Although the new year didn’t get off to quite the start we had been hoping for, our latest additions will make the seemingly never-ending wait to travel again feel all the more worthwhile. From a trio of Italian retreats to the unspoilt coastline of Corsica, let the post-lockdown planning commence…
Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa – Lago di Como, Menaggio – Italy
Opens 5th March 2021
This picture-perfect lakeside hotel is the newest five-star hotel on Lake Como. Originally built as a 19th-century neoclassical villa, Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa reopens this February as a reimagined retreat with ornate chandeliers and classical columns sitting alongside contemporary furniture and surrounded by beautiful gardens, lake views and mountains. Rooms can be reserved individually or combined to create multi-room suites – such as the Como Suite which includes a Junior Suite, two Prestige rooms, three bathrooms and lake-view balcony. Lago Restaurant, presided over by Chef Martin Vitaloni, also makes the most of wraparound views from its lakeside veranda, whilst Erre Spa is as serene as it is stylish. Guests can unwind in the 1,500-square-metre spa centred around a courtyard with a refreshing juice or a healing infusion from the tea corner.
SLH Insider Tip: Really push the boat out with a romantic picnic and wine tasting on a private boat trip to the centre of the lake.
Canne Bianche Lifestyle Hotel, Puglia – Italy
Positioned right on the seafront in Torre Canne di Fasano in Puglia, this elegant beachside retreat makes the most of its location in this secluded fishing village. Simplicity and authenticity go hand-in-hand here, from the garden chandeliers hewn from oyster shells, the warm waves lapping onto the hotel’s bagnasciuga and Mediterranean flavours as imagined by owner Antonio Mangano and his family. Canne Bianche Lifestyle Hotel is an effortless blend of clean lines, bohemian décor and soft lime-wash colours. The natural aesthetic continues into the bedrooms and suites, where you’ll find crisp, white linens, wooden furniture and a hydro-massage bath alongside a walk-in shower in your Italian marble bathroom.
The Aqua Spa offers an extensive range of treatments including Ancient Roman rituals such as ‘Essential Flower’ using rosemary, myrtle and olive oil. Freshly-caught fish and seafood are main-course staples here, alongside locally sourced meat, just-picked vegetables and homemade orecchiette. The resort organises special themed evenings on the restaurant terrace for guests to experience customs and traditions of the region, with live cooking, classic Puglian street food and joyful Pizzica folk dances. Its enviable location also makes the perfect starting point for a self-drive coastal tour – the pretty town of Fasano is a ten-minute drive away, and about 20 minutes from the beautiful whitewashed town of Ostuni, and Alberobello, a UNESCO site known for its fairytale Trulli houses.
SLH Insider Tip: Head off to explore Puglia’s beautiful towns and landmarks such as Alberobello’s trulli – a charming cluster of over 1,500 conical roofed houses. For the ultimate post-sight-seeing indulgence, the luxurious Canne Bianche Master Suite has a living area and its own plunge pool.
Villa Soligo, Treviso – Italy
Villa Soligo owes its noble Palladian style to its inception in 1782 as the summer hunting lodge for the Counts of Brandolini. Now meticulously restored, this boutique hotel is the epitome of refined luxury, relaxation and state-of-the-art wellness with the splendour of a prestigious historic 18th-century mansion. The hotel stands within centuries-old grounds at the foot of Prosecco Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Romanesque columns frame the villa’s entrance with the neoclassical grandeur continuing upstairs to its rooms and suites – each one has been individually designed and sumptuously furnished to reflect the Treviso period style and history of the mansion.
You’ll feel immediately at home as you look out onto views of the original water fountain and beautiful parkland, filled with swathes of fragrant pine and cedar trees. Indulging the senses at the Villa Soligo extends to exploring the many cultural and artistic treats nearby, including the start of La Strada del Prosecco, where you can take part in guided tastings of Italy’s most famous fizz. Visit surrounding wineries to sample the best local wines, head out to the floating city of Venice, while the town of Conegliano that inspired Giovanni’s masterpieces is closer still.
SLH Insider Tip: Cyclists can take advantage of the hotel’s curated a list of road and mountain bike routes, categorised in order of difficulty, distance and elevation. The beautiful green hills around the villa guarantee breathtaking views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site panorama with vineyards as far as the eye can see, gentle uphill tracks and lots of places to stop and taste the local specialities.
Hôtel Des Gouverneurs, Corsica – France
Tucked away within the historical site of the Citadel of Bastia, Hôtel Des Gouverneurs is the only hotel within Bastia’s hilltop citadel. The stylish boutique property which dates back to 1380 is just a two-minute walk from the Old Port and 5 minutes from the city centre, where you’ll be well-placed to explore the beautiful baroque streets of Bastia. Rooms are sophisticated in décor, using natural colours to provide a light and airy atmosphere, with terraces that offer a sublime view of the Old Port and seascape beyond. Guests looking to relax are treated to the luxury of a heated indoor swimming pool with lagoon-blue water, a sauna and a hammam at Biologique Recherche Spa, or indulging in an in-room massage. The seas and shores surrounding the hotel inspire its Mediterranean-style Les Dînettes des Gouverneurs menu, which transforms into a terrace tapas restaurant at night.
SLH Insider Tip: Pack your hiking boots to explore the wildly beautiful Cap Corse landscape, taking trails into the rocky hills and creeks. Plan your route well, and you could enjoy a lunch of boat-fresh fish in Maccinaggio, accompanied by locally-produced wine.