Grand 19th-century villas and 20th-century Art Nouveau gems now house some of the most luxurious hotels in Lake Como. Take a look at the most opulent places to stay on the spectacular Italian lake.

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Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy

Originally built as a luxurious holiday villa for an aristocratic Milanese family in the 19th century, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has been a vacation destination for the jet-set crowd for more than a century. The 95-room, creme-de-la-creme hotel is situated on the banks of Lake Como and features panoramic vistas of the water and mountains. From the grand, three-story exterior with lakeside pool and dock to the neoclassical interior with its ornate decor and raved-about restaurants and spa, this hotel is a showstopper. 

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Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como

Blevio, Lombardy, Italy

Located on the shores of Lake Como, Casta Diva Resort & SPA is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and the first luxury hotel to open in the area in nearly a century. The resort consists of seven separate villas for a total of 73 rooms and suites, plus two private villas surrounded by a lushly landscaped garden. One of the villas was once the residence of the 19th-century opera singer Giuditta Pasta, who purchased the property in 1827. The hotel's public spaces and rooms feature gilded antiques and dramatic color schemes, paying homage to the theatrical history of the property. At night, the floating outdoor pool becomes a stage for a spectacular son et lumière show, complete with fountains choreographed to operatic arias. A main highlight of the property is Villa Roccabruna, which houses 10 suites and the lavish full-service spa. There are several eateries on-site, but Casta Diva doesn't offer free (and impressive) breakfast, like Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.


Hotel Villa Flori

Como, Lombardy, Italy

Housed in a restored 19th-century villa, Hotel Villa Flori has maintained the original look of the exquisite stucco work and floral frescoes, complementing them with antique furnishings and beautiful gardens with orange and lemon groves. The 53 guest rooms and suites are elegantly furnished and come with minibars, free Wi-Fi, and beautiful lake views -- some have private balconies. A free buffet breakfast is served each morning, with lunches and dinners available in Restaurant Raimondi and drinks and light snacks in the Lounge Bar. There's a small spa with a sauna, Turkish bath, and solarium, but the lavish spa at Casta Diva is far more impressive (it has an indoor heated pool, chromotherapy showers, Finnish sauna, and VIP spa suites). Villa Flori's location right on the lake adds to the relaxing atmosphere and there are several spots (both indoor and outdoor) for guests to sit back and take in the views. The romantic scenery makes the hotel popular for couples. 


Grand Hotel Imperiale

Moltrasio, Lombardy, Italy

On Lake Como in the village of Moltrasio, the four-pearl Grand Hotel Imperiale has beautiful grounds and a location that's hard to beat. The property consists of the Villa Imperiale, a 1926 Art Nouveau building with a dozen rooms, and two modern wings. Its 121 rooms are a mixed bag, though, and aren't always up to the regal surroundings; some have lake views, but decor can be basic and tired. (Villa Flori's rooms are much more elegant, and all have stunning views of the lake.) A large outdoor pool and a gourmet restaurant, Imperialino, both offer beautiful lake views, and there is a relaxing spa on site as well. The hotel is just a 20-minute drive to Como's city center, and makes a good, quiet base for exploring the area.


Grand Hotel Cadenabbia

Cadenabbia di Griante, Lombardy, Italy

Once a private villa, Grand Hotel Cadenabbia is a 192-room upscale hotel located on Lake Como next to the historic Villa Carlotta. Rooms rates vary greatly, with Standard Rooms priced fairly reasonably and suites priced on the high side of the spectrum, but they have split-level layouts, lavish decor, and balconies that overlook the lake. Hotel highlights include the panoramic water vistas from the restaurant terraces and the romantic hidden garden and pool in the back of the property. However, there is no spa, indoor pool, or fitness room here. Grand Hotel Imperiale has those three features, plus its outdoor pool has beautiful lake views, while Grand Hotel Cadenabbia's does not.