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“Like staying at a museum”

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Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees & SPA
Ranked #1 of 35 Hotels in Stresa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 April 2012

We stayed over the long Easter weekend. The internal decoration of the hotel is on a par with a museum. We stayed on the 2nd floor in a mini suite. This floor was decorated in Venetian Chinoiserie style. The view from our balcony was of the lake and Isola Madre/Bella, which was excellent.

Breakfast was fit for a king. You could cut your own prosciutto crudo and smoked salmon. A first for us.

As others have said the bed was very firm. However, this did not stop us getting a good night's sleep. The internet access was overpriced at 9 euros per day.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank jonbvn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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632 - 638 of 1,630 reviews

Reviewed 5 April 2012

This was a fabulous hotel! Beautiful, stately, quiet and serene. Everything from the front desk to the breakfast served in a charming room overlooking the Lake, from the room and the spa, the grounds and the city of Stresa.....was a wonderful experience. We would love to go back for a week at a time that is more in season. I highly recommend!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Cindy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2012

A very nice upscale hotel. Extremely nice staff, lovely grounds. March is a very off time of year but weather was very warm and nice, no crowds. Faces Lake Maggiore, 5 minute walk to town, so great location.

Stayed: March 2012
1  Thank Frank S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2012

We went there with a 6 month baby for a 3 day week end. the hotel is gorgeous in a desuete way. Staff was very kind and helpful with us and our baby. Due to a sudden weather warming , our room was somewhat too warm, they did all they could to help us with this problem. The breakfast is really outstanding! Location is absolutely perfect, close to the station and a 5-10 minute beautifull walk from Stresa center. I really recommand it.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank julie_basel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2012

I stayed at the GH des Iles Borromées during a 2-day seminar held at the adjoining ISTUD business school. The hotel's location is spectacular and the luxury of its furnishings overwhelming. This is where, a century ago, moneyed folks from Northern Europe would flock to in order to escape their dreary winters and explore the beautiful surroundings . Many reasonably affluent tourist still do, since the prices are not extravagantly high. Ernest Hemingway stayed here several times and even set part of his novel "A Farewell to Arms" in this hotel.
This grand old place is clean, service is flawless and the breakfast buffet something to die for. I had a hard time tearing myself away from its caloric temptations, but the lure of management education next door eventually prevailed.
This is a place I'd love to go back to with my wife, who's never forgiven me for not taking her that time. Side-trip opportunities are plentiful and the town of Stresa offers a few quaint shops and cafés to justify a leisurely stroll. If you have a car, ride into Verbania and on to Ascona in Switzerland. If not, take a boat to the Isola dei Pescatori (the northernmost of two islands just a few hundred yards offshore) and have dinner at Ristorante Italia.

Room Tip: Do get a lakeview room!
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  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled on business
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6  Thank Teerex51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

Fantastic hotel! Completely OTT luxury. Everything is gilded or marquetried, very clean, views from dining room over the lake were just amazing. The whirlpool bath in our room was a welcome soothing experience after a day's walking. The swimming pool/ sauna was surprisingly contempory in this Italian, palacial hotel. Entry to the pool, sauna turkish bath was free for hotel guests.
Easy to walk to/from the station.
We chose to eat in the town in the evening rather than in the hotel dining room. The hotel is just a short walk from the centre of the town with some lovely little restaurants and bars.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank hick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2012

I have arrived to Stresa by train from Milan, expecting to find a taxi easily at the train station. But there were none, and I decided to simply walk down to town and find the hotel there, since I knew it was right at the bank of Lago Maggiore.

It was a very easy walk, despite two heavy bags, and I spotted the hotel right away - even from the street it stood out with its festive appearance, dressed in hanging baskets of flowers and shining in the special light of a fairytale edifice immaculately maintained. But that was just the beginning - with every step taken inside behind the beautiful iron-cast gates, I was gasping for air in splendid astonishment; I felt as I was walking into a wonderland.

Indescribable opulence, Venetian chandeliers, floor mosaics, carpets, spotless everything - the hotel is a pure child of the bygone era of the Grand Hotels of 19th century. The atmosphere brings to mind places like Splendido in Portofino, Winter Palace in Luxor or Old Cataract in Aswan. You step in a different world, full of rich elegance and grandeur, so completely vanished from our days of plastic and mass production that the unparalleled quality and beauty of the hotel decorations seems unreal; at times it feels like a theater due to the splendid designs, found today only at historic patrician villas, and to the highly ornate uniform of the staff.

The spellbound atmosphere does not end with the entry to the hotel; in continues to enchant in the corridors, boasting of doors decorated with a lavish wall paneling of intarsia, or precious inlaid woods; of huge richly framed mirrors, marvelous chandeliers, luxurious carpet, and orchids at the elevator doors. Finally the magic strikes one in the room.

Inside my room 518 I was amazed to find richly decorated inlaid wood closet, which was very spacious and well-lit. Everything breathed of comfort and unbelievable luxury. My room with garden view on the fifth floor had a pleasant balcony with a view of the fountain, which turned out to have a carillon that played the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony every evening (only for ten minutes).

The room itself was a delight, doors and furniture decorated with the same inlaid wood, with such outstanding quality and workmanship that one can only considers herself lucky that she lived to stay in a room so uniquely adorned, almost as the Studiolo of Duke Federico da Montefeltro in Palazzo Ducale in Gubbio or in Urbino.

The Marble bathroom was splendidly and generously supplied with innumerable towels, robe and slippers. The toiletries were marvelous also.

The bed was extremely comfortable, and overall I could say - this hotel knows how to please guests for more than a century. It feels as nothing ever got spoiled and feel to disrepair; it is truly amazing how the management maintains such a unique place, keeping the decorations intact, and rent it at a reasonable rate, considering the exceptional quality of everything. I stayed in superb places like Grand Hotel Duomo in Milan, Hotel Europa e Regina in Venice, Hotel Santa Lucia in Napoli (in addition to the above-mentioned hotels), but I have never encountered such incomparable opulence in the overall decorations of the hotel and the rooms.

The breakfast was quite good but average for a hotel of this class - a typical buffet with fresh breads, fruits, cheese, fresh juices and omelette on order; there was also some Spumante. I loved the outside seating - the weather was perfect in the early October, and the view over the lake from the hotel terrace was stunningly beautiful.

The hotel grounds are marvelous, and it is there that I first spotted a Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) - a butterfly which looks like a hummingbird and which is attracted by blooming shrubs and bushes that are abundant in the hotel garden.

The location is excellent, 10 min to train station and 5 min to the boats to take you to the islands. Both islands are magic; being a guest of the unicorn at Isola Bella is a privilege - the landscapes are simply breathtaking, the sail on a boat is a magical tour, showcasing the beauty of the lake and the sculpted island at every second of its glide over the water. The Palace is impressive, and the tapestry collection with Unicorns is phenomenal.

Perhaps I am the most enchanted with Isola Madre - its exquisite beauty, walking exotic birds, flowers, plants and vistas make it the sorceress Alcina's magic island. Yet I must note that staying in Des Illes Borromees enhanced the whole impression of the islands; returning to a splendid room after spending a day in unicorn and wondrous birds company at the islands left an utterly unforgettable memories. I was extremely lucky in the early days of October 2011 - the weather was very warm, with bright sun and no wind. My whole stay at Stresa was a gift from fortune, and certainly due to the fact that everything went the best possible way there I completely fell in love with Stresa, the Islands, Lago Maggiore and the hotel.

The service at the hotel was professional and generous; they allowed me free parking for my newly rented car (it was easy to rent a car in Stresa in Avis office, a short walk from the hotel - I had an advanced reservation for the car rental, though) and kept my luggage after the check-out until later in the day, when I departed. The personnel were very friendly, and if senior people had some slightly proud attitude, more junior ones were very approachable and accommodating. I forgot the mounting of my Garmin GPS and a bell-boy helped me to scotch-tape it to the dashboard, where it stayed in place for the next two weeks.

Everything was perfect - although if something were truly missing it was free internet connection. I stayed for two nights so I could live without it, but ideally it would be useful to have at least some minutes free. It is strange that in Italy the most luxury hotels charge exorbitanly for internet, while simple places provide it for free.

Other things to improve would be to have a functioning outside swimming pool (it was in repair state and did not look attractive). Also one evening there was some function in the hotel, and the security was tightened; while I understand that, I did not feel too comfortable under a measuring gaze of obvious security agents everywhere in the lobby. It was the only time I felt under survelliance, and perhaps they could find a way to run conventions in a less discomforting way for the ordinary hotel customers.

Apart from the above few glitches, which really pale before the overall magic the hotel provides, It is a place for honeymoon, romance, delight and pleasure of life. I will definitely return there, and I recommend this hotel for those who would not mind to pay extra to get the best of the best, and who are receptive to the elegance and beauty du temps perdu.

Exceptional.

Room Tip: Write or call the hotel to explain your needs; they will try to accommodate your requests, as a hote...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled solo
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11  Thank Gradiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees & SPA

Address: Corso Umberto I, 67, 28838, Stresa, Italy
Region: Italy > Piedmont > Lake Maggiore > Stresa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Stresa
#1 Luxury Hotel in Stresa
#3 Family Hotel in Stresa
#5 Romantic Hotel in Stresa
Price Range: £159 - £317 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees & SPA 5*
Number of rooms: 172
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxe and tradition; since 1863 the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees is the place to stay while visiting the Maggiore Lake area. The builing, the public areas and the rooms feature all modern conforts while still keeping the same belle epoque atmosphere. The park is decorated with statues, fountains and rare plants and the view from the rooms and the restaurant is spectacular. The Medical SPA of the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees is one of the first in Italy and can offer aesthetic treatments combined with a personalized diet. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Hotel Stresa
Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees & SPA Stresa, Lake Maggiore, Italy

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