Villa D’Este

This is a jewel in Lake Como’s hotel scene and frankly quite out of my budget, but I couldn’t resist popping in for lunch to explore. I’m so glad I did because it’s a destination in and of itself.  It’s an absolute must-see!

The Welcome

Sitting prettily like precious stones on a necklace, grand hotels dotted along Lake Como take us back in time. Many are renovated private villas with sprawling, manicured gardens. Villa D’Este is a grand estate in Cernobbio that served as a female convent in the 15th century and summer palace to the British Queen Caroline of Brunswick in the 1800’s.

It can’t simply be described as a hotel: it’s a destination in and of itself. The former queen’s legacy includes anglicised sections in the 25 acres of landscaped Renaissance gardens that remain intact today.

Sweet Suite

No two rooms are alike at Villa D’Este and each one has a unique touch: from period furnishings and silk-brocade drapes to oil paintings that take up entire walls. This image was taken from an online source – I didn’t get a chance to personally visit the bedrooms. Gotta save something for next time!

Time to Relax

Even the quality of service seems to come from another era, with attendants ready to fluff your towel as you lay at the floating pool that juts out into the lake.

Despite the sheer scale and luxury of the place, it is still somehow intimate, creating the illusion that a guest is staying at the home of a (very wealthy), dear friend. Case in point: over lunch, a waiter brings over a bottle of chilled prosecco and plate of grapes that wasn’t consumed at another table for us to enjoy free of charge.

The menus are funny – the ones given to the ladies don’t have prices on them 😀

Can’t wait to come back and experience a stay here someday! It’s the stuff made of hotel dreams…


Enjoy a long, lazy afternoon lunch and embrace the dolce far niente mentality in this laid back, chic ensemble:



Villa D'Este



White swing dress
81 AED –

Vince Camuto wedge heel sandals
435 AED –

Betsey Johnson handbag purse
325 AED –

BaubleBar daisy jewelry
120 AED –

Steve Madden straw beach hat
84 AED –

Yves Saint Laurent moisturizing lipstick
125 AED –



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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

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