Vista Palazzo Lago di Como is the first five-star hotel in the city center.

By Zachary Weiss
March 20, 2019
Credit: Courtesy of Vista Palazzo Lago di Como

Travelers are always on the hunt for the most under-the-radar destination, the coolest new hotel, the just-opened restaurant. Not in a place as timelessly alluring as Lake Como, where part of the appeal is that things stay more or less the same.

In the stunning lake region, the “hottest” hotels aren’t the ones with sleek furnishings and lively co-working spaces, but century-old summer palaces with gilded surfaces and frescoes. Similarly, the restaurant that you can’t score a table at isn’t a buzzy vegan spot, but a family-run trattoria that’s been around for decades. Even the transportation of choice — mahogany cigarette boats that whisk VIPs from one glamorous hotspot to the next — hark back to another era.

So, it’s rare for something entirely new — whether it’s a hotel, restaurant, or spa — to break onto the scene, much less capture the attention of Lake Como’s well-heeled visitors.

Credit: Courtesy of Vista Palazzo Lago di Como

Enter Vista Palazzo Lago di Como, an elegant boutique hotel that did just that when it opened in the city center last summer. A renovated Venetian-style palace on the Piazza Cavour, the four-story property is the vision of the Passera family, who have been in the hospitality industry around Lake Como for nearly a century.

Unlike Lake Como's old-school hideaways, the 18-room property boasts classically good looks (marble bathrooms, hand-hewn marquetry, sumptuous Dedar fabrics) and modern conveniences like fitness trainers and personal concierge.

Credit: Courtesy of Vista Palazzo Lago di Como

“We wanted to capture Lake Como’s tradition and beauty, but combine it with innovation and modern amenities,” Bianca Passera told Travel + Leisure.

As its name implies, the property offers sweeping views of the lake, whose yacht-dotted waters and sunbather-lined shores are best seen from the hotel's rooftop bar and restaurant.

Credit: Courtesy of Vista Palazzo Lago di Como

Take a seat at one of the terrace counters and order the Alessandro Volta cocktail — crafted with Dalmore 15 single malt whiskey and served in a light bulb-shaped glass — and the caramelized pumpkin risotto, topped with aged parmigiano, chopped pecans, and powdered coffee.

Credit: Courtesy of Vista Palazzo Lago di Como

But it’s not just the aforementioned restaurant — the first rooftop restaurant in Lake Como — that’s setting the bar for “new luxury” in the area. The property encourages travelers to skip go-to “excursions” (think: elaborate tasting menus and over-priced boat tours) for more off-the-beaten-track adventures like sea plane tours and wine tastings in nearby Franciacorta.

“People come to Como from all over the world,” said Passera. “So, we take that as an opportunity to show off the best of everything we have to offer in and outside the hotel’s walls.”