Hidden among vineyards and the rolling Tuscan hills, the experience of arriving at COMO Castello Del Nero feels more like entering a luxury mansion than a hotel. Far from the energy and noise of Florence (but still only a 40-minute drive from the action), the hotel evokes a warm sense of calm, the feeling one gets upon stepping into the simple yet stately lobby, where a black cast-iron chandelier resembling a gothic It winds its way around the ceiling to intuitively cast light on wallcoverings that, quite simply, don’t need art.
For Paola Navone, a Milan-based interior designer who is no stranger to the COMO Hotels & Resorts group—the creative force behind designing the majority of hotels under the brand’s umbrella—this project was different; Like coming home. Bringing the brand’s first hotel to life in continental Europe, Navon had to give sensitive nods to the building’s heritage while also reflecting simplicity in a way that feels inherently luxurious. She chose to breathe new meaning into the interiors by initially transforming the terracotta walls into a lighter, more modern aesthetic by introducing whitewashed surfaces, allowing the building’s period features to play a major role.
In true COMO style, every room within the hotel – be it a public space or a guest room – feels intimate, elegant and refreshingly paired. No area has been touched. In some rooms, the lack of furniture, art, and lighting effortlessly adds drama. Elsewhere, such as the “Mirror Room” – a room of floor-to-ceiling mirrors that includes all the mirrors Navon found in the castle upon renovation – the design story is told in a modern and slightly abstract way.
To avoid feeling conspicuously cramped, Navone chose color schemes and design elements that would enhance the hotel’s main appeal; Postcard-perfect views that extend beyond nutritious gardens and dressed vineyards within this 750-acre property.
But for guests who really want an escape, the cocoon-like Como Shambhala Spa – a key member within any Como property – is purposely located in the center of the hotel site. It is a peaceful space that harbors healing and restorative therapies designed to balance the scales corresponding to the stresses of modern life.
The hidden retreat features a 25-meter outdoor heated pool, a thermal suite including an ice fountain, gentle sauna, aroma steam room, and heated pool.
When it comes to dining experiences, Como Castillo del Nero advances Como’s philosophy of using only the best produce with style. The Pavillion is an interesting place that takes full advantage of the hotel’s unique feel of place. The F&B outlet below the cabana is on the balcony, and was only intended to be used as a temporary shelter during the pandemic. However, after the positive response to the airy restaurant, the indoor and outdoor dining experience became a constant. The menu – and of course its overall style – is casual and works seamlessly with stunning countryside views as a backdrop for guests.
Meanwhile, the hotel’s Michelin-starred La Torre Restaurant is located inside the main building under large arched corridors in front of a generous open fireplace. It’s designed with layers of playful lighting – oversized lampshades like chandeliers and wire-like wall lighting to direct guests’ attention throughout the room. The restaurant uses the finest ingredients sourced from local farmers, or directly from the estate’s own organic garden, carefully curated by Executive Chef Giovanni Luca di Piero and transformed into innovative dishes that appear on the plate more like art than food.
As I exit COMO Castello Del Nero, I leave with a slower heartbeat, having experienced what seems to be the most luxurious hospitality in the area, which felt very familiar thanks to COMO Hotels & Resorts’ way of making every guest feel at home, while bathing in luxury.
Main image credit: Como Hotels & Resorts