12th-century chic: checking in to COMO Castello Del Nero

Old meets new – in an unconventional yet subtle way. Using lighting, architecture and the region’s pure charm as the hotel’s allure, there’s something reassuring and warmly familiar about the design scheme inside COMO Castello Del Nero. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Exterior of COMO Castello del Nero

Hidden in-between vineyards and rolling Tuscan hills, COMO Castello Del Nero’s arrival experience feels more like entering a luxurious mansion than it does a hotel. Far removed from the energy and noise of Florence (but still just a 40-minute drive from the action), the hotel evokes a warm sense of calm, which is the vibe one feels when stepping inside the understated yet still stately lobby, where a gothic-like, black cast-iron chandelier weaves its way around the ceiling intuitively casting light on a wallcovering that, put simply, needs no art.

Lobby area inside COMO Castello del Nero

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

For Paola Navone, the Milanese interior designer who is no stranger to the COMO Hotels & Resorts portfolio – having been the creative force behind the design of the majority of the hotels under the brand’s umbrella – this project was different; like coming home. Bringing the brand’s first hotel in continental Europe to life, Navone was required to give sensitive nods to the building’s heritage while also reflecting simplicity in a way that felt inherently luxurious. She opted to breathe new meaning into the interiors by first transforming its terracotta walls into a lighter, more modern aesthetic by introducing white-washed surfaces, allowing the building’s period features to play a major role.

Heritage bedroom inside COMO Castello del Nero

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

In true COMO style, each room within the hotel – whether that be a public space or guestroom – feels intimate, refined and refreshingly paired back. No area has gone untouched. In some rooms, it’s the lack of furniture, art and lighting that effortlessly adds drama. In others, such as ‘the mirror room’ – a chamber of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, which include all the mirrors Navone found in the castle when renovating – the design narrative is told in a modern and slightly abstract way.

Avoiding an overtly stuffy feel, Navone chose colour schemes and design elements that would enhance the hotel’s main attraction; the postcard-perfect views that stretch beyond the nourished gardens and uniformed vineyards within the 750-acre estate.

But for guests wishing to truly escape, the cocoon-like Como Shambhala spa – a main organ inside any COMO property – is located deliberately in the centre of the hotel’s site. It is a peaceful space that shelters healing and restorative treatments designed to balance the scales opposite the stresses of modern life.

Outdoor 25-metre pool at COMO Castello del Nero

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

The hidden sanctuary features a 25-metre heated outdoor pool and a thermal suite that includes an ice fountain, a gentle sauna, an aromatic steam room and heated vitality pool.

COMO hotel's first property in Europe has a modern and contemporary spa

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

When it comes to dining experiences, COMO Castello Del Nero delivers the COMO philosophy of only using the finest produce with style. The Pavillion is an interesting venue that makes full use of the hotel’s unique sense of place. Located on the terrace, the F&B outlet under the cabana was only intended to be used as a temporary shelter during the pandemic. However, following the positive response to the airy restaurant, the indoor-outdoor dining experience has become a permanent fixture. The menu – and of course its overall style – is casual and works seamlessly with striking countryside views as the guests’ backdrop.

La Torre features lampshade-like chandeliers and an earthy design scheme

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

The hotel’s Michelin-starred La Torre Restaurant, meanwhile, is located inside the main building under large archways, in front of a generous open fire. Its design is layered with playful lighting – oversized lampshades as chandeliers and wire-like wall lighting to steer guests’ attention around the room. The restaurant uses the finest ingredients sourced from local farmers, or directly from the estate’s organic garden, which is carefully tended by Executive Chef, Giovanni Luca Di Pirro and turned into innovative dishes that appear on the plate more like art than food.

Exterior of COMO Castello Del Nero

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

As I check out from COMO Castello Del Nero, I leave with a slower heartbeat, having experienced what feels like the most premium hospitality in the region, which felt warmly familiar thanks to COMO Hotels & Resorts way of making every guest feel at home, while bathing in luxury.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts