LAST UPDATED: 18th September 2014 at 10:42am

Bid goodbye to the flashiness and buzz of Milan and say a welcome hello to old-world elegance as you unwind lakeside under a parasol in the gardens of a 16th-century palace.


Grab a Martini and watch the white-clothed waiters glide effortlessly around the guests, serving with an easy elegance. Villa d'Este long ago earned its place in the history books as the hotel of choice for royalty and celebrities alike - and it's easy to see why. One of the grandes dames of the hotel world, it remains impeccably turned out, its 152 rooms furnished with shining antiques and paintings, stand-out heavy silk curtains and beds clad in superbly white sheets.


Don't even think about leaving before you spend at least an entire morning or afternoon bobbing about in the pool that literally floats on Lake Como. Come evening, La Veranda restaurant offers fine dining at its best; the glass windows even disappear like magic into the ground to create an alfresco space (and the food is pretty spectacular, too). We were more than suitably impressed.

WOW FACTOR Listening to the band play classics on the lakefront terrace under the stars at midnight.

GO A double room costs from £436, B&B


LAST UPDATED: 9th December 2013 at 12:23pm

Say goodbye to flash and bling, and hello to old-world elegance, as you unwind lake-side under a parasol in the gardens of a 16th-century palace, with a martini in hand and white-jacketed waiters ready to serve you.

Villa d'Este has long since earned its place in the history books as the hotel of choice for empresses and film stars alike, during its 140-year reign as one of the grand dames of the hotel world.

It remains impeccably turned out, with its 152 rooms furnished with gleaming antiques and paintings, heavy silk curtains and beds clad in luxurious linens.

Views from our bedroom on to the Italian lakes made this luxe hideaway complete.

The food is exquisite, from the dress-up dinners at the Veranda, with its homemade pasta and fresh seafood, to the regional specialities at the Grill.

In between eating, we floated in the glamorous outdoor pool - itself floating on Lake Como. We could get very, very used to this life…

WOW FACTOR: Waterskiing past the villas on Lake Como knowing you might see George Clooney holidaying in his hideaway (a girl can dream!).

FLIGHT TIME: 3 hours.

GO: Kuoni ( offers seven nights in a Double Superior Courtyard View from £2,540 per person, B&B. Includes British Airways flights to Milan and transfers.