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“HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees

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Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Corso Umberto I, 67, 28838 Stresa, Italy   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 36 Hotels in Stresa
Hollywood Beach, Florida
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

I have been wanting to stay at this hotel for several years, ever since we first visited Stresa. We booked a family room for 4 nights, at a cost of 800 euros per night. While the property is lovely, the staff leaves a lot to be desired, as do their policies. We called the front desk to ask for glasses and extra towels: we were informed that Housekeeping does not bring glasses, so we would have to call Room Service ourselves for those, then the next day Housekeeping would not take away the used glasses, and informed us that WE would have to call Room Service for that. We found the amenities in the rooms to be extremely cheap, from the kleenex to the soaps and shampoos. We had just stayed at Hotel Greif in Bolzano, where Bulgari amenities are provided. Here, the amenities were of the quality of a budget hotel. The glasses in the bathroom and mini-bar are left upside down, directly on the counter, with no coaster for sanitary purposes. It is also our experience that finer hotels leave extra towels; here, they left you exactly 4 towels for 4 people. The Wi-Fi in the rooms is HORRIBLE. We were forced to use a computer in the lobby, only to find out that they CHARGE you for the use, to the tune of 13 euros for a few minutes of use! When we complained to Valentina at the front desk, she informed us that there was nothing she could do. By the way, she never, ever smiled during our entire 4 days. Breakfast was included, and it consists of a buffet. We were charged 2.50 euros for a tomato juice, which we requested for someone in our group who is diabetic. When I spoke to the dining room supervisor, he got very defensive and informed me that they "offer a very rich buffet" and they feel that they do not have to offer anything beside orange and apple juice, both of which are horrible for a diabetic. Instead of graciously listening to my comments, he went on to chastise me and defend the RIDICULOUS charge, this for 800 euros per night. He refunded the charge, which was NOT my point nor my goal, and he ensured that we were never charged again, but the damage was done. I mentioned to him that their scrambled eggs were watery one day and overcooked the next, and wondered why they would not offer eggs cooked to order or omelette stations. Again, he told me that only small hotels can offer such service: I told him that 600 room Disney hotels, cruise lines, and most large, upscale hotels offer this service. The Ritz Carltons in Miami all do it, so why can't they? And, they ran out of these same terrible scrambled eggs every day, because although they have a ton of staff in the large dining area, apparently nobody is assigned to monitor the buffet. We did have a very positive experience with SAID, one of the Concierges. He was terrific, very helpful and friendly. We will never again be back to this hotel; it has seen better days.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
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660 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Liverpool
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

A fantastic frontage and grand public halls full of Murano glass. A little let down by its 60's feeling swimming pool area with no sight of the spectacular views over Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands.
Breakfast included in our stay was very good - would have been perfect if there had been a fresh omelette maker!
Standard rooms a bit hit and miss. Not the best ever but more than adequate.

Room Tip: Pick a high lake view - makes up for any failings!
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunfermline, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2014

Not long returned from a fantastic 11 day stay at this beautiful, elegant and exquisite hotel. When I booked this holiday no lake view rooms were available so opted for a double room with garden view. When greeted by Sylvia on arrival and shown to our room, we were delighted to see that we had been upgraded to a lake view, free of charge with complements from the hotel, room no 401, and as per previous comments the views of the Lake are breath taking.
The room was tastefully furnished and sufficient for our stay. House keeping we're amazing, with room cleaned, bed changed, fresh towels every morning, with the offer of a further change of towels early evening if required.
We were greeted every morning at breakfast by a restaurant member of staff, escorted to our table and coffee, tea, hot drinks order was taken and delivered promptly. All the waiting staff extremely professional, attentive and courteous, however some of the male members of staff could smile a bit more!! There was plenty choice and something for everyone at breakfast, and it was lovely to sit on the terrace (weather permitting) admiring the Lake and watch Stresa go by.
The hotel is ideally situated for exploring the area, 5 minutes from the harbour and cable car and 5 minutes into the town centre.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best when we were there however when it was raining we took the opportunity to explore the hotel and gardens (ask concierge for a umbrella) and it was well worth it. Every floor of the hotel is themed and beautifully depicts historic Italian periods. The gardens are well kept and well laid out.
Regardless of the weather have a drink at the bar, and what you get with your drinks are snacks, olives, crisps, peanuts, delivered with elegant service from the barman. Yes it can be expensive however it's the experience of it all, it's definitely not for tourists on a budget!
We didn't eat at the hotel in the evening as there was not really a lot on the menu that suited our taste, however we did take a light lunch at the pool bar on a few occasions and it was delicious. There are plenty restaurants and cafe bars in Stresa with a great choice and we preferred to go out every evening trying different places and menus.
The hotel is very well run with the General Manager Gianluigi Mariani on hand to assist with any queries or requests you have. This manager has a very dry and wicked sense of humour which made us laugh lots - brilliant!!! When waiting on our taxi to take us to the airport he very kindly gave me a brochure on the history of the hotel. He said he spotted me in a room in the main hall studying and looking at the history of the Hotel - This guy knows his clientele - a sign of a great GM. Many thanks for your kind hospitality, we will return.

Room Tip: Must get a Lake View room however the garden view is lovely
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2014

It is the traditionalItalian palace at its best. This hotel is a dream with its legendary Italian service. We get a fabulous suite with Mini jacuzzi (Room 312). Each floor has a topic: Ours was "Roma Baroque".

A "fachino" will park your car (Ferrari not mandatory), the reception/concierge is probably the best in the world in recommending the fantastic nearby restaurant in Pallanza or renting your private Riva for a trip on the lake. The view on the Lago Maggiore and the Borromeo islands is breathtaking. (see by yourself)

The restaurant is affordable with also a stunning view on the lake. We had probably the best traditional risotto (with saffran) we ever had (and we are specialists). Ask for Roberto at the restaurant, which was before at the XSt. Moritz Palace hotel. The service is superb and we were not missing at all the infamous " Hi, my name is Mark and I will be your waiter today" (LOL).

Breakfast is also one of the most luxurious in the world . You can carve your prosciuto San Daniele and enjoy your Nowegian smoked salmo.

The spa is also very good and there is nothing to say against the hotel except a slow internet connection. I forget the bar where we had the best "Aperol Spritzer "of our livfe. Ask the pianist to play Mort Schuman's hit "Il pleut sur le Lac Majeur" .

If you want to enjoy the very top class of Italian Palace, go there and enjoy the European chic. The most attractive thing is probably the room price when you benefit from heavily discounted promotions.
This Hotel is really fantisco !

Room Tip: Lake View Mandatory it makes all the difference
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2014

Highly disappointed the hotel may look very grand however I felt like I was in my great grandparents house everything was old and slow (the wifi) and I felt very uncomfortable (despite paying lots of money to stay!). The main problem was the staff especially at breakfast - once seated it was hard to get a waiters attention to get coffee and then it took its time getting to you on one occasion the milk was off and when I showed the head waiter he only offered me another cup no apolgy or offer of fresh milk. On another occasion a waiter refused to let myself and my sister join our parents at the breakfast table as it was meant for 2 - when we then asked if we could moved to the table of 4 we were told we couldn't as someone was coming to use it after 10 minutes and no sign of anyone we again asked to be seated together - after the waiter made a large fuse we were allowed to move this seemed completely unnecessary and made us feel like we weren't welcome. Not what I expected of 5 start hotel.

  • Stayed August 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Borromees, Direttore at Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, responded to this review, September 18, 2014
I thank CharlVSmi for his patronage and for sharing his experience with us, even if I am not happy at all to read this review it is nevertheless useful because it gives us the chance to face some of our shortcomings.

The most attentive readers will note that the feedbacks we receive about our breakfast are controversial, while most of our guests are very satisfied about it, some others are not (very few!).

Here at the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées breakfast is included in the room rate, consequently all our guests use this service. During periods of high occupancy, we can serve up to 200/300 breakfasts in a short time, under these circumstances granting a consistent quality of the service can be very challenging, especially when family groups want to sit together.

This obviously does not excuse the poor attitude of our waiter –for which again I apologize - but we are aware of this problem and we are currently reviewing our procedures in order to find a solution.

Regarding the internet connection, we offer a free service with some limits, a premium faster service is also available but we are far from the USA standards. I am sorry to admit that in Italy, the average connection speed is very slow; in order to grant a good and reliable service for such a big hotel we had to establish some policies. You will find similar offers in other 5 stars hotels.

The guest expressed his –very severe - evaluation based upon these two factor, Internet service and breakfast, which to him are obviously crucial but, in order to soften his judgment, may I suggest that the location, the views and many other elements come into play and are also very important for the success of a pleasant holiday?

I hope we will have the occasion to change the guest’s mind should he visit us again in the future, and I apologize for our shortcomings.

G.Luigi Mariani - Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014

This fin-de-siècle masterpiece has a maître d'hôtel called Serafino and in this personage the entire history of this hotel is wrapped. A gentleman of perhaps seventy summers, his face, experience and friendly manner met us every morning. Only classy hotels have such classy staff and yet, this hotel doesn't quite hit the heights. It's more a four and a half star hotel as evidenced by some of the dress code at the in the morning. Old-fashioned old bore I may be, but shorts, sandals and a football shirt at the breakfast table are hardly de rigeur. The internet was also a disappointment, having been installed at the roughly the same time as the hotel was built and having last been serviced at the time of the last Bolshevik takeover. Nonetheless, the staff are, to a man (and indeed woman), utterly charming, helpful and with their radiant 'buongiornos' quite the life enhancers. The swimming pool is possibly the nicest I have ever seen with a separate diving pool into which my (talented and flawless) children sent many happy hours throwing themselves. The weather was godawful, by the way............and a San Pellegrino is an eye-watering 7 euros poolside.......

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Borromees, Direttore at Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, responded to this review, September 16, 2014
I am sorry that the guest’s experience at the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées was not up to his expectations, and would like to thank him for the nice words of praise, especially on behalf of *most* our staff (Serafino is 63 !)

Old fashioned does not necessarily means being a bore, as a matter of fact our swimming pool IS old fashioned but well-kept, by the same token the equation [lousy dressed guests + slow internet = undeserved 5 stars] sounds like a hasty generalization,

Stresa is a touristic area and people are tend to favor practical clothes when getting ready to leave for excursions, in spite of our best efforts, it is difficult to discourage some of our most “ruistical” guest from wearing casual clothes at breakfast.

Standard Internet service is free of charge, it grants a speed of 256 kbit/s and 500 megabytes download per day, this is usually more than enough if you need to send emails and browse the web, premium service costs € 5.50 per day and allows a much faster connection and unlimited download.

I understand that for someone this kind of service may be the barely minimum essential, still keep in mind that Italy is the not-so-proud 47th country the world as far as internet speed is concerned and these are the consequences, rest assured you will find the same kind of service elsewhere.

All this said, I would like to thank the guest for sharing his impressions with us, although we never want to learn that a guest has had a bad experience, these comments allow us to take an honest look at what we offer and push us to make the necessary improvements

I also hope that this reply will help Mr James1962186338 to reassess his evaluation about his stay, so that we will welcome him back again, for the pleasure of his talented and flawless children.


G.Luigi Mariani - Manager
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

This is a beautiful hotel with a wonderful 150 year history. It has excellent staff who obviously enjoy working there and making all the guests feel special. It is a landmark on the lakeside front where there are a constant stream of people stopping by to photograph this hotel and coming in to see the beautiful grounds. It represents a by gone of luxury and style, it was like being in an art gallery with our floor having a Grecian art theme. Has good facilities - swimming and diving pools, spa and gym. Our suite faced the lakes and was wonderful in décor/views. Short walk to the heart of the town, restaurants and ferry service. Fantastic views of the lake from room and at breakfast - quality of food was excellent.

Room Tip: Higher floors provide a better view of lake. Suite 504 is a great room facing the lake - you can wak...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees

Address: Corso Umberto I, 67, 28838 Stresa, Italy
Location: Italy > Piedmont > Lake Maggiore > Stresa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Stresa
#1 Spa Hotel in Stresa
#4 Family Hotel in Stresa
#5 Romantic Hotel in Stresa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees 5*
Number of rooms: 172
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxe and tradition; since 1863 the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees is the place to stay while visiting the Maggiore Lake area. The builing, the public areas and the rooms feature all modern conforts while still keeping the same belle epoque atmosphere. The park is decorated with statues, fountains and rare plants and the view from the rooms and the restaurant is spectacular. The Medical SPA of the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees is one of the first in Italy and can offer aesthetic treatments combined with a personalized diet. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Hotel Stresa
Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees Stresa, Italy - Lake Maggiore

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