Lake Como is the star at cool, contemporary Il Sereno hotel in Torno. Designed by acclaimed architect Patricia Urquiola, the hotel maximises its prime lakefront perch with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors and waterfront views from all 30 sensational suites. Take to the water in one of Urquiola’s specially designed wood-panelled motorboats to tour the tiny towns ringing the lake and get the best vantage of the hotel’s striking vertical garden. Then retreat to the terrace of Michelin Award-winning chef Andrea Berton’s namesake restaurant for the best seasonal, local fare.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of Ferrari wine, and for guests staying in the Darsena suite and Penthouse suite, a one-hour boat ride on one of the hotel's vaporine
Double rooms from $1381.41 (€1,250), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include full English breakfast.
World-renowned botanist Patrick Blanc, credited with inventing the vertical garden, created a lush structural vertical landscape facing the lake.
The hotel is closed each year from 7 November through 15 March.
At the hotel
Gardens and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV with DVD player, iPod dock with Bluetooth speakers, minibar with free bottled water, Ex Voto Paris bath products, safe and air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
Every suite is spacious, with a lake view, but the Darsena Suite has direct access to the lake for those who prefer a plunge first thing in the morning. The suite, which is named for the lake’s beautiful stone docks, also has a small private garden.
The heated infinity pool sits just above the lake, flanked by sunlounger and canopied beds.
Tie back your hair on boat rides with elegant silk scarves designed by hotel designer Patricia Urquiola and available for purchase on-site.
All public areas are wheelchair accessible, along with the Lario Suite.
Welcome. The pool is family-friendly, though there is no lifeguard on duty. Baby's cots (free) and extra beds for kids under 16 (€150 excl. tax) can be added to some Grand Suite Lago rooms, all Corner Suites and the Darsena Lago Suite.
Request a corner table for the best lake panoramas.
Opt for elegant, relaxed attire, including linens, long dresses and loose tops to accommodate indulgent pasta feasts.
Chef Andrea Berton oversees the beautiful lakeside Ristorante Berton Al Lago, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Designed to maximise prime water views, the Michelin-starred restaurant serves local, seasonal dishes inspired by the regions around Lake Como, including the lake’s fresh fish and the cheese, meat and wine of Valtellina, drawing the best from Milan and the Po Valley. The space, also designed by Patricia Urquiola, includes open-air seating for beautiful days.
Just off the lobby, the bar serves classic cocktails, including Campari sodas and Moscow Mules, as well as tea and coffee, all available to take out to the terrace for afternoon cocktail hour above the lake.
The restaurant serves food all day, from 7am until 10:30pm; the bar remains open until 11pm.
The hotel offers a menu of Italian pastas, meats, fish and salads 24 hours a day.
Il Sereno is in Torno, on the southern side of Lake Como.
The nearest airport is Milan Malpensa, a 45-minute drive away. An international hub, the airport has plenty of direct flights throughout Europe and North America. The hotel can arrange transfers for €160.
Como San Giovanni station is 15km from the hotel. Transfers are available for €60.
Hiring a car is advisable for those interested in exploring the quiet hill towns around the lake. The hotel has free parking onsite.
There are private docks at Il Sereno for those who arrive by boat. A helicopter pad is also available.
Worth getting out of bed for
It can be tempting to stay put at Il Sereno, alternating between dips in the infinity pool and Lake Como, but there are plenty of activities around the lake. The hotel maintains three vaporine, or limousine boats, all designed by the hotel designer and sleek with warm wood in a classic design. Hire the hotel’s skipper or take the wheel as captain for a tour of the lake.
Head out by boat or car to explore the tiny towns around the lake. Bellagio, 40 minutes north of the hotel, is a postcard-primed Italian hamlet with brightly coloured waterfront buildings and stone lanes. For a local perspective on the lake, hop aboard the local ferry, which traverses the Y-shaped lake. The hotel can also arrange for cooking classes, walking tours and other adventures.
In a palazzo-set art gallery in the heart of Como, I Tigli in Theoria serves Michelin-starred modern Italian with a focus on seafood. A five-minute stroll from the hotel, in tiny Torno, quaintIl Vapore serves authentic Italian with stunning lake views. For a break from pasta, Ristorante Kincho serves Brazilian barbecue in an open-air gazebo on the lake.
After a few missed turns (and some embarrassing overtaking by old Italian ladies) we arrive, eventually, in our little hire car which is kindly parked for us. We make our way to reception passing the most stunning of pools (it’s heated to 27 degrees, you know). We utter ‘Wow’ a lot and wield our cameras instinctively.
Il Sereno’s reception is expansive and modern and leads to a chic lounge area with the most comfortable soft leather sofas, perfect lake views and a bar. Modern it may be but it sits perfectly against the surrounding mountains.
It’s mild enough for us to enjoy our welcome drinks on the terrace where we sit in silence staring longingly at the pool and admiring breath-taking (and foggy) Lake Como. There is nothing pretentious here. Lounge in your shorts and trainers if you wish, or don your Oscar de la Renta frock – no one will bat an eyelid.
Our bedroom, the Alcova, is a large, simply decorated suite overlooking the lake. Our bathroom is huge with double sinks, which I love, and a giant walk-in shower that could easily fit four if that takes your fancy… We take an afternoon nap and leave our curtains open – this view is just too magnificent to hide, despite the fog’s best efforts.
Brownie points to the team on reception for the evening’s dinner recommendation. Osteria del Gallo, about 20 minutes away in town, is packed with rustic charm: checked table cloths, no menu, just home-cooked Italian food. Delicious. Breakfast at Il Sereno the next day is just as sublime: an elegant twist on a full English, served on the heated terrace of the restaurant, Berton Al Lago. Although all 30 rooms are apparently occupied, we feel like we’re the only guests.
That night’s dinner is booked in the same restaurant, the final night of our fleeting trip. In the end, we shift our booking back – we’re enjoying our pre-dinner drinks in the bar too much. When we do head downstairs for dinner, we’re seated in the same seats we had for breakfast. I always like being a creature of comfort.
The restaurant was bustling – the UAE Ferrari Owners Club were in town – but I suspect these autumnal evenings are usually a little quieter.
Mr Smith wants to order the degustation menu; I want to go à la carte. I win, of course, and we ask the Sommelier to pair drinks with each course and leave him to his devices. I start with a potent, but very tasty, French 75 – and then the feast begins.
‘The best I’ve ever eaten’ says Mr Smith of his steak tartare. My scampi tails – raw and cooked with pickled cucumber and green apple – are a sensation. Portions are generous – I’ve yet to work out how Italians manage an antipasti dish, primi and secondi and then dessert. We’re full after the primi but plough on gallantly (after we ask for a little breather). Every course that follows is thoughtfully created and the service is attentive without being overbearing.
Our morning of departure arrives, disappointingly, and we get a call saying there’s a problem with our hire car. Almost immediately follows: ‘But we have a solution’. The car, it turns out, is stuck in the car park lift (thankfully not one of those Ferraris, I guess). The hotel explain that they’ll return our car for us and pay any extra charges while we’re ushered to a waiting Maserati instead and ferried to the airport. The staff are mortified with their lift glitch – but, settled into the leather seats, our driver in front of us, we don’t mind one bit. Our only regret? We never took a dip in that pool…
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Il Sereno’s Guestbook below.
Everything about it!
Lively nights out – it's a very tranquil, relaxing hotel and surrounding area.
Stayed on 24 Jun 2019
Everything was great.
Stayed on 13 Jun 2019
Il Sereno is a design lover's dream hotel. The staff was friendly and always helpful. Our room was beautiful and comfortable. I highly recommend this hotel. I can't wait to go back.