Flight. 2 of an ongoing series dedicated to hotel bars and bistros which are destinations in their own right.
Lake Como is a breathtaking sight. And the perch on the roof of Terrace 241 is one of the best places to see it. Sit on their alfresco terrace and nothing will obstruct your view of the iconic waterway, which stretches far into the sharp mountain valleys. This is the Italy of postcards and cinema and you are sort of suspended in it.
Oh yeah, the food and drinks aren’t too bad either.
Let’s start with the cocktails. The alcoholic offerings are divided into two camps: the untouchablewith a strong emphasis on preparation, and Habitat– designating the most ingredient-driven drinks. Informative iconography on the menu measures the sweetness and strength of each selection while identifying the container format in which each is served. The Smoked Negroni is a crowd favorite; this is Italy, after all. It arrives on the table under a bell jar, a steaming cloud of thyme smokes inside. The gin at its base is infused for several days in a combination of grass and orange peel. It allows for extra depth and a creamy tail to penetrate every bitter sip.
Blue Jeans is an inspired original described as a “two soul cocktail”. The sweet, slightly bitter kiss of vermouth and campari is offset by roast and anise courtesy of fennel, coffee and licorice.
Oasis is a standout sipper from the Habitat side of the menu. It is built on an earthy agricultural rum infused with Rajasthani tea. On top is lemongrass, Frangelico liqueur and coconut mousse. It descends soft but with sufficient structure and complexity.
For edible dishes, Terrazza 241 turns to executive chef Stefano Ghielmetti for dishes that blend with the panorama. “The inspiration is modern European cuisine,” says the native of Lake Como. “It’s not just Italian cuisine. I love working with South American and Asian influences. And I want to make sure that vegetables still play an important role.
At this last point, its “vertical garden” is a seasonal rotating showcase of local flora. The chef has also designed a vegetarian “poke”, which uses mango, avocado and black rice to replace raw seafood. But he clearly has no problem working with the authentic item, as evidenced by his lobster spaghettoni, in which thick noodles are bathed in a shellfish-laden bisque and Italian sparkling wine.
For lighter fare, you can opt for an afternoon ‘tea’, where a traditional sandwich tray is instead filled with an assortment of Italian dishes. cichetti. During the summer, Ghielmetti’s innovative arrangements can be enjoyed alongside the property’s rooftop infinity pool, while live DJs set the mood.
The seven floors below Terrazza belong to the Hilton Lake Como, where most suites have balconies with views quite similar to what you’ll observe from the rooftop. Rates start at $600 per night in high season. The hotel’s stunning Presidential Suite features one of the largest outdoor patios in the area. It starts at $4,000 per night, but sleeps up to four people in two king bedrooms.
There’s only one way to get a better view of the lake than from here. And fortunately, the hotel offers a special opportunity to access it: the Hilton Lake Como enjoys a privileged relationship with the neighboring flying club, the oldest seaplane operation in the world, founded in 1930. Their hangar is a few steps from the lobby and you can book a 45-minute flight with the concierge, starting at $250 per person.
Your ride takes off from the lake and winds its way up its southwest arm, circling above the legendary Bellagio Boardwalk. If you’re looking for a way to elevate your Italian vacation to the realm of unforgettable, look no further. But they won’t let you sip smoked Negronis on board, unfortunately. For that particular kind of indulgence here, nothing goes higher than Terrazza 241.