A haven of tranquility and sophistication along Lake Lugano is the lovely Villa Castagnola was once a palatial winter residence originally built in 1885 by Von Ritter, a noble Russian family. The splendid mansion was then bought by the Schnyder von Wartensee Swiss family from Luzern who in turn transformed the place into a hotel. By the turn of the century the architectural design was entrusted to Emile Vogt the renowned Swiss architect whose major works include that of the Excelsior in Rome and the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. It stayed for nearly three generations in the family till 1982 when once again it was bought by the Garzoni family from Lugano. The hotel is now run by Ivan and Claudia Zorloni-Garzoni who has given it a unique decor while making guests feel like being in a private home. Elegantly and artistically decorated, each room is given its own aesthetic signature.
Entering the lovely hotel does make you feel as if you are in a private house, warmly welcomed with beautiful antiques decorations. Such as this stunningly decorated lounge the Salon Camino with its wooden beams and an impressive fireplace surrounded by 17th century Gobelin tapestries and classical paintings hanging along the walls giving visitors the impression of being in a lovely Medieval Renaissance style home.
It was certainly a great delight to explore their most beautiful meeting rooms and I can just imagine an elegant meetup in one of their 10 meeting rooms such as the Hall of Columns overlooking the garden exquisitely decorated with Flemish still life paintings.
Another is the Sala delle Palme decorated with 19th century Afghan wooden doors surrounded by Rajasthani Indian paintings, overlooks a lovely tropical garden.
Each of their ten meeting rooms are elegantly decorated such as this lovely room to host a small meetup.
The trompe l’oeil wall paintings in this meeting room is one of the many choices of their most stylishly decorated rooms.
By midday time to savour Christian Bertogna’s savoury dishes at the restaurant Le Relais with its 14 Gault Millaud rating points. An epicurean journey into the world of an innovative Italian Mediterranean cuisine with some of his fabulous concoction of risotto with goat cheese, sauteed pikeperch with chickpea puree, crowned with sweet dessert of ice cream parfait with walnuts, candied mango and cinnamon waffle …
After lunch time for a walk around the garden to enjoy some of the outdoor sculptures before trying out their sauna and pool …
Time to relax at the bar and meet Daniele the talented barman who is preparing my Spritz Orange cocktail …
Travel back in time and discover part of the original palatial residence where once the Von Ritter family used to dine in this beautifully painted ceiling of their dining room. Old photos can be seen along the walls.
A walk in the world of literature while enjoying their reading room nicely decorated with Chinese hanging scroll paintings.
Time for a pre dinner apéritif drink and relax a the outdoor Banano bar surrounded by banana trees to enjoy the laid back ambiance …
Dinner is soon served and I am heading to the restaurant to once again delight at some of the amazing dishes orchestrated by Christian Bertogna. This time I tasted his most deliciously created hand rolled Pici pasta specialty from Sienna smothered in pigeon ragout followed by duck and pigeon duo served with candied aubergines drizzled with fine cacao gravy and tonka beans and as for the crowning dessert, is a chesnut delicacy steeped in dark chocolate, pumpkin and “fior di latte” ice cream.
After an enchanting epicurean and aesthetic walks at the Villa Castagnola time to relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery of Lugano from my superb lake view balcony.
And when the night queen appears it is the moment to rest in my lovely room at the Villa Castagnola …
And to wake up in the early morning hours for a wonderful breakfast. My journey continues and my stay at the flawless Villa Castagnola has been a memorable one and would certainly recommend this fabulous historic place to anyone in search for elegance and tranquility when visiting Lugano.
Viale Castagnola 31
Telephone + 41 91 973 25 55