5L is a 5 star hotel with an Extra L for Luxury! A tiny step up from five, if you will. More often than not a full resort with lots of amenities.
Built in 1568 and beautifully situated on the shore of the tony village of Cernobbio, Villa d'Este reigns supreme. She is the uncontested grande-dame of the lake. A meal here never misses (more on that in the Restaurants section). Pools? Lots! A floating pool in the lake, a baby pool and an indoor pool. Gorgeous grounds with old growth trees and spectacularly manicured flower beds for amazing FB & Instagram shots. This hotel comes complete with an authentic faux castle facade built into the mountain side. Built by the wife of a general to keep her husband from being nostalgic for wartime. Tennis courts, golf, full spa, sauna, beauty treatments, etc. The center of Cernobbio is just steps outside Villa d'Este's gates. With its own traghetto stop, many shops and dining options makes a stay at Villa d'Este an easy choice.
Via Regina, 40
Cernobbio CO 22012
Mandarin Oriental (formerly Casta Diva)
A beautiful Liberty style property in Blevio. A bit off the beaten path, but the hotel has a shuttle boat into Como 6x per day. There is no where to walk around and explore outside the property, this must be done by car. Depending on your length of stay, you may not want to leave anyway. The hotel boasts a spectacular spa with treatment rooms representing the 4 elements; air, water, earth, fire. A floating pool in the lake (a la Villa d'Este but newer). A beautifully decorated interior Bar. A large swath of lake front property for dining, lounging & cocktailing. There are two private villas which blend into the surrounding terrain allowing the fantastic main structure was the home of Giuditta Pasta a famous opera singer & fashionable hostess in her day. If Villa d'Este is the lake's grande dame, then Casta Diva was its ingenue. It has been having some service problems for years and hasn't yet improved from what I hear from recent visitors. It recently changing hands to the Mandarin Oriental group. We shall wait and see. Recent problems has steered the younger, chic set looking for an alternative to Villa d'Este over to Il Sereno (see below).
Via Caronti, 69
Blevio CO 22020
Castadivaresort.com or Mandarinoriental.com/lake-como
The newest addition to the Lake Como luxury hotel scene is a sister hotel to the Le Sereno in St. Barths. It has a hip-luxe vibe and is boutique in size compared to the others. The magnificent Villa Pliniana was also purchased by the hotel group. This separate villa is used for private events by the hotel. It has a LHW accreditation and if offers up a much simpler form of luxury than that of Villa d'Este or the Mandarin Oriental but it gets it right. The restaurant, Berton al Lago, boasts a Michelin star and has an updated Italian menu with a perfect lake front location. After only a few years, Il Sereno is still the "It" hotel.
Via Torrazza, 10
Torno CO 22020
Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Another 5L. Another floating pool. Tremezzo is further up the lake from the main city of Como. Situated across from Bellagio and just before the y intersection of Lake Como's two branches. The views in this part of the lake are wider and spectacular. The second major plus is that you are close to top attractions such as Villa Balbianello, villa Carlotta, Villa Melzi & the town of Bellagio. The con is that you are further away from Como, the main city. However, one trip into Como on the ferry boat to walk around, have a gelato & see the Duomo is probably enough. This is indeed a large grand hotel with a full spa and a variety of dining options: The T Bar terrace, L'Escale casual dining, the more formal La Terrazza- all overlooking the lake. Dining down by the pool/lake is also an option. Nestled on the grounds, you'll also find an outdoor wood burning pizza oven. Magical on a beautiful Summer evening, especially if traveling with children.
Via Regina, 8
Tremezzina CO 22016
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni
Located in the famous town of Bellagio, this neo classical villa built around 1850 is one of the oldest hotels on the lake. Thanks to its positioning on the promontory of Bellagio, the hotel sits right at the intersection of both the Como & Lecco branches of the lake and also has a northward view towards the pre-alps. There are two restaurants on property; the poolside La Goletta & the more formal Mistral. The later boasts a michelin star chef. On site you'll find lots of amenities; gym, spa, tennis courts.
Via Roma, 1
Bellagio CO 22020