Villa & Palazzo Aminta is a grand family-owned establishment set on Lake Maggiore in the Northern Piedmontese region of Italy, overlooking the Borromean Islands. This hotel became the first in Piedmont to be affiliated with the Leading Hotels of the World and it is fair to say that it likely has the finest uninterrupted view of the extraordinary Borromean Islands, making for a romantic location, which when coupled with its old-world charm, alluring azaleas, opulent interiors and impeccable service, renders it highly recommended by The Luxologist.
The romantic nature of the hotel is strengthened by its history. The hotel was originally built as the personal residence of the Admiral of the Royal Navy Francesco Capece in 1886. In 1918, it was presented to his wife, Ms. Aminta, as a wedding present. Since then, celebrity guests from George Bernard Shaw to Liz Taylor and Richard Burton have graced its marble halls. But despite its evolution into a hotel, it remains intimate and personal, partly due to the fact that Villa & Palazzo Aminta is still family owned by the Zanetta family. “It’s not a hotel, it’s like entering a private house”, says Ivan Quaglia, Director of Sales & Marketing, “This is the Italian way of welcome.” Indeed when Mr. Zanetta is present, he walks around and greets every guest as though he is welcoming them home.
Although the hotel is a piece of living history – with marble pillars, spiralling staircases, Murano glass chandeliers, hand-painted doors and countless historical works of art – it also has a progressive side. The family have converted a floor below the hotel into a state-of-the-art wellness area and grotto and it was also the first Piedmontese hotel to be Tesla destination charging. Indeed while we were there, Tesla was offering test drives of their new Model 3, presenting the hotel as a delightful blend of the past and the future.
GUEST EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:
§ Grand and romantic design with glass chandeliers, terrazzo floors and old-world opulence on the inside and manicured gardens on the exterior leading directly to the lake.
§ Exceptional – almost surreal – view of the Borromean Islands (a beautiful set of three islets with expansive gardens housing exotic flora and fauna).
§ Live music – classical and romantic – from classical piano to Frank Sinatra.
§ 71-rooms with a range of spacious suites overlooking the lake – either in traditional elaborate designs or in a modern style. Our palatial suite boasted an intimate balcony, a Queen bed, thick-pile carpets, elegant draperies, Murano glass lamps and a marble bathroom with a jacuzzi and Aqua di Parma and Bulgari amenities.
§ Service: The hotel is well staffed (with international representation in most languages) and the staff were particularly welcoming and attentive across the departments.
∼ Guests can indulge in two restaurants, I Mori, an intimate gazebo-like space with sweeping lake views offering traditional cuisine and the larger Gourmet restaurant Isole, which is situated in the larger ballroom and offers a wide choice of flavoursome options.
∼ The breakfast buffet is a particular highlight, which spans two rooms. Multiple stands are staffed with dishes prepared individually, from the fresh trout from Lake Maggiore sliced before your eyes to prosciutto from Umbria carved to your specifications, to omelettes of your choice to the waffle counter. There are also fresh juices (like orange and grapefruit), honeycomb, Italian bacon and sausages, fresh exotic fruits, muesli with pots of over 22 nuts and seeds to complement (including hemp seeds, pollen, goji berries and many more), as well as the indulgent Italian presentation of a dessert table and Prosecco.
§ The Wellness area is a definite highlight with inviting offers, including a sleeping bed experience which takes place on a lavender mattress, a water bed for absolute relaxation, couple treatment rooms and Grotto Camelia, which houses a romanesque spa shimmering with gold (inside you will find a hammam, bubble pool, Scottish showers and an entrance to the outdoor pool).
§ Accessibility to cater to the luxury market with 3 private yacht moorings and a helicopter pad.
§ Dog friendly hotel: a dog menu is presented and a veterinary service, dog shopping and a dog “coiffeur” is also available upon request.
§ Visit May through to September to witness the colourful flowers and enjoy the Italian climate.
§ Visit the three Borromean Islands by private boat, organised by the hotel.
§ Stay in the La Borromeo Suite – the entire fifth floor is dedicated to this suite and it is widely considered the best suite on Lake Maggiore. It boats panoramic balconies around the suite, a celebrated outdoor jacuzzi and 115m2 of modern opulence inside. Suites 406 and 603 are also favourites among return guests.
§ Dine at Piccolo Lago, a 2-star Michelin restaurant which also made The Luxologist.
§ If you are arriving on Thursday, make sure to book the BBQ night at restaurant Le Isole and arrive a little early to enjoy the Italian BBQ experience.
§ If you are driving with an electric car, you’ll have facilities available.
§ For the ultimate entrance, arrive by helicopter (there is a private helipad at the hotel).
§ Make the most of the culinary offering by book a cooking lesson or enjoying a kitchen experience (where you cook with the chef and get a feel for what it’s like behind the scenes in the culinary department).