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Travel review: The Britannia Excelsior Hotel, Lake Como, Italy

By Paul Hooper

There are some scenes which can cause you to take a sharp intake of breath..others which cause the jaw to drop.

And then there is Lake Como which unashamedly mugs you like receiving an unexpected smack on the back.

It simply takes away your breath with its amazing wow factor stretching from the Rhaetian Alps to the Brianza hills.

Lake Como, Lecco, Italy
Lake Como, Lecco, Italy

It is Italy’s sweet gem which the Hollywood star George Clooney discovered and moved into a home here with wife Amal.

And waiting for visitors to see why George decamped to Italy is the family hotel Britannia Excelsior Hotel - and I do mean family, Englishman Ross Whieldon, sweet Italian wife Doriana and their son and daughter.

The hotel - with its sister site Hotel Bazzoni – offers spectacular views of one of Europe’s deepest lakes formerly known as Lake Lario.

Amal and George Clooney. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Amal and George Clooney. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

It is Italy’s third largest lake after Garda and Maggiore and is shaped like an inverted ‘Y’ with Como, Lecco and Colico as its three arms.

To wake up each morning with the shores just a two minute walk away and the Rhaetian Alps in the background is something I shall always remember.

And there are many ways to enjoy the area, walking, cycling, car - but my favourite, by boat with a glass of Champagne in hand!

The stunning town around Lake Como
The stunning town around Lake Como

Drifting past beautiful villas, fabulous manicured gardens (including George’s mansion!) and the spectacular Novocomum, the Giuliani Frigerio (all the work of architect Giuseppe Terragni) is so relaxing and charming.

And for those who like their film history, Cernobbio is the site of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Pleasure Garden, the Villa d’Este.

If the scenery is marvellous then so is the cuisine, which can be enjoyed on the Excelsior’s floating pool and cocktail bar which fuses wonderful food with great music and a variety of cocktails.

The vast lake, Italy's third largest
The vast lake, Italy's third largest

The air-conditioned rooms include everything you will need, although the free Wi-Fi is accessible from the lobby.

And just 30 miles away you can visit fashion capital Milan, in Lombardy with its Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent which houses Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’.

But visitors mustn’t miss out on a trip on the Berlina Railway which winds its way from Tirano through the Alps to St Moritz with breath-taking views at every turn.

Shearings Holidays offers holidays to Lake Como 47 weeks of the year, with both flight and coach travel options to choose from.

Trip details

A nine-day coach tour package in May 2019 costs from £449 per person including six nights at the Hotel Britannia Excelsior on a classic all-inclusive basis, three excursions including a Lake Como Tour, a visit to Como Market and a trip to Bergamo, plus travel by express coach overnight to maximise the time in the destination. Available from pick up points around the UK and based on two sharing. It is possible to upgrade to the Platinum all-inclusive package from just £174pp with greater dining and drinks options.

Additional excursions can be added:

  • St Moritz and the Bernina Railway – priced from £47pp
  • A Lake Cruise – from £15pp
  • Day trip to Milan – from £26pp

Classic all-inclusive package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner as follows:

  • Victoria buffet and Lido rooftop pizzeria plus drinks at the bubbles bar all day and selected drinks at the Infinity pool cocktail bar and Lido Di Cadenabbia until 6pm.
  • Simply Pasta at the Hotel Bazzoni and drinks at the Bazzoni cocktail bar.
  • 20% discount is offered at all the other hotel restaurants
  • Platinum all-inclusive package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner as follows:
  • Access at all four of the Hotel Britannia Excelsior’s restaurants (Victoria buffet, The Cove Churrasco, Lido a la Carte and Lido rooftop pizzeria), drinks all day at the bubbles bar, Infinity pool cocktail bar, Lido Di Cadenabbia bar including selected premium brand spirits and cocktails from 5pm.
  • Access to all three restaurants at the Hotel Bazzoni (Bazzoni buffet, N26 Bistro and Simply Pasta) and drinks at the Bazzoni cocktail bar.

For further details, visit www.shearings.com or call 0344 874 8220

  • Paul Hooper travelled as a guest of Shearings Holidays

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