Renowned Interior Designer Tamsin Johnson, has found herself ensconced within the timeless embrace of the 18th Century Villa in Lake Como, Passalacqua. Seamlessly infusing her life with a touch of novelty through the spaces around her, one of the most compelling ways to sense euphoria amongst every experience, take it from an interior designer. When indulged into the historical opulence of Italy, discovering a harmonious blend of elegance and retrograde charm, can perfectly execute an immersive narrative that takes holiday living to the next level of refined living. Here, Johnson sends postcards from her trip away in Lake Como, spilling all the insights from Villa Passalacqua, including her grand marble kitchen and an 'Fill your own' Cannoli station for breakfast.
I stay here because...
The execution is immaculate. It is deliberate and tasteful, and its aspect is simply phenomenal. It is an 18th century villa that once hosted Napolean Bonaparte, which is crazy to think. The service and experience is impeccable and elegant in the right dose.
My last visit was...
Special to say the least. I visited with my mum and two kids. The hotel had just opened but you wouldn’t have known. It was early in the season, and we played cards by the pool, the kids ran around the grounds, we drank spritzers and ate pasta in the garden. The children weren’t treated like an impedance. The whole experience was very natural.
What I love about the room
The mix of old and new was clever, it was well judged. Antique Venetian mirrors, Murano lighting and beautiful silk curtains felt homely. Each room has been decorated individually with mixtures of family heirlooms, auction finds and reclaimed furniture from local estates. The television pops out of an old trunk which was a pleasant disguise and incredible marble slabs clad the bathroom.
Amenities worth a mention
The open kitchen that guests can explore was a particularly novel feature for me. A conservatory that flanks the swimming pool you could spend all day in, they call it the winter garden which was designed by designer JJ Martin.
It’s the details that count
The hotel provides electric Fiat cars that take guests between the villa’s terraces. There is a very handsome clay tennis court that leads to an infinity pool, grandly exploiting the lake. There is also a vegetable garden, which is a sweet touch, and it supplies the kitchen of course. There is also an esteemed looking rose garden, which is a great retrograde touch and sits alongside a bocce court.
Room service order
My only advice here is to leave the room for breakfast and try to pace yourself with dignity all the way to the ‘fill your own cannoli station’...
What to expect in the mini bar
This is a good question, I had never opened it. But I am sure it wasn’t short of perfection.
Places nearby worth visiting
Go to Parco Civico Teresio Olivelli. It is breathtaking, from every angle it feels like an old film set and it is also a great spot for a swim in the lake. Always have a wander in the gardens at Harrys Bar at Cernobbio, a cultivated delight, which will no doubt end in a martini.
The one thing I always return home with is...
A deep tan and round tummy.