After a long time, we have been able to cross the Atlantic once again to continue exploring the beautiful wonders that Europe has to offer. It was certain to us that this trip back to the old continent should be a journey to reconnect with our traveling spirit and to relieve tensions after the hard times we all have been through. Therefore, we traveled to northern Italy to enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation at the wonderful Grand Hotel Majestic Pallanza, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, a luxurious Belle Époque style hotel that, for over 150 years, has welcomed visitors from around the world to offer them this slide of Italian paradise.
From the moment we arrived by boat at the Grand Hotel Majestic, we were greeted with warm hospitality along breathtaking scenes of Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands from every corner. The hotel stands out in the landscape for its privileged location on a promontory in the west wing of the lake, very close to the picturesque village of Pallanza. The lush gardens filled with palm trees and seasonal flowers impressed us instantly, announcing an assured stay of peace and tranquility.
Upon entering the hotel, it is inevitable not to notice the class and elegance of the décor: stylish furniture, wooden floors with red carpets, painted ceilings and art deco golden chandeliers made by Florentine craftsmen. Without a doubt, the design of the reception hall captivated me, the marble columns were so outstanding! You can step right in the middle of the lounge, look up and see the rooms distributed on four floors. The generous skylight in the ceiling provides a very special glow that floods the entire lobby.
Our Junior Suite Duplex was evidence of the high level of luxury accommodation that guests can enjoy at Grand Hotel Majestic. It is situated on the fifth floor, The Executive Floor, recently reopened after extensive renovation and refurbishment works to restore the building to its original splendor. The friendly staff welcomed us with a bottle of sparkling wine that we could taste sitting outside at my favorite spot of the room since the very first second: our fabulous terrace with absolutely the most stunning views of the Borromean Gulf and the hotel’s quiet gardens!
The suite was really spacious, decorated in a classic and refined style with the comfort and top facilities of a modern hotel and yet keeping the essence of the Belle Époque heritage. On the low level there was a lounge with plenty of storage, living space, and a floor-to-ceiling glass window with access to the terrace, perfect to enjoy the dreamlike atmosphere of Lake Maggiore also from the inside.
The bedroom with a queen-size bed and the unsuited marble bathroom with a large bathtub were located on the mezzanine floor. The junior suite also incorporated aesthetically pleasing fabrics, a flat-screen TV with a wide variety of channels, Wi-Fi internet access, a minibar and olive oil-based toiletries, as you would expect from an Italian luxury hotel.
The Grand Hotel Majestic offers a unique gourmet dining experience in their two restaurants. La Beola Ristorante’s menu consists of a unique blend of local flavors from mountain and lake, carefully chosen by chef Danilo Bortolin, who brings to life the culinary traditions of the Piedmont region.
The restaurant has a huge lounge with glass windows facing the lake where you can try a buffet breakfast with a wide selection of locally produced pastries, breads and fruits and relish a delicious Italian coffee. There is nothing better to start the day!Specifically, during the summer season, benefiting from the good weather, La Beola moves to Il Portico, a large terrace that opens onto the gardens and overlooks the lake. During our stay we enjoyed exclusive dishes for lunch and dinner ‘al fresco’ in a very cozy atmosphere. I particularly loved the salmon trout filet from Lake Maggiore and the lacquered duck. We also tried exquisite spumante and red wines recommended directly by the chef.
Before lunchtime, La Terrazza Bar becomes the ideal spot to taste the famous Italian aperitif. In the evenings it is perfect for light meals or a refreshing cocktail. The 180-degree panoramic terrace ensures extraordinary views of the lake.
Additionally, the hotel specializes in event organization. It has four bright and uniquely styled rooms for special occasions that can accommodate family gatherings such as weddings, as well as business events.
The Gardens & the Wellness Center
The lakeside gardens allow visitors to fully unwind at the Grand Hotel Majestic. You find yourself surrounded by nature, while placidly sunbathing on a lounger or taking a refreshing dip at the sandy beach with direct access to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Maggiore. It is also possible to practice sports thanks to the games court that can be used to play both soccer and paddle tennis. Kayaking is another option for those adventurous guests who wish to experience the lake from a different perspective.
From the Wellness Center we were still able to admire the incredible panorama of the lake. The facility, which can be reached from the gardens, features floor-to-ceiling glass walls that also allows sunlight to flood in throughout the day. Indoors, there is a fully-equipped gym and a fabulous warm pool in the style of a Roman bath, where we enjoyed some splendid moments of leisure.
The Spa offers all the rituals and treatments of contemporary well-being, in addition to Turkish bath and sauna cabins. I had the opportunity to indulge in a wonderful 50-minutes full-body relaxing massage and an essential oils facial treatment within a calm and pampering ambience.
We explored the hotel’s wonderful surroundings during our stay. In fact, the Verbania region has a lot to offer! There are many different activities available, from cycle paths and botanic gardens such as Villa Taranto to outstanding cultural centers like Museo del Paesaggio and Il Maggiore Theater.
One of our most enjoyable experiences was our visit to two of the Borromean Islands. The Grand Hotel Majestic perfectly arranged a private trip by boat featuring Terre Borromeo! Our first stop was the relaxing botanic gardens of Isola Madre (Mother Island), where rare exotic plants, flowers and birds live. You can also visit the ancient family’s palace that is now a museum. It displays the 16th century furniture of the Borromeo House and a collection of marionettes and puppet theatres.
Not so far was the fascinating Isola Bella (Beautiful Island), home to a grand palace built in the 17th century for the Borromeo Family, where they used to welcome official visits. They hosted many famous people and leaders of the historical period, including Napoleon Bonaparte. Their stunning Baroque terraced gardens and palace interiors were definitely a highlight with unbeatable views of Lake Maggiore. The island also has a cute souvenir market and some restaurants to taste a leisurely lunch.
Also, I highly recommend visiting the villages near the hotel. Verbania Intra is perfect for shopping. It would be difficult to resist buying a souvenir or taking home a book written in Italian! Pallanza, on the other hand, is a nightlife town, so definitely taking a stroll along the lakefront at sunset seems to be a very tempting plan. Eventually, you can end up having a tasty pizza for dinner in one of the many restaurants or enjoying the colorful performance of the singing fountain on the lake.
Our days at the Grand Hotel Majestic Pallanza were absolutely magical! I thoroughly enjoyed this idyllic and tranquil paradise that evokes the luxurious and classy Belle Époque grandeur. The hospitality, comfortable suites and exquisite food are the hotel’s strongest features, which can be perfectly complemented through spa treatments, relaxing afternoons in the grand garden and pleasant walks in the surroundings, always with the picturesque scenery of Lake Maggiore as the best backdrop ever. Indeed, the Grand Hotel Majestic has rightfully earned its place as a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World!
Disclosure: I was a guest of Grand Hotel Majestic Pallanza, but all opinions here are my own.