Como or Bellagio hotel needed

Aug 30th, 2014, 03:05 PM
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Como or Bellagio hotel needed

We are looking for a hotel to stay at in either Como or Bellagio. We are still are not sure which town we should stay in. Both have thier appeal and Bellagio seems to be winning, but reviews of hotels are not good. Yes, they have great views, but that is where it stops..........

Suggestion appreciated.

Thank you!!

Jen & Sam
jennifer49 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Como---full of graffitti, our least favorite town on the lake.

If your budget allows, look at the Grand Tremezzo across the lake from Bellagio or there ar some reasonable places in Mennagio which has many restaurants & shops, again, across from Bellagio.

Once on the lakes the boats are a very easy way to get from town to town.

See my comments to tinks2111 above.

Como is the largest town. Bellagio and Mennagio next with lots of restaurants & shops.
TPAYT is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Hotel Florence in Bellagio is a good choice---right at the boat dock.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 06:27 AM
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We loved Hotel du Lac right on the lake of course in Bellagio. Room was lakefront second floor, only there 3 nights, convenient to walking around corner and up, up, up the narrow alley to the shops and restaurants from which I have the best photograph still hanging in our home; hundred yards from boat dock. Great bar w/ outdoor patio. It was some years ago so check current reviews. We were there in October and weather was cool and perfect.
aliced is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 06:59 AM
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We loved the Hotel Florence too. Spring for a balcony room, which is a bit of a misnomer- the balcony is tiny (I'd envisioned a deck chair!) but means you have a view of the lake, which is truly magical. We dream of returning! As bobthenavigator mentions, it is steps from the ferry dock and thus very very convenient. Our room was large and nicely appointed, and the restaurant fine for breakfast. Lots of excellent restaurants within walking distance which we sampled for lunch and dinner.
As for Como proper, I can't imagine staying there...we visited with local friends and found it interesting but it is more for the locals than for visitors, IMO. We had also considered Varenna, but were glad to have opted for Bellagio, as Varenna was just TOO quiet and small for us.
el13207 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 01:20 PM
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Thanks everyone. Bellagio is it and we have narrowed it down to Hotel Florence, Hotel du Lac and a B&B...........once we know we will post.
jennifer49 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 04:38 PM
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One more you may look at in Bellagio - my choice too. We stayed at the Residence l'ulivo. This is an apartment hotel that is on the grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. Staying at the residence gives you full run of the Grand Hotel including pool and beach, and grand it is - quite palatial. We booked a "small" apartment but it was anything but small and was lovely. We had a large living room, large bedroom with king size bed and plenty of room to spare, and dining area with small equipped kitchen. In booking the residence one MUST specify a room with lake view and not located over the gym. Our apartment was one of 4 that share a terrace with a lake view. The price is VERY reasonable. We were not treated as "second class" guests at the hotel but with the same courtesy shown every guest and Roberto the concierge was very helpful in planning our time. Hint: for 15 euro each there is a hop on hop off ferry that visits all of the central Lake Como towns. You can just stay on for a two hour tour.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 06:45 PM
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For another apartment option in Bellagio that is closer to the center and ferry dock, look at Residence La Limonera:
Jean is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 08:42 PM
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We have been to that area twice but our hotel was in nearby Lugano, Switzerland. We loved it but would second the recommendations for the Hotel Florence in Bellagio. We have friends who have stayed there several times and they swear by it. Ask for the prime rooms that face the lake.
letsgeaux is offline  
Aug 31st, 2014, 08:51 PM
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We really like the Hotel Florence (although it has some downsides -- for example, the hair dryers are awful, they take forever to dry your hair, if you have long or thick hair, bring your own) but we have "gone off" Bellagio. We were back there in early May (my third visit, my husband's first) and it was basically an outpost for Americans and British, even on rainy weekdays so early in the season. The only Italian I heard spoken was by staff at restaurants, shops and hotels. We ended up wishing we had stayed longer in Lugano and Milan instead, where tourism is just part of the city life, not its be-all and end-all. I don't think we'll be going back again.
WeisserTee is online now  
Aug 31st, 2014, 09:21 PM
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I complain when I hear too much English spoken, and complain when no one can communicate with me, so I don't know. Lugano is worth considering though.
letsgeaux is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2014, 07:37 PM
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Thanks everyone. Interesting to read the comments. We looked on trip advisor for Hotel Florence and Hotel du Lac and have to say neither rates good. We are a bit nervous about how touristy it is sounding. This will be our last 2 nights in Italy and would hate to end on a sour note. We are now looking more at B&B's and taking boat rides for the views.........will research some more.

Again, thanks!
jennifer49 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2014, 07:50 PM
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We liked this one, quite a few years ago, but then we discovered that soem friends liked it 20 years before that:

We had a car, so getting into town was not a problem.
Michael is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 04:32 AM
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More on the city of Como, and around:

Menaggio is not a good restaurant town.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 06:21 AM
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Jennifer - you seem to be having second thoughts about Bellagio, its "touristy" nature and hotels. Perhaps if post sections of my TR of last year it will help - it is quite detailed. There are lots of photos of well of where we stayed and our experiences there as well as central Lake Come. I hope you will find these useful in coming to a decision. We traveled in early May, 2013 which in Bellagio is considered shoulder season, so hotel prices are somewhat lower.

We had an early start leaving Bellinzona for Bellagio and the mostly scenic drive was under 2 hours. Arriving at the ferry, we crossed Lake Como to Bellagio with mounting anticipation as we drew closer. This was our first time at Lake Como and it is obvious why tourists flock. It is one of most beautiful places I have ever seen. Our weather was perfect, which we were to learn was a stroke of good luck. It had been terrible for several weeks before our arrival and was to turn bad again the day after we left.

Arriving at the Bellagio dock, we followed our GPS to our stay at the Residence L'ulivo. This must be wrong we thought as the GPS had us inching through what appeared to be a pedestrian only street filled with people. With thoughts of traffic cameras snapping pictures of my wayward car and hefty fines to follow, we continued forward since there was no going back and arrived at the Hotel. Checking in we were told that indeed it was the only way to go and that they notify the police of our plate number. There is an arrangement that so notified, there will be no fine.

The Residence L'ulivo is IMO one of the best deals going. It is on the grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbeloni (sp?). Staying at the Residence apartments gives one the full run of this 5* palatial hotel and we took full advantage of that. Contrary to what has been posted on another thread, at no time were we treated with less than the utmost courtesy and no one was "snooty." On the contrary, from the fellow handling our luggage to Roberto the concierge (whose services we made ample use of) we were graciously received and treated throughout our stay and never made to feel like a second class guest.

We had booked what was called the small apartment, so were happy to see it is not small at all. Quite the opposite, it was spacious with lovely tiled floors, an equipped kitchen/dining area and roomy bedroom with a king sized bed. The apartment opened to a terrace that we shared with 3 other apartments that had a nice view of the lake. Many but not all apartments have a lake view, so if you stay there, you should ask for one. Check in for L'ulivo is in the building that houses the gym facilities, but the apartments are behind that building facing either a garden area or the lake. All this for the cost of CHF 130 per night. Truly we were living la dolce vita on the cheap.

Here are some photos that may be of interest.

Our apartment at the Residence L'ulivo on the grounds of the GH Villa Serbelloni. Shown are our terrace, living room/dining area/kitchen, bedroom with a king sized bed and bath. Also shown are the views from our terrace and window.

As a guest at the Residence L'ulivo, we enjoyed the grounds and amenities of the GH Villa Serbelloni. Here are photos of the exterior and interior of this hotel. Also shown are our final dinner in Bellagio at the Villa Serb's La Goletta the more informal of its two restaurants. The other restaurant, the Mistral has a Michelin star.

It was a glorious stay.

BTW, in viewing photos, click on any of the posted photos and it becomes bigger, click again and bigger still, click a third time and allow full screen and you get a nicely done slideshow.

Paris, Rome, and Venice are filled with tourists for good reason, so why not Bellagio, or more broadly speaking, the towns of mid Lake Como? As Lake Como virgins, we were struck by the sheer beauty of the place. Bellagio center reminded me of St. Paul de Vence, also a tourist destination, with its steep narrow streets lined with shops. The walk along the lakefront is a delight with its outdoor cafes, restaurants and shops.

Since we had a kitchen, we stopped at a small grocery that had all sorts of goodies to stock up for breakfast. We bought espresso, since the apartment had a Bialletti Moka espresso maker (we so liked the espresso it produced, we bought one on our return except it is the sleek stainless model) eggs, tomatoes, Basil, fresh mozzarella, some pastry and bread for me. Roberto the concierge at Villa Serb took interest in mapping out things to do and sites to visit and we took a walking tour based upon his suggestions and from a brochure that we picked up at a shop. We took pictures and shopped and then shopped some more. We also spent time roosting on one of the benches that line the lake front at Villa Serb - it was quite romantic.

Many Bellagio shops specialize in silk - we were told that silk worms were imported many years ago to the Lake Como area and now, 80% of all silk manufactured in Europe is from there. Silk seems to be to the region as lavender is to Provence.

Our first dinner was at the Metropole Hotel's lakeside cafe. If one is in Bellagio, one should try to eat at the lake IMO - it is part of the experience. The evening was cool and a wind was coming up, but the tables had overhead heaters, so we were comfortable and by the looks of it, so were the other diners. I do not recall what we ordered, but it was very good - we were too enraptured by the view from our table to really care. I do remember though that the Tiramisu we ordered (we were American tourists after-all so that was mandatory) was beautifully plated and the best we have ever had. Service was attentive and we left happy. After a long stroll, we returned to the Villa Serb to listen to the trio - violin, bass viol and piano - that plays nightly in one of the public areas and enjoyed a pot of jasmine tea while we relaxed in the opulent surroundings. Service was white glove and the waiter did not blink when we charged it to our room at the residence. We were treated the same as regular hotel guests, and that means very well.

Next: More Bellagio and can you get a great lake tour for 15 Euros? Yes you can!

Think of Lake Como as shaped like a "Y"
Bellagio is at the tip of the land at the point of the "V" section. One can easily walk from the Villa Serb to that point where the lake divides and be rewarded with wonderful views of the 3 lake sections. That was our first order of business on the morning of our final full day (actually the only full day) in Bellagio. From there we visited shops where I bought a couple of silk ties and DW bought some silk scarves as gifts. Walking back to the hotel we passed a unique shop "Arte e Moda run by one Pierangelo Masciadri, a most interesting fellow. His shop features high line, read "expensive" silk products all of his design and has photos of well known people wearing his designs. One is of former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wearing one of his silk caftans, another of former President Clinton in one of his ties, and also in one of his ties is former Pres Bush the younger. Nice stuff there. With some coaxing from me, DW was persuaded to buy a silk evening purse. I believe she plans to build her mother of the bride outfit around it.

Our plan was to follow the suggestion of Roberto, our concierge and take a tour of the mid lake towns via ferry. First though came lunch. We had a light lunch at the lakeside cafe of the Hotel Florence which is next to Villa Serb. We both ordered what was really meant to be a desert and it was delicious and gluten free. I posted how it is made on another thread, but it was so good I will post it again.

In a glass- they used a large wine glass, place some sliced strawberries, sliced grapes and blueberries. Put a good scoop of vanilla ice cream on that and plain yogurt as a third layer. Top with pine nuts and you have it. It is quick, simple and you can impress your dinner guests.

After lunch we boarded our ferry. The cost is 15 Euros PP and the ferry visits the towns of Mid Lake Como including Varenna, Managgio and others. You can use it as a hop on - hop off on the same ticket or just ride. If the latter, you will spend a little more than 2 hours cruising the lake. This is something that is well worth your time and money. Rather than a description, here are photos taken on the ride.

Come on the tour with us:

After landing back in Bellagio, we strolled and had dinner at La Goletta, choosing an outside table. Our dining experience can be seen in the photos "Strolling Bellagio" posted above.
We started with the grilled vegetable dish which included vegetables usually not seen in such a dish such as endives. It was excellent and one we intend to recreate at home. DW had an entree of local lake fish, while I had a pasta dish. It was the first time on this trip that I ordered pasta and I figured how can I leave Italy without doing so. Both dishes were excellent. For desert we again ordered the Tiramisu just to compare it with the one at the Metropole. Although very good, the Metropole's was better. Service was attentive as would be expected at a place like the Villa Serb.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 06:22 AM
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In proof reading, I notice a number of typos and apologize.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 06:43 PM
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Dear basingstoke2

Thank you for your wonderful post!!! It was greatly appreciated. The touristy part is all part of the experience as long as it isn't taking from it.

Our concern has been probably us reading to many reviews in too many places. The hotels that were recommended and in our price range fall short on many levels. Yes we want a view, but we are not willing to sacrifice in accommodations, cleanliness and such. Your post has helped us tremendously in making a decision. We are traveling with (4) other persons over the age of 75 (mothers and their friends) that we wanted to make sure we got the WOW factor for them with a lake view room, but coming home from a long day of sightseeing and being on the water via ferry, Residence L'ulivo sounds like the perfect place!

Again, thank you!!!
jennifer49 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 07:54 PM
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You are most welcome jennifer49 - that is what the Fodor's Forums are for. If you do try to book the Residence be sure to ask for a room with a lake view - I believe ours was #4. One caveat though, the Residence is a bit uphill behind the hotel - which makes sense since Bellagio itself is on the side of a hill sloping up from water's edge as would be expected. The hill to the Residence is not steep - I was 72 at the time of visit and had no trouble, but make sure the 75+ year olds are OK with that. If you are looking for a wow factor, you will certainly find it at GH Villa Serb as you can see from the photos. BTW, if the apartment passed DW's cleanliness test, it will pass anyone's.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 08:03 PM
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Some redundancy to above posts but I'll share my experience.

No way would I select Como over Bellagio, Varenna, or Mennagio (prefer Bellagio).

I've stayed at The Residence L'ulivo, La Limonera, and Hotel du Lac. I prefer the apartments (L'Ulivo or Limonera) personally; Hotel du Lac (and Hotel Florence--right next to each other) have fabulous views and IMO shabby genteel feel.

La Limonera and to a lesser degree L'Ulivo are on the "upside" of town -- up the vertical streets composed mostly of stairs and pareallel to the promenade below -- and seem more frequented by locals hitting the cheese shop, the wine shop, etc. The du Lac and Florence are down by the water promenade more and along where more tourists are walking at any given time. Some views from Limonera and from the deck areas of L'Ulivo.

L'Ulivo is a nice compromise with the facilities of the grand hotel but the convenience, space, and economy of an apartment. The staff do seem to differentiate a bit -- when we rolled up with bags (to check in to the apartment) the bellman stopped us and redirected us up the hill a block to the apt. check in office. Just a whiff of attitude, not bad but present. Worth it to get the excellent deal and again access was to the whole hotel.
annw is offline  

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