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“Sad decline of a once magnificent experience”

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Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Bellagio
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 June 2012

We have stayed at the GHVS half a dozen times over 15 years or so. We returned this month and while the setting and beauty of the location cannot be over stated the hotel seems a shadow of its former self.

Others here have spoken about the rooms, but for us the disappointment was the food. While it is great to see the more casual menu by the pool is now available all day, the main restaurant has a menu so eclectic you'd have to be a very sophisticated foodie to enjoy it. The net result is that there are hardly any customers (less than there were staff) and what was once a bustling busy, yet quiet and elegant, setting is like eating on the Mary Celeste.

The hotel could usefully visit its leading competitors in Portofino or Rome - there simple Italian food is served to the highest standards. The GHVS needs to run its restaurant for its customers not the ego of its chef.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank jamesg61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ghvs, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this reviewResponded 14 June 2012

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your review and for coming back for all those years.
The idea of having the Michelin starred restaurant on the terrace is to give the Mistral a more suitable location, this also involves a more sophisticated type of food and service.
But we did not want to let anyone down and consequently we have opened a new restaurant called La Goletta. The view over the lake is guaranteed so the simple Italian food.
Two restaurants, two different choices of food, one elegant and one casual.
So far we think we have widened our offer.

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527 - 533 of 834 reviews

Reviewed 10 June 2012

Taken on its own terms, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni would be a three star experience. The bedrooms and bathrooms are clean enough, the public spaces are grand and ornate, and there is an adequate range of amenities, such as a spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and two restaurants, one of which, the Michelin-starred Mistral, was serving peacock on our visit, of all things. The location overlooking Lake Como is excellent, with superb views from the lake-facing rooms, and if this were to be priced at around 100 Euros or so for a room for the night then this would be a recommendation.

However what transforms this from being an unexceptional three star review to a one star criticism is the absurdly overpriced nature of what is being offered. At the time of writing, a classic double room with lake view is offered for 500 Euros a night. This staggering amount of money - more than, say, a comparable room at La Mamounia (around 400 Euros for a similar room) in Marrakech or The Ritz in London (around 380 Euros) - is asked for one of the most mediocre experiences that my partner and I have ever had in a hotel of this nature.

The problems began when we walked in through the front doors and found the small, cramped reception desk, where they appeared to have no record of our booking. Upon being shown a confirmation email, the rude staff grudgingly took us up to our room, which was startling for all the wrong reasons. It was claustrophobic, had none of the amenities that one would expect from a hotel of this nature (iPod dock? air conditioning? bottled water in the room? complimentary wi-fi? Duvets as opposed to scratchy blankets? A hairdryer that worked? A bathroom door that locked? A bathroom, come to think of it, that had been changed in any significant way since the 1970s? Oh no, forget it!) and the faded, peeling green-tinged wallpaper and unspeakable swirly carpet summed up perfectly the image of somewhere that had seen vastly better days.

A long time ago.

To criticise everything about our stay would be a laundry list. However the thing that ruined the trip beyond measure was the attitude of the staff, from the manager downwards. The line they took was that 'other guests' were grateful to stay in a 1970s relic, and that it was their express request that nothing should be changed, but instead an ersatz recreation of a bygone era in hospitality should be recreated, in formaldehyde if necessary. One feels sorry for the younger members of staff, who presumably have to cast their minds back to a time before they were born and recreate the rudeness and insensitivity of an era where a paying customer was an inconvenience to be put up with rather than a valued client to be looked after.

The vast majority of the guests were elderly Americans who we can only assume equate such old-fashioned 'hospitality' with 'quaint European style'. In fact, the experience is antiquated, insulting and deeply depressing. We were reminded of Fawlty Towers, had Jack Torrance from The Shining been the proprietor.

The manager, judging from the earlier comments that guests have left about similarly 'challenging' stays, is a man who is very keen to respond to feedback and comments. Would that he had proved half as accommodating or engaged upon our visit.

Comfortably the worst place we've ever stayed in Italy - or anywhere else, for that matter - at this sort of price level. We won't be back, but we suggest that you head to the Villa D'Este for a more upmarket and respectful take on old-school glamour, or the newer Castadiva for a sophisticated and modern Como resort.

Room Tip: There are no 'good rooms', but those facing the lake at least have decent views.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank traveller_chappie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ghvs, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this reviewResponded 14 June 2012

Dear Sir,

In a time when “value for money” is an issue for a great deal of people I can understand that you are searching for the best at the lowest price.

It’s less understandable to me the way you intend to compare prices especially when you do not keep in consideration the geographical latitude of the hotels you are mentioning.
I am not used to interfere with other properties and I don’t like to compare hotels, as each hotel is unique to the area where they provide their services, but, since you dragged me into this let me say that a room in Marrakech at Euro 400.- can in no way be compared to a room in any 5 star Hotel anywhere in Europe. The personnel costs and all other costs involved in the running of the house are certainly different in Europe as opposed to Marocco. The Ritz in London is great Hotel, I surfed their web site and their standard prices are definitely a lot higher than ours ( and do not include breakfast and VAT ).

Your comments about the American clientele is insulting and out of place. Just for your records and the benefit of other readers, the Americans make up only 29% of our clientele, the British 17%.
At what age do you reckon someone is elderly? And what is the percentage of American in a Hotel that you can cope with? And by reading your other posts, do you always find staff and managers to be “unpleasant example of the breed” ?

We are not claiming to be the best hotel in the world and the challenging clients remind us that we have to keep on working hard to try to delight as many clients as possible.
We did not succeed with you but I can assure you that we have a great number of people who are happy with our location, our decent view of the lake and the quality of our staff.

Please scroll the page and also read other reviews.

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Reviewed 7 June 2012

We went to stay at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni based on a very high recommendation of a friend. Given that the price was only slightly less than Villa d'Este, I suppose I was expecting more. The setting and views are indeed lovely, which cannot be argued. Our room, although lake facing, was quite average. There were no basic amenities that we have come to expect such as tea/coffee maker in the room, ipod dock, etc. The concierge was helpful, but they kept recommending their own restaurants, which we had already tried. There is a beautiful veranda overlooking the lake where we decided to have a tea and wine. What we didn't realize is that even as hotel guests, to get service there was the same price as room service! There is an obvious reason there were no menus available. The one thing that would have made it closer to a 5 star experience was the indoor pool. However, it was basically the same temperature as the outdoor pool, which was quite chilly. So we would not enjoy that either. There is no jacuzzi, however, which was surprising. I can't say that we had a bad experience, all I can say that if you are going to spend that much, then go all the way and go the very, very best or go next door for the lakeview and spend half as much.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank worldyone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2012

We recently stayed at the Villa Serbelloni and I can't say enough nice things about it and the staff. The breakfast alone (included) was sumptuous, and served in one of the most elegant settings I've ever seen. The hotel is on the water and the views of Lake Como and the mountains are breathtaking. Our room and the room of our friends had been completely restored and lacked for nothing that I could think of. The staff was attentive and most helpful, It you have a chance to stay here, it's a treat for all the senses.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank CDLSC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2012

One of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. Our suite overlooking the lake was huge and luxurious with an enormous and very well appointed bathroom. The breakfast room is a work of art. We tried both restaurants, both good but the upmarket Mistral is quite superb. Ice cream made at the table with liquid nitrogen was not only delicious but an eye popping drama as well! The location is wonderful, but the winding journey by car from Como can be tough on a full stomach! Wonderful staff. Treat yourselves, you won't be disappointed!

Room Tip: A room facing the lake is worth any extra tariff.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Beanick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2012

We treated ourselves to a wonderful dinner in the main restaurant at the Villa Serbelloni. We sat next to the window overlooking the lake with the views of the Alps and other villages across the water. The service was outstanding, as expected in a hotel of this quality. The food was beautiful as well as delicious. The live music was a delightful addition to the whole experience. Expensive, but perfect for a special occasion.

Room Tip: Must be lake view!!
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Donna O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ghvs, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this reviewResponded 1 June 2012

Dear Sir/Madam,
Thank you for your review and for describing so well our location.
I am happy to hear that your dinner at the Mistral was the right complement for your special occasion!!
We look forward to your next visit

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Reviewed 21 May 2012

Our recent stay at the Hotel Villa Serbelloni was a wonderful, unforgettable experience. This is "opulence" at its best. The surroundings are wonderful and the views unparalleled. But what really made it particularly special was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff: they are truly a credit to the hotel, and made our holiday a very special one.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Rome1955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ghvs, Direttore at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, responded to this reviewResponded 26 May 2012

Bellagio, for its unique natural location, is one of the best destinations around the world.
Our goal is to make your visit an "unforgettable experience".
Thank you for your staying with us

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Additional Information about Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Address: Via Roma 1, 22030 Bellagio, Italy
Region: Italy > Lombardy > Lake Como > Bellagio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Bellagio
#4 Romantic Hotel in Bellagio
Price Range: £390 - £648 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni 5*
Number of rooms: 95
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is one of the oldest and most elegant hotels in the Lake Como area and the only 5 star de-luxe hotel in Bellagio. From April to November the salons and the large lakeside garden offer guests the chance to enjoy a holiday far from the madding crowd and close to nature immersed in one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world.Lovers of peace and quiet can alternate the pleasure of a poolside drink with beauty treatments and programmers at Villa Serbelloni SPA, the hotel's own beauty farm. Or they can set off from the private dock for a motorboat trip to the historic gardens along the lake which, in Springtime, attract tourists from all over the world: especially for the wonderful flowering of the azaleas. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Hotel Serbelloni
Grand Hotel Bellagio
Villa Serbelloni
Grand Serbelloni Hotel
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

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