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“Is Villa d'Este worth the hype?” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villa d'Este

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Villa d'Este
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Via Regina 40, 22012 Cernobbio, Italy   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Cernobbio
Atlanta, GA
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Is Villa d'Este worth the hype?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

As an experienced traveler, well acquainted with the pros and cons of much hyped luxury hotels, I was very torn as to whether I should splurge for a stay at Lake Como's much heralded Villa d'Este, or opt for a less expensive option "up the lake" with similarly positive reviews. I'm delighted to say that I chose Villa d'Este, and never looked back.

Villa d'Este is a like an old wine; the more you sit with it, the more it's exceptional character is revealed. I'll admit, I started out skeptical (I prefer small, intimate properties), but upon entering the front doors, realized that I was in the midst of sheer, unadulterated elegance. The common areas are old world glamour and sophistication -- like something out of a Cary Grant movie. That being said, the staff are down-to-earth and friendly, no stuffiness here. It's a combination hard to come by, and no doubt, the secret to this property's legendary status.

ROOMS: Our group (2 couples) were shown to junior suites in the Queen's Pavillion (both buildings are equally elegant). Our rooms were large, opulent, yet comfortable, with balconies overlooking the lake and views that if truth be know, are superior to the Cardinal Building. It should also be noted that everything in this hotel is sparkling clean and painstakingly maintained, from the grounds, to the common areas, to the floating pool, to the rooms. Yes, it's VERY expensive, but it takes money to maintain such high standards.

SERVICE: It seems that instantly, the valets, concierges, and bellman know your name, and they don't have their hands out for tips. The service level is nothing short of exceptional. At the end of your stay, an envelope with tips for the appropriate parties is appreciated, though not expected - classy to the end. I would like to give a special mention to Matteo Balesma (spelling?) whose constant smile and dedication to service is why people return to establishments such as this.

LOCATION: This is where Villa d'Este is sometimes dinged compared to other luxury resorts on Como. I, for one, can make a case for Villa d'Este being the PREMIER location. Situated a short walk from the town of Cernobbio, we found the hotel to be a haven away from the more touristy spots like Tremezzo and Bellagio. And although the lake may not be as wide and the views not as grand, it's a gorgeous, special location, with great restaurants and elegant shopping a short stroll away. If you're looking to be "in the middle of the action", this may not be for you. If you're looking for a relaxing and beautiful respite on the lake, Villa d'Este is your property.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
1. HOTEL RESTAURANTS: I preferred my meals outside of the property. The breakfast, included in my room, was fantastic, and the food quality was excellent across the board, but the prices were extremely high. Also, their main dining room is very formal, not what we prefer on vacation.
2. WEATHER: Be prepared that summers in the lake district can bring alternating days of rainy cool weather, and hot sunny weather -- this is why it's so lush! We used the rainy days to explore the towns (the hotel provides umbrellas) and sunny days to explore the lake. Bring a sweater and a raincoat and don't let the weather deter. It's worth it!
3. 4th OF JULY: Oddly, this luxurious Italian property has the best 4th of July fireworks we've ever seen. Although we opted out of the formal dinner/dance, we were thrilled with the fireworks show, enjoyed from front row seats on our private balcony.
4. BOAT TOURS: For a private boat tour, go down to the Cernobbio square (on the water front) and book one of the local water taxi's, $350 euro for two and a half hours, a better deal than booking through the hotel, and, in our opinion, the perfect way to see Lake Como.

Overall, this is a special, special place, well worth a visit, at least once. Would we always want to splurge on such a property? No. Are we glad we enjoyed Villa d'Este for our first trip to Como? ABSOLUTELY!

Room Tip: A junior suite with a balcony is the ticket. If you book through Amex, you can possibly upgrade to...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
    5 of 5 stars
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jonesboro
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

We stayed here for 3 nights in a lovely suite. I planned our entire trip around to be here on the 4th of July. The property boost a lovely formal soiree with cocktails, live music and dancing, a multi course dinner, a ballet, fire works and more. We were unfortunate that mother nature did not allow all of this to be on the lake (it rained) but the staff pulled it off flawlessly! Also the fireworks did happen over the lake, wow what a show! The staff was so attentive! The breakfast buffet was well done and we had a couple of good meals on property. But that view, the grounds the garden, the floating pool! I have always dreamed of coming here and it did not disappoint. Put it on your bucket list!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2014

We booked in for a week into a junior suite with a "full frontal" lake view but stayed 5 night/6 days because of poor weather.

From the moment we arrived we were greeted by Mossimo the GM who appeared to be everywhere and who together with his team looked after us like Maharajahs (Think Udaivillas by Oberoi).

Think Great Gatsby/Hampton's and you get the idea of the ambience of the place. Stunning location (If you can afford it definitely pay the extra and get the lake view as that is what you are here for)-We were in room 559 which levitated above the lake but was smaller than 217 which our friends stayed at but definitely had a better view than 217.

The food at breakfast and the Verandah restaurant were top notch. Try to make it for the 4th of July celebrations which were amazing not least of which was for the fireworks!!

Wonderful break in spite of some bad weather days thanks to the hotel and most importantly its most welcoming staff.

We booked through Virtuoso which gave us a free meal (worth for us about 300 euros as we stayed 5 nights and also a free minibar-yes including alcohol!-replenished daily) so you may wish to explore this.

Room Tip: Queens building lake view. If you do not like walking ask for the cardinal wing so that you d not h...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
JoffandSarah
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

Everything about this hotel exudes old style class. The setting, the buildings, the decor, the bars, the dinning rooms, the bedrooms, the suites, the staff........and the food, as the locals say..Madonna!!

Really this is one for the bucket list if you have not been there. Everything is just perfect.....Oh, ok...... one slight niggle about the room service, which is a little limited. We were enjoying ourselves so much we thought we would spring for a super treat and picked up the phone in the expectation of a soon to arrive trolley laden with caviar and vodka, and strawberries and champagne. I was stunned that they did not have caviar on room service!

I had got over the disappointment by the next morning and a leisurely cruise around the lake followed by a delicious lunch on an island left the caviar a distant memory...Until late that night again! What is it about things one just can't have?

Room Tip: Obviously a lake view and to hell with the expense!
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

Excellent Hotel - perfect rooms, beautiful gardens, best concierge and stuff. You really have to read history of this place in order to feel it. We booked exclusive junior suite and had a lake view. Had a chance to enjoy pool and rent a boat for a few hours and cruse lake Como - curtsy of Villa d'Este. Breakfast was wonderful with a view. The only slight disappointment was a dinner at the Grill. It felt like old country club dinner. You'll be better of with Il Gatto Nero in town.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
canada
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

Treat yourself, even for one day as my husband and I did, you will remember it for the rest of your life..I felt like a Queen, better than a Queen, staying in this magnificent yet low key Hotel/Villa. Situated on the Stunningly beautiful Lake Como in Italy, you will be overwhelmed by the wonderful service, the majesty of the rooms, the GARDENS are to die for..And, your Incredible meal at the end of the day in their wonderful restaurant, have their PASTA..will have you believing you Made it...such a dream come true. And just up the road by car, (you will be near a very well known and Extremely good looking actor who happens to have a Villa right there in Cernobbio,) you will be able to stop and take a ferry over to the island of Bellagio! You will feel like a Princess on the boat, with the sun on your face and the warm breeze in your hair, as you travel over to the sweetest little island ever! But that is for another review..:)
Enjoy, Life is Short!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

After reading many reviews from people and magazines, looking at photos from this place and surroundings for several years, finally the day arrived that I booked a 3 nights stay for part of a trip in Europe to celebrate our 7 years wedding anniversary in mid June. When I book a hotel I always try to stay at "Leading Hotels of The World" because then me and my wife know we have the bigger chance of having the best of soft service. While the hard service could be important (such an elevator or a nice spa) nothing beats the human-sourced services "served genuinely".

After the booking I contacted the Hotel directly with e-mail for some requests regarding the room and our arrival. I wanted to surprise my wife. It was done exactly the way I wanted and it was perfect thanks to the very proffessional lady: Erika Roncoroni. I had several e-mails back and forth with her regarding the requests and she was very kind, quick and helpful (just like you would wish every Leading Hotel could have).

After staying at this beautiful place your question for me is:
Was this what you expected it to be?
Even though I tried to not have the highest of expectations I unfortunetly must say that I was let down.
I have stayed and dined at some of the best awarded hotels and restaurants around the globe and one thing I noticed is very hard for them to succeed with, is the breakfast experience.
For 2 days at the restaurant Veranda for breakfast unfortunetly they failed. We tried both the outdoor seating and the indoor at different hours. The level of service was the same....Low. One example was the first day when I ordered fresh carrot juice for us (because we love it and only 2 different juices were fresh made). We dont mind waiting extra for that. After 25 minutes I went to the same man (with grey hair, eye-glasses and black bow tie) and asked what happened with our carrot juice. He looked surprise so I said maybe you sent it to the wrong table. He looked at the direction of the table where another couple was sitting so I said there is our table and pointed where my wife were sitting. Then he rushed to the other table and just took the carrot juice from them and tried to give it to us. When my wife said that they've already thank from it, he just said NO NO NO when the truth was that my wife actually saw them drinking from the glass. That was no respect shown to us nor the other couple. We would have accepted if he just given us an apology. We just left the table when he treated us like that then he said that he would give us the juice tomorrow. Do you think this person even bothered the day after?? Trust me when I say that it was not only this what downgraded the breakfast experience.
The third and last breakfast we had in the room.

In the same restaurant (Veranda) we had a 3 course lunch which was amazing. It was Michelin class food even though it doesnt have any stars. The lunch was included in our rate otherwise we would never pay 450 euros for a 2 person lunch. Perhaps if it would be a 3 star Michelin restaurant. The Maitre'd gave us Very good service at lunch. One "funny" thing happend was that they brought another persons dessert to our table. So this thing with bringing stuff to wrong tables seemes to be a common thing at this Restaurant weather its Breakfast time or Lunch.

Other things on the minus side:
• You can not have a drink by the pool (you've got to be on the land side) and the prices are extraordinary. 28 euros for one ice-cream and one lemonade.
• The hotel uses their own cars when you want taxi so expect extra charges. For example its around 40 euros of difference between Malpensa Airport and Hotel (when no traffic). 25 euros is the price going from Hotel to Como. They dont have any shuttle service.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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Additional Information about Villa d'Este

Address: Via Regina 40, 22012 Cernobbio, Italy
Location: Italy > Lombardy > Lake Como > Cernobbio
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Cernobbio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Villa d'Este 5*
Number of rooms: 160
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience the splendor, the grandeur, the intrigue and the magic of Villa d'Este- an opulent hotel overlooking glorious Lake Como. Hailed as one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler, this famous resort destination has been widely praised for its beautiful gardens, exquisite cuisine, gala celebrations, impeccable décor and extraordinary hospitality. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa d`Este Hotel Cernobbio
Hotel d Este
d Este Hotel Cernobbio
Villa Deste Lake Como
Villa D'Este Lake Como/Cernobbio, Italy

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