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Review 521: Residence L'Ulivo, Apartment


Review by wendyash from UK

apartments in Bellagio, Lombardy


Summers of 2001 and 2002, one week each time


The Residence L'Ulivo forms part of the Hotel Serbelloni although it is set a little way from the main, neo clasical buildings of the hotel. The Hotel is on a promontory in Bellagio with stunning views of both legs of Lake Como. Bellagio is, as it says, a beautiful village often known as The Pearl of Lario and quite possibly the nicest and most quietly situated lakeside village in Italy.

There is no passing traffic as the Hotel sits on a promontory. You can hear the nearby church bells and the Steamers on their way to Varenna, Menaggio and Como town.

Nearby Amenities

The location is perfect for a stroll into town takes no more than 3 or 4 minutes so you really do not need a car for this destination. Small grocery shops are very close by as well as restaurants, bars and super fashion accessory shops. Silk and leather goods feature strongly as does olive wood. Bellagio is a fashionable week end destination for the Milanese and because of this Passagiata is quite a spectacle !!

There are many excellent restaurants within walking distance to suit all budgets.

Some of the bars and cafes have informal open air music evenings so there is usually something to do after Dinner. The hotel itself hosts a super concert on the 4th of July every year and the grounds are adorned with bunting to mark the strong bond between them and the United States. We thoroughly enjoyed the evenings we spent in Bellagio and recommend the loacl aperetif, Bellini but only when fresh peaches are in season!

Lake Steamers will take you nearly everywhere else you want to go so long as you want to travel slowly..... We tried Sunday luncheon at The Grand Hotel Villa D' Este at Cenobbio and were not disappointed but do go by boat rather than road.

The House/Apartment

The Residence to the Hotel is no more than a functional building with accommodation on the first floor and the Club and Health Spa on the ground floor. The building is sited on quite a steep hill and was probably built some time mid, to late 1980's. The apartment is quite small, about 40 sq meters, but fairly light and airy with the benefit of Air Conditioning.

You can expect high standards of cleanliness and maintenance but the furnishings are beginning to look rather dated.

Larger apartments are available sleeping up to 6. They form 2 L shapes so are terraced but built over 2 floors numbering 13 in total. There is a communal terrace with good views of Lake Como and the mountains beyond. The 2 largest apartments have their own, private terraces on the roof.


There is not a good sitting out area at The Residence unless you pay the extra rental for one of the 2 largest apartments.

However,it should be noted that this is not really as bad as it sounds as you can sit on the private lakeside beach of the hotel or on one of the many benches in the beautiful gardens of the Hotel. There are also ample Loungers around the pool.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

Furniture is dated but good quality with an appropriate amount of everything!!! You can expect high standards of cleanliness and maintenance.


Our bedroom was perfectly comfortable with a very good, modern bed. Lighting and storage were amply provided. The bathrooms are in need of an update but everything worked and were serviced with fresh towels etc each day.


No oven with the kitchen area but it is perfectly possible to cook and prepare pasta, soups, salads etc. A good size fridge for storing cold drinks and a good supply of cutlery, pots and pans etc and very easy to keep clean. It would not be possible to prepare a feast.

Problems or Bonuses

On our first visit we had lovely neighbours. On our second vist we had neighbours with children so that was an unpleasant surprise as they got up at 5:30 am every morning and made sure that everyone else did too.!!!

For future visits I would only reserve one of the apartments on the roof. This way you will ensure that your apartment is quiet and also avoid one of the apartments at the back which are rather dark.

The big bonus is that for a fraction of the price of staying in this world class Hotel you can use all the facilities it offers. As well as the beautiful gardens and sublime private beach there is a superb heated outdoor swimming pool as well as an indoor pool. There is a gym, Spa, and two excellent restaurants.Live music is played every evening in the main bar in the Hotel.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I would recommend this destination and accommodation to my best friend but only if they booked the topmost floor for all the reasons above. The apartments are serviced every day so it is very nice to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Prices have gone up this year and start from around 847 euros for the smallest apartment off season to about 1.365 euros for those on the top floor. For high season prices consult the hotels web site www.villaserbelloni.it

It should be noted that a refurb is now due so the recent increases do not represent such good value for money as last year did.

Things to do in this area

Bellagio is well placed for visiting many Gardens, including those at The Hotel Villa D'Este at Cenobbio where there are enough remains of Tibalts original plan to get the idea as well as some later changes. To do this you need to eat at The Hotel but you could just go for tea at 3 30pm but make areservation!!

Other gardens include The Villa Carlotta, Villa Melzi, Villa Balbianello,Villas Monastero and Cipressi at Varenna. The Villa Serbelloni gardens, viewing by appointment only on Weds mornings, are just above the Hotel Serbelloni and should not be confused with each other.

Varenna itself is a super destination a short boat ride away with lakeside walks as well as the gardens of the villas and a mysterious Fiumelatte!!!

Do try and visit around midsummer when there is quite a spectacle for the Feast of San Giovanni around the 23rd/24th of June. There are fireworks over the lake on Isola Comacina, dancing, feasting and a torchlit, very long procession from the steps of the Hotel Serbelloni down to the hamlet of San Giovanni. Thankfully the hotel provides a free motor launch shuttle service for the return journey!!!

Como town is about an hour away by Steamer, quicker by Hydrofoil but then slow is the only way to travel...

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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