Piedmont, Italy

Laqua by the Lake

Price per night from$353.64

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR342.86), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Luxury lakeside lodgings

Setting

Imagination-sparking shore

Switch your mind into screen-saver mode at modernist aparthotel Laqua by the Lake. Its setting – by the silvery waters of Lake Orta, buffered by the misty tree-flocked mountains of Piedmont’s natural parks – spurs idle reveries, while treks, ski sessions and all manner of water-based fun give some oomph to escapism. Lake-side residences of this calibre (dressed in travertine, marble and locally sourced wood) are a rare luxury in this glamorous lacustrine region, and offer romance with a rooftop Jacuzzi or family-friendly seclusion with a huge private garden, as you wish. Celebrity chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo oversees dining, a beach club lets you feel the sand between your toes and a breathing coach brings home that sense of calm; and underlining it all is that tune-in-and-switch-off view.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Priority booking for the restaurant, early check-in and late check-out, and a personalised welcome with a handwritten note from star chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo and a homemade pastry

Facilities

Photos Laqua by the Lake facilities

Need to know

Rooms

18 luxuriously appointed apartments.

Prices

Double rooms from £319.23 (€377), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates usually include a generous Italian breakfast.

Also

When it comes to food recommendations, we’ll happily take the word of a man who’s reached the upper echelons of cooking glory, written several cookbooks and appeared on Masterchef Italia. The lobby boutique sells some of chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo’s favourite things: prosecco, limoncello, red tuna, bottarga, olive oil, rice… And pastry creations such as plum cake, pistachio or honey torte, and mojito-infused rum babas to take home. Plus, you can get copies of his book and – curiously – a chef teddy bear for kids.

At the hotel

Beach club with a sand-dusted sun terrace, jetties, e-boat, paddleboards, e-bikes to hire (for an extra charge), lobby boutique, free WiFi. In rooms: Satellite TV, coffee machine, air-conditioning, bathrobes, Etro bath products. Most apartments have a private balcony or terrace, some have a garden, and Penthouses have a Jacuzzi.

Our favourite rooms

Each of the 18 apartments has been decorated in luxurious style, using high-quality materials inspired by the surroundings: travertine floors, Crittall windows, marble, stone and natural wood, to create modern spaces with an organic feel. We especially like the tables that look like polished tree stumps, vases of wildflowers and textured wooden feature walls.There are two choices of view: the garden or the lake, of which the latter is the comelier. Things get more cinematic in the penthouses, which have a water-water-everywhere panorama and a roof terrace with a Jacuzzi.

Poolside

The beach club’s heated infinity pool sits at the lake edge, appearing to flow into the water below. The view as you do laps is quite distracting, with Alpine drama above the water level and peek-a-boo historic villas emerging from lush greenery. And, when you’ve towelled off, you can recline on one of the white-cushioned sun-beds set on floating platforms in the water, or those on a higher tier to ensure everyone gets an eyeful of view. Staff will happily deliver wine, cocktails and snacks to your side. Things occasionally get quite active, with aquatic aerobics, Pilates on paddleboards, or guided relaxation. The lake’s waters are swimmable too; dive in from the beach club’s sandy-underfoot terrace. Lovers, take note, after-dark dips might be clothing optional.

Spa

It’s all the easier to persevere through yoga and Pilates stretches with a sparkling blue sight-for-sore-eyes to focus on. Personal trainers can put you through your paces on request. At the more serene end of wellness offerings, there’s a resident breathing coach to guide you into tranquility, and a full spa will be erected later on in the year.

Packing tips

Bring swimming and watersports gear as well as a headscarf for keeping hair coiffed while speeding over the water.

Also

The hotel frequently holds sociable cheese- and wine-tasting events.

Children

Bambini are very welcome, and having an apartment with a full kitchen gives families a lot more space and flexibility. Junior water babies in particular will thrill at the choice of swimming spots and splash-happy activities.

Best for

The privacy of the apartments makes them suitable for all ages; those with babies and younger children will find them especially useful.

Recommended rooms

The Family Suite Garden View has a generously sized green space where kids can safely run around, and a glimpse of lake too. It sleeps up to four.

Activities

Hire the e-boat for a family jaunt into Orta San Giulio or to Lake Orta’s waterfall; borrow a fleet of e-bikes to zip about the surroundings (warning, terrain can get hilly); or juniors, tweens and teens can head out on the water for paddleboarding, wakeboarding and such. Kids from three months to 15 years also get to act like dolphins in the pool during aquaticity sessions.

Swimming pool

Swim-confident kids can splash about in the heated pool; parents can easily keep an eye on them from the floating sunloungers.

Food and Drink

Photos Laqua by the Lake food and drink

Top Table

For drinks, gather at the semi-circle sofa set overlooking the water on the dining terrace, or set your glass down by a sunlounger. For dining, perhaps a private meal on your balcony.

Dress Code

Lean into the lake’s poetry with dresses that flow like verse. Gents, tailoring is a must by the beach, too.

Hotel restaurant

Chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo has garnered Michelin stars and plaudits aplenty at Villa Crespi, an extravagant Moorish residence, close by in Orta San Giulio. But, this prolific restaurateur and food writer is slowly conquering the shores of Lake Orta and the wider region, one hungry punter at a time, with his range of Laqua resorts, elegant bistros, pastry bottega, street-food stop and online deli. And, if you need more proof of his culinary prowess, you can frequently catch him on Masterchef Italia. But, that’s not the only credit to his name: we’d bestow it in spades for the wonderfully simple and locality-evoking cookery at Laqua on the Lake. While sat looking across the glittering expanse of Lake Orta, try beef tartare with champagne sauce and oysters, pizzaiola-style baccalà in an octopus jus, seafood pastas and fresh catches. The dining room, made from clean-edged blocks of smoky wood and white concrete, itself looks like a stylish table rising from the garden, but it’s all about going alfresco here – Lake Orta earned the nickname la Cenerentola (Cinderella) for its underdog status and immense beauty. If you want to try your hand at an Italian feast, there’s a supermarket just a five-minute walk away where you can stock up your kitchen.

Hotel bar

The bar is on the dining terrace, but drinks can be ferried about the place to your whims.

Room service

Breakfast can be delivered to your room and on request (and for an extra charge) the hotel can send a private chef along to alleviate cooking duties.

Location

Photos Laqua by the Lake location
Address
Laqua by the Lake
Via Legro, 33
Pettenasco
28028
Italy

Laqua by the Lake sits in a small private bay on the eastern bank of Lake Orta (a little sister to lakes Como and Maggiore) in Italy’s picturesque northern water world, in the Piedmont region, a short drive north of Milan.

Planes

Milan Malpensa is the closest, an hour’s drive to the south. Flights arrive here direct from major cities throughout Europe and some further afield.

Trains

Handily, well-connected Pettenasco train station is right outside the hotel. The journey from Milan via Novara takes around two-and-a-half hours, and trains arrive here from all neighbouring countries and Italy’s big-ticket cities.

Automobiles

A car will come in very handy here, unless you become so transfixed by Lake Orta you find it hard to tear yourself away (easily done). It’ll give you the freedom to scope out the scenes in Milan and Turin, glide along the timelessly scenic borders of Como and Maggiore and seesaw through the velvety mountains of the Parco Nazionale della Val Grande. Each apartment at the hotel has private parking and you can acquire a set of wheels at Malpensa.

Worth getting out of bed for

Lake Orta is the little sister to some of Italy’s more statuesque lakes at around 14 kilometres long, but it still holds a king’s ransom of treasures to explore, for which Italians would prefer to keep it on the DL. Its edges are buffered by rollicking mountains and deep-pile forest, and studded with palazzos in sugar-almond pastels. Of the medieval villages that dot the sides, Orta San Giulio might be the most charming, with its cobbled streets, convivial squares and terracotta rooftops. Life moves at a slow pace here, but the village has a lively series of events throughout the year: a jazz festival from June to September, Ortissima art festival in July, a romantic poetry festival in October and an ancient-music festival held in the 18th-century Casa Tallone on the island of San Giulio, a petite outpost with a fresco-clad basilica at its heart. While in the village, climb Sacro Monte to see a collection of picturesque chapels dedicated to Frances of Assisi and capture the photo-op view at the top. And stop by the curious ‘painted village’ of Legro, which is coated with scenes from the works of children’s storybook writer Gianni Rodari. In winter, skiing is possible on the slopes of Monte Mottarone to the north; come summer it’s a very pleasant hike with a view of the seven lakes awaiting you at the top. All lakes – Maggiore and Como are both just a short drive away and worth circumnavigating – are well served for waterskiing, wakeboarding, canoeing, tubing and, of course, whipping across the water in a speedboat like an old-school Cinecittà star. Or, hop in the hotel’s more sustainable e-boat (at an extra charge) for a jaunt out to Lake Orta’s crystal-clear waterfall or the village; they have a stash of paddleboards too. Follow up in suitably glamorous style by sunning yourself on the shell-shaped shore of the Orta Beach Club, which also has pedalos, a restaurant with molto moreish fresh pasta and a cocktail bar.

Local restaurants

Explore Laqua on the Lake chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo’s range by booking at Villa Crespi in Orta San Giulio. It’s here where he scored two Michelin stars for his menu inspired by his roots in Campania and local Piedmontese dishes – a north-south mix that results in creations such as linguine with squid and rye-bread sauce or eel with endive and oranges. Placed at the edge of the medieval village on the peninsula, Locanda di Orta’s terrace has just one table for two with sweeping views out over the lake and mountains. This is one of the oldest buildings here, but the menu is remarkably modern, serving up savoury hard candies with comté and snail ragout, or potato croissant with saffron, marrow, mustard and caviar. And Al Boeuc (28 Via Bersani) has superlative small plates (order the bruschette and a selection of charcuterie) in unpretentious surroundings.

Local cafés

In a corner of the piazza you’ll find Pan & Vino (37 Piazza Motta). The signs stating ‘no pizza, pasta or paninis’ show its dedication to authenticity and they specialise in platters to pick at and dinky sandwiches. For dessert, cross the square to their gelateria.

Reviews

Photos Laqua by the Lake reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from these elegantly appointed apartments by Lake Orta and unpacked their copy of star chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo’s cookbook and ingredients personally approved by him, a full account of their placid Piedmont break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Laqua by the Lake…

The Milanese call Lake Orta la Cenerentola (Cinderella), because despite Piedmont’s attention-grabbing bigger sisters Como and Maggiore, close by, it’s the one that’s stolen their hearts – and dazzles with its charms too. It’s tucked in between national parks with oscillations of Alpine scenery, has a medieval island village and now it has something surprisingly rare around these parts, too: private luxury apartments with all the service and top-drawer extras of a luxury hotel. Laqua by the Lake is a sleek and strikingly modern build amid flouncingly baroque villas where the likes of Byron, Nietzsche and Honoré de Balzac have stayed and mused over the water. But this does little to diminish its romance – decor brings in colours and elements that doff a cap to the lake’s natural beauty, most have sparkling blue views, and the penthouses each have a rooftop Jacuzzi. And families can enjoy the flexibility of a full kitchen and hotel staff driven by a desire to help in a space where overexcited little ones won’t disturb. 

The lake and its scene-setting abilities are undoubtedly the main attraction – watersports from e-boat excursions to wild swims to tubing are the main pastime here – but, high up in the billing is the hotel’s chef (and co-owner) Antonino Cannavacciuolo, a sort of Italian Gordon Ramsey who’s imparted his Michelin-star garnering culinary wisdom via the medium of Masterchef Italia, a range of cookbooks and by owning several eateries throughout the region. And his reputation is well upheld here. Skiing high in the montes, an array of ancient basilicas and cultural festivals for all the arts throughout the year also let this lake shine; but if Orta is Cinderella, then this hideaway, with the sparkle it adds to the shoreline, is its Fairy Godmother.

Price per night from $353.64

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