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‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – Hotel Du Lac, Lake Como

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Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from the banks of Lake Como in Italy.

We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points.  We hope to run one review per day for the next few weeks.  There will be a deliberate mix of European and worldwide properties, super luxury and mid market, branded and independent.  You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.

Today’s hotel is Hotel Du Lac, a family-ru boutique hotel with a beautiful view of Lake Como.  It is reader Elaine’s favourite hotel and here is her review:

Like many Head for Points readers, I often pick a chain hotel when travelling because I can gain or spend points. It has to be somewhere special to tempt me away from the big brands. Some years ago (2001) I stumbled upon the Hotel Du Lac in Varenna. Since then, I’ve been back many times, often squeezing in a short break. Why do I return? The views, the location, and the friendly family-run atmosphere are just some of my reasons.

(Note that if you really can’t drag yourself away from the chains there is a Sheraton and a Hilton around Lake Como but both are larger than here. They’re also set further back from the lake.)

Where is Hotel Du Lac?

Hotel Du Lac is located in Varenna, a village on Lake Como in Italy.

Varenna is one of the few towns or villages on the lake with a train station. That makes it easy to reach from Linate, Malpensa or Bergamo airport. It’s also feasible to take a scenic train down from Zurich although that takes most of a day.

Driving is also an option. The hotel has a car park but it’s a tight squeeze with large cars. I’ve seen several scraped bumpers! As the village is mostly car-free and there’s little alternative parking, the hotel’s parking charge of €22 per night seems reasonable.

I sometimes arrive by boat, taking the public ferry or hydrofoil from Como to Varenna, as the hotel is only a 10 minute walk from the ferry terminal. You could hire a private boat to bring you in to the hotel’s own jetty if that 10 minute walk is too far!

Hotel du Lac is right on the lakeside, and I do mean right on the lakeside. Unlike many hotels which claim to be beside a lake but inevitably have a road or path in the way, this isn’t the case here as you can see:

Review Hotel du Lac Varenna Lake Como

The view from Hotel Du Lac

The main draw of this hotel is the spectacular view. Amongst steep, towering mountains, you look straight ahead to Bellagio and beyond to Tremezzo. I like to sit on my terrace with drinks, snacks or coffee (yes, they have a room service menu, light on food but big on drinks) watching ferries crossing from one town to another, people sunning themselves on Riva speedboats, and occasional energetic canoeists. The lake view rooms, the restaurant, and the bar have the most gorgeous views.

Review Hotel du Lac Varenna Lake Como

Reception

The reception area is compact. Apart from the reception desk, there’s a table with local information about places to see. That’s pretty much it.

Review Hotel du Lac Varenna Lake Como

The receptionists are knowledgeable and happy to help with restaurant bookings and general information. One of the owners is often around to greet guests. When I first visited in 2001 I was greeted by Elena, and, more recently, it’s been one of her daughters, Valeria.

Rooms at Hotel Du Lac

There are only 16 rooms and most of them face the water. Not all are accessible by lift but the receptionists help with luggage if you can’t carry it upstairs.

Superior rooms with lake views have terraces with deckchairs, tables and chairs. The next level down have balconies big enough for a couple of chairs. Then there are standard doubles and singles. All are air-conditioned (though who wants that when you can open the doors and get the breeze from the lake instead?), safes, TVs, wifi and fridges. I’ve no idea what TV channels there are because I’ve never been tempted to turn it on but I know the wifi works fine unless you’re streaming at peak times.

Rooms have features such as marble floors and dark antique wood furniture. In the bigger rooms there’s a desk and chair as well as a small seating area. The bathrooms are a good size and the toiletries are Fragonard.

Review Hotel du Lac Varenna Lake Como

Housekeeping is very efficient and good at noticing when you’ve gone out so they can clean your room – something I wish more hotels were good at.

The public areas

This isn’t a hotel with a gym or a pool (though if you wanted to swim it’s perfectly possible to jump into the lake from the jetty ..… I’ve never done that though!). There is a bar and a restaurant, both with those spectacular views.

Review Hotel du Lac Varenna Lake Como

Breakfast is included in the room rates. Served on the restaurant terrace, it’s a buffet with plenty of choices including fruit, breads, cold cuts and a couple of hot items (usually eggs and ham). There is always a cake, something which is typically Italian.

The bar and restaurant are on the ground floor. The bar has a few cosy seats inside and a wide jasmine-shaded terrace outside.

The restaurant serves great Italian food with fresh, local ingredients. It’s open every day for lunch and most days for dinner. I think it’s worth eating here as it’s a more contemporary meal than some of the other options in Varenna and, of course, you get to still enjoy those views.

Conclusion

As I mentioned at the beginning, despite travelling to many countries, I’ve been back to Hotel du Lac many times since first discovering it.  The view is certainly one of the best, if not the best, on Lake Como. Staff members are friendly and helpful.

While it’s not as upmarket as somewhere like a Rosewood or a Peninsula, the rooms are comfortable, good quality and they contain the essentials. Each year the owners make improvements such as new seating, better TVs or lighting which shows they’re always looking to improve the guest experience.

Review Hotel du Lac Varenna Lake Como

I had some hesitation about reviewing this hotel on Head for Points as, for years, it’s been a ‘secret tip’ I’ve given only to family and close friends. But now, while we can’t travel far, being inspired by such a beautiful location might help planning your next trip.

To find out more about the hotel, the website is here.  Rates for lake view rooms run from €190 to €290 per night.


Hotel offers update – November 2021:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points? There is currently a special offer running with Hilton Honors (100% bonus to 7th December), Marriott Bonvoy (45% bonus to 8th December) and World of Hyatt (30% discount, equivalent to a 43% bonus, to 30th December).

Comments (23)

  • Simon says:

    Great hotel with top class restaurant

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Brings back memory’s long long while ago when we stopped there before kids were born (& oldest is 40) so over 40 years ago £12 a night comes to mind could even have been less than that lol
    Glad to see it’s still going strong ! We loved it staff & “Food” was fabulous at the time.
    We only stopped a week meals was fab included. boat trip recommended, i also went fishing on lake not sure if you still can now though. combined it with 2 weeks Bavaria up in mountains sorry can’t remember the place it was extremely nice as well though 18000 lira to the £ might even have been 24000 lira to the £ if anyone remembers that long ago lol

  • Princess says:

    This hotel look like a wonderful little gem! Even if Italy is my country I’ve never explored much the lakes area. The pictures just made me want to book. As soon as the pandemic will more under control I’ll book a weekend there!

    • bsuije says:

      Sigh… Aren’t we all a little guilty of ignoring what is on our doorstep in favour of foreign shores… 🙂

  • Henry says:

    Another great review. I really hope you carry on with these in the long term.

  • Darren says:

    Mixed thoughts on this as it looks great and was a lovely review, thanks. But I was due to visit Como in July which won’t be happening, very sad. I love this part of the world.

  • Russell Gowers says:

    Superb review and this is exactly what I want to see – the sort of hotel that wouldn’t normally get featured on this site, but looks idyllic. I think I could spend a whole week on that terrace with antipasti and wine. Amazing views, makes me wistful for the good old days when we could travel…

  • Rob says:

    To be honest, when Anika told me about this review, I thought it was linked in some way.

    • Elaine says:

      It seems there are loads of Hotel du Lacs so it’s easy to get them confused. Even around this part of Lake Como there is this one in Varenna, another Hotel du Lac in Menaggio, and yet another Hotel du Lac in Bellagio.

      This one in Varenna has no link to the book or film.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        [email protected] Stopped at the one in Bellagio as well just set back from “Lake” if memory serves me right
        in own grounds near ferry port (if you can call it a port) but again years ago.
        I thought both on a par but talking 40 years ago (ashamed not been back “Lake Como” since)
        But had loads of places i hadn’t yet visited. Plus as a Marathon Runner had training on my mind

  • Steve says:

    I visited Du Lac et Du Parc on Lake Garda, that is a lovely hotel too

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