A Dash Of La Dolce Vita: Passalacqua, Lake Como – Hotel Review

By Lauren Ho

7 months ago

Lauren Ho winds down in Como

Occupying a wonderful 18th-century villa, which was the former home of composer Vincenzo Bellini, Passallacqua is an exquisite boutique hotel that encapsulates the romance of Lake Como with sumptuous baroque interiors, spectacular terraced gardens and gorgeous views.

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Hotel Review: Passalacqua, Lake Como


© Stefan Giftthaler


There are just 24 rooms spread over three buildings: the main villa, the Palazz (the former stables) and Casa al Lago, a four bedroom sanctuary with its own private gardens. All the rooms are richly decorated with ornate baroque details from silk lampshades and textured damask walls to bold floral fabrics, mostly in hues of warm terracotta, burnished green, creams and golds.

For spectacular lake views, opt for a room in the main villa, and for a true blow-out Passalacqua experience, indulge in Norma, a light-filled corner suite named after Bellini’s most famous opera. Here, picturesque windows frame idyllic views that make way for a free-standing king size bed that takes centre stage, dramatic high stuccoed frescoed ceilings, original parquet floors and antique furnishings. Mirrored TVS are set within gold gilt frames, and the oversized bathroom, with its deep soaking tub comes complete with a full Dyson hair kit.


Suite Bellini in the Villa with lake view Sala della Musica lounge area © Stefan Giftthaler


Spend a few days at the majestic Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Passalacqua’s sister property – which sits on a buzzing stretch of Lake Como and has a collection of vibing restaurants, including Da Giocomo al Lago, the perfect seafood spot on the lakefront by the hotel’s famous floating pool. Afterwards, for some downtime, head to Passalacqua, where the property itself is a joy to be in, with its delicate stucco work, swathes of marble, Venetian terrazzo flooring and Murano candelabras that deck the public spaces from the cosy bar to the library. On the ground floor of the Palazz, the soaring vaults and romantic columns form the spa space, which also includes a secret subterranean secret passageway that is now home to the sauna and steambath.

Pool area

Pool area by La Double J © Ricky Monti

After a relaxing massage or facial, meander through the terraced gardens down to the pool where deck chairs shaded by JJ Martin-designed umbrellas face tranquil lake views. There is also a roster of daily activities which includes a walking tour of Moltrasio, wine and cheese tastings, and cooking classes, alongside a tennis court and an open-air cinema.


Just like being in someone’s home, dining at Passalacqua is laidback and guests can choose to dine anywhere on the property at any time they want. Enjoy a light lunch while sunning yourself at the Double J pool bar and then come sundown, start your evening off with a negroni on the romantic candlelit terrace followed by dinner in the restaurant where an elevated menu of Italian classics like the veal Milanese or the lobster with whipped burrata is served against ornate furnishings, ceiling frescoes and dramatic chandeliers.

Breakfast comprises an ample buffet laden with freshly baked pastries, cakes, cheeses and cold cuts and for an extra homely touch, the villa’s original kitchen is open for guests to wander into, where the chefs will whip up anything your heart desires.


Restaurant © Ruben Ortiz


The love, care and attention to detail that its owner, Valentina de Santis has put into Passalacqua is evident at every turn, with such precise attention to detail that can’t go unnoticed. And in a destination already teeming with a collection of incredible hotels, Passalacqua certainly stands out from the crowd.


Rates at Passalacqua start from €1,500 +VAT (currently approx. £1,302) per night in a Room in the Palazz, including breakfast. passalacqua.it