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  • Writer's pictureAlexa Bouhelier-Ruelle

Italy finally gets a Ritz-Carlton

And what better place to open than the shores of Lake Como! A painstaking restoration of the Belle-Epoque Hotel Grande Bretagne provides the stately brand with a new home.


It may be hard to believe that Italy, one of the world's top destinations for travellers has never had a Ritz-Carlton, one of the top hotels for travellers. But thanks to an agreement between Marriott International and Grimit, a company owned by the Galbusera family, and a significant conversion of the former Hotel Grande Bretagne in Bellagio, the famed hotel brand will bring its signature service to the shores of Lake Como in 2026.

Leaning into the resort’s natural surroundings, extensive parkland and gardens will reflect the landscaping style typical of the Lombardy region, taking the form of a meditation garden, historical walking trail, large outdoor swimming pool and private boat dock. The waterfront resort will offer 59 guest rooms and 46 suites, including two Ritz-Carlton suites, framing views of the lake. Situated just outside the village of Bellagio, which sits on a promontory of land between the two arms of Lake Como, the historic Belle Époque Hotel Grande Bretagne originally opened in 1850.

Hotel Grande Bretagne, Bellagio (1850)

The property fell into disuse at the end of the last century and has since been acquired by the Galbusera family with a vision to restore the former hotel through an extensive restoration and expansion project. Spanning four acres, the regeneration scheme will involve a conservative restoration and rebranding of the property. The owners asure that the restoration will be carried out with the utmost respect for the historical significance of the building. “As a family, we are deeply rooted in the stunning area of Lake Como and are incredibly proud to be bringing The Ritz-Carlton brand to Bellagio,” said Emanuele Galbusera, president of Grimit S.r.l.


VIP destination

Long-since a destination for VIPs, the lake has attracted emperors, dignitaries, and more recently, celebrities, including Madonna, Richard Branson, Gianni Versace, Sylvester Stallone, George Clooney, and footballer Ronaldinho, who have all purchased villas on the lake. It has also been a popular place in cinema, with well over a dozen movies filmed, most notably "Once Upon a Time in America", "007 Casino Royale", "Star Wars Episode II" and "Ocean's 12". The most picturesque town, Bellagio, is often called the “Pearl of Lake Como” and is a popular destination for travellers seeking relaxation and adventure with its serene waters, stunning mountain backdrop, charming streets, and luxurious villas. Visitors can explore the town’s historic sites and museums, hike in the surrounding mountains, or enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Como from the streets.

The Ritz-Carlton Bellagio will be located within a 15-minute stroll of the popular tourist attractions such as Punta Spartivento, Villa Melzi and the gardens of Parco Villa Serbelloni. Despite its secluded location within Italy’s pre-Alp region, Lake Como is only a 90-minute drive from Milan’s Malpensa International Airport, or about 6 hours by car from Nice.

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