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An interview with Cristina Zuccari

With simplicity and dexterity, Cristina Zuccari and her family have brought the Grand Hotel Majestic back to its original splendour.
Passion. Pure, constant and infinite passion. For over ten years, that is exactly what Cristina Zuccari has put into this great project: to transform the Grand Hotel Majestic into the ideal place where art, culture and wellness come together. Lago Maggiore, its elegant shores, and an architectural structure in Belle Epoque style rich with fascination are the elements that Cristina has tried to mould with energy, ideas and even risk taking. The result is visible to everyone: the Grand Hotel Majestic unites the most innovative tools of today to the romantic charm of the past, which guarantee a heightened concept of hospitality perfected day after day.

When your family found the Grand Hotel Majestic, was it like this encounter had evolved in time?

We have been owners of this hotel since 1978, but it was only in 2000 when we also became the management of the entire structure. With patience, remarkable efforts and much work we started a renovation project that is still ongoing. The relaunch of the Majestic, which at the end of the ‘90’s seemed to be in decline and was structured to host large groups, included going through a radical transformation. We have reduced the number of rooms, made them bigger, and have tried to reinstate the original spirit of the façade through a simple and sober renovation in harmony with the requirements of a modern hotel. Everything has been performed under the supervision of the Superintendence of Fine Arts, seeing as the hotel is a historic monument.

Passed and future: what does it mean today to run a hotel with such an abundant history?

The Grand Hotel Majestic was built in 1870 in quite a fortunate location. Unlike Stresa and other areas of the lake, we always have sunlight and the hotel surges up on a promontory, stretching out directly over the water. The past peaks through without being intrusive. What we try to do is create an atmosphere, tell stories, realize events, and re-examine tourism from an era that loved the waters of the lake without prejudices. We have a garden with a small beach and we invite our guests to bathe in these clean waters where, fortunately, there is very little use of motors. Our pool is inside, next to the spa area. We urge our guests to go outside to enjoy the magnificent view of the Borromean Islands, the surrounding mountains, and to immerse themselves in our charming garden.

Art and culture: an inescapable pair for the Grand Hotel Majestic.
How is this passion born, what are some future projects?

Once upon a time royals and nobility from all of Europe would pass by here including artists, writers and musicians. Toscanini was considered one of the family. Art is an intrinsic part of this place. With courage, a lot of passion and a few challenges, we wanted to bring art back to this incredible, salubrious and hospitable place. From Kounellis to Maazel, and through the jazz of Gavino Murgia, we have organized many beautiful initiatives. We are in the midst of collaboration with the Borromeos to organise guided tours to the islands after 6 p.m. and other more specific plans for the upcoming year, in harmony with the Expo. Moreover, we are a little more than an hour from Milan.

On the one hand, the hotel is part of ‘Small luxury hotels of the world’, on the other, you also have consolidated relationships with ‘Legambiente’. So, is it possible to find a balance between respect for nature and sustainable tourism?

Yes, of course. For example, the people who work here are mostly from the area and have lots of beautiful stories to tell. Safeguarding nature must not only be a duty, but also an obligation if we want to guarantee a future for our tourism. Sustainable tourism that respects our environment and Mother Nature’s delicate balance is the only road to take. In Italy there are heritage sites of immeasurable value. Protecting and appreciating them can transform them into an authentic resource to share.

If you had to define the Grand Hotel Majestic with three adjectives, which would you use?

Evocative, unique and sober. We believe in informality, in line with the spirit of the location and with our clientele, which is international.

Cristina Zuccari has a gentle gaze that wonders through these spaces rich with charm that characterizes the Majestic. It is a radiant gaze that knows how to see long distances, beyond the panoramic vistas of intense, consuming beauty, which you can experience in every angle of the hotel. It is a gaze that takes continuous inspiration from nature, colours and the infinite suggestions that this lake profusely emanates, which says history is yet to be written, or better yet, to be lived. 

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Grand Hotel Majestic, Editor