It’s getting to be that time of year again – the time when Mr. H and I start planning our annual re-wedding festivities. (Yes, you heard that right, but more about that in a later post.) Naturally, anniversary season brings back memories of weddings past.
One of our most successful re-weddings (or, as a friend likes to call them, birthaversaries, since the nuptial date is also my birthday) was in Lago di Orta, Italy. We stayed in what is easily one of my favorite hotels, the Villa Crespi, and got married in the gardens nearby.
Villa Crespi was once a private home to a textile baron and his family and is all about Moorish excess, with a minaret-inspired dome at the top and carved and painted surfaces wherever you look. Driving in, you can’t miss the architecture and the lobby certainly sets the tone…
We were surprised and delighted to be upgraded to an Executive Suite on arrival, and could not have loved our room more. Every surface was decorated, from the parquet floors to the ceiling medallions. We were transported immediately out of our daily lives and into the Villa Crespi fantasy – which is what good travel experiences should do.
Our room overlooked the gardens and the lake, with tall, gothic windows that opened up to let in cool air. In that part of the room, the floors were terrazzo, and we had an antique table, chairs, and the all-important espresso machine. The bathroom was dreamy, too, with a tub set into a Moorish arch and lots of fresh air billowing out the sheer drapes. The staff was great and our breakfasts in the restaurant downstairs were always excellent. This is a Relais & Chateaux property, and they never disappoint!
We walked down the hill and into the village of Orta San Guilio for more great Italian food, as well. On one Saturday, we got to see the arrival of dozens of vintage cars, too. They pulled in to much fanfare and parked in the square.
On our special day, I got my hair done by a stylist in town, changed into my dress and was greeted by a mock proposal from my husband, with a can of Coke standing in for a ring. (Again, more about that later!) That night, after a celebratory dinner, we were greeted with a special tray of chocolates and other sweets in our room.
For romance, the Italian Lake District has to be near the top of all destinations. Lago di Orta is the best of the lakes, in my opinion. Still relatively unspoiled and less crowded.
Villa Crespi is obviously not the cheapest place to stay in Orta. There are bed and breakfast inns and holiday rentals, too. But for a special occasion, you can’t beat the style and service of Hotel Villa Crespi. With its unique interiors, 2-star Michelin restaurant, gardens, location and staff, it was a perfect anniversary. We could have stayed for weeks and been perfectly happy…
I’ll write more about our wedding experience there, later. We had an exceptional planner who took our celebration quite personally and made it extra special.
For more about the hotel, click here: Hotel Villa Crespi website.