La Dama del Porto

Lake Maggiore, Italian Lakes & Verona, Italy
Book from GBP Book from £72 per night

La Dama del Porto

Lake Maggiore, Italian Lakes & Verona, Italy

A boutique retreat, moments from a lovely lake beach, with 5 chic rooms and a gourmet restaurant with panoramic views of Maggiore

A boutique retreat, moments from a lovely lake beach, with 5 chic rooms and a gourmet restaurant with panoramic views of Maggiore

You’d think elegant rooms and lake views this good would come with a hefty price tag, but this smart hotel, perched on the edge of glimmering Lago Maggiore, is (*whispers*) surprisingly affordable. At least for now. Brothers Davide and Matteo opened the place in April 2022 after a big refurbishment, and the dream team have been wowing guests (including us) with their divine dishes and stellar service ever since.

Set in the pretty hamlet of Cerro, La Dama del Porto’s five rooms are clean and minimalist affairs – think calming plaster-hued walls and rich wood tones. Lake and mountain views from balconies take your breath away. Dine on superb fresh, local Italian fare in the intimate hotel restaurant, all whipped up by the talented, Michelin-experienced Davide. Gaze across the water at the Alps through floor-to-ceiling windows as you sip a chilled glass of something local.

You’re well positioned here. Cerro beach, one of the area's finest, is a two-minute stroll away and a dream for swimming in. Nearby Laveno-Mombello village is where to access magical boat trips if the mood takes you. And there’s strong hiking potential from your doorstep. This little lakeside gem left a real impression on us, and we can't wait to go back.

Highs

  • Simple yet elegant rooms, all with private balconies and two with to-die-for lake views
  • A top-notch location – only an hour from the airport and just steps away from a beautiful lake beach
  • We loved the hotel restaurant for its delicious food and phenomenal lakeside setting
  • Exceptional service from the lovely hotel staff
  • Rooms are good value considering the high quality across the board
  • The atmosphere is quiet and laidback, even when the hotel is full

Lows

  • The restaurant is closed on Mondays, plus some Tuesdays and Wednesdays; check in advance, and book your table early
  • There isn’t a pool, but a dreamy lake is moments away
  • Rooms are a bit basic, and strong eco-credentials mean there's no air-con (just electric fans), TVs or fridges (to save on energy)
  • There are no baths, just walk-in showers
  • No private parking – you'll need to use the public car park adjacent to the hotel

Best time to go

We love this part of the world during the shoulder seasons (April-June and September-October), when the weather is pleasingly warm and crowds aren’t a problem. July and August bring high temperatures and extra tourists, but the lake dazzles in the summer sunshine. The remaining months are much cooler, so a great time to visit for hiking or cycling.

Note that the restaurant is open Thursdays-Saturdays (dinner) and Sundays (lunch); also open Wednesdays (dinner) during Feb-Sept, and Tuesdays (dinner) during June-Sept. It's closed in January.

Our top tips

Pack your binoculars! Herons, birds of prey and waterfowl frequent the lake. There’s even a charming local pair of geese (just be sure to hold tightly onto your pizza slice!).

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Eco
Foodie
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 5 rooms
  • Restaurant (not open every day)
  • Children aged 6+ welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car recommended
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are five architect-designed, minimalistic rooms to choose from. Polished wood floors and calming muted tones fill each space. Each room comes with a balcony, plus bespoke, beautifully crafted furniture and tactile fabrics. All bathrooms have shiny walk-in showers and pampering toiletries.

If a lake view is essential, opt for the Corten double or the Ceramica junior suite. We stayed in the latter and loved waking up to the early morning colours of the lake. Our suite had a sofa and a wrap-around balcony so we could soak in the watery setting in all weather. In our opinion, the jaw-dropping views of the water from both are worth the extra cost. Other rooms offer lovely views of Cerro park and the historic centre.

Thanks to the hotel’s impressive eco-credentials, there is no TV or air-con, but there are electric fans as well as free WiFi, so if watching Netflix is a must, don’t forget to pack a tablet.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Terrace/balcony
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

La Dama del Porto’s story began as a top-rated restaurant. Chef and co-owner Davide worked at Michelin-level before opening his own place, so we knew we were in for something outstanding here.

An unfussy but delicious breakfast is on offer each day. A continental spread was brought over to our table: croissants, fresh bread, hams and cheeses, fruit, homemade jam and local yoghurt. Dining takes place in a gorgeous, glass-fronted restaurant with wonderful lake views, and there's a suntrap terrace for eating alfresco. Do check ahead of arrival as to when the restaurant is open (it is generally closed on Mondays, plus Tuesdays outside summer, plus Wednesdays in winter) and book well ahead as tables are limited. The restaurant is open to the public, but you get a 10% discount on food if you're staying here (and breakfast is included in the rate).

The dishes are inspired by regional traditions and created using fresh, local seasonal ingredients. For dinner, we devoured our mondeghini (traditional Milanese meatballs) and ravioli filled with beef ragu topped with parmesan sauce. We ended with a sharing plate of four miniature desserts - crème brulee, cheesecake, chocolate torte and cake - each one as devilishly indulgent as the next. You can go a la carte, like us, or opt for the taster menu, and wash it all down with a glass of something from the impressive wine list.

For a change of scene, there’s a decent pizzeria around the corner as well as an ice cream shop. Or drive for 8 minutes to Laveno-Mombello village where there are restaurants aplenty.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Cerro beach, one of Lake Maggiore’s most beautiful stretches of sand, is a two-minute stroll away. The water is clear and the mountain views are out of this world
  • Head to Laveno-Mombello (8 mins) and adventure to the top of Monte Sasso del Ferro via cable car. Open-topped, two-person versions are available for those who dare. Hiking is also an option. Either way, jaw-dropping views of the Alps and the Lombard lakes await at the top
  • Board a boat from Laveno-Mombello to Isola Bella, one of three picturesque islands on Lake Maggiore. Discover the stunning, ten-tiered botanical gardens and history-rich Palazzo Borromeo
  • The Museum of Ceramic Design, also in Laveno-Mombello, holds an extensive range of ceramics dating back to the mid-19th century, all housed in a striking 16th-century palazzo
  • The views of the lake from the historic Santa Caterina del Sasso monastery are worth the trip alone, but the building, clinging to the cliff edge, is just as breathtaking
  • Fashion appreciators rejoice! Milan is just an hour away. Shop, dine, explore, then retreat back to lake life for a glass of something cold

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Walking

Kids

Children aged 6+ are very welcome. It's worth noting that there aren't any facilities or activities put on specifically for children. That said, there is a kids' menu in the restaurant.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

A family of 3 can choose from two rooms; Ceramica and Quercia. Both come with an extra daybed that converts to a single bed for a third guest. For maximum wow, we suggest opting for Ceramica for its spectacular lake view. Note that there isn’t a bath in any of the rooms, only a (fabulous) walk-in shower.

Kid Friendly:

Location

La Dama del Porto perches on the edge of spectacular Lake Maggiore, in the pretty village of Cerro. It's about 80km north-west of Milan.

By Air
You could fly into any of Milan's three airports. Malpensa (40km/50 mins) is the closest, but Linate (95km/1hr 20mins) and Bergamo (120km/1hr 40 mins) are also options.

From the Airport:
It’s possible to get a taxi from Milan Malpensa Airport, but we'd recommend you hire a car so you can explore the region. There is public parking 200 metres from La Dama del Porto, and extra parking spaces are available along the beach.

By Train:
The nearest railway station is Laveno-Mombello, which has frequent trains from Milan (1hr30). You can take a public bus or taxi from here to the hotel (4km/6 mins).

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Milan Malpensa 40.0 km MXP

Other:

  • Beach 0.4 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 14 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for La Dama del Porto

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