When the Giardino Ascona first opened in May 1986, its distinctive style raised eyebrows among more conservative visitors to Ticino, Switzerland’s southernmost canton. ‘Rose colour is for ladies and for gentlemen with character,’ explained flamboyant founder Hans C Leu of the hotel’s pink staff uniforms, fleet of cars and telephones and the pink Harley-Davidson on which he once picked up an eightysomething schoolmistress guest from the train station.
Greeted with easy charm by concierge Claudio Caser, an Italian émigré and a favourite fixture here since the hotel opened, we are ushered into a charcoal-and-black lounge bar with draped white canvas ceiling, an echo, we later learn, of the architect’s time building bling in Saudi Arabia.
Personal taste aside, all the hotel’s spaces are capacious and lavishly appointed. Our airy room, with its splashes of candy colours, in-room tub, 13-option pillow menu and balcony overlooking the lush gardens and waterlily pond, is flooded with sunlight. This relaxed opulence, combined with a broad and imaginative range of personalised sports and activity packages designed to help guests get the best of the area and their gloriously indulgent me-time, is Giardino’s hallmark.
This Basecamp review is an extract from a longer feature article, first published in print. To read the full article, click here.
|Perfect for||Fly into||Right on time|
|The Escapist||MXP / LUG||GMT +1|
|While you’re Out There|
|With the waters of Lake Maggiore being the main vista here, ask the hotel’s infamous concierge Claudio to get you out on a boat in the lake. It’s an abosolutely gorgeous experience that can also be tailored for a special celebration. Just sayin’|
Photography by Thomas Haberland and courtesy of Giardino Ascona