We have just returned from the Grand Villa Castagnola and I am suitably impressed.
Arriving at the hotel was very impressive as you wind your way up the little road to the main entrance. We were greeted by Barbara who was efficient and genuinely friendly (which was refreshing as I was half expecting stuffy due to the surroundings). Check in was very simple then Barbara accompanied us to your room in the new section, which involved a bit of a walk but in such an old building it's to be expected. I was a hotelier for 22 years and have seen my fair share of rooms, both good and bad, but I can say I was impressed with the room. The decor was fresh and the room smelt nice and clean. We had our own sofa and armchair, twin beds with duvets, complimentary fruit and a lovely little terrace with recliners. The bathroom was spacious and, as I found out later, the shower was great. All the usual amenities you'd expect of a five star hotel from slippers and gowns to all the toiletries you could wish for.
Once settled we went to reception to the eat something on the terrace outside. We really just wanted a snack so ordered a bottle of water, two simple plates of pasta and I had an espresso, which all came to a grand total of.... 72 Swiss Francs or about 50 Euros! Whilst I understand we were in a five star hotel, and the service was impeccable, the linen whiter than white and the surroundings beautiful... 50 Euros for 2 plates of pasta! I was taken aback and at the time thought that's the price you pay for five star I guess, but I now feel that 29 Swiss Francs for a plate of pasta is just a bit ridiculous. I have just checked the price for next weekend, similar to our stay and the price per night shows as £293, which I think is reasonable considering what you get from the service to amenities. However I still balk at that much for a plate of pasta regardless.
SO our next stop had to be the pool, we donned our slippers and bath robe and headed off to the pool. We weren't disappointed as it is lovely, once again everything is provided and there are sun loungers if the weather permits. The only down side to the pool was that it was just too cold. now I know everyone's a bit cold when they first enter a pool and once I had thrashed about trying to warm up I was alright, the problem was when I stopped as I immediately cooled down to the point where I was having the trash about every few minutes to be able to stay in the pool as it was just too cold. Relaxing and chatting in the pool is just not an option as it really is too cold. Also a little disappointed that you had to book the sauna...
After a lovely warm shower I then tried to connect to the complimentary wifi, it connects but is painfully slow at times, even unusable it's so slow. Later when I tried to connect it didn't want to work at all so I had to reload everything, which made it work, but again so slow I gave up. Loved the complimentary wifi but shame it didn't work very well.
The next morning we were up and out fairly quickly but had time for breakfast in the lovely breakfast room. Breakfast is lovely, a large enough selection to keep pretty much everyone happy from fruit salads to eggs and bacon to fresh croissants. The selection is too large to list here, suffice to say I think pretty much everyone is catered for.
One thing I was disappointed with, when we went out to grab a bite to eat one evening, was how dead it was after 8pm. During the day the place is a hive of activity with people running around, sitting at bars etc but come 7-8pm everyone scatters and the once thriving bars and restaurants are empty. I found out from our very chatty taxi driver, on the way back to the airport, that this has something to do with the mayor not letting businesses open late, which is such a shame as if you go to Lake Como it is full of people at night which is so much nicer than a ghost town.
Don't get me wrong though I would definitely go back, I just felt these little annoyances needed pointing out as they impacted on our stay in this wonderful hotel. Oh yes and forgot to mention, the beds, pillows, linen and duvets are divine!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola, member of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”, is the only five star superior Hotel in Lugano and enjoys a privileged position inside a large sub-tropical park and with a beautiful view towards the lake. The elegant villa, built in 1860, combines the charm of a former era with the comfort and the care of a modern luxury hotel. The hotel offers 78 rooms, of exceptional charm, individually styled, provided with every modern comfort and with stunning park and/or lake views, balcony, terrace or loggia. All rooms, of which 28 are Junior Suites and Suites, have individual air-conditioning, and provide the most modern comforts. Restaurant Le Relais – 14 points GaultMillau-: In an elegant setting, our Executive Chef Bertogna, suggests a light and innovative Mediterranean cuisine, a balance between colours and delicate flavours that you won’t forget. In season lunch and dinner are served on the outdoor terrace, overlooking the garden and the lake. Restaurant Gallery Arté al Lago -1 Michelin Star, 16 points GaulMillau - :A theme restaurant inside an art gallery. Restaurant renewed and embellished through artworks and sculptures of contemporary artists of international stature who alternate every six months. Right on the shore of the lake, the Restaurant Gallery Arté al Lago offers a magnificent and unique view over the gulf of Lugano. Signature dishes are entirely new and original from our Executive Chef Frank Oerthle. Top notch are the facilities offered for meeting and events: any event assumes a special distinction - a grand banquet or less formal luncheon, business meeting or conference, private party, dinner or wedding up to 120 people. A large and impressive venue is the Sala delle Palme, set to recall an oriental atmosphere with its Indian Rajastan panoplies and Afganistan doors dated XIX century. All our venues are appreciated for the day light and the unique ornamentation and for the unclenching rooms, private sitting-rooms, conference halls of different sizes such as Le Pavillon connected to the park trough the outdoor veranda, La Sala Delle Colonne, Sala Letizia, Sala Carlotta and Sala Ottavia, the Biblioteca and Sala Kwium.Villa Castagnola has a spectacular indoor swimming-pool with panoramic views over the gardens, a Wellness Corner, a Clarins Beauty Corner, a Danilo Hairstyling, a table-tennis room, outdoor hard court tennis fields and a private lake terrace. The Hotel is well connected to Lugano’s railway station and Airport (only 7Km to the Lugano-Agno Airport), and has easy access to the Motorway. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel Castagnola
- Grand Hotel Lugano