The 5 Star Villa Crespi Hotel, on the shore of Lake Orta, near Milan, Italy, is a unique and spectacular sight. Built in 1879 as a residence for a local wealthy cotton merchant, its eye-catching Arabesque architecture and minaret were inspired by its founder’s many business trips to the Baghdad of the 19th century.
They have a range of accommodation at Villa Crespi from entry level, classic rooms to spacious, lavishly decorated suites. All of them are relatively spacious, and definitely luxurious, with even the classic rooms you have around 22 m² of space plus a balcony, queen size (or twin, as desired) beds and romantic freestanding bath tubs for example.
Though the exteriors and much of the interiors of Villa Crespi are solidly Arabesque in style the interior decoration of the rooms and suites tends to be more classic European. They are very much old style romantic with four poster beds, antique furniture and art pieces, chandeliers, elegantly dressed windows and some really quite gorgeous bathrooms. It is a luxury hotel though so you can also expect modern conveniences; air-con, satellite TV, mini-bar etc.
Check out all the details – prices, reviews and more photos – on the booking page here.
FACILITIES & THINGS TO DO:
Villa Crespi is as famous for its restaurant as it is for its unique architecture. It has won two Michelin stars over the years under head chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo, a former star of Italy’s Masterchef TV program. The food displays some classic northern and southern Italian influences but is creative, modern and fresh.
The hotel does its best to be eco-friendly and in the kitchen this means ingredients that are organic and locally sourced as much as possible, with some coming fresh from the chef’s own kitchen garden.
The hotel also has an enormous wine collection; 1,800 different wines in all, classic and contemporary, local, Italian and international. The dining hall is elegant and intimate, the service top class and the whole dining experience is second to none.
If you are suitably impressed with the food you can join daily cooking classes where you learn to create three different dishes from start to finish.
There is no spa at the hotel but there is the Chandra Deva wellness centre which has a whole range of, mainly Indian themed, massage, health and beauty treatments available.
There are some lovely gardens to explore and you can also go on long meandering walks around the shore or hire bikes from the hotel if you wish. There is a concierge service at the hotel and you can arrange all sorts of excursions and tours such as guided tours of the lake, the island of San Giulio and the medieval village of Orta for example, or some of the nearby Sacro Monti UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Villa Crespi lies on the shores of Lake Orta, Piedmont, 25 km from Lake Maggiore, around an hour from Milan and even less from its Malpensa International Airport.
The medieval village of Orta San Giulio, one of northern Italy’s most picturesque, is around ten minutes walk away. A short 15 minute hike up the hill behind the villa will take you to the local Sacro Monte – sacred mountain, a once important pilgrimage site with ancient chapels, frescoes and stunning views over the lake.
A LITTLE HISTORY:
Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, was a local pioneer of the cotton trade and a man who made regular trips to what is now Iraq on business. Seemingly impressed by what he encountered in 1879 he commissioned the construction of an elaborate palace villa at Lake Orta that would be a match for any of the impressive buildings he saw in Baghdad.
The contract, and great challenge, was given to a local architect, Angelo Colla, and after an incredible, Gaudi-like devotion of 30 years the villa was finally completed in 1899.
It changed hands over the years and saw a series of aristocratic owners, the most famous being, in the 1930s, the Marquis Fracassi of Torre Rossano. He made Villa Crespi famous in high society circles as the place to see and be seen. Guests included many notable writers, artists and royalty of the time including, on a regular basis, King Umberto of Savoy.
WHAT OTHER GUESTS SAY:
“Paradise on earth! Everything…the location with fabulous Orta nearby, the quality of the house, the superb restaurant, the staff, pampering the guests without being obsequious…it is not cheap but it is worth every cent!…”
“It’s a fairytale holiday.Villa Crespi is exceptional! The staff are very helpful, friendly and professional, the hotel is marvellous and it’s in a lovely location in Lake Orta. We will definitely go back…..”
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- Via Giuseppe Fava 18
Orta San Giulio