Villa Orselina: The Art of doing Nothing

Switzerland, Hotel Interior Design

Interior Design Hotel Ticino Switzerland

At the Villa Orselina, “Il Dolce Far Niente” is more than a slogan.

The famous Italian phrase literally translates to “sweet doing nothing” or more eloquently put: “The art of doing nothing”. The dictionary describes it as ‘Sheer indulgent relaxation and blissful laziness, the enjoyment of idleness’. In theory, an easy concept, yet many (myself included) struggle with it, unless…

Picturesque villages abound in Ticino…

It had been a few years since my last visit to Ticino and I couldn’t help but wonder why I don’t visit more often. At only 2.5 hours from Zurich (2 hours from Milan) you find yourself in a ‘Mediterranean’ paradise, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Always a few degrees warmer than the rest of Switzerland, surrounded by mountains, lakes and subtropical flora, with a touch of Italianità, this region oozes a true holiday feeling. If you are familiar with the Italian part of Switzerland, you will know what I am talking about. If you haven’t yet visited, I suggest you add it to your bucket list!

Stunning views, glorious sunshine and an ‘aperitivo’ set the mood for the weekend ahead…

As I walked into the lobby of the Villa Orselina, my eyes were instantly drawn towards the large glass front framing the panoramic views across Lago Maggiore. The elegant, all white interiors, further emphasise the various shades of blue and green created by the sky, the lush mountain tops and the sparkling lake. Mesmerised by the breathtaking views, I barely noticed the receptionist, who greeted us warmly and offered us a welcome drink of our choice on the terrace of ‘Il Bar’. Gazing into the distance, I decided to add some ‘Dolce far niente’ to my ‘to-do-list’ for the weekend.

Villa Orselina is perched atop a hill above Locarno and minutes from the famous sacred ‘Mount Madonna del Sasso’

Villa Orselina is a luxury boutique hotel sitting at 449m above Locarno. The charming small hotel has only got 28 rooms and suites and is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. What began as a modest ‘Osteria’ in 1850, where locals would meet for a glass of wine, was turned into a health resort catering to vegetarians and nondrinkers at the turn of the century.

In the years that followed, the hotel changed owners several times and sometimes increased, other times decreased the room count. As the first hotel in Locarno, Villa Orselina added a swimming pool in 1962 and a wellness center and tennis courts in the 1980’s. This made Villa Orselina a pioneer of Swiss luxury hospitality.

Waking up to a palm tree makes all the difference…

To our great delight, our generously sized Style Suite also boasted stunning views across the lake and surrounding mountains, not to mention a beautiful palm tree right in front of our window.

The open plan suite features a kitchen, living room, dining area, king size bed covered in soft satin bedsheets, a large terrace as well as a luxury bathroom and a guest toilet. The decorating style is a combination of French Chic, (classic) contemporary and Mediterranean. The somewhat unusual mix is held together by the neutral colour scheme, allowing for the focus to be on the view. The white and beige interiors create a very relaxing ambiance and are set against the backdrop of shades of blue and green.

That unique Mediterranean flair in one single photograph…

The wellness area ‘la Spa’ features a fitness room, an indoor pool and a sauna, as well as holistic beauty and massage treatments. The design could be described as mediterranean, but does look a bit dated. However, I think it’s fair to say that the main attraction of Villa Orselina is the pool terrace with its panorama. In fact, I think the Villa Orselina should be included on top of the list of hotels in Switzerland with the best views.

Even though there’s much to be explored in the region, including hiking, visiting castles and shopping, I made it my mission to honour the slogan of Villa Orselina and dedicate some time to ‘Dolce far niente’. I’m generally more of a ‘doer’ and the art of doing nothing has recently evaded me. I believe it is mostly thanks to a small device called the iPhone. Running my own business, blogging and being active on Social Media is reason (or excuse?) enough to constantly check my phone. I was therefore overjoyed that at Villa Orselina, I was able to spend an entire afternoon with “Dolce far niente” – simply lying by the pool, reading a book and enjoying the breathtaking views across Lago Maggiore. 

This is the exact spot where I successfully practiced an afternoon of ‘Dolce Far Niente’ 😉

Much like a few miles further south, good food and wine are an integral part of living ‘la dolce vita’ at Villa Orselina. You’ll love the sumptuous breakfast buffet as well as the à la carte dinner served on the infinity terrace of ‘Il Ristorante’ (weather permitting). During high season you can also enjoy a light lunch, snacks and gelato (ice cream) at the pool side restaurant ‘La Pergola’. Italian Chef Riccardo Scamarcio has delighted many a palate in places like Gstaad, Interlaken and Ascona before joining Villa Orselina.

Just Imagine savouring Italian Mediterranean cuisine infused with regional flavours and fresh local produce, whilst overlooking Lago Maggiore. Wine lovers will appreciate the charming wine cellar stocked with a great variety of regional as well as some international wines. On cooler nights ‘Il Bar’ invites you to sip on a drink or two, whilst watching the flickering of the fire in the massive fireplace.

Whether you chose to be active or follow my lead on ‘Dolce far niente’, Villa Orselina has got you covered.

Happy stylish discoveries!

Simone xx

P.S. To all Ticino lovers out there, you may also like the elegant Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola in Lugano and the charming boutique hotel Relais Castello di Morcote



Courtesy of Villa Orselina and Simone Aïda Baur

Note: This blog post was created in collaboration with the Hotel Villa Orselina (press trip).


About the Author

Interior Designer and Blogger

Welcome to Global Inspirations Design’s Blog!

I’m Simone Aïda Baur and I invite you to embark on a design journey with me. My blog is your passport to global inspirations and where I share my passion and discoveries from the world of interior design.

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