Cannero Riviera, Lago Maggiore – Verbania – Italy
Buzz Trips view Blessed with the most seductive of positions on the shore of upper Lake Maggiore, fronting a lakeside promenade with the sort of film star good looks only Italy can produce, the pale lemon and terracotta façades of the Hotel Cannero shine like a beacon of elegant romance in their impeccable surroundings. Opulent but comfortable; ostentatious yet down-to-earth, the hotel combines classic chic with a warm welcome. If you’ve ever imagined yourself sipping champagne by the sparkling waters of an Italian lake, on a ‘Jack Vettriani does Lake Maggiore’ canvas, this is the place to do it.
Driving along the Cannero Riviera promenade to get to the hotel’s car park felt a bit like driving through the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. Ambling tourists frowned at the car as they reluctantly moved aside; coiffured Italian ladies turned on their Gucci heels to scowl, and one man refused to move, defiantly strolling in front of us until finally capitulating and shaking his fist at us as we passed. It took nerves of steel to reach the hotel and once we’d parked, there was no way we were repeating the exercise until it was time to leave. Cannero Riviera just claimed another couple of voluntary prisoners. Built in the mid 19th century on the site of a former monastery, the original Hotel Cannero acquired the early 18th century building next door and merged the two into one, seamless hotel dominating its breathtaking location. The hotel has been impeccably restored and its interior design created by Mauro Bossatini to produce an elegant and highly photogenic ensemble that epitomises Italian style. Mosaic cobbles, ivy covered stone walls and wrought iron balustrades characterise the waterfront while within, chequered floors and coffered ceilings remain true to the building’s architectural heritage, complimented by sweeping drapes and antique furniture.
Rooms We had a lake view double room in the Annex with a small balcony overlooking the outside terrace where we could happily have spent hours if only we’d had them to spend. Full length drapes framing the tall windows, antique furniture and a headboard with a heraldic unicorn decoration set the period style of the room while cardinal red walls and a red and gold colour scheme were allowed to flourish without darkening thanks to the abundance of windows which let the lake light flood in.
The en suite was large and opulent with walk-in shower, double vanity unit, fluffy towels and a nice selection of toiletries. Waking in the morning and stepping out onto the balcony to watch the morning sun dance on the lake is one of those experiences that stays with you and makes you smile whenever you remember your trip to Italy.
A heated swimming pool occupies the heart of the hotel’s garden courtyard, surrounded by sun decking and loungers for those who can tear themselves away from the lake views. A cosy bar offers daytime snacks and would make for a pleasant retreat on rainy or cold days but the nicest place to sit when the sun shines is on the terrace alongside the landing stage. It’s from here that you get the real sense of the beauty of the hotel’s position and you can relax over a meal or a drink while simply watching the world of Lake Maggiore glide by.
The lake boat stop lies directly opposite the hotel’s front door to give you access to travel by water and to add to that VIP feel as you step off the boat and into your hotel. There’s even a small rowing boat that you can borrow to row out to the Castelli di Malpaga islets if you ask nicely, upping the VIP feel to celebrity status.
Breakfast is a beautiful buffet served in the restaurant and taken on the outside terrace, weather permitting. When your day begins with cereal, fresh fruits, juice, jams and still-warm bread accompanied by fragrant coffee or tea overlooking the lake, it’s difficult to see how it can go wrong.
The hotel’s I Castelli restaurant is open to the public and serves excellent cuisine on its romantic, candle lit tables where you can relax without fear of passing cars with me at the wheel as this is the final ‘stop’ on the promenade. There’s free wifi throughout the hotel and parking in the hotel’s subterranean car park is €12 a day.
Hotel Cannero, 28821 Cannero Riviera, Lago Maggiore – Verbania – Italy; (+39) 0323 788046; double room with breakfast from €120 per night
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+