Il Sereno Lago di Como, Lake Como, Italy
Il Sereno Lago di Como is the first hotel of its kind in Lake Como, offering contemporary design and a private beach. Providing only suites, this waterfront resort oozes of elegance and luxury. SPACE’s Tonje Odegard writes…
The first new hotel to be opened in Lake Como for decades, the design-led Il Sereno is a breath of fresh air to the highly sought-after Italian destination with design and interiors that contrast the traditional Lake Como residencies. Although the hotel opened in 2016, the opening of the spa marks the hotel’s first full season of being open. Designed by famed Spanish-born, Milan-based Patricia Urquiola, the hotel’s 30 oversized suites are minimalist, stylish and bright, and the public areas sophisticated and extravagant. Urquiola and her team envisioned every facet of the hotel from the architecture to the interior design, which includes designing custom furniture, rugs, wall coverings, lamps, bathtubs and bathroom fixtures.
Michelin Star Chef Andrea Berton leads the restaurant while acclaimed botanist Patrick Blanc has made vertical botanical gardens and lush plant sculptures.
In keeping with the Sereno Hotels philosophy of opening intimate, design-driven hotels in highly desired destinations, Lake Como was chosen for the site of Il Sereno due to the area’s unrivalled natural beauty and dramatic mountain views. The group also has the spectacular and grand Villa Pliniana (the oldest property on Lake Como), and Le Sereno, which is in St. Barths, on a beautiful nature reserve and designed in an elegant yet minimalistic way, so as to focus on the ocean and stunning natural surroundings, by Christian Liagre. Villa Pliniana was designed by Patricia Urquiola as well, to be in the style and palette of Il Sereno but the point of distinction is its beautiful historical backdrop.
Set just outside the village of Torno, Il Sereno’s location stretches approximately 450 feet along the eastern shore of the sunny lake, nestled within lush gardens and charming, small villages.
Representing a new era for hospitality in Lake Como, Il Sereno is a fascinating property that manages to combine the idyllic charm and classic feel of Lake Como with stylish and modern design, without having to compromise on anything.
Lobby an public areas
The airy lounge areas are complemented by the beautiful views of the Italian Alps, and the interiors and exteriors are seamlessly integrated.
At the centre of the hotel is a striking original staircase with glass balustrades that immediately draws your attention and serves as a focal point for the property. Made with natural materials including walnut wood, the large steps are encased in bronze and effortlessly ‘float’ as the lobby’s centrepiece. The dark and beautiful veins of the walnut wood complement the ceppo di gré stone found throughout the hotel.
You will also find beautiful marble walls with bas-relief patterns that mimic the patterns found in the Venetian terrazzo floors of the restaurant. Lounge furniture in curvy mid-century shapes and playful colours create interesting sections throughout the public areas. Exciting elements such as shaped carpets and tiny neon-lit glass tables livens up the sophisticated and minimal rooms, creating balance and intimacy.
Equally as important as the interiors of the hotel are the immaculately designed exteriors and gardens. At the centre of the hotel’s main garden sits a 60-foot, lakefront freshwater infinity pool surrounded by a broad sun deck and bar. Dotted with inviting lime-green sun loungers and white cabanas, the area is relaxing and atmospheric.
French-born botanist and scientist Patrick Blanc has also contributed to the hotel’s striking botanical work and art. He’s recreated two of his signature vertical botanical gardens throughout the property called ‘Le Mirroir Vert du Lac’ or ‘The Green Mirror of the Lake’, and ‘Le Canyon’, and also a spectacular green sculpture work of art called ‘Les Racines Echasees’ or ‘The Roots of the Stilts’. Each piece boasts thousands of plant species.
Located on the main façade of the hotel, Le Mirroir Vert Du Lac is an eye-catching focal point from the hotel’s terraces and is visible to visitors across the lake. Featuring more than 2,000 types of plants, Le Mirroir was inspired by both the colours and movements of Lake Como’s waters.
Le Canyon was developed in collaboration with designer Urquiola to evoke the dramatic and vertical topography of the hotel’s rugged surroundings as part of the entrance to Il Sereno, using nearly 3,000 different plants. Seamlessly attached to Le Canyon, Les Racines Echasees sprawls from the garden floor in front of the reception area patio and rises more than 35 feet in the air to emulate aerial roots as seen in Mangroves and Banyan Trees – it includes more than a thousand individual plants.
All the oversized suites have their own furnished terrace and lake view. Modern and custom furnishings created by Urquiola complete the elegant and sophisticated design. Understated earthy tones of grey and walnut with touches of blue and green hues to incorporate the colours of the surrounding lake have been applied to reference the property’s striking and iconic surroundings.
Offering six types of suites, the Grand Suite Lago, the Alcova Suite, the Corner Suite, the Lario Suite, the Darsena Souite, and the Penthouse Suite, they all carry similar traits, but each has their own identity. The contemporary design is a minimalist Scandinavian-inspired mid-century look with pastel tones and curvy furniture. Funky lamps and intricate details demonstrate the modest luxury of these rooms.
Sleek and serene with spectacular views of the placid lake, made easy by large, floor-to-ceiling windows, each suite is spacious and relaxing. With natural patterns and colour palettes that are complemented by rich, bespoke fabrics and large furniture, the rooms are sophisticated, yet cosy. Natural materials such as stone, wood, bronze and glass make one gorgeous combination that add that extra touch of lavishness.
The Darsena Suite takes it name from the impressive stone docks at the lake below. This suite was built on the site of an ancient Darsena, and is right at water level, allowing the large terrace of the suite to touch the gentle waves of the lake.
The Darsena Suite provides an additional and individual feature in its private and direct access to the lake. The suite has two bathrooms, a dining room, wet-bar, multimedia room, a huge walk-in closet, plus a fully furnished terrace on the lake that includes a sitting area and dining area.
The rooftop Penthouse Suite enjoys a grand outdoor terrace and a private pool.
The floors are inlaid with Venetian terrazzo, and the two large bathrooms are panelled in stone. Apart from the jaw-dropping views, another advantage of being on the top floor is that the rooms have large skylights, which allow gorgeous natural light to fill the bathrooms and corridors.
All suite bathrooms are wood-clad and offer delicious free-standing deep-soak tubs (some have rain showers too). The brass bathroom fittings are elegant and complement the woody textures and colours of the basins, tiles and floors.
The destination restaurant Ristorante Berton Al Lago is led by Michelin Star Andrea Berton, who serves up contemporary Italian dishes that echoes the philosophy of Il Sereno – traditional meeting modern. The interiors match – local stones, also seen in the hotel’s façade, have been used to create the restaurant tables, there’s romantic stone arches, and creative uses of traditional Venetian terazzo and travertine stone are found throughout.
The restaurant has a large outdoor terrace facing the lake and an indoor area, which is built over the water inside the centuries-old boathouse and foundation over which the new Il Sereno was built. At the centre of the restaurant is a dramatic and intricate stairwell, solidifying the restaurant as a visual experience as well as a culinary one.
The dining furniture is an eclectic mix of padded contemporary mid-century styled chairs, high bar stools, and an intriguing set of white outdoor furniture chairs resembling vintage French iron-wrought bistro chairs. The latter brings back the traditional look to the restaurant, but the reinterpretation of it, with elongated backs that enclose the sitter, introduces the modern element. It’s intricate details such as these that demonstrate the level of quality in the design story.
The Spa at Il Sereno opened in April this year and was designed by Patricia Urquiola too. The treatment rooms are built in the old darsena (boathouse) and they are literally over the water, which means the rooms have a view of the lake. The spa also has a relaxation area that is outdoors, and of course, it has Urquiola’s sophisticated and elegant design touch.
On the service side, Il Sereno is working with Valmont Csometics from Switzerland, who are highly regarded and have amazing and luxurious treatments and products.
Il Sereno was slated as Europe’s most luxurious hotel opening of 2016. I think it’s more than that – it’s a new face for hospitality in Lake Como. By avoiding the repro of the historical look of most other hotel institutions in the area, such as Villa d’Este and Villa Tremezzo (both beautiful, don’t get me wrong), Il Sereno has managed to create something truly different, offering a new and invigorating experience for those staying there.