Review: Il Sereno, Lake Como, Italy

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

Location: On the shores of Italy’s ever-glamorous Lake Como. Il Sereno is located on the lower left leg of the lake, one of the deepest in Europe. 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. 

First impressions: Arriving by car you’ll pass dozens of traditional grand villas, but pulling into the Ferrari and Porsche-laden entrance of Il Sereno, you’ll soon realise what makes this place special. 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. Inside, you’ll find modern furnishings such as Flos lamps and B&B Italia chairs. 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, who wore masks due to the pandemic during my stay, treat guests like kings and queens with undeniably brilliant service.


The facts: The hotel opened just five years ago, the first new-build property on the lake for decades. It has just 30 suites, all of which have spectacular views thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies. 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 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 paddleboards. 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 (a week costs about £115,000).

Explore: The hotel is located in the adorable town of Torno, 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. 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.

Wow: The design and interiors of Il Sereno blew me away. It stands out from all the other properties.


Book it: Rooms from £714 a night.

Hollie-Rae Brader

Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.

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