Review: Il Sereno Lake Como (Italy)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Last month, I enjoyed an incredible holiday in Italy, my first trip since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. You can read my hotel reviews here:


Today (August 26, 2020): Review of Il Sereno Lago di Como (Italy).

Italy’s Lake Como is as glamorous as it is gorgeous, so it’s no surprise that Il Sereno, which opened in 2016, is an exceptionally designed sanctuary of luxury. With a mere 30 suites, the hotel affords guests true privacy and relaxation. Panoramic views of the lake can be seen from nearly every location, from the secluded gardens to the magnificent infinity-edge pool. A private docking facility allows guests to explore the lake by a commissioned, hand-built water limousine. Fresh cuisine inspired by the nearby regions of Valtellina, Lake Como, and the Milanese Plateau treats guests to a variety of authentic Italian flavors in the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant.

Il Sereno Lago Di Como features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Italy.

Have you ever stayed at Il Sereno Lago di Como? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Il Sereno enjoys a privileged setting on the iconic shores of Italy’s world-famous Lake Como. Since time immemorial, Lake Como has seduced visitors with its phenomenal beauty and dramatic vistas of the southern Italian Alps. Also known as Lario, Lake Como is the third largest of the Italian lakes (after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore). Its characteristic shape, reminiscent of an inverted Y, results from the melting of glaciers combined with the erosive action of the ancient Adda river. Long a destination of choice for European aristocrats and today’s rich and famous, Lake Como remains the epitome of a glamorous vacation destination.
  • Il Sereno is situated on a sunny promontory next to the picturesque village of Torno. Surrounded by lovely views of Lake Como’s natural beauty, lush gardens and idyllic small towns, the hotel’s lakefront location stretches approximately 140 m (450 ft) along the eastern shore of Lake Como. The hotel is a short 10-minute drive from the city of Como, and approximately 50 minutes from Milan’s Malpensa airport or city center. The hotel features its own private docking facilities, so guests may arrive by boat and can visit the many beautiful locations the lake has to offer via water-taxi or the hotel’s boat services (more on that below).
  • This small and intimate ultra-luxury hotel immediately impresses its guests upon arrival. A curving skybridge departs from the sober and sleekly designed welcome pavilion, and leads to the main hotel building, affording incredible views of the lake’s mountainous scenery as guests make their way towards the lobby. The skybridge crosses a small and intimate garden where secret passageways lure guests into calm strolls on balmy Italian evenings. To better blend the hotel with its natural green surroundings, there are two large vertical gardens (“Mur Végétal”) and one custom green sculpture designed by Patrick Blanc, a famed French botanist.
  • Built on top of an existing arched stone boathouse, the hotel’s main building features a design ethos of glamorous minimalism. Developed by Patricia Urquiola, one of the most talented designers of her generation, the property features an abundance of natural materials (stone, wood, Travertino marble, and other fabrics) to create a natural aesthetic with a lot of personality while remaining timeless. The Urquiola handpicked, earth-toned furniture is complemented by splashes of pastel pink and bright green, creating a hip yet laidback vibe. The hotel’s design highlight is its central staircase: made of walnut wood and bronze, the stacked squares making up the steps appear to float free of one another as they wind up to the first floor.
  • The hotel features 30 ultra-stylish suites, just steps from the waterfront with spectacular lake views and private furnished terraces. During my stay, I was upgraded to a beautiful Corner Suite, which featured floor-to-ceiling windows and a large terrace offering sweeping views of the calm waters and mountain ranges, truly bringing the beauty of the surrounding nature indoors. The suite was decorated in a soothing color palette of grey and nut brown, with subtle hints of blue and green reflecting the surrounding landscape The suite’s bathroom was equipped with a rain shower, double vanity, and large freestanding bathtub. The minibar is complimentary!
  • At the center of the hotel’s garden and outdoor area is a 60 ft (18 m) long infinity-edged swimming pool. The heated pool is placed lengthwise in front of the lake, and offers spectacular panoramic views of the lake and mountains. The pool is surrounded by a large wooden sundeck, where guests can relax on one of the sun loungers or in one of the stylish, shaded cabanas. Due to it west-facing orientation, the pool area enjoys sunshine until around 7 pm in summer (before the sun disappears behind the mountains). Next to the pool is a tiny peddle beach that gives guests direct access to the lake.
  • The Spa at Il Sereno, also designed by Patricia Uriquola, is housed into what was formerly the darsena, or boathouse, of the property. The cool tones of the centuries-old granite walls and green accents that reflect the deep tones of Lake Como create an instantly calming environment. Featuring exclusive products and treatments from the acclaimed Valmont skincare brand based just across the border in Switzerland, the spa includes three treatment rooms, sauna and steam room finished with Italian tiles. Additionally, a private outdoor relaxation area with a plunge pool suspended over the water provides a serene place to cool off and unwind.
  • Led by Chef Andrea Berton, Ristorante Berton Al Lago is the hotel’s only restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. In 2017, after being open for only one season, the restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star. Designed with Venetian Terrazzo and Travertine stone, the restaurant features a beautiful terrace and indoor area, including a section that is built right over the water. The menu’s inspiration comes from the local surroundings: the lake with its fish and aromatic herbs; the mountains of Valtellina known for its incredible wines, cheeses and meats; and the nearby Pianura Padana, known for its risotto and other fantastic ingredients.
  • In the grand tradition of guests traveling and experiencing Lake Como via boat, Il Sereno commissioned three custom Cantiere Ernesto Riva boats from the namesake family that has been building boats by hand in the nearby town of Laglio since 1771. Il Sereno guests are able to travel to other destinations on the lake via two Jetto’s on their own (which guarantees some fun moments) or the grand Vaporina del Lago (which features interiors designed by Patricia Urquiola). Alternately, Il Sereno’s very own Maserati Quattroporte, featuring an Ermenegildo Zegna leather and silk interior, is available for private transfer around the lake for the duration of a guest’s visit.
  • The hotel is managed by Sereno Hotels, a family-owned operator of a small number of hotels at the upper echelon of the luxury market. Themes carried through each hotel are a small, intimate number of rooms, locations in some of the world’s most coveted vacation destinations, oversized rooms and suites, great views, large private villas associated to the hotel property, understated luxury, and exact attention to detail in design, service, cuisine and amenities. All Sereno Hotel properties are members of Leading Hotels of the World and Virtuoso. The group’s most famous property is the iconic and recently rebuilt Le Sereno St Barth’s.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

  • Lake Como is known for its classically styled, historic hotels, which throw back guests to a bygone era. However, Il Sereno is none of that as its stunningly modern architecture is taking things in a bold new direction. So, it all depends on your preference, but don’t stay here if you prefer an old world hotel with neoclassical bling.
  • Il Sereno is a small retreat, with only one restaurant and an intimate spa, so it might not be the best resort to stay at for more than a week (unless you are looking for a vacation to getaway from it all). Plenty of activities, including fishing trips, wine tasting and cooking classes, can be organized though to keep you entertained.
  • Il Sereno is a seasonal hotel and accepts reservations from mid-March through early November.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Rooms: 10/10
  • Food: 10/10
  • Breakfast: 10/10
  • Spa: 9/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional 9,6/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Il Sereno Lake Como (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit is between April and October, when warm temperatures and mostly sunny days. The territory is characterized as having a subcontinental climate, with cold winters and muggy summers; humidity is particularly high through the whole year. July and August are the hottest months and the best time for going to the beach and enjoying the cool breeze. In addition, water temperatures are ideal for many sports. July is also one of the driest months of the year. The best spring and autumn months to visit Como Lake are May & June and September & October, when temperatures are mild but sometimes there are days with torrential rains.


HOW TO GET THERE

The hotel is less than 6 km (4 miles) from the center of Como, just a short 8-minute drive; and approximately 50 minutes from both Milano Malpensa airport and the center of Milan. For ease of lake transportation, the hotel features its own private docking facilities and custom boats. Guests may arrive by boat, via helicopter or by car, and can visit the many exceptional locations the lake has to offer via water-taxi or via the hotel’s boat services.


PHOTOS
WELCOME PAVILION
WELCOME PAVILION
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
WALKWAY TO MAIN HOTEL BUILDING
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
RECEPTION AREA
RECEPTION AREA
RECEPTION AREA
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
LOBBY LOUNGE
LOBBY LOUNGE
LOBBY LOUNGE
LOBBY LOUNGE
LOBBY LOUNGE
LOBBY LOUNGE
LOBBY BAR
LOBBY BAR
LOBBY BAR
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE
CORNER SUITE: MINIBAR (COMPLIMENTARY)
CORNER SUITE: WELCOME AMENITIES
CORNER SUITE: WELCOME AMENITIES
CORNER SUITE (VIEW)
CORNER SUITE (VIEW)
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
STAIRCASE TO RESTAURANT
STAIRCASE TO RESTAURANT
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
RISTORANTE BERTON AL LAGO
GARDEN
GARDEN
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
GARDEN
GARDEN
GARDEN
GARDEN
GARDEN
GARDEN
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
SWIMMING POOL AREA
BEACH
BEACH
SPA
SPA
SPA
SUNSET
SUNSET
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT

IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
IL SERENO HOTEL AT NIGHT
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
BREAKFAST
IL SERENO’S PRIVATE BOATS
IL SERENO’S PRIVATE BOATS
IL SERENO’S PRIVATE BOATS
IL SERENO’S PRIVATE BOATS
BOAT TRIP ON THE LAKE
BOAT TRIP ON THE LAKE
BOAT TRIP ON THE LAKE
BOAT TRIP ON THE LAKE
BOAT TRIP ON THE LAKE

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