Thanks to a bounty of ultra-chic and achingly modern boutiques and bigger hotels cropping up on its shores, Lake Como draws lovers of futuristic design, state-of-the-art technology and second-to-none hospitality. Among this abundance of glass-and-concrete stays, nowhere is more epically debonair than Filario.
Perched on the eastern banks, Filario is a mere five-minute walk from Lezzeno ferry stop (or 15 minutes, if you're taking into account carrying luggage, the afternoon heat and stopping for photographs - the views here are astounding). This design hotel is so surprisingly cool that, on entering, as a well-storied hostess pours an acqua frizzante, you may forget you're in such a quaint and wild nature hotspot. Filario's modern take on luxury is refreshing compared to nearby hotels that are all drapes and white tuxes. How did such a space-age lair pop up on this hill? It's all angular, muted tones and a slate palette. Nevertheless, our welcome is anything but cold, and we're whisked along a corridor, into a lift and to a suite of newfangled bachelor-pad heights.
The serenity at Filario is like that of a spa throughout, from the pool to the restaurant and, of course, the bedrooms. With fader lights, flat-screen TVs and slate bathrooms, our room showcases subtle yet brilliant attention to detail - earthy materials and organic products contrast with polished steel and glass with sliding doors that open onto a high-up terrace with quite possibly the best view you'll get during any Como-ver.
What's for breakfast?
I can't lie, we left the hotel for San Giovanni well before the crack of dawn, with bellies full of fruits de la lago from the night before, and therefore skipped the breakfast spread in favour of a to-go paper bag arranged by the concierge. Our long train ride back to London was fuelled by glistening apples, hard-boiled eggs and peach juice. I have it on good authority that Filario's breakfast spread is impressive, fresh and just the right amount of decadent, though scaled down from the offerings of some of the local grand-dame hotels that populate the lake's shores. I recommend saving yourself for burrata, fig and carpaccio elevenses.
What about lunch and dinner?
Fettucine with blue lobster; risotto with candied lemon; grilled mackerel salad - such wonders are available from midday and best enjoyed waterside, as is the delightful tasting menu. Come dusk, as the sky turned salmon pink, my guest and I slid along the chilly, air-conditioned corridors and onto the lake-facing terrace for dinner at Filo restaurant. Eclectic food pairings including scallops with hazelnut butter, raw prawns and datterini tomatoes, cuttlefish gnocchi and squid ink shone even brighter thanks to pairings with natural orange wines.
Is there a bar?
Yes - an attentive mixologist will whip up a whole host of aperitifs and concoctions. Having to leave early in the morning, we restrained, but we were nevertheless enthralled by the bar staff's enthusiasm.
Rooms have everything a guest can expect and then some. We watched a slow sunset twinkling on the water as kayakers paddled north to south. Beautiful Filario-branded kayaks are free for hire from the hotel's private beach, where four-poster cushioned sun loungers offer shade from the rays. An infinity pool sits just beyond. There's a gym, local bike hire plus private yoga classes on request - concierge will make all the arrangements.
Things I should know
A tobacco-infused chocolate mousse and peaches with white chocolate ice cream and pinot noir can be delivered to your room. They're deathly good. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Within a short walk I can find
The air is crystal clear up here. Wander around the beautiful old cemetery nearby - it rivals the more famous graveyard in Laglio (the town across the water, where the Clooneys spend their summers).