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“Buyer beware!” 3 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
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Buyer beware!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2007

First the good news. The Villa D'Este is situated in one of the most stunning spots on the planet and for the most part it delivers what you would expect of one of the most expensive hotels in Eurpope. However, for the sort of money it charges perhaps one could expect near perfection, and this I am afraid is definitely not the case.

For a start, the hotel is simply too big to give the sort of personal service that one expects at the top end of the hotel market. There are around 250 rooms and on top of this the hotel plays host to many a ghastly conference. When we arrived, the hotel was swarming with car salesman, gathered to launch a new Lancia. Men in suits doing their corporate bit did not sit well with relaxed holiday makers, who had come to chill in these glamourous surroundings. We had at least 6 new cars parked right outside our bedroom window. There is not much 5 star about that!

Dining on the main terrace is truly a wonderful experience, with food and service of the highest order. It is therefore very disappointing to report that the Grill Room which is a seperate restaurant within the grounds dished up one of the worst meals we have ever eaten. I won't go into detail but I have the honour of nominating this restaurant for the " Five cowpat award" for most expensive restaurant with the least edible food.

So there you have it. Yes, the D'Este has moments of utter brilliance and shows why it has acquired such a great reputation. But too often it lapses into 4 or even 3 star mediocrity.
Perhaps we were unlucky to arive when a conference was in full swing, perhaps the Grill had an off night, perhaps the rust that filled our bath the first night was a freak. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Perhaps you should go somewhere else more reliable.

  • Liked — Good marble in bathrooms
  • Disliked — Boring decor
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fiume, General Manager at Villa d'Este, responded to this review, July 3, 2007
Google Translation
Dear Guest,

I read your comments about your recent stay with us. I am very sorry to learn that your initial enthusiasm with the location of the property and the delivery of our service has been marred by the presence of a small event taking place during your stay and I would like to clarify this issue.

First of all, Villa d'Este has only 152 guest rooms and not 250 as you assumed. You are perfectly right that maybe is not appropriate to hold a conference in the hotel, at least during the peak season and in fact our policy is to host events only at the very beginning or toward the end of the season. I have to admit that an exception has been made this time, but the fact is that what was taking place was not a simple car launch, but a special 100 years Anniversary of the "Lancia" brand . During three days we had 40 journalists from all over the world and we spared no efforts to avoid any disturb of the privacy of the other guests by concentrating the event in a quieter area of the park, away from the main lobby and terraces. I perfectly understand your feeling about he presence of four cars in this area where your room was located; they were there for displaying their latest product to the press and I apologize if you found this inappropriate even though I think it was not obtrusive.

Regarding the disappointment with the Grill restaurant,where the menu is offering traditional local dishes in alternative to the more international menu of the Veranda, I am quite surprised about your disappointment since we receive many praising every day, but I assure you that I already shared your comments with our Executive Chef.

Dear Guest, I can assure you that our aim is to always preserve the elegance and special atmosphere of our property and my only hope is that you will have another chance to experience our dedication to the quality of our service and facilities any time in the future.


Danilo Zucchetti
General Manager

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763 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
    5 of 5 stars
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English first
Portland, Oregon
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2007

I have just returned from three weeks in Lombardy--on the whole, a wonderful trip. However, my stay at Villa d'Este was a disappointment. This renowned resort still has its beautiful location, but in other ways "it ain't what it used to be". The rooms have been redecorated with carpets of intense colors--magenta, bottle green, bright blue--that are anything but restful. The service has gone haywire. My partner and I arrived mid-morning with a reservation for an "executive" (mid-price) room confirmed for 2:00 p.m. At 2:00 we were told our room would not be available until 5:00. Then a rather brusque young man at the reception desk tried to talk us into accepting a tiny room with an ugly green carpet and only one chair--at 740 Euros a night ($1000). When we declined and said we would wait until 5 o'clock for our assigned room, he became huffy and stalked back to the main building ahead of us. Eventually our room became available, and it was acceptable (though not great). Next, we were told that the main dining room was closed that evening for a private party.

I had made a separate reservation for a friend who was to be my guest, arriving the next day. I explained when making the reservation that she was my guest and I would be paying. I made this clear again when I checked in, and again at the reception desk on the morning of her arrival. Nevertheless, the account was screwed up, and a billing for both rooms was delivered to my guest.

For dinner one night, I asked the concierge to reserve a table for three at Restaurant Sant'Anna in Como, and was assured that the reservation would be made. We arrived at the appointed time, only to be told that no reservation had been made. That same day a bulletin had been delivered to our rooms saying there would be fireworks that evening at 11:00 p.m.; we looked forward to that, and made a point of getting back to the hotel by 11, only to be told that the fireworks had been set off early, and were over.

On the day of our departure we checked out by noon, as requested. I asked for our bags to be brought down, and explained that we would be leaving in about an hour. When our taxi arrived, the bellmen couldn't find our bags; twenty minutes later, it dawned on them that the bags had not been brought down as requested, and were still in our rooms. Fortunately this delay did not make us miss our boat--but it could have, and it added an unnecessary degree of anxiety.

Clearly, any one or two of these little mistakes could be shrugged off. But at $2000 a night for three people, one does not expect to encounter one gaffe after another; or a staff that is constantly rushing around and bickering with each other.

I am a seasoned traveler who has stayed at many of the world's best hotels. Sadly--based on this experience--I have to conclude that Villa d'Este is no longer one of them.

Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2007

This is a beautiful hotel on lake como. There are spectacular gardens, antiques, services and food. We stayed in a smaller room that was furnished well and was very clean.
The hotel is filled with antiques and is beautiful. The gardens and hotel main areas are well kept and stunning.
We ate breakfast ( complementary) every day and dinner on two nights. The breakfast is unbeleivable--fresh juices, cappucinnos, omlettes, cereals, breads, cakes, yogurts..whatever you can think of. The dinners were top notch gourmet.: wonderful.
Service is up to par with the rest of the hotel. We definitely want to go back.

  • Liked — everything
  • Disliked — high priced-but worth it
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2007

The Villa D'Este is absolutely breathtaking and as beautiful as the area surroundings. We staying there for three wonderful night in May 2007 - during our two week trip to Italy. This hotel has the grand old world charm of palatial retreats of yesteryear - but they have been upgraded and kept up with the present day times. The breakfast buffet was delicious and it was great to enjoy it outside right on the lake! The floating pool was one of a kind and a great place to relax and so much walking in other Italian cities. The spa and fitness facilities were top notch! And our room was to die for - a two room suite with a wonderfully supplied bathroom - plus free high-speed Internet access to email my friends and family back home! I would definitely recommend staying at this 'resort' if you are in the Lake Como area.

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2007

We stayed the same weekend as "Top gun" and saw the wedding reception.
Can I just inform him ? that the sheets in the hotel are wonderful linen..such was the fantastic quality that I told my husband that we should buy some for our own home.
I agree with another correspondant that the power in the showers are not great but otherwise this is an expensive and magical place for a real treat .Those who complain about the food and service cannot have been staying in the same hotel for the service throughout our stay was attentive and courteous and all the food delicious.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Showers
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 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.
Adelaide, South Australia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2007

We often "visit" the Villa D'Este on tripadvisor.
We are dismayed when we find a negative review and uplifted when we find a positive review. We stayed at the Villa D'Este in April 2006.
We were delighted by every moment of our stay. We found a place of serenity and poetic beauty cared for by welcoming, sincere and professional staff. Those reviewers who express dissatisfaction may be looking in the wrong place for the wrong thing. Our souls are replenished by our memories of Villa D'Este. We cannot wait to return.

  • Liked — location ,and ambience
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
San Mateo
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2007

I stayed two nights at the Villa d'Este on May 10 & 11, 2007. I was upgraded from a junior suite to a suite facing on the lake on the top floor. A spectacular view and a quiet room. The hotel has a wonderful lake-front location and creates its own environment with its large landscaped site. I had a king bed formed by two twins pushed together which I found acceptable. No true kings are available. Four computers are available for guest internet access in the business center.

The decor is traditional of very high quality which also characterizes the entire hotel. Both restaurants, formal and informal, are excellent. The formal restaurant requires coat and tie, the informal is merely dressy. Food was the best at both and service was similar. Both have excellent lake views. Breakfast is at the formal restaurant with an extensive hot and cold buffet, including cooked-to-order items.

The hotel is located in the town of Cernobbio, 4 or 5 miles north of the city of Como. I found both Cernobbio and Como to be pleasant places to stroll for half a day each. The hotel does not have any view of the snow-capped mountains to the north that can be seen from Bellagio. I also enjoyed strolling in the hotel gardens.

This is an expensive 5-star destination resort in a relatively remote setting on what I think is the nicest of the Italian lakes. I found no defects in the hotel or level of service and I thoroughly enjoyed my two-night stay, but, primarily because of the remote setting, I don't anticipate a return visit. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • Stayed June 2007
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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
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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