Sometimes the best places to stay aren’t available on points. Sometimes there are far greater experiences to be had outside of a hotel. This is one of those experiences of a lifetime that I can’t put a price tag on. Our four night stay in this Lake Como Villa definitely stands out as one of the finest staycations we have ever taken. The views from this place were just jaw dropping……
Introduction: A Week in Italy
United Club Terminal E – Houston
United Airlines BusinessFirst MAF-IAH-PIT(DIVERSION)-EWR-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt Airport
Villa La Perla Di Sonenga Panoramica, Menaggio, Italy
The Park Hyatt Milan
Radisson Blu Rome
Crowne Plaza Milan City Centre
United Airlines BusinessFirst Milan (MXP) – Newark (EWR)
Menaggio, Lombardy, Italy
Lake Como is a glacial lake, about an hour’s drive away from Milan-Malpensa Airport. The lake has been noted as the vacationing home of aristocrats and celebrities from across the world since Ancient Rome. Many of you probably know it as the place where George Clooney vacations (and got married) or where John Legend shot “All of Me.”
On the banks of Lake Como are three of Italy’s greatest treasures: Menaggio, Bellagio, and Varenna and to the north are the southern end of the Alps. The prices for hotels in the area at the time were fit for kings, and were priced at more than 600 Euros+taxes per night. Since there were 8 of us going on this trip, those rates didn’t make sense given that a penthouse with this view:
was available for our stay. Let me come out by saying that we may have overpaid for the villa at current prices, but AirBNB and VRBO weren’t quite as popular or available back in 2014. You can probably get a similar house and view for around 400 Euros (max) per night nowadays. Comes to show just how much of a game changer AirBNB has become. Our rate was 1000 Euros per night all in, which put the rate at 250 Euros per room if you want to compare it to a hotel room rate.
Arrival & Check In:
As I mentioned before, we drove in directly from Milan-Malpensa airport and the total drive took around an hour. The drive itself is fairly easy until you get to the shores of Lake Como where the road narrows significantly, and winds around the lake. Sasidhar was an absolute expert at driving our behemoth of a van (Mercedes Vito) around the lake. He had arrived a day earlier (because we missed our flight), and had already checked into the villa so he could probably better describe that process:
Sasidhar: The check in process was fairly smooth. The Lake Como Homes office is located in the town center near the lakeshore from where you drive up a few steep, narrow, and windy roads to reach the house. The office itself seemed more like a realtor’s office rather than a vacation rental place so don’t let it fool you. You an’t really miss the office because it has tons of pictures on display outside of it.
The penthouse was organized on the top three floors of an luxury apartment complex located on a hill. The most annoying part about the whole ordeal was that the elevator wasn’t working during our stay and so we essentially had to carry all of our bags up five flights of stairs followed by another two flights inside the apartment.
The house itself was in immaculate condition despite the elevator not working. It was pretty much your quintessential, ultra-modern/ultra-luxury Italian home.
The Living Room:
The penthouse featured two living rooms located on the second and third (top) floors. Each living room featured a big screen TV, and a set of comfortable couches. Both living areas had great views of the surrounding village, and of course Lake Como. It really was a million dollar out those windows and on those balconies.
The apartment had 4 bedrooms of which 2 featured twin sized beds, while the other two featured queens sized beds or double beds as they are termed in parts of Europe. The owners seemed to be quite fond of brightly coloured linens. While the beds were fairly comfortable, the A/C in each room wasn’t working during our stay, or so we thought. Actually it ended up being that in Italy there are limits on how much electricity can be used by a single home. By having the TV and A/C on in the living rooms, we didn’t have enough capacity to use the air conditioning in the bedrooms. We only found out about this the day we were leaving, and so we spent two nights on the couch in the living room with all the windows wide open trying to get a whiff of that nonexistent cool air (it was warmer than usual in Como). The result was a very sleepless night.
The penthouse had four and a half bathrooms with the half bath being located right next to the door on the first floor. The place itself ended up being so big that we didn’t realize that there was another on the first floor, which had the washer and dryer units. But I guess we should be glad we didn’t find those utilities considering the amount of power we were draining by using air conditioning in the place 🙂 All the bathrooms were stocked with fresh towels, and toiletries from a brand I didn’t care about.
On the top floor was a full sized kitchen equipped fully with silverware, paper towels, dishwasher, and more. Since our agenda itself was quite laid back, we had lots of fun baking and just staring out the window at how beautiful the views were.
The sweeping vistas the penthouse offered with its large windows and two balconies was the highlight of the place. Looking out the windows transports you into a painting with its mountainous backdrop, lake, and and architecture. We enjoyed plenty of meals at the dining table, which has to be the greatest dining room ever with it’s 180 degree views of the Lake Como region.
La Perla Di Menaggio is ideally situated along the banks of an Italian treasure trove of a town, Menaggio, and is just a ferry ride away from Bellagio, and Varenna. Though the elevator never works and there is rationed electricity, the views and quality of the apartment fixtures make it more than worthwhile to stay in. Service and housekeeping did a thorough job of cleaning up and maintaining the apartment even though it was a couple of years already. And judging by the look of things through our windows, there really were only a handful of other places with similar views of the lake. The rate itself is probably a little expensive given the emergence and expansion of AirBNB, but at 1000 Euros/night for 8 people, it certainly calls into question wy hotels offer such tiny spaces for exorbitant traits. I’m r
Anyway bottom line is that Lake Como was already perhaps the classiest, friendliest, and most beautiful area of Italy. This rental pretty much put it over the top. I plot my return to this area even as we speak 🙂
Have you ever stayed in Lake Como? Where did you stay?
Stay tuned for my photo walk through the towns of Lake Como……