If like me, five-star living, exquisite dining, and lakeside views are something you absolutely revel in then the Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola in Switzerland is a bucket-list must for you. A member of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” and the only five star superior Hotel in Lugano, this incredibly luxurious property is not only beautiful to look at but wonderfully located inside a large, private, sub-tropical park with serenely stunning views across a lake to the twinkling lights of coastal towns on the hillsides beyond.
The hotel is situated in Lugano, the largest town in Ticino which enjoys a glorious 2,300 hours of sunshine every year. An elegant villa built-in 1880, the property combines the charm of a bygone era with all the modern comforts and service of a five-star luxury hotel. Originally a mansion built for a noble Russian family, Villa Castagnola became a hotel in 1885 and more recently it changed hands once more and now belongs to the local Zorloni family who have lovingly given it a total redecoration, returning it to its original splendor and grandeur, making it a really spectacular hotel and wonderful escape. It’s no wonder Villa Castagnola has been the holiday destination of choice for numerous aristocrats, politicians, business leaders, artists, and writers over the years, all of whom have sought the privacy and relaxing nature of the discreet yet sophisticated surroundings.
This hotel-come-private-mansion is luxurious without being overbearing and intimidating, a stay here is more like staying at an elegant, welcoming home of a good friend with beautiful paintings, sculptures, and object d’art tastefully placed throughout. The 78 beautifully styled guest rooms and suites feature either a balcony or terrace as well as a flat-screen satellite TV, minibar, safe, Wi-Fi internet, and ensuite bathroom with lovely Clarins bathroom amenities (if you want to further your Clarins experience, you can visit the hotel’s Clarins Beauty Corner which offers facials, massages, wraps and spa days). 28 of the guest rooms are suites and junior suites, most of which feature more than one balcony with views over the park and lake as well as a living room, bathrooms, and beautiful citrus or cream décor throughout. Room Tip: Request a room overlooking the lake, the higher floors enjoy the best views. And if it’s available, ask for the elegantly decorated Suite San Salvatore (Room 515), it’s the biggest suite on the top floor of the hotel with two bedrooms and a large balcony with stunning views.
The hotel features a host of activities and facilities for its guests including an indoor swimming pool which has open-air sections overlooking the lush green tropical park; a clay tennis court; private Lido with sundeck terrace; Clarins Beauty Corner; Danilo hair salon; fitness center; sauna; calidarium; solarium; steam bath as well as sun loungers in the park and lido to simply allow you to lie back, relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings. If the activities in the hotel aren’t enough to keep you occupied there are plenty of outdoor sports to enjoy from horse riding; mountain biking; climbing and paragliding to sailing; windsurfing; waterskiing and fishing, or you could play a round or two at some of the best golf courses in Europe which are just across the border in Italy (a whopping 70 golf courses all within 70km of each other!).
The Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola is right on Lake Lugano and a short walk from the town center, where you’ll find the Palazzo dei Congressi, museums, casino and shops and it’s also close to the Monte Bre’ cable car, Monte San Salvatore and Swiss Miniatur.
The hotel boasts two gourmet restaurants as well as three bars. Restaurant Le Relais is an elegant destination offering a host of innovative Mediterranean dishes which can be enjoyed alfresco on the outdoor terrace overlooking the lake. Located a short distance from the hotel and right on the lakeshore overlooking the gulf of Lugano, Restaurant Gallery Arté al Lago (which has earned a Michelin Star for its culinary delights) is a unique restaurant within an art gallery with a menu that encompasses exquisite sweetwater and seafood dishes. After dinner, you can sit and relax in the Cocktail Bar while the soft piano music being played gently wafts out through the open terrace doors – bliss.
Whether you are on business, a family vacation, couples retreat or foodie break the tranquil atmosphere and discreet and friendly service at the Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola au Lac along with the sensational view are sure to soothe and relax you. And if you fall in love with the property and area half as much as most, you could even consider their long-stay apartments at Art Residence and Residence Villa Castagnola, giving you your very own enchanting Swiss escape.
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