Lake Como; doesn't George Clooney live there? That's right. Sapphire-blue, Y-shaped Lake Como, edged by the craggy Italian Alps, its shores punctuated by picturesque villages, attracts plenty of jet setters. Clooney's a local favourite. He can be glimpsed hobnobbing in neighbourhood bars, wandering cobblestoned streets or cruising the crystalline waters by boat alongside other residents. His villa, set at the water's edge in Laglio, is just a few kilometres from the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
Will I feel like royalty if I stay? That's the idea. The art nouveau hotel, with 76 rooms and 14 suites, hugs the curves of the lakeside like a seductive dance partner. It's hard to resist its ample, hillside back garden or the riveting views of buzzy Bellagio across the water. A Goliath-sized swimming pool floats on the lake, flanked by a beach decked out with chaise longues and a spirited alfresco bar. Inside, the hotel cossets guests with stellar service. Historical suites, such as the Hollywood heyday-style Greta Suite - named for Ms Garbo - evoke halcyon glam while sleek rooftop chambers channel contemporary élan. Swoon over the capacious terraces complete with jacuzzis and jaw-dropping Como panoramas. For all suites, a genie-like butler stands in attendance, ready to conjure magic.
What's there to do? When you aren't sipping a martini in the masculine, leather-bedecked T-Bar or sipping prosecco amid the rainbow-hued elegance of the Sala Musica, you may want to consider chartering the vintage Ruy motor launch, a Venetian lancia crafted from well-polished wood. If you ask nicely, Captain Diego might even let you drive. Either way, he'll take you to visit such splendid sites as Villa Balbianello, where scenes from Star Wars and James Bond's Casino Royale were shot. In the summer, water skiing, windsurfing and fishing pass the time. But to truly get into the spirit of Lombardy, borrow the hotel's apple-red Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce - reserved for guests only - and bolt Italian-style along the undulating roads that connect the lake's dreamy villages.
What if I just want to relax? You're in luck. The expansion of the hotel's opulent T-Spa has just been completed. Occupying three storeys of a historic building next to the hotel, the oasis of wellness embraces the tranquillity of its setting with myriad lake vistas. An indoor hydrotherapy infinity pool (above) provides water fun. We loved the one-way window in the sauna that peers at the lake, making us feel as though we were sunbathing outdoors. A white-marble hammam offers a true Turkish spa experience and couples can hideaway in the T-Spa Suite, sequestered amid the woods, for private repose a deux.
What if we get hungry? In Italy, of course, food comes first. Five restaurants and snack bars grace the hotel, all overseen by renowned Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi. La Terrazza serves some of his most famous dishes, such as risotto with saffron capped with edible gold. At L'Escale (above), Como's first fondue house, you can sample cheese, meat and even fish fondue, and at T-Pizza, set around yet another pool in the gardens, you can feast on an Italian classic.
What will it cost me? Room rates start at €570 (HK$4,950) za night. For more details, go to grandhoteltremezzo.com.