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BORROMEO ISLANDS, THE GARDENS OF LAKE MAGGIORE, GRAND HOTEL MAJESTIC TRUE TROMPE L'OEIL

 
Since 1870, the Grand Hotel Majestic is located on the banks of Verbania Pallanza, in a very favorable position for exposure to the sun, shining non-stop from morning to evening, and for being on a promontory overlooking the Borromeo Gulf. From the terrace, the restaurant, the park and from almost any of the Grand Hotel Majestic suites, you can enjoy a unique view of the bay and the beautiful Borromean Islands. The accessibility, together with the great beauty of the gardens, make a visit to the islands a MUST – especially in spring during flowering – for guests of GHM that with a good walk reach the landing of Pallanza where you embark to discover the Borromean Islands.

​Isola Madre (literally Mother Island) belongs to the Borromeo family since 1500, by the bare rock of the Ice Age, the island has undergone various transformations: first orchard, then olive grove, citrus grove up to the present English style Botanical. It covers an area of about eight hectares. Isola Madre is renowned not only for the spectacular blooming of the azaleas in May, but also for being home to rare plant species coming from the most diverse latitudes. The mild climate has allowed the establishment of a surprising flora difficult to find in other places: here coexist maple trees, banana trees, camellias, eucalyptus, palm trees. The different areas of the garden have their own name that helps the visitor move through the path. Especially popular are the blooms of the camellia - cultivate here since 1830 - between the end of March and the end of April, wisteria between late April and mid-May and from May to June, the explosion of color of the azaleas in bloom.

Isola Bella (literally Beautiful Island) is named after the wife of Carlo Borromeo III, Isabella D’Adda. It was Carlo III who gave way to the first major initiatives of the island's transformation in the wonder that we can appreciate today from the then simple strip of land and rock inhabited by fishermen. In addition to the splendid baroque palace, much attention has been paid to the grandiose Italian garden: one of the best known and best preserved example in the whole country. Divided into ten sloping terraces, it is decorated with ponds, fountains, architectural perspectives, and a multitude of statues dating back to the second half of the seventeenth century representing personifications of rivers, seasons and winds. The particularly mild climate, has allowed the growth of a rich variety of vegetation, all of which have found their habitat. Between azaleas and rhododendrons, espaliers of grapefruit and bitter oranges, orchids and carnivorous plants, stands out the silhouette of a big camphor tree more than two hundred years old. A special time to visit the island is the month of May for the blooming roses. From May 17 to 31 you will have access to the “Terrace of Roses” on Isola Bella, roses are the passion of the Princes Borromeo who had reserved the middle terrace of the garden to these flowers, especially they have focused on two varieties, the "Blaze" and the rose "Clair Matin".
With a short ferry trip or by water taxi, you reach the islands from Grand Hotel Majestic’s in about ten minutes of pleasant sailing surrounded by the green banks of Lake Maggiore and if you book the hotel directly, you can choose from one of the packages related to the islands. Rhododendron, two nights stay allows you full use of the hotel's services and entrance to the islands with private boat transfers and dinner in a typical restaurant; Wisteria, with three night offers exclusive tours of both islands and two dinners, one at the hotel and the other on a typical restaurant, and a tasting of cheeses and seasoned meats on Isola Madre; and finally the Camelia package, with four nights, in addition to confirming the other packages’ program, also includes a treatment at the Hotel Spa. All options offer the “Guide of the Borromeo Islands and the Fortress of Angera” - another jewel Borromeo, buffet breakfast and welcome drink on the Hotel terrace. We invite you to access the links for more details about the offers.
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Written by:
Grand Hotel Majestic, Editor