Mandarin Oriental Lake Como (Lago di Como) blends Italian and Asian elegance in a breathtaking historic setting and is situated on one of Italy’s most stunning stretches of the lake. In 2001, George Clooney purchased the storied Villa L’Oleandra on Lake Como, which brought fresh attention to the neighbourhood and its surrounds. Pictures of Hollywood celebrities arriving at opulent parties in vintage Riva speedboats solidified the lakeside neighbourhood’s and its shore’s status as one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations.
But the area’s fame and exclusivity go back to Roman times when aristocrats and artists frequented its verdant shoreline. It’s hardly surprising that more recently, many of the area’s opulent villas – most of which were built between the 16th and 19th centuries – have been converted into premium hotels and vacation houses given the area’s stunning surroundings and view of the distant Rhaetian Alps.
One of the newest additions to the region’s collection of ultra-luxury hotels is the Mandarin Oriental Lake Como, housed in the 18th-century Villa Roccabruna and surrounded by enchanted botanical gardens. The property, which blends magnificent houses amid meticulously maintained gardens with panoramic views across the lake, is situated in the village of Blevio, just five minutes by vehicle from the heart of Como town. Nearby hiking trails are also available.
The people positively received the announcement of the Hong Kong-based group acquiring the property. The resort’s interiors, when it was the CastaDiva Hotel, were reminiscent of the life and career of one of its original owners, the well-known Italian singer Giuditta Pasta, with ostentatious furnishings and ornamentation derived from baroque architecture dominating the ambiance. But it was evident that the lake had received a breath of fresh air when the completely refurbished resort finally opened in the spring of 2019.
Famed designer Eric Egan and his team concentrated on light and contemporary interiors. They opened the building to spectacular lake views with massive floor-to-ceiling windows while celebrating and highlighting the original characteristics of the historic building. Egan, a native of Chicago but a longtime resident and worker in Italy, gave the opulent property new life by fusing classic terrazzo flooring, Murano glass, and Asian accents with reflective elements from the Italian economic boom of the 1950s.
Details like paintings on Japanese cotton by Milan-based Japanese artist Shuhei Matsuyama, replicas of antiquated Chinese screens, and vintage Chinese wallpapers stylishly honor the heritage of Mandarin Oriental throughout the 21 guestrooms, 52 suites, two private villas, and public areas of Villa Roccabruna. These components blend flawlessly with Lake Como’s dramatic scenery and longstanding reputation as a representation of understated elegance. They also exude a modern sensibility reflecting Italy’s diverse architectural history and the region’s cosmopolitan development as a popular tourist destination.
Outside, not much has changed since Giuditta Pasta sang there, lived there, and socialized with other intellectuals like Gioacchino Rossini, Alessandro Manzoni, and Stendhal, a French novelist. In reality, a trip through the park highlights how the neoclassical standards that characterize the area’s uninterrupted views have been maintained for more than 200 years in the gardens and building’s facade.
A posh and beautiful floating swimming pool, the hip Pool Bar, and the one-Michelin-star restaurant L’Aria, housed in a lakefront building with floor-to-ceiling windows, are recent additions to the botanical park. Once more, the modern architecture of these buildings coexists with classic architectural details and organic components like a 200-year-old Lebanese cedar tree.
The hotel’s spa has already established Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como as a staple of the group’s locations worldwide, giving it a place on the wellness world map. The spa has won awards from the World Spa Awards for “Italy’s Best Hotel Spa” in 2021 and “World’s Best New Hotel Spa” in 2020 for its blend of treatments inspired by the lake’s crystal-clear waters and Asian therapies.
Anyone travelling through the Lombardy region must stop at Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como, whether for a night’s lodging, a supper, a spa day, or a sunset aperitivo. It already stands for excellent taste and ageless elegance, much like its setting. The aesthetic that makes Lake Como one of the loveliest places in the world is preserved and elevated by this building, which is its most vital significance.
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