|Elvezia, where the food is delicious, the limoncello divine|
|The Umbrella Museum’s building is itself shaped like an umbrella|
|This must be the place|
|View of Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands from the shore of Stresa|
Luxury On Lake Maggiore
Despite its French name, Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées is a thoroughly Italian establishment where comfort and hospitality meet you at the door. Located in the town of Stresa in its own private park on the waterside promenade facing Lake Maggiore, this member of Preferred Hotels And Resorts maintains the standards expected from the members of this exclusive association.
The various rooms and suites of Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées are comfortably appointed in traditional Italian style. The range of accommodation is crowned by the hotel’s legendary Hemingway Suite, a two-bedroom suite with two living rooms as well as assorted other spaces spanning the central façade of the building on the traditional piano nobile one floor above the ground floor. If the rooms of the Hemingway Suite are impressive, the enormous private terrace is even more so. Not everyone can stay in this historic suite, of course, but the hotel’s rooms and suites all feel special in their own ways.
On the ground floor is the hotel’s restaurant, Borromeo, an enormous room whose airy ambience is more reminiscent of a lovingly maintained glasshouse than a hotel restaurant. In this setting guests dine on traditional Italian food served in the classic Italian style by a team of waiters led by a gentlemanly maitre d’hôte who understands the importance of treating each guest like royalty, even if they are not titled like some of the hotels past guests.
Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées is an easy stroll to the centre of Stresa and Baveno. Though Stresa and its neighbour Baveno immediately to its north are both charming in their own right and hold an exceptional appeal for connoisseurs of gelato, the main attraction of this part of the Italian Lakes District are the Borromean Islands for which the hotel is named. Two of the three islands have been in the Borromeo family for centuries and remain their private property to this day; the third, Isola dei Pescatori, is a quaint village historically the home of fishermen but today given over to tourism. The main attraction here is a meal at the wonderful Restaurant Elvezia, where the friendly service nearly outshines the beautiful views from the restaurant’s open-air terrace-the perfect place to indulge in a limoncello after a satisfying meal. Isola Madre is the location of the Borromeo Palace and its impressive landscaped gardens; the family’s other island, Isola Bella, also shows off the family’s love of gardens with a botanical collection exhibiting specimens from all over the world.
Not all the area’s attractions are on the islands, though. A visit to the surprisingly interesting Museo dell’Ombrello, the only one of its kind in the world, will have you looking at umbrellas and parasols henceforth with much deeper appreciation, especially if the museum’s contents are explained by the entertaining and engaging Roberta as a guide. The Museo dell’Ombrello is located in Gignese up Mount Mottarone, which reaches a height of nearly 1500m above sea level and which on sunny days offers spectacular views of the Lakes District.
Grand Hôtel des Iles Borromées
Corso Umberto I, 67
tel: +39 0323 93 89 38
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B