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The Hotel: our park


The park was established at the same time as the Grand Hotel, in 1863. From contemporary illustrations and lithographs, one immediately realizes what the clients (the Omarini brothers) and the designer (the architect Antonio Polli) had in mind: in front of the incomparable sight of the Borromean islands, they wanted to create a parterre of flowerbeds set in the Italian style. These flowerbeds had to be laid out beyond the street of Sempione as well, in the garden of the landing stage constructed on an embankment by the lake.


Some of the trees that were born with the Grand Hotel still stand today. Some are easily recognizable from their considerable dimensions. And it is a pleasure to discover others which, though smaller in size, are equally old. Starting from the flowerbeds in the Italian style in the direction of the lake, we find the most majestic of the Magnolia Grandiflora trees to be found in the park. This is known as the magnolia of Alexandra, Grand Duchess of all Russia, who was a guest at the hotel in 1870, and who is also remembered for having engraved her name on a glass door with a diamond. It is twelve meters in diameter, and its foliage appears most elegant since it is pruned annually to retain its flowers.


In the park one comes across not men but their representations, that is, statues. These relate to Greek and Roman mythology. We propose an iconographic visit to discover the significance of these “inhabitants”.


The small lake of the Japanese carp, koi (Cyprinus Carpiokoi), deserves a special mention. Besides the presence of fine specimens imported directly from Japan, which have white coats with yellow, red and black spots, the environmental vegetative cycle that surrounds it is important. This is a complex biological system that is balanced to establish a harmonious plant and animal chain.


Inside the park, one can find a part of the garden, sheltered by a rugged stone wall, that reflects Oriental harmony. This garden, with its arrangement of natural elements based on the principles of the Japanese Shakkei, encourages a journey towards meditative states of equilibrium and well-being. 


THE PARK IN NUMBERS: 33.500 m2 of lawn, 1.675 m. of pathways, n.1 tennis court, n. 348 large trunk trees, n. 28 hundred year old trees, n. 35 citrus plants, n. 2 fountains, n. 18 statues, n. 2 outdoor pools.


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