Relais Villa Vittoria

Laglio, Lake Como, Italian Lakes & Verona, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Abi Dare
A romantic lakeside retreat that honeymooners, proposers and loved-up couples will adore
In general, the thought of minimalism seems to give Italian interior designers a heart attack. But here at Relais Villa Vittoria, on the banks of Lake Como, a little restraint has yielded beautiful results. What was once a holiday home for a Milanese noble family is now an elegant 13-room hideaway, with gauzy curtains billowing on four-poster beds, cosy nooks for savouring wine, and lawns that spill down to an infinity pool overlooking the water.

Opened in 2011, it has a fresh and contemporary feel, with high ceilings, lots of light, and the bonus of a bar and bistro in the cellar. It has history, too - the mulberry garden raised silkworms for the area’s famous fabrics - but never revels in it.

Come here to relax and be cossetted, indulging in massages in the small spa and snoozing under the jasmine pergola in the garden, the peace broken only by the gentle hum of passing boats. Or take to the lake yourselves on the hotel’s dinghy and picnic in secluded spots unreachable by road. After dark, linger over dinner on the terrace as lights sparkle on the opposite shore. We loved it, and we can’t wait to return.


  • The glamorous infinity pool, set near the water's edge - it’s almost like you’re swimming in the lake (but it’s much warmer!)
  • Smart, spacious rooms, most with stunning views. Splash out on a suite if it's a special occasion
  • We liked the pared-back Italian style on show here
  • Fantastic food and local vintages to sample, plus several famous restaurants nearby if you want to eat out
  • There’s lots to do around Lake Como: boat trips to pretty harbour towns, villas and gardens to visit, hiking and climbing in the surrounding hills


  • The village of Laglio is a quiet spot on busy Lake Como - perhaps too quiet for some
  • You need a car to get the most out of the area
  • There's a 2-night minimum stay in high season
  • Some feedback suggests rooms can be stuffy at times, but we didn't find this during our visit
  • The lift is small, slow and a little rickety

Best time to go

Come in spring (April and May) or autumn (September and October) for sumptuous colours and just the right amount of activity on and around the lake. The area is extremely busy during the summer months, with jam-packed roads and lots of day-trippers, but Relais Villa Vittoria is a wonderful place to escape the hordes.

Our top tips

Try really, really hard not to talk about George Clooney, who has a villa nearby. It's a cliché and you know it, but it's hard to resist (we tried in this review, and have failed as you can see). If you do want to sneak a quick peek at his house, you can spy the grounds from the lake.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 13
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2016 - 31 Mar 2017
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Kayaks to borrow
  • Motorboat and dinghy for hire
Room: Romantic Lake View Room


Décor throughout the hotel is restful and romantic: diaphanous white curtains, painted wooden ceilings, delicate glass chandeliers. There’s nothing flashy or ostentatious; just a few carefully chosen pieces of wooden or wrought-iron furniture against a graceful backdrop of creams, greys and terracottas.

The rooms vary slightly in size and layout, but all have queensize beds (no twins), powerful showers and pampering touches such as towelling robes, Etro Milan toiletries and Laura Tonatto fragrances. The important difference is the view. The Classic Rooms have a limited peek of the lake or views over the garden, while the Cozy Rooms have either a sliver of lake or no view at all. Other than that, all rooms look out over the water - including the Cottage Room which is tucked away in the hotel grounds.

We stayed in an Attic Room, a duplex hidden away at the very top of the hotel. We loved the mezzanine bedroom set under the eaves and the watery vista from the sitting area beneath. Best of all, high pitched ceilings meant we felt wonderfully cosy without having to stoop. Also with a lake view are the 2 Romantic Rooms on the lower floors, which have the added bonus of a terrace or balcony; one has a bathtub as well as a shower in its ensuite.

If you want to up the romance as much as possible, it’s worth splashing out on one of the 2 suites. Both have a huge bedroom, a separate lounge with a fireplace and double sofabed, a balcony or terrace, even a telescope for late-night star-gazing. They sleep 4 plus a baby, but we’d prefer them all to ourselves - the Lake View Suite has a four-poster bed and the Prestige Lake View Suite a Jacuzzi, if more encouragement were needed.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Iron (on request)
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


The bar and bistro, La Barrique, occupies an arched cellar hewn from rock beneath the hotel. It’s very pretty, with a wall of wine bottles, candles glowing in stone niches, and fairy lights twisted around tree branches which curve out over the ceiling. You can also eat outside, at tables-for-2 spread along the terrace overlooking the lake, or in private little hidey-holes beneath the hedge.

The lunch and dinner menu mixes Mediterranean food with a sprinkling of regional specialities like misoltino (the local saltfish) and risotto with persico (a lake bass). We kicked off with tasty tuna carpaccio and baked tomino cheese in a rich balsamic reduction, before moving onto a succulent beef fillet and a tender rack of lamb served with cherry tomatoes and rosemary potatoes. For dessert, we treated ourselves to an orange-scented chocolate mousse with caramelised peel, and a white chocolate and mint semifreddo - both lick-the-plate-clean delicious.

Breakfast is a classic continental offering, with salami, ham, cheese, pastries, yoghurt and muesli alongside seasonal fruit and a few hot options such as bacon and scrambled eggs. Drinks are available all day, and you can also order a picnic (Caprese salad, sandwiches, that kind of thing) - ideal for taking with you on a mini cruise of the lake.

If you want to eat out, there are some fantastic options nearby. La Coppola in Como is a cool hangout, or stay more local at Il Centrale in Cernobbio, for dinner, music and dancing. For an unusual experience head to the Sala Comacina, about 15km north of Laglio, from where you are rowed in a wooden boat to the tiny Isola Comacina. There’s only one restaurant on the island, serving local dishes and rounding off the evening with a spectacular re-telling of a lake story.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wine cellar
Eating: Prestige Lake View Suite
Activity: Bellagio


  • Hang out in the garden, take a dip in the pool, or loll around on a lounger and drink in the film-worthy views
  • Relax in the spa, which has a hammam, a menu of beauty treatments and massages, and a Jacuzzi with picture windows looking out over the water
  • Hire the hotel’s motorboat or dinghy (or borrow kayaks for free) and head out with a picnic to explore the lake’s hidden spots
  • Stroll along the mule path between the hotel and the neighbouring village of Carate, or borrow a bike and do it on 2 wheels
  • Hop from harbour to harbour on the frequent ferries which ply the water (the nearest pier is at Moltrasio, 5 minutes’ drive from the hotel). Well worth a visit are the Belle Epoque town of Menaggio, the perfectly preserved medieval village of Varenna, and seductive Bellagio, where the 3 branches of the lake intersect
  • Stroll around some of the famous gardens which stud the shore. Two of the most enchanting are the 17th-century Villa Carlotta near Tremezzo, whose parkland bursts with plants and marble statues, and the Villa del Balbianello, just south of Lenno, which appeared in the Bond movie Casino Royale
  • Visit Cernobbio, long a favourite with royalty, politicians and film stars, for lakeside piazzas, grandiose villas, and walks in the foothills of Monte Bisbino
  • Climb the Intelvi Valley to Sighignola for views of the snow-capped Alps and Lake Lugano from the ‘Balcony of Italy’
  • Play a round or two at the 18-hole Menaggio Golf Club, rated as 'testing' for seasoned golfers

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Villas and gardens
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting


Children of all ages are welcome, and older kids will love paddling kayaks around on the lake, although the hotel mostly attracts couples. Those under the age of 8 stay for free; after that, there's a supplement for rollaway beds or use of sofabeds. Rates include breakfast.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The Cozy Rooms and Romantic Rooms can fit a rollaway bed; other rooms can take a baby cot only. The suites have lounges with double sofabeds and can sleep up to 4 adults and 1 baby.


The hotel can arrange a local babysitter. Ask in advance.

Kid Friendly:

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