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Sense of Lake, Grand Hotel Tremezzo: short supply chain around Lake Como

Collaborations with local realities, dedicated to craftsmanship and manufacturing.  «We have been working with the brand Beltrami providing sheets in wood fiber»

Sense of Lake, Grand Hotel Tremezzo

With the desire to be closer to its customers during the period of lockdown due to Covid-19, Grand Hotel Tremezzo opened Sense of Lake. A boutique curating the best Italian craftsmanship. Sense of Lake offers a selection of clothing, home goods and luxury accessories. All items available at the store are personally chosen by Valentina De Santis. Ms. De Santis is the CEO of Grand Hotel Tremezzo, the third generation of her family to own the hotel. 

In collaboration with the brands selected, she has created a collection tailored to the Grand Hotel at Lake Como. «This is a curated collection that was created during the lockdown as a treasure trove of memories for those who had already visited the lake or, for those who had not, to offer them the opportunity to transport themselves to this place. A few years ago, we started a line of amenities, Aqua Como. It has become a retail line following the feedback from the hotel’s clientele». 

The boutique focuses on collaboration with local realities, dedicated to craftsmanship and manufacturing, as demonstrated by the collaboration with Bric’s, a brand rooted in the Como area. The special edition dedicated to Grand Hotel Tremezzo was born due to the request of travelers to buy additional suitcases at the end of their trip and expresses the idea of Lake Como. Valentina De Santis says: «There is no strategy in the definition of the objects we select, but collaborations arise as a result of long-standing friendships that overlap with a whole network of craft and industrial realities». 

The Grand Tour in Italy and the demand for artifacts

This lake surpasses in beauty anything I have ever seen. Thus, the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley expressed his surprise when looking at Lake Como. In the early Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, wealthy English families began to send their son and heir on a tour of Europe. This trip was intended to introduce the young gentleman to the art, history, and culture of Italy.  The Grand Tour generally included visits to Rome, Naples, Venice and Florence. Wealthy families would travel across Europe: for many it was a journey of education, while for others it was a necessary departure from their homeland due to social scandals.

Italy was a favorite destination, not only for its history and architectural treasures, but also because nobles could purchase art objects as souvenirs to take home. The Grand Tour could last for months or even years, and many young people even began collecting art and artifacts to prove that they had been on the Grand Tour. Tourists would visit archaeological digs in hopes of witnessing the discovery of pottery or sculpture artifacts, and as the number of tourists grew, so did the demand for ancient artifacts to take home as souvenirs. 

Italian artisans saw this as an opportunity for a new business, and a cottage industry emerged providing ‘objets d’art’’ that celebrated the classical world. Objects purchased while traveling attached prestige to the homes in which they were placed. The souvenirs that travelers brought with them were copies of classical sculptures, monuments, and buildings or ruins that they visited during their journey.

Hospitality on Lake Como

Lake Como is the deepest lake in Italy, dotted with historic villas adorned with gardens. Guests go back in time, and can experience the lives of the noble families who lived there. Emulating the feeling of writers and artists who fell in love there and were inspired by this Italian landscape. As the romantic pianist Franz Liszt said of Lake Como, ‘I know of no place in the world where heaven has been more generous’.

Hospitality on Lake Como dates back to the period of the Grand Tour, when the lake became one of the most visited places, thanks to its landscape, in front of which travelers were enchanted. Lake Como became a destination to visit during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century, appreciated for its air and climate – with olive trees and cypresses growing – and for the art objects such as vases and statues, that made Lake Como an example of classical beauty. 

Valentina De Santis explains: «I was born and raised in Como, the roots that tie me to this place are strong. When I lived outside of Como, I always missed my lake. I have grown up spending every summer of my life at the hotel since I was a baby. In 2010, on the occasion of the centenary of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, my father asked me if I felt ready to take over and I embraced the challenge of managing the hotel. Taking care of a structure like ours, with over one hundred years of history, implies a great sense of responsibility. It involves the challenge of not only enhancing the heritage of a Grand Hotel, but also bringing it into the 21st Century». 

The Beltrami sheets, a sustainable best seller at Sense of Lake Hotel Tremezzo

In order to enhance this heritage, and following the ancient tradition of the Grand Tour, Sense of Lake is a journey which begins before arriving at Grand Hotel Tremezzo and continues on the way home. «At the beginning and end of a trip we always ask ourselves what we are going to put in our suitcase. And the answer is dreams, stories, memories. One of the elements that sticks in the memory of our guests are the sheets».

«For several years now, we have been collaborating with the brand Beltrami, an Italian company with a long tradition, which has created these sheets in wood fiber. Thanks to a textile fiber obtained from the pulp of birch wood, this product provides a comfort experience. The sustainable and environmentally friendly process, and the processing with advanced technology give the wood fiber the qualities of a fabric unlike any other». 

The collaboration with Beltrami is the result of the request of many customers for information about the sheets that wrap the beds of the suites of Grand Hotel Tremezzo, and the production on standard sized beds allows the travel experience to continue in one’s own home, bringing the hotel-quality night’s sleep home.

The location of Sense of Lake: The Grand Hotel Tremezzo

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo sits on the western shores of Lake Como. The art nouveau façade hides halls, dining rooms and a grand staircase. In 2021, the Hotel celebrated one hundred eleven years since its inauguration. Built in 1910 for the social élite, the opening banquet was attended by nearly five hundred guests. 

The details were designed to meet their pursuit of pleasure – balls, grand dinners, and excess. «In 1910 a couple from Bellagio, after having completed the Grand Tour of the European capitals, decided to build right by Lake Como a Grand Hotel that would have the same allure of hospitality, and the charm of the Belle Époque that they had experienced in the hotels they had visited during their trip»

The internal architecture of the structure

When Enea Gandola and his wife, Maria Orsolini Bolla, decided to open Grand Hotel Tremezzo, they asked the architect Costantino Ferrario to head the project. He incorporated design elements and details into the building’s façade to reflect the Art Nouveau architectural style of the age. Ferrario designed the interior spaces of the Grand Hotel. He added features such as the frescoes that still cover the ceiling, painted by the pupil of Gianbattista Tiepolo, Francesco Congeliani.

 «The owner’s wife was focused on creating a luxury grand hotel, modern for the time. The hotel itself had two lifts – which, for the time, was very modern. The couple organized different activities every day for the guests and participated in these activities themselves. They also organized parties every night». 

Following its debut, the hotel experienced a period of success, and was immortalized in the film Grand Hotel, where Greta Garbo refers to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo as, ‘that happy, sunny place.’ 

While the beginning of the Second World War brought upon the collapse of international tourism, Grand Hotel Tremezzo never closed its doors and «in the 1970s, my family decided to purchase it. We had the opportunity to welcome guests to a grand hotel like we did a hundred years ago, with the same kind of hospitality, and offer them the possibility to touch history within the details, is part of the vision we have for the hotel».

The Ficus Repens on the facade of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo

The location is immersed within a series of gardens that date back over a century: magnolias stand among palm trees that face Lake Como. Azaleas, tulips, and geraniums, along with hedges of rhododendron and beds of hydrangea, provide a palette of pinks, reds, purples, and blues amid scenes of the waterfront. 

Looking at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo from the Statale Regina, it is possible to admire the Ficus Repens covering the architecture, respecting the symmetry of the building and following the stairs and railings. The hotel’s gardens were further enhanced with a project involving the secular park, curated by Landscape architect, designer and botanist Emilio Trabella, who also worked on George and Amal Clooney’s property at nearby Villa Oleandra. 

A 2022 award: Valentina De Santis was nominee Hotelier of the Year

The year 2022 was a rewarding year for the De Santis family, that for the last fifty years has managed the property. Valentina, especially, received the Best Hotelier of the year award on the occasion of the 34th edition of the Virtuoso Travel Week. During the gala night in Las Vegas, over four-thousand travel advisors reunited at the Bellagio Hotel to celebrate the personalities that best represent the worldwide travel sector. The ‘Luminaries, Legends and Leaders’ of tourism and hospitality.

Among the twelve editions of the award, this was the fifth win for an Italian hotelier, but only the second time for the owner of an independent structure. «Something that fills me with joy and pride», Valentina states.

«This award tells a great story of love and family», says Valentina. «It is a recognition that is due in the first place to my mom and dad, who created something magical and taught me to keep it and respect it». As well as of the one that Ms. De Santis defines her «extended family», the hotels’ team. «They are the legends, the real winners».

Inaugurated in June 2022, Valentina and the De Santis family are currently working to carry on a new project: Passalacqua. A project which aims at maintaining and increasing the standards of the Italian hospitality.

Sense of Lake by Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Via Antica Regina, 8, 22016 Tremezzina CO

Built in 1910 for the social élite, Grand Hotel Tremezzo sits on the western shores of Lake Como keeping alive the opulence of art nouveau.

Elisa Russo

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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