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Has anyone stayed at the Hotel du Lac in Menaggio? (Or Grand Hotel Menaggio?)

Has anyone stayed at the Hotel du Lac in Menaggio? (Or Grand Hotel Menaggio?)

Feb 12th, 2009, 06:10 PM
  #1  
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Has anyone stayed at the Hotel du Lac in Menaggio? (Or Grand Hotel Menaggio?)

We are planning a stop in Lake Como in June for a few nights, and I am deciding between 2 hotels.

Grand Hotel Menaggio and Hotel Du Lac -

Hotel Du Lac is less expensive (smaller, no pool, etc) but in a good location, and gets terrific reviews on TripAdvisor - however, I can't find any reviews on Fodors.

If you have stayed here, or at the Grand Hotel Menaggio - I would be interested in your feedback. We are a family of 6 needing 3 rooms, so a little more per room per night adds up quickly.

Thanks so much!
PSGMARTINO is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 05:09 AM
  #2  
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No one??
PSGMARTINO is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 06:10 AM
  #3  
 
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PSG: Curious why you eliminated the GH Victoria...is it more costly?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 06:23 AM
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IMO, the only attraction to the Grand Hotel Menaggio is their pool. It's far from a luxury experience but it's festive and the views can't be beat. Expect families with children.

The decor of the GHM is dreadful and very tired. The rooms are ordinary. Truthfully speaking, there isn't much about this hotel that is grand at all, not by my standards. But they do offer commanding views of the east side of the lake.

I don't have personal experience with the Du Lac but it is located in the center of town, nearer the hustle and bustle. It's a bit of a walk to the boat ferry, unlike the GHM, which is immediately next door to the ferry. I assume the Du Lac is nothing special. Hotels like these are a dime a dozen along Lake Como. They are what they are. Reviewing them serves little purpose.
NYCTS is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 06:36 AM
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Reviewing them here helps many people. I am one that benefited from the advice I got here when planning a recent trip to the area.

The walk from the Du Lac to the ferry will probably take you all of 5 minutes. Not sure about any hustle and bustle in Menaggio (??) There certainly was none in late September.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 07:52 AM
  #6  
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eks - I guess I didn't realize there was a GH Menaggio and a GH Victoria Menaggio - I'll give it a try. You were happy there?

I was quoted 370E per night for a Quad room and 200/240E for a double (with/without lakeview) for my son & daughter-in-law.

The Du Lac was 145E per room, and we would need 3 rooms.

Can you give me an idea of the rates at the Victoria?

I also am revisiting the thought of staying in Varenna at Eremo Gaudio - since our dates have changed they may have availability but really liked the idea of driving Menaggio - thinks it is very doable. Don't know about driving to Varenna - do you go through Bellagio and is the drive difficult (windy roads?)

Thanks for the help...
PSGMARTINO is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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I'm guessing that the rates at Victoria are about equal to GHMenaggio. The Hotel du Lac in Menaggio was opened fairly recently (probably within the last 4 or 5 years) adding to the confusion already existing because there are similarly named hotels in Varenna and Bellagio. It occupies the floors above ground level in what used to be one of my favorite bars in Menaggio, the Bar Centrale. It's location is indeed central, on one side of the main square and facing the water. I'm assuming that since it's new(er) the rooms are probably pretty nice and clean especially for the rates. It certainly looked fine to me when we were there a couple of years ago (while staying at one of the other du Lacs in Varenna)

Besides looking at the Victoria, you might also check out the Hotel Bellavista (just google Hotel Bellavista Menaggio) which is mid way between the du Lac and the Menaggio (Victoria is all the way on the other end of town, the furthest from the ferry stop) The Bellavista has a pool directly on the water and while the rooms aren't exciting, it has water views for very good rates--and it has a good restaurant (as does the Victoria) For the price and privacy difference, either the du Lac or the Bellavista would seem to be good deals.

JulieVikmanis is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Where will you be driving from before Lake Como, and where will you go after the lake? How important is the pool?

Personally, I'd rather stay in Varenna or even Bellagio before Menaggio, but it depends on what you plan to do on the lake. There is a car ferry that connects the three towns, but I wouldn't want to cross back and forth with a car more than once or twice. Euro- and time-consuming. Here's the ferry website:

http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/com/nlc.html
Jean is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 09:14 AM
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I've stayed in the GH Victoria which while being a few minutes' walk beyond the "town square" and where the BellaVista is located..it isn't exactly to Hell and gone...but the rooms in that hotel are about as plain as you can get and I had the BEST one the last time I was there.

Nice pool (out back) and decent buffet breakfast but I'd opt for the GH next to the ferry dock.

As to the BellaVista..have seen the rooms..somewhat small and rustically decorated (lots of knotty pine) with a great restaurant..have had several good meals there overlooking the lake.

I like Varenna too but I also enjoyed staying in Menaggio which I found to be a little more lively at night (than Varenna)...be sure and have some of the gelato sold at that stand in the town square area..delicious.

Dukey is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 01:08 PM
  #10  
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Dukey and Julie - Thanks for your insights and hotel recommendations. I am happy to hear favorable comments on both the DuLac and GH Menaggio, I'll look into the BellaVista as well.

Jean - We will be driving from Venice to wherever we decide on Lake Como. We only have 2 nights there. Is it possible to drive from Venice to Varenna? I initially started thinking of Menaggio because I was told it was easy to drive to - maybe Varenna not so much?

After the lake, we leave for our final night and will stay by Malpensa airport as we have a very early flight out.

Based on that information, which lake location do you recommend?

Thanks.

PSGMARTINO is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 05:26 PM
  #11  
 
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I'll confess my biases at the start. I prefer Bellagio and Varenna over Menaggio. I prefer Varenna over Bellagio in high season. I prefer Bellagio over Varenna in low/shoulder season.

Coming from Venice, I like the drive to Varenna (lakeshore road, not the highway which requires you pass Varenna to Bellano and double back). The lakeshore drive up the eastern "leg" of the lake to Bellagio is also nice, and you can use it to also reach Menaggio (via ferry from Bellagio) but you have to navigate through Bellagio to the dock.

The drive Venice-Menaggio would probably take an additional hour or so, and the lakeshore road from Como to Menaggio is, in my memory, more developed with towns than the eastern "leg." (I haven't drive it in several years.) I think it might be more prone to traffic delays.

The views along all the routes are beautiful.

Driving to Malpensa is easiest from Menaggio.

Will you be in one large, high capacity vehicle or multiple cars? Do you feel comfortable driving on curvy roads?

If it were me, I'd pick the town based on plans for your time on the lake and lodging that fits your needs and budget. I wouldn't pick the town based on the driving route from Venice or to Malpensa. Once you arrive at the lake, you'll probably not touch the car until you leave for the airport.
Jean is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 03:38 AM
  #12  
 
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I can give you good feedback on GH Menaggio. We've stayed there 4 or more times, once at Victoria and most recently at du Lac in Varenna. Daughter stayed at Bellavista. We've never stayed at Bellagio. For actual hotel properties I like the du Lac in Varenna best. Nicest rooms, lovely breakfast area and terrace with fantastic views. Does not have pool and Varenna is a bit quieter for nighttime activity. I like the "real town" feel of Menaggio better.

GH Menaggio is my preference over Victoria (Bellavista not in same "grand hotel" class, nor is du Lac in Menaggio) though its rooms are plain and modern of 10 to 15 years ago with shower only and nice but narrow bathrooms. Wall decor is square scarves in glass frames--odd, but probably picks up on the Como silk industry theme, I guess. Restaurant is pretty opens to outdoor terrase and swimming pool. Lovely bar with large floral arrangements. Nice glass chandeliers. Sometimes parking can fill up. Aside from the somewhat drab rooms, it's a very nice hotel IMO--especially if you get rooms with lake views and balconies.

Daughter felt that rooms at Bellavista were very spare/drab but you have to play that against the much better rate, the pool, the good restaurant.

For location it strikes me that Varenna would be just as good for you as Menaggio. Yes, you'll likely keep your car in the garage. So you can get there easiest from Venice. Make one trip by ferry across the lake to Menaggio or Cadenabbia as you leave the lakes and drive on down to Malpensa. I guess you can make that trip across the lake either as you arrive or as you depart, so it's six of one a half dozen of the other as to whether you stay in Varenna or Menaggio (you can see that I like to visit Bellagio but am not keen on stying there)

If you haven't already done so check out Hotel du Lac in varenna-at I think albergodulac.com and compare it to your other choices. I'd make my pick between GH Menaggio and du Lac in Varenna if less concerned about cost OR between du Lac in Menaggio and Bellavista if more concerned about cost.

BTW, if you're looking for dining recs, consider the extraordinary experience of Isola Comacina. I just posted a URL about the place and described our own experience there on a post some time ago. Search on Isola Comacina and you should find them and others. It's really something.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 06:22 AM
  #13  
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Jean and Julie - thanks so much for the information you've shared - it really is helpful. It sounds like driving from Venice to Varenna isn't too difficult - not too terribly windy? We are going to be traveling in a large van to accommodate all 6 of us, so the thought of doing that on windy narrow roads, that only accomodate one car width at the time sounds really scary.

Jean, we will be there in late June, high season, so Varenna seems like a good choice, and since watching the Rick Steves videos years ago, it has always called to me. I'm not sure how to figure out the Lakeshore drive up the Eastern leg - when I plug it into viamichelin it does appear to take us through Bellano. We will have a GPS so maybe that might help. We do not plan to use the car at all in Como - I'd like to ferry to Bellagio for an afternoon, but really we are only there such a short time we will not need the car.

Julie - thanks for the information on the hotels. I will look into the Du Lac in Varenna, actually I may have contacted them already. I am also looking into Eremo Gaudio in Varenna - that looks fun, and my kids would love the funicular!

I appreciate the advise from those who have been there - thanks so much for all you help. My family, although large, is not very helpful when it comes to trip planning and they leave it all to me - so sometimes it gets a little overwhelming! But I love it!
PSGMARTINO is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 06:54 AM
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I also greatly prefer staying in Varenna over staying in Menaggio. If you do end up looking at staying in Varenna, let us know what hotel. I remember seeing a fantastic place over there but can't remember the name. 5 star feel for a 3 star price.
ncounty is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 09:06 AM
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Another vote for the Hotel du Lac in Varenna. The hotel has its own parking (for a fee). Reserve parking when you reserve the rooms.

Try again on Viamichelin.com. This time under driving options, choose "shortest." That should show the lakeshore route.

I think you'll do fine in the van. The road is a regular two-lane secondary road. We've never driven a vehicle larger than a station wagon in Italy, but I'd guess the vehicle's size is a bigger problem inside the towns than on the roads. When you reach Varenna, the du Lac is just a couple of turns off the road, and it's just a short, pedestrian-only path to the ferry dock. The Eremo Gaudio is outside of the town, and it's a better choice IMO if you plan to arrive and stay without too much exploring.

Jean is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 10:08 AM
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If you do book with a hotel that has parking, then reserve the parking when you reserve the room (especially with a van).

The road around the lake is two lane except for a couple of very short stretches but they have traffic control lights for those stretches.

To see the lakefront road (#72) rather than the interstate thru the mountain (#36), try plotting a path from Lecco to Lierna and Lierna to Varenna. Also try mappy or viamichelin websites.
Big_Red is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 10:44 AM
  #17  
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Jean- Thanks for the info - I've remapped it and it doesn't look like we go through Bellano, so am assuming this is correct. And we do like to explore a bit, is the Eremo Guadio too far out?
PSGMARTINO is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 12:21 PM
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With only one full day, I think it would be much easier to stay at the du Lac, walk around Varenna, ferry to Bellagio and/or wherever else you want to go. (BTW, with only one full day, you're going to have to be very selective about what you see/do.)

Eremo Gaudio is 7.5 kms. from the center of Varenna. That's far enough to contemplate using the car which IMO is not a good idea in high season. There is bus service from Varenna to nearby communities, but someone else would have to tell you how frequently it covers the route between Eremo Gaudio and the town. Perhaps the hotel's website has this info, or you could email the hotel and inquire.

Many Fodor people love the Eremo Gaudio, so maybe someone will chime in with info that will tip the scales. Otherwise, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the du Lac, and I'd book those rooms ASAP.
Jean is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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"We are going to be traveling in a large van to accommodate all 6 of us, so the thought of doing that on windy narrow roads"

A large van in Italy? The last thing that would concern me is wind. I hope the designated driver is brave and not afraid of anything.

A large van is fine on the open road and highways of Italy but if you make the wrong turn in any of the smaller towns along Lake Como, you could find yourself in a heap of trouble. Roads like Via Regina and those typically found in and around hill towns can get very narrow in Italy. Wait until you have to pass a bus or a service truck. Side-swiping is all too common around the lake. These roads just weren't designed for large cars and certainly not vans, buses and trucks.

You can get a van to Eremo Gaudio's parking lot. Certainly Marco and Nelly Barili have many years of experience but it is a struggle. Eremo Gaudio is a 3-minute drive from Villa Cipressi (15-minute walk) but it's a steep uphill climb, single-lane, and the road is shaped like a Z, meaning several very sharp turns as you drive up the mountain. If another car comes from the opposite direction, it has to back up to let you through. You may need to be the vehicle that has to back up. Can your driver perform such an act on a mountainside?

I took a wrong turn in a small town along the lake on my way to a celebrity's house. I came upon a one-way, single-lane, perpendicular turn that was so tight, only a motorcycle could drive through without stopping and backing up. My Mercedes was too wide to make the turn safely on my own. Thank God a lovely Italian gentleman was out for a walk and no drivers were behind me. He volunteered to guide me through the tight 90-degree turn to get me out of that impossible situation. This was one of the few instances where backing up was not possible because the angle of my car over-reached. In Italy, these situations arise and, if you have no experience dealing with them, get ready not to panic.

Parking in Varenna is easy. The town is tiny with only one road. Public parking is in front of the church. Menaggio offers more parking than Varenna because it's larger and flatter.
NYCTS is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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NYTCS, "windy" like "curvy," not "windy" as in strong winds.

Jean is offline  

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