At a Glance
Set on the southwestern banks of the lake, the Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como brings a contemporary aesthetic and curated Chinese details to a glamorous 19th-century villa.
- The gorgeous lakeview library in the Villa Roccabruna
- The Vista Lago Duplex Suites, offering spectacular views of the lake from the terraces
- The photogenic floating pool and sundeck
The 19th-century Villa Roccabruna was once home to mezzo-soprano Giuditta Pasta, a favorite diva of composer Vincenzo Bellini, and more recently served as the centerpiece of CastaDiva, an Italian opera of a resort—glamorous, but heavy on the drama. Now a Mandarin Oriental hotel, the villa emerged in its 2019 reopening with a fresh feel, but its distinct sense of place has remained.
The property’s redesign was spearheaded by Eric Egan, the designer behind such iconic grande dame renovations as the Gritti Palace in Venice and the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens. Thanks to his work at the Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como, the romance remains, but the glamour feels more refined. The original Villa Roccabruna, which houses the bar, tea room, spa and 10 rooms, features hand-painted wallpaper, a chandelier from Murano and Eastern details inspired by the Mandarin brand’s heritage. As well-traveled Europeans in Giuditta Pasta’s day liked to impress their guests with treasures from the East, the Chinese artifacts and orchids are a natural fit.
Just outside, Lake Como sparkles. Exit through the grand staircase at the back, and the lake is at your feet. The lush grounds—with more than 50 species of plants, trees and flowers—stretch along the waterfront. A picture-perfect pool with a sundeck floats atop the lake.
The property is comprised of nine villas, two of which can be booked in their entirety. The others house 21 rooms and 52 suites in total. Some of the villas are a bit of a climb, but a golf cart escort is just a quick call away. The suites in Villa Roccabruna are the most charming, with period details and spacious terraces. Villa Roccabruna also houses the spa—the largest on Lake Como—with extensive hydrotherapy facilities and an indoor pool.
Out on the lawn, white umbrellas shade the tables at the CO.MO Bar & Bistrot. CO.MO favors simple and delicious local dishes, while gastronomic restaurant L’ARIA serves inventive Italian fare. Whether guests are enjoying dinner on-property or dining elsewhere, it’s worth snagging a lakeside table for an aperitivo before setting out.
Who Should Stay
Travelers looking for a modern aesthetic with an Italian sense of place will appreciate the Mandarin’s design. Only a 15-minute drive from Como and a one-hour drive from Milan Malpensa Airport, the property is a particularly easy option for shorter stays.
- Allison Reiber DiLiegro
Written by Indagare