Enjoy The Elegance and Tradition of one of the leading Italian Grand Hotels
Photo essay by Sebastian Schlueter
The glamorous days of Grand Hotels seem forever gone in days where one Hotel looks like the other. This is why I was so fascinated walking through the entry gate of the "Grand Hotel des îles Borromess" in Stresa at the west coast of the "Lake Maggiore" in Northern Italy. It is like traveling back in time, back to those days where individuality was common and Hotel chains have not yet been invented. Elegant mirrors and marvelous chandeliers decorate the lobby of the Grand Hotel. All the small details bag for attention. A warm welcome from the boy opening the door to this exclusive house gives you the feeling of being special, even without being a guest. The charm and the spirit of the good old days is present all over the place.
Ernest Hemingway stayed here several times recovering from war injuries in 1918 in the age of 19 and coming back to enjoy the place in 1927 and 1948. Reminiscing about the beauty of the place, Hemingway set part of his novel “Farewell to arms” in the hotel.
Opened in 1863 it soon became "The Grand Hotel" on the lake. After opening the Simplon Pass in 1906 and the accompanied introduction of the "Orient Express", Stresa´s railways station became a mandatory stop for travelers on the route "London - Paris - Milan - Venice - Istanbul". This was the birth of the tourism boom in Stresa.
After some troublesome years during World War I and II, the Grand Hotel soon recovered and managed to maintain it´s status as the number one address in the region. In 2013 the hotel celebrated its 150 anniversary.