Hotel Review: Il Sereno, Lake Como, Italy

Hotel Review: Il Sereno, Lake Como, Italy

Pulling into the Ferrari-laden entrance of Il Sereno, you’ll soon realise what makes this place special

Lake Como’s Il Sereno hotel is one that will satisfy even the most discerning GCC traveller. Arriving by car you’ll pass dozens of traditional grand villas along the way, and then, pulling into entrance of Il Sereno alongside the other guests’ Ferraris and Porsches, you’ll rightly assume you’re in good company – and by good we mean very well healed.

With its crisp, clean lines of sleek wood, metal and glass, there’s no doubt that Il Sereno stands out from the other luxury hotels around the lake. While the rest are classical, grande dame-esque properties, Il Sereno is modern, refined, unfussy and exceedingly stylish.

Location: On the shores of Italy’s ever-glamorous Lake Como, Il Sereno hotel sits on the lower left leg of the lake, one of the deepest in Europe, in the adorable town of Torno. Torno is home to tiny Italian restaurants serving up ample plates of spigola al pesto and huge balls of buffalo mozzarella (a visit to Bar Italia is essential).


For those wanting a wider variety of shops and restaurants, recommend Como, Bellagio or Cernobbio. The hotel is a 15-minute drive from the town of Como, while Bellagio can be reached in 45 minutes by boat. The closest airport is Malpensa, less than an hour away.

Exploring the lake by boat is a must. A ferry service runs from Como to Colico, calling at Torno about every 20 minutes or so. It’s a relatively slow service, stopping at dozens of points, so instead, I recommend booking a private boat via the hotel.

Accommodation: Il Sereno has just 30 suites, all of which have spectacular views thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies. Inside, you’ll find modern furnishings such as Flos lamps and B&B Italia chairs.

Food and drink: Il Sereno is home to Michelin-starred restaurant Berton al Lago, which serves up à la carte options and a lengthy, but delicious, tasting menu. Breakfast is also à la carte, and quite a feast.

The hotel opened just five years ago, the first new-build property on the lake for decades

Facilities: The infinity pool is the perfect place to while away hours in the Italian sunshine. There is a pebble walkway that leads to a staircase into the lake for those wishing to take a dip or use the property’s kayaks or paddle boards. At the hotel’s jetty you’ll also find two beautiful wooden Riva speedboats, which guests can take out for a thrillingly stylish ride (no licence required). Alternatively, sit back and book a a skipper to accompany you. The spa is housed in a stone boathouse and features a gym, sauna and steam room. The hotel also manages the nearby Villa Pliniana, a 500-year-old 17-bed villa which can be booked for exclusive use only for a minimum of three nights.

Clientele: Bottega Veneta bags, Prada sunglasses and Gucci shoes are firmly on show here, but this place is anything but pretentious. Guests here are chic, sophisticated and discerning travellers, just like the neighbours, among them actor George Clooney who owns a villa opposite. Staff treat guests like kings and queens with undeniably brilliant service.

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