"Journal 2007" Top 5 Page for this destination Bellagio Travelogue by Openseas
Bellagio Travel Guide: 174 reviews and 416 photos
Wednesday 28th March.
We both woke up with bad hangovers and running late due to our late night talking to Jinks. I decided to meet up with the girls for breakfast whilst Peter went off to work. After a long, long chatter and breakfast I walked over to the supermarket to take some photos of this incredible establishment, only to be stopped and asked NOT to take any more pictures. I did however manage to get quite a few and was disappointed I didn’t get to take pictures of the pasta department. Afterwards, I strolled along the road and found a good department store selling excellent kitchen utensils I brought a bottle opener and a cute kitchen timer.
I managed to buy a take-away sandwich and had it back in the hotel room before beginning the awesome task of packing our bags for Lake Como. Peter arrived home early so we decided to check out and head to the railway station to hire a car. This was a difficult procedure as the car hire office was impossible to find and we had our entire luggage with us. Eventually, Peter found it and we left for Belliago at 5.30pm.
The journey down was terrible as we kept getting lost and hard an enormous problem trying to find the right autobahn for Lake Como. Eventually we were headed on the right road but after hours driving we found ourselves at the Swiss border. We had to go back and continue to drive through Lake Como and then around the lake on a tiny one lane road which was similar to the Amilfi Coast. We finally arrived at the Metropole Hotel in Belliago at 9.30pm, so much for taking one hour from Milan to Belliago.
The staff were very welcoming and laughed after hearing our story about the LENGTHY drive. They told us we had come into Bellagio the long way and actually there is a much shorter drive from Milan …..Minus the endless single windy lanes around Lake Como, (An Almifi Coast experience).
Our room 226 was on the 2nd floor with direct water views of this stunning area. The room was very basic but comfortable with a double bed, two small bedside tables, mini bar, desk, and two French doors leading to a small balcony. The bathroom was again basic but clean and spotless.
The rooms below us had fabulous terraces and I wished we had booked one of those. If staying here make sure you book one of these and validate your booking, as I was under the impression I had actually booked a terrace room. (Too tired to argue!)
We unpacked a few things and then managed to find the Hotel Splendid Hotel café open for dinner and had a lovely meal and a few well deserved drinks before retiring to bed around midnight.
Thursday 29th March.
We woke early to open our shutter doors to a glorious and stunning view of Lake Como. A foggy haze covered the mountains but the lake twinkled with the early morning sunrise. We decided to head down to breakfast which was located on the ground floor on the terrace overlooking the magnificent view. Breakfast was simple and offered a basic but sufficient breakfast but to me the coffee was terrible which came from a machine. I would have preferred a fresh hot pot of Italian coffee. Luckily, I had brought with me a little travelling kettle and opted to have a cuppa on our balcony.
We decided to head off and explore the village of Bellagio but it was freezing and poor Peter had no jumper or coat, so we thought buying a jumper was first on our agenda which we found rather quickly in a small shop selling merino wool articles.
The best thing about this hotel is the location. It’s on the flat within a few seconds to many wonderful little cafes and restaurants. It’s a short walk to Hotel Serbelloni and to the steps up to the romantic village of Bellagio. The little town is full of interesting shops, and is truly gorgeous and quaint with petite cobble lanes and steps meandering through the wonderful display of historic houses. (It reminded us of the Italian town Assisi)
Bellagio is on the tip of a promontory at the end of the chain of mountains where the lake bifurcates. The historic and tourist centre is towards the bottom part of the promontory, while its many suburbs are scattered on the hills and overlooks both the south-eastern and south-western branches of Lake Como.
Already inhabited in prehistoric times, Bellagio was the residence of the Roman patricians and then of Lombardy's noble families, who built magnificent villas here. In the past Bellagio enchanted artists, poets, musicians from all over the world. Most famous people stayed at Villa Serbelloni just next door Hotel Metropole.
After walking for over an hour through cobble lanes and up and down steps we decided to catch the ferry over to next village called Caden…. . We ended up in this great Pizzeria where we met two other Australian ladies from Curl Curl and the owner had just returned from living in Sydney. So we all had a lovely time chatting about Sydney and also Phuket where the owner had been involved in the Tsunami.
In the evening we had dinner at the Mistral restaurant in Villa Serbelloni, which was expensive but we enjoyed the evening together and the history of the villa, as many famous people have stayed here including Leonardo De Vinci and President John Kennedy. (History next page).
For the past 100 years or more, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has been one of the most well-known and prestigious hotels in the world. Set in the splendid surroundings of Lake Como, where the blue waters meet the green mountains which soar above the lake, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni enjoys a breathtaking position on the promontory which juts halfway out into the lake, separating the two branches. The luxurious vegetation of its Italian-style gardens, abounding in Mediterranean and subtropical plants, flourishes in the pleasant microclimate around the lake: sunshine almost all year round, accompanied by mild temperatures in every season.
Owing to its delightful setting, Bellagio, an oasis of peace on the shores of the lake, has been a holiday destination for centuries and it was here that, in around 1850, construction work started on a luxurious holiday villa on the banks of the lake for an aristocratic family from Milan.
In 1872 the villa, which is in pure neo-classical style, was sold and since then it has formed the central nucleus of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni which was opened in 1873. Its interior reflects the good taste loved by the wealthy nobility of the time: its walls and ceilings are adorned with frescoes and paintings of mythological scenes, gilded frames, festoons, temples, putti, flamingos, Pompeian reds. The coffer ceilings are often frescoed with floral patterns in grey and pink tones. The guests are fascinated by the period wall coverings in French style, by the antique Persian carpets, the crystal chandeliers from Murano, the furniture in Imperial, neo-classical and Art Nouveau style; not to mention the marble staircases, the stucco work columns, the splendid trompe d\'oeil....
The "salle à manger" alone is a genuine monument to art, as is the Salone Reale, which in the evening is lit by bronze and crystal chandeliers, the splendour of whose lights are reflected by large mirrors. Right from the outset, the Grand Hotel became the chosen destination for illustrious guests in search of peace: royalty, aristocrats, figures from international politics and, more recently, movie stars.
The Sovereigns of Spain, Romania, Albania, Egypt; above all the Russian and English aristocracy; Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, the Rothschild’s, J.F. Kennedy; Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Maria Schell, Clark Gable, Robert Mitchum, Al Pacino.... these are just some of the famous guests who have strolled through the rooms and lakeside gardens of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, enjoying its beauty and outstanding hospitality.
And of course the most famous us.
Friday 30th March.
We woke to another hazy cold morning and packed our bags ready for our departure to Milan Airport. We have decided to drive firstly to Fox town in Switzerland to the outlets where all discounts for the “brand names “ such as Gucci, Dior, Prada are sold.
We arrived around midday after getting lost a few times and heading town the autobahn through Switzerland. Basically, the bags and clothes were still very expensive but Peter brought me a lovely brown Bally bag which cost around USD 400.00. We spend about one hour strolling through the shops and had to make a dash for it to the Airport, luckily we had no problem this time locating the right direction.
After dumping the car off at Avis we proceeded to check in with Emirates to fly to Bangkok via Dubai. Just after we checked all our bags in, I noticed a sign saying no liquids, gels, shampoos over 100mls are allowed in your carry on bag. I had brought all my Dior cosmetics and perfumes with me, as I had the intention of using them for our overnight stay in Dubai.
We decided to buy another little bag and check it back through and hoped that it would arrive safely, which thank God it did.
Our flight to Dubai was about six hours and full of screaming kids. We arrived around 11.00pm and had trouble finding any information regarding our “free overnight accommodation”. Eventually, we located the Emirates office and they directed us to the free shuttle bus which took us to the Millennium Airport Hotel in Dubai.
We only stayed here as it was a free night from Emirates as our plane to Thailand was leaving early the next morning. Our room 2226 was very spacious with two double beds, lounge, coffee table, mini bar (empty) and TV.
Basically, this hotel is an airport hotel which serves a purpose and I was actually surprised to see the standard and quality of the room to be OKAY.
The bathroom was spacious but lacked any real toiletries only two sachets, one soap and shampoo. Coming from Milan where new airline regulations apply regarding carry on items such as gels, shampoos we were highly disappointed that this hotel had not supplied necessary amenities to travellers.
There was no acholic beverages in the fridge and we were dying for a glass of vino, although Peter had some spirits on him, so he stayed up for an hour or so sipping his magical cocktail whilst I decided the best thing for me was a good night sleep.
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