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“Here, Relaxation Is a Serious Business”

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Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola
Ranked #3 of 45 Hotels in Lugano
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Here, Relaxation Is a Serious Business”
Reviewed 10 August 2012

Kind of on the spur of the moment, we had decided to take in a bit of the Locarno Film Festival and since all hotels in that area were fully booked, we stayed here.

When we arrived we were OFFERED an upgrade to a junior suite and having been shown the room we accepted it with thanks. While looking out from one of our two balconies we happened to notice that the waiters in the open-air terrace restaurant were very formally dressed and it dawned on us that one of us had only brought dressy shorts, so to be on the safe side we inquired about the dress code. The restaurant said all was okay as long as all guests wore long trousers (it was 89 degrees F). So, we called reception and they seemed surprised and promised to investigate. After ten minutes or so, the verdict was in: one of us could appear in shorts, but "it would be preferred" if we both wore proper trousers.

We spent a bit of time thinking the whole thing through and decided we didn't want to be a nuisance and to walk a mile or so into town to have dinner with regular people. We were somewhat annoyed because the website talked a lot about relaxation and a family feeling and we hadn't quite grasped that they had a dress code.

We nearly left it at that, but later that night, our internet connection dropped (first mine, then my partner's) and it was impossible to reconnect using the original password and user ID which had been handed to us. Having exhausted the possibilities for further work/entertainment (they had two cute miniature TV sets), we decided to make it an early night. Well, getting into bed, our mattresses (two twin beds pushed together which drifted apart as we climbed into bed) made annoying squeaking sounds. A squeaking mattress in this most noble hotel -- it was the first such mattress we had encountered since boarding school.

The following morning we had breakfast in the open-air restaurant (shorts were okay) and we were served properly but without a smile and greeting. It started to grate. When we walked to the buffet a second time and found that the parma ham had run out and been substituted with (for us) unidentifiable cold cuts, I asked the captain what it might be and he replied in two syllables "tur-key" , seemingly disappointed at our failure to recognize this "haute cuisine" item.

Still, we were going to let things be, but when we were checked out and no one bothered to ask how our stay had been, the camel's back was broken. After a brief run down to the very kind and friendly receptionist (probably a hotel school student), she referred us to HH The General Manager who ushered me into an official-looking room.

As I repeated the run-down, he very elegantly stated that the hotel wished to maintain "a certain standard", offering no apology. As I continued with my list, the squeaking mattress raised an eyebrow and then the GM continued to fold his hands in front of his suit, smiling condescendingly and all-knowingly. After some time, he opened the door of the meeting room, indicating that the "audience" was over. I could not resist telling him that it was now clear why the waiters at the restaurant behaved the way they did.

I suppose that we should have anticipated that one needed a pair of trousers to eat in what resembles a poolside restaurant in the Swiss tropics in the evening heat of 89 degrees. Fine, mea culpa, BUT the way the GM dealt with the complaints was totally off.

The property is manicured and fastidious. The bathrooms are immaculate. Everything except the Wi-Fi connection and the squeaking mattresses is as deliberate, purposeful, elegant and posh as the clientele to whom we may have done irreparable harm with our lowly presence.

So, if you would like to enjoy this earthly paradise, please be serious, whisper and for goodness' sake make sure you dressed to the hilt to partake of an evening meal in the pristine terraced restaurant. It's okay to smoke at the table though -- it is an open-air place after all.

Room Tip: If you want a view of the lake, you must book rooms on the third or fourth floor.,
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
7 Thank LiandYu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
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English first
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2012

We have been to villa castagnola several times over the last dozen years and never got disappointed. If you travel for several days here, always ask for the special packages they provide, for example, we have chosen two three day packages that include a gourmet dinner at one of its two restaurants. If you can book for the Artè restaurant that is located next to the lake across the street and has a very good cuisine, go for it. Our package dinner included all wine served with the menu. You should book your table already when you make the hotel reservation, because the arte is easily fully booked, especially on saturdayor friday. It is closed as many high class restaurants in the area on sundays and mondays. Both the hotel and the Arte restaurant are highly recommended. A slightly less exclusive cuisine is providedby the restaurantlocated within the hotel, but in contrast to the arteit provides outdoor seating within the hotel's park which is also a beautiful experience. At least for the included breakfast buffet you should sit outdoors whenever the weather allows.

Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Psomm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2012

I found the city has lost a lot of charm. It is just another shopping town, with a lot of big name shopping stores. There were however a lot of sales on during the month of late June. Restaurants were expensive. We stayed at Villa Castangola, which was large, but still influenced by heavy furniture big fireplace in the main room. I had a garden room, which was downstairs, but once in the room, I found it quite nice. The only thing which did bother me was that the meal platters were still in the hallways for most of the day, creating a musty odour. The hotel was a good walk from the center of town. The boat trip was relatively good, and we got off Melori? Pretty village, but again just another tourist trap.

Helpful?
Thank Linda155019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2012

My wife and I recently spent a one-night stop-over at this hotel en-route from UK to Italy. The hotel exudes an air of calm and luxury immediately one enters. We had a Standard Junior Suite which, although expensive, was lovely, bright and spacious with separate sleeping and sitting areas and, for us, a first - 2 bathrooms, one with bath and one with shower. The room also had 2 small balconies overlooking the gardens.
Lugano is a very large town and the hotel is set back from the busy road that skirts the lake.
The indoor swimming pool was very pleasant and the private lido, across the road from the hotel, comprised a waterside terrace for sunbathing and from which lake swimming was possible.
We ate dinner in the superb Restaurant Arte al Lago for which I have written a separate review.
The Buffet Breakfast offered all that one could ask for and, in every respect, we had a great stay..

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MrGrumpy76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
169 reviews
134 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 May 2012

The entrance to the hotel is a bit strange but will make sense once you in the hotel. You enter through the back of the hotel. This is because when you in the hotel you look out onto a grassy verge then the lake takes over not a car park. The rooms look over the lake are very nice with a small balcony. Sit there and sip some local wine and order some room service. The risotto looks liquidy but this is the real thing cheesy creamy excellent. The staff are first class and unfortunately was there on business because I could sense its romatic charm. To get there fly o Milan and get a car or taxi. Flying in is to as efficient as a delay or cancellation and you in trouble. However the drop down from the small aeroplane is a beautiful site. Either way if you in Lugano this hotel is elegant romantic and also good for business. 5 stars end of.

Stayed November 2011, travelled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank Manydaysaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 April 2012

Stayed here for the seventh year, it’s getting better every time. The entire Hotel has been redone in a classical elegant style. The rooms, bath rooms and the public areas are luxuriously decorated with much taste. The bottom line does not seem to count as long as it is elegant, beautiful and comfortable for the guests. Efficient and visible management, old time encyclopedic Concierge.

Stylish Restaurant and top cuisine; choice of vines is outstanding. Competent and friendly staff; they remember you. The indoor pool, Spa area is inviting but the pool water could be 2 – 3 °C warmer in winter. The Park area is beautifully kept in winter and summer. The location is picturesque offering all rooms a beautiful view of the lake and San Salvatore Mountain. Bus stops in front of the Hotel and takes you to the Center in 10 minutes.

Walk along the lake to Lugano in 20 – 25 minutes mostly in a park along the shore of Lake Lugano. If you like walking try the Sentiero dell'Olivo from the Hotel to Gandria along the lake. A comfortable path is partially cut into the rock above the lake. At the end in Gandria are typical Ticinese Restaurants for lunch. In summer you can return to Lugano by boat. Otherwise it’s a one hour hike one way. http://www.lugano-tourism.ch/en/89/parcs.aspx

Room Tip: Every room that I have been has been excellent.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Markus S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Windhoek, Namibia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012

I had a very good stay here. Its spacious and beautiful. The scenery is great, and the location is very good, around a 15 minute walk from the city centre. The gym, spa and pool were all very good. Overall, I enjoyed it.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jordan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola

Property: Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola
Address: viale Castagnola 31, Lugano 6900, Switzerland
Region: Switzerland > Swiss Alps > Canton of Ticino > Lugano
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Lugano
#2 Romantic Hotel in Lugano
#3 Luxury Hotel in Lugano
#3 Business Hotel in Lugano
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola 5*
Number of rooms: 74
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola, member of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”, is the only five star superior Hotel in Lugano and enjoys a privileged position inside a large sub-tropical park and with a beautiful view towards the lake. The elegant villa, built in 1860, combines the charm of a former era with the comfort and the care of a modern luxury hotel. The hotel offers 78 rooms, of exceptional charm, individually styled, provided with every modern comfort and with stunning park and/or lake views, balcony, terrace or loggia. All rooms, of which 28 are Junior Suites and Suites, have individual air-conditioning, and provide the most modern comforts. Restaurant Le Relais – 14 points GaultMillau-: In an elegant setting, our Executive Chef Bertogna, suggests a light and innovative Mediterranean cuisine, a balance between colours and delicate flavours that you won’t forget. In season lunch and dinner are served on the outdoor terrace, overlooking the garden and the lake. Restaurant Gallery Arté al Lago -1 Michelin Star, 16 points GaulMillau - :A theme restaurant inside an art gallery. Restaurant renewed and embellished through artworks and sculptures of contemporary artists of international stature who alternate every six months. Right on the shore of the lake, the Restaurant Gallery Arté al Lago offers a magnificent and unique view over the gulf of Lugano. Signature dishes are entirely new and original from our Executive Chef Frank Oerthle. Top notch are the facilities offered for meeting and events: any event assumes a special distinction - a grand banquet or less formal luncheon, business meeting or conference, private party, dinner or wedding up to 120 people. A large and impressive venue is the Sala delle Palme, set to recall an oriental atmosphere with its Indian Rajastan panoplies and Afganistan doors dated XIX century. All our venues are appreciated for the day light and the unique ornamentation and for the unclenching rooms, private sitting-rooms, conference halls of different sizes such as Le Pavillon connected to the park trough the outdoor veranda, La Sala Delle Colonne, Sala Letizia, Sala Carlotta and Sala Ottavia, the Biblioteca and Sala Kwium.Villa Castagnola has a spectacular indoor swimming-pool with panoramic views over the gardens, a Wellness Corner, a Clarins Beauty Corner, a Danilo Hairstyling, a table-tennis room, outdoor hard court tennis fields and a private lake terrace. The Hotel is well connected to Lugano’s railway station and Airport (only 7Km to the Lugano-Agno Airport), and has easy access to the Motorway. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Hotel Castagnola
Grand Hotel Lugano

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