location. The lake view really can't be described in just words...it must be experienced. But trust me - you won't be disappointed. If you admire what defined the classic hotels of the past - you will feel perfectly at home at VS. If you want that new world hotel experience - go visit a twentieth century hotel in some big city and collect your rewards points and pay your internet driven room rate. This property is a world away from a modern hotel experience (even 5 star) - and I am glad they have not abandoned their unique identity.

Second, the Villa staff: The entire staff made us feel as if we actually owned the Villa. The concierge desk may be the most personable I have encountered. This trip they handled all our arrangements for a unique boating excursion on Lake Como, and also guided us in pulling together our entry into Switzerland via train, and skirting the recent rockslide. We had to change our travel plans a bit - and a private car was arranged to assist. We couldn't have managed all the logistics without their very fine help, and over the top attention to our travel itinerary.

Third, a special event: One night a 100 member symphony performed in one of the grand rooms at the Villa. It was a memorable performance, well attended, and an intimate performance/setting that you could only dream about. It was a magical evening that even seems surreal as I reflect back on that night.

Villa Serbelloni is not for everyone, is not cheap, and I am sure that some of the complaints listed in TA deserve some attention. With that said - this is a very special property that you should experience at least once to fully understand what makes this property and this location so grand.

Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this review, July 13, 2012
Dear Sir,
Thank you for your post and for your positive comments.
I have also passed on your praise to the Concierge team for the good job they have done.
We look forward to seeing you soon again
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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382 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (77)
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English first
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2012

The most beautiful hotel on Lake Como.The rooms are huge with breathtaking views of the lake.Service is impeccable!Hotel is in the center of town but private.The pool has a great view of lake and there is also a spa and indoor pool.The historical public rooms make you feel lije you are in a palace.Truely for the rich and famous!

  • Stayed September 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this review, June 28, 2012
Dear Sir,

We thank you for your fine review and for visiting our " Heaven on Earth " property on lake Como.
We are glad you enjoyed the impeccable service and appreciated the amenities of this historical building. Please come back soon !!!
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

This really is a grand hotel and holiday experience. Set on Lake Como, and dominating the peninsular waterfront, the grand experience starts with the old world welcome by concierge and reception staff.
Our suite had a large bedroom, large bathroom with bath and shower, and a sitting room. It had a pair of single beds which weren't so comfortable when convert into a king. But in other respects it was great, with fabulous views and very well serviced twice each day.
Breakfast was in the original dining room, and was excellent. The room itself would be a tourist feature with opulent ceilings and walls that are reflected in mirrors at each end. Heaps of old to everyone's taste.
The pool side restaurant is in a great position, but we found the service only just, and while the food was OK it's probably more expensive than the experience deserves.
The fine dining room is also expensive, very expensive indeed, but wow! It was worth every €100 we spent. The menu is extensive, the service and advice excellent, and the food was princely. They even made the sorbet at the table which was a real party stopper.
I don't drink wine, but was left in no doubt by fellow diners that their cellar is rich in variety and quality.
If you want a luxury holiday in one of the worlds best p
Any grounds, stay here.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this review, June 24, 2012
Dear Sir,

Thank you for the feedback, it is greatly appreciated. We are delighted to hear you have enjoyed your stay. Pleasing our guests is a top priority of The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni . We hope to accommodate you again in the near future and are looking forward to it.
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Wetherby, Yorkshire
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2012

It's the atmosphere here that spoils it for me. It's empty. The staff are on the whole just not friendly. The place is dying. Who is here to care I wonder? A feeling of nobody being bothered what the guests may really want pervades.
Today I was told I could not have a glass of rose wine. I had to order a half bottle. No Champagne is available by the glass in what is possibly the most beautiful terrace on the lakes. It is simply RIDICULOUS. I wanted so much to love this place but niggling things like this left me feeling stressed and negative.
We sat for ages on 2 occasions in this bar terrace & nobody came to serve us. Eventually upon demand the concierge told us we had to ring a bell for service which is so camouflaged that neither of us had even noticed it. No flowers, no music & no style on what should be a GORGEOUS terrace bar experience.
A delightful music trio played in an empty salon EVERY night. The same musicians every night.
A little variety would be good.
A HUGELY overpriced & underwhelming experience. This hotel needs to be picked up & shaken about or closed.

Room Tip: Don't bother to pay the extortionate prices for lake views as there are virtually no balconies...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this review, June 24, 2012
VILLA SERBELLONI IS NOT SINKING IN A GLASS OF ROSE’.

Although we are open to any suggestion coming from our valued clientele, social media is not the place where we will talk over our F&B policies.
Dear Mrs H….., our staff is very service oriented and although we do not serve certain items by the glass your request was fulfilled without even having to get permission from the manager.
The bar terrace is an surrounded by flowers and topped with greenery, not to mention the natural beauty of the location.
Music is played every night in our lounge and from July onward our musicians will also be playing on the bar terrace during the cocktail hour. The music we play is in keeping with the atmosphere of the Hotel.
Thank God Villa Serbelloni is not sinking over a glass of wine.
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Farmington, Connecticut, USA
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

We returned to GHVS to celebrate my wife's and my joint 60th's with the family, as we had enjoyed this magnificent location nearly a decade ago. I wrote ahead to let them know it was a special occasion, and sure enough they had two rooms for our family occasion...one with a lovely balcony with a partial lake view. BUT they gave the large room with the view to the kids!
Naturally, we weren't going to uproot them, and we had a wonderful family time (including daily cocktails on "their" balcony) anyway...but really??
That being said, this is a special place in a great location, and the views are unparalleled....a great place from which to enjoy Bellagio and explore the Lago! We look forward to returning.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

We have stayed at the GHVS half a dozen times over 15 years or so. We returned this month and while the setting and beauty of the location cannot be over stated the hotel seems a shadow of its former self.

Others here have spoken about the rooms, but for us the disappointment was the food. While it is great to see the more casual menu by the pool is now available all day, the main restaurant has a menu so eclectic you'd have to be a very sophisticated foodie to enjoy it. The net result is that there are hardly any customers (less than there were staff) and what was once a bustling busy, yet quiet and elegant, setting is like eating on the Mary Celeste.

The hotel could usefully visit its leading competitors in Portofino or Rome - there simple Italian food is served to the highest standards. The GHVS needs to run its restaurant for its customers not the ego of its chef.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ghvs, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this review, June 14, 2012
Dear Sir,

Thank you for your review and for coming back for all those years.
The idea of having the Michelin starred restaurant on the terrace is to give the Mistral a more suitable location, this also involves a more sophisticated type of food and service.
But we did not want to let anyone down and consequently we have opened a new restaurant called La Goletta. The view over the lake is guaranteed so the simple Italian food.
Two restaurants, two different choices of food, one elegant and one casual.
So far we think we have widened our offer.
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Oxford, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2012

Taken on its own terms, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni would be a three star experience. The bedrooms and bathrooms are clean enough, the public spaces are grand and ornate, and there is an adequate range of amenities, such as a spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and two restaurants, one of which, the Michelin-starred Mistral, was serving peacock on our visit, of all things. The location overlooking Lake Como is excellent, with superb views from the lake-facing rooms, and if this were to be priced at around 100 Euros or so for a room for the night then this would be a recommendation.

However what transforms this from being an unexceptional three star review to a one star criticism is the absurdly overpriced nature of what is being offered. At the time of writing, a classic double room with lake view is offered for 500 Euros a night. This staggering amount of money - more than, say, a comparable room at La Mamounia (around 400 Euros for a similar room) in Marrakech or The Ritz in London (around 380 Euros) - is asked for one of the most mediocre experiences that my partner and I have ever had in a hotel of this nature.

The problems began when we walked in through the front doors and found the small, cramped reception desk, where they appeared to have no record of our booking. Upon being shown a confirmation email, the rude staff grudgingly took us up to our room, which was startling for all the wrong reasons. It was claustrophobic, had none of the amenities that one would expect from a hotel of this nature (iPod dock? air conditioning? bottled water in the room? complimentary wi-fi? Duvets as opposed to scratchy blankets? A hairdryer that worked? A bathroom door that locked? A bathroom, come to think of it, that had been changed in any significant way since the 1970s? Oh no, forget it!) and the faded, peeling green-tinged wallpaper and unspeakable swirly carpet summed up perfectly the image of somewhere that had seen vastly better days.

A long time ago.

To criticise everything about our stay would be a laundry list. However the thing that ruined the trip beyond measure was the attitude of the staff, from the manager downwards. The line they took was that 'other guests' were grateful to stay in a 1970s relic, and that it was their express request that nothing should be changed, but instead an ersatz recreation of a bygone era in hospitality should be recreated, in formaldehyde if necessary. One feels sorry for the younger members of staff, who presumably have to cast their minds back to a time before they were born and recreate the rudeness and insensitivity of an era where a paying customer was an inconvenience to be put up with rather than a valued client to be looked after.

The vast majority of the guests were elderly Americans who we can only assume equate such old-fashioned 'hospitality' with 'quaint European style'. In fact, the experience is antiquated, insulting and deeply depressing. We were reminded of Fawlty Towers, had Jack Torrance from The Shining been the proprietor.

The manager, judging from the earlier comments that guests have left about similarly 'challenging' stays, is a man who is very keen to respond to feedback and comments. Would that he had proved half as accommodating or engaged upon our visit.

Comfortably the worst place we've ever stayed in Italy - or anywhere else, for that matter - at this sort of price level. We won't be back, but we suggest that you head to the Villa D'Este for a more upmarket and respectful take on old-school glamour, or the newer Castadiva for a sophisticated and modern Como resort.

Room Tip: There are no 'good rooms', but those facing the lake at least have decent views.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ghvs, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this review, June 14, 2012
Dear Sir,

In a time when “value for money” is an issue for a great deal of people I can understand that you are searching for the best at the lowest price.

It’s less understandable to me the way you intend to compare prices especially when you do not keep in consideration the geographical latitude of the hotels you are mentioning.
I am not used to interfere with other properties and I don’t like to compare hotels, as each hotel is unique to the area where they provide their services, but, since you dragged me into this let me say that a room in Marrakech at Euro 400.- can in no way be compared to a room in any 5 star Hotel anywhere in Europe. The personnel costs and all other costs involved in the running of the house are certainly different in Europe as opposed to Marocco. The Ritz in London is great Hotel, I surfed their web site and their standard prices are definitely a lot higher than ours ( and do not include breakfast and VAT ).

Your comments about the American clientele is insulting and out of place. Just for your records and the benefit of other readers, the Americans make up only 29% of our clientele, the British 17%.
At what age do you reckon someone is elderly? And what is the percentage of American in a Hotel that you can cope with? And by reading your other posts, do you always find staff and managers to be “unpleasant example of the breed” ?

We are not claiming to be the best hotel in the world and the challenging clients remind us that we have to keep on working hard to try to delight as many clients as possible.
We did not succeed with you but I can assure you that we have a great number of people who are happy with our location, our decent view of the lake and the quality of our staff.

Please scroll the page and also read other reviews.
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Additional Information about Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Address: Via Roma 1, 22021 Bellagio, Italy
Location: Italy > Lombardy > Lake Como > Bellagio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Bellagio
#5 Family Hotel in Bellagio
#8 Romantic Hotel in Bellagio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is one of the oldest and most elegant hotels in the Lake Como area and the only 5 star de-luxe hotel in Bellagio. From April to November the salons and the large lakeside garden offer guests the chance to enjoy a holiday far from the madding crowd and close to nature immersed in one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world.Lovers of peace and quiet can alternate the pleasure of a poolside drink with beauty treatments and programmers at Villa Serbelloni SPA, the hotel's own beauty farm. Or they can set off from the private dock for a motorboat trip to the historic gardens along the lake which, in Springtime, attract tourists from all over the world: especially for the wonderful flowering of the azaleas. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Hotel Serbelloni
Grand Hotel Bellagio
Villa Serbelloni
Grand Serbelloni Hotel
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Bellagio, Italy - Lake Como

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