Schiltach, April 2018. Magnificent 15th-century buildings dot the scenic shores of Lake Como, bordered by palms, citrus trees, cypresses and olive trees—exactly the kind of sub-tropical vegetation that gave the region its byname “Gateway to the South”. Ever since George Clooney and other Hollywood celebrities discovered Lake Como and turned it into their favoured retreat, northern Italy’s third largest lake has been experiencing a comeback as a luxury destination. One of the most exciting openings in recent years is the five-star Il Sereno hotel in Torno, a small village with just barely 1,200 inhabitants on the lake’s southern shore, only a few kilometres north of Como. With AXOR, the creators of this exquisite hotel equipped the bathrooms with perfectly crafted fittings of finest design quality.
CONTEMPORARY, CUSTOM-MADE LUXURY
When hotel owner Luis Contreras went to work on his new project on Lake Como following the successful launch of Le Sereno resort on the Caribbean island of St. Barts, he commissioned the internationally acclaimed Spanish-born designer and architect Patricia Urquiola, based in Milan and celebrated for her eclectic mix of styles. No one understands how to play with different eras and styles, surprising dissymmetry and sensual and functional shapes better than she does. Patricia Urquiola also designed a collection for AXOR distinguished by the extravagant use of lines and surfaces. Hotelier Contreras was impressed, “In Il Sereno, we meticulously coordinated every detail. When it came to selecting our bathroom fittings, it was immediately clear to us that we would choose AXOR Urquiola. This collection enabled us to customise colour and surface finishes. For the bathroom walls, we opted for hand-finished silvery-brown limestone combined with walnut clad ceilings. AXOR made it possible for us to coordinate the colour of the fittings so that they merge perfectly with other materials in the bathrooms.” All fittings, including the AXOR Urquiola 3-hole wall-mounted wash basin mixer and the free-standing bathtub mixer and thermostat, as well as the AXOR Starck baton hand shower in the shower area, feature special brushed nickel and brushed red gold surface finishes. Accessories such as toilet roll holders and hooks from the AXOR Urquiola and AXOR Uno collections were also customised with the special surface finishes.
A MODERN COUNTERPOINT TO HISTORICAL BUILDINGS
The hotel’s exterior also radiates this perfect symphony of style, materials and comfort. Whether sailing across the glittering lake, driving up the narrow Via Torrazza or arriving by helicopter: anyone approaching the luxury hotel immediately notices that something unique has been created here. Il Sereno’s signature style is totally different from that of the other traditional luxury properties along the lakefront. It is a contemporary departure from the renaissance palazzos built back in the times when Lombardy rose to wealth thanks to the silk industry. And it has nothing in common with the resplendent neo-classical villas of the 18th and 19th centuries overlooking the lake. Il Sereno boasts an interaction of modern architecture, contemporary design, natural materials and a delicate lightness unlike any other building on the shores of Lake Como. And yet the property does not seem out of place; erected on the natural stone foundations of a former dockyard, the materials used—stone and wood, but also copper, leather, marble, glass and quality fabrics in soft earthy hues—create a harmonious ensemble, inside and out, that blends nearly seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
AN INTIMATE SETTING IN AN EXCLUSIVE LOCATION
Privacy combined with Italian lightness and grace are the hallmarks of Il Sereno. Compared to the grand historical estates on Lake Como, Il Sereno is a bold contemporary statement which radiates the same kind of effortless and sophisticated elegance for which the AXOR Urquiola collection is known. With only 30 suites ranging from 40 to 200 square metres in size, the ambience is as intimate as it is exclusive. The walnut wood staircase leading up to the rooms from the ground floor is one of the hotel’s stunning highlights; it appears to float, encased by floor-to-ceiling copper pipes. The lobby’s various stone and wood materials are replicated in the bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms, combined with glass and copper elements. Nothing has been left to chance and yet the interiors have a casual, understated feel. The large panoramic windows make the lake seem close enough to touch, and anyone not satisfied with the view of the lake from their supremely comfortable king-size bed, can enjoy the spectacular vistas from their own terrace furnished with outdoor lounge seating. From there, it is just a few metres to the infinity pool, the jetty and the hotel’s private beach, from where guests can stroll through the hotel gardens with sculptures by famous botanist and artist Patrick Blanc. Il Sereno also offers an unforgettable dining experience: the hotel’s restaurant Berton Al Lago, headed by Milanese chef Andrea Berton, earned its first Michelin star only one season after its opening. Naturally, the restaurant also offers its guests panoramic views of the spectacular lake and mountain scenery. Il Sereno is absolutely every bit as heavenly as its sister hotel in the West Indies!
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