The villa consists of six suites, each individually decorated in the classic Milanese style. Think antique beds and closets, textured fabric wallpapers and sumptuous soft furnishings. Even the bathrooms encapsulate the traditional historical villas, with porcelain baths, brass taps and clothed dressing tables. Each room feels like you’re stepping back in time. And with all of this grandeur come the mod cons of satellite television, cleverly disguised air conditioning and five-star guest services.
The villa itself is fairytale pretty and would be the ideal location for a special birthday or anniversary. The walls and ceilings are decorated in sugary-toned fresco paintings and there isn’t a corner that doesn’t whisper romance. There are two large drawing rooms, a dining room and a swimming pool area complete with a heated pool, and outdoor dining and lounging facilities. There is also an exclusive mini museum upstairs in the villa, which houses Napoleon’s bed alongside more beautiful antiques, which can be visited on request.
As part of the trip we were sped along in the hotel’s 1950s speedboat to get a real feeling of the area, which was one of our highlights. There is plenty to see, including George and Amal Clooney’s residences and the traditional village of Bellagio. The boat itself is picture-perfect, with velvet seats and an onboard mini fridge stocked with much more than the essentials. The hotel will also happily pack you a picnic, so there’s no need to return to the villa for lunch – you can eat it on board or in a secluded spot.
One thing you will not do at Villa Sola Cabiati is go hungry. Not only is there an on-site chef to whip up your every whim, but the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, only a stone’s throw away, has two restaurants and three bars. La Terrazza is helmed by head chef Osvaldo Presazzi and serves Italian gourmet cuisine (we ate a melt-in-the-mouth gold saffron risotto). Or go for simpler classic fair at L’Escale Fondue & Wine Bar – here we gorged ourselves on homemade pastas and feather-light zabaglione.
Sadly we didn’t get enough time to make the most of the villa’s private pool on our stay, apart from a decadent seafood lunch served on arrival. The 60sqm heated pool sits on a gently sloping lawn behind the villa, surrounded by loungers and cabanas. There are also two outdoor seating areas beside the pool: one beneath a cotton-shaded pergola, which is perfect for alfresco dining; the other with a series of armchairs, that would be well utilised on lazy sunny afternoons.
We highly recommend venturing to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s panoramic terrace T Bar for a drink or two. Settle down on the sorbet-shaded striped chairs to enjoy the view over Bellagio with a signature T Ribbon cocktail made from vodka, Aperol, pineapple juice, orange bitter and saffron. The extensive menu includes pastas, sandwiches, burgers and desserts. There’s also live piano music every evening, which tinkled its way through our cocktails.
Of course having your own villa might mean you resist the hotel’s temptations in order to enjoy the private chef on offer. Everything we tried, from the surf and turf barbecue by the pool to the decadent five-course dinner on our final evening – which included a chocolate soufflé that made us think we’d died and gone to heaven – tasted sensational. The staff at the house can cater for your every whim, from a private pianist to a grand floral display.
In the hotel itself, as a guest of Villa Sola Cabiati you have full access to everything, from the velvet-armchaired reading room to the indulgent adult-only spa. If lounging isn’t your thing, there are opportunities to attend a cooking class held by one of the hotel’s prestigious chefs, enjoy a wine tasting where there are 300 regional wines on offer, or explore the local area by foot or ferry boat.
The spa is just next to the main hotel, in the 18th-century Villa Emilia. To say it is extensive is no exaggeration – it has five treatment rooms, a Spa Suite for couples, a nail bar, a Hammam suite with a scrub plinth and a water blade-style shower, a humid area with sauna and steam bath, a Mediterranean sauna, salt relaxation room and whirlpool. When you have exhausted all the facilities, you can lie back and sip on herbal teas and nibble on snacks in the relaxation areas, or float away in the adults-only pool between treatments.
Best time to go: Off peak if possible – May, June and September are ideal. The hotel closes its doors from the beginning of November to March every year.
Room to book: Each room at the Villa is worthy of this accolade, but we had a soft spot for Laura’s Suite Nora, decorated in romantic deep pinks and reds.
Free valet parking and space for six cars
Click here for full details and to book
For many years only a glimpse of its splendour could be spied from boat trips around Lake Como. The former home of Duke Gabrio Serbelloni in the 18th century, Villa Sola Cabiati is now artfully managed by the wonderfully old-world classic, Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Expect white-glove service, where every need is anticipated, and the chance to truly indulge in Italian opulence – and of course enjoy a boat trip around the lake.
Last month we were fortunate enough to experience the ultimate luxurious trip to Lake Como’s finest residence, Villa Sola Cabiati, thanks to the lovely people at Mr & Mrs Smith. It’s expertly run and serviced by the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, which, as any Milanese expert will tell you, is one of the oldest and most exclusive hotels on the lake. After a short transfer of an hour and a half from the easily accessible Milan Linate airport, through the scenic beauty of the Lombardy region, we arrived at our destination. Nothing could have prepared us for the historical trip we were about to take.
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