A comparison between Mandarin Oriental and Grand Hotel Villa d’Este, Lake Como.

The western shore of Italy’s most celebrated and arguably most beautiful lake, is generally considered the superior one.

Facing the sunrise, within short walking distance of the charming small town of Cernobbio and close to many of the lake’s most expensive privately owned villas, it is on this side of the lake that one of Europe’s best known iconic grande-dame hotels, Grand Hotel Villa d’Este is located.

However, one should not completely overlook the charm and attraction of the opposite eastern side of Lake Como, especially with the recent opening of a Mandarin Oriental hotel. Here, in manicured gardens, created by landscape designer Patrizia Pazzi, elevated above the lake at Blevio, the original Casta Diva (not a hotel we were ever fond of) has been given a complete makeover.

We enjoyed particularly the service and quality of food and beverage, especially lunches on the lovely terrace above the shoreline. It’s the small details like the quality of the breads, including our favourite charcoal grissini, the choice of olive oil and balsamic, together with the wine list, which caught our eye. They also serve a superb choice of pasta dishes especially the mezze paccheri and a spaghetti with a delicious sauce containing several varieties of tomato.

Guest accommodation is spread over the main 19th-century Villa Roccabruna building and several villas are set within the grounds. Golf carts ferry guests up and down from the hillier locations to the main hotel hub, while a fully serviced swimming pool floating on the lake benefits from a sunset aspect. We especially liked some of the suites in the main building and were impressed with the management team and staffing under stewardship of GM Samuel Porreca, well respected former GM of JK Capri.

We travelled to the lake in late August to compare the up-to-now undisputed grande-dame supremo, Villa d’Este, with the new Mandarin Oriental. We invite you to contact us as to how they fared and which is most likely to best suit you.

… We do the legwork so our clients reap the rewards

Meanwhile, fall is going to be a very busy period for the Nota Bene team travelling to review latest hotel openings, revisiting old favourites and discovering new destinations. The phrase “We do the legwork so our clients reap the rewards” endorses how everything has to meet our discerning eyes in the provision of a superior service.

Contact us to plan an incredible trip in Italy.