The owners of the Gelso Bianco Country Resort (opened in 2016) have been super smart. One brother of this family run business is the talented chef, the other the hotel manager. They have achieved what most other establishments fail to; the hotel appeals to everyone. Young people without alienating families with kids; the higher end market while still attracting a ‘cool’ crowd; and couples looking for a luxury retreat and locals looking for a nice dinner out.
Set in the countryside in the Province of Modena, in summer this 3 bedroomed boutique hotel has a beach club vibe. A DJ mixes chill out tunes a few evenings a week and local sun worshippers fill the gardens. At a subtle distance down a grassy slope, with charmingly rustic views over fields, hills and distant spires, is the baby pool and play zone. It’s perfect for keeping an eye on younger children away from the main pool, without losing out on atmosphere. There’s plenty of shade, the bar is open all day; no wonder Italians and visitors alike love this place.
The two dining options each have a distinct identity. There’s the casual wood fired pizza bistro (next to the tennis courts and beach volleyball court) and spacious terrace bar. By the pool is the high end restaurant, with beautifully presented, delicious dishes enjoyed while watching the spectacular sunsets.
The bedrooms are light and airy with a wall of windows and pine beams. The luxurious king size bed was perfectly positioned for lazy gazing across the view. The bath in our room was ridiculously large (travelling with young children it turned out to be generous enough to fit all 4 of us) with ‘colour therapy’ lighting. As a guest you are treated to welcome extras such as priority parking and a reserved double bed lounger in a prime pool side slot.
In winter, the hotel has a lower key vibe. The spa opens for guests (included in the room price). The dimly lit indoor heated pool includes soothing colour and bubble therapy – imagine drifting in a giant flotation tank while looking up at an ever changing coloured night sky. There’s also a sauna and steam room. The pizza restaurant closes and the focus is on the Mora Bistro, with quality menus and wines. Surprisingly, despite the varied attractions throughout the year , the hotel and restaurants are both very affordable.
For regional attractions there’s Modena, the Ferrari museum, balsamica vinegar tours, the art, history, beauty and food of Bologna, and the medieval towns of Vignola and Savignano.
There are some hotels whose old style glamour make you wish you’d worn heels and brought an evening gown. I expect that’s how Greta Garbo (who has a suite named after her) felt when she stepped into the lobby as well.
Built in 1910, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is classically luxurious, with hundred year old chandeliers, gilt edged art, marble bathrooms and expansively draped patio windows.
Family run hotels often get the thoughtful, guest focused details spot on and the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is no exception. Whether it’s a Saturday night champagne and oyster party by the floating pool, tasting from a selection of the 300 bottles in their fondue and wine cavern or simply a wood fired pizza by the garden pool, you’ll be offered plenty of ways to relax and soak up the wonderfully decadent atmosphere. Breakfast includes champagne next to the jugs of juice (naturally) and a table of cakes which wouldn’t disgrace an afternoon tea. There’s even a tennis coach and boat on standby should you require their services.
As you might expect from the location, the terrace bars and restaurant feature incredible floor to ceiling glass walls so you can take in every nuance of the mountains and hillside villages. Dinner in La Terrazza restaurant is a beautifully candle lit affair, with warm and attentive service and a wine menu the size of an atlas.
The stylish top floor ‘contemporary’ suites feel a world away from the classical splendour downstairs, and have jacuzzi terraces and a private butler. If you can run to it you can join up 4 of the suites to create a boutique hotel within a boutique hotel. Handy to know if you have an ogliarch or Saudi prince to entertain.
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo offers an Italian charm that you’ll remember, with a nostalgic smile, long after you have returned back down to earth.