One of the things I love about Switzerland is its gorgeous lakes so if I’m ever going to be staying in a lakeside town, a room with a lake view is a must.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to lakeside hotels in the Ascona – Locarno region of Ticino with everything from plush 5* hotels to more budget-friendly properties so choosing a hotel was no easy task.
After plenty of research, I decided on the Sunstar Hotel Brissago at Brissago, a lakeside town just nine kilometres south of Ascona and five kilometres north of the Italian border.
The hotel ticked all my boxes – it was very close to the lake with lake views from the rooms, had breakfast included in the tariff, was close to other amenities and restaurants, and had good public transport connections to Ascona and Locarno.
Booking at the Sunstar Hotel Brissago for our four night stay turned out to be an excellent choice.
About the Hotel
With a stunning setting on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland, the Hotel Sunstar in Brissago is a smart, Italian style property offering guests panoramic views over the lake and mountains.
This hotel in Brissago is a member of the Sunstar hotel chain, and was formerly known as Villa Caesar. A nod to the past now exists in the name of the Caesar restaurant, and the building is constructed in the style of a Roman villa.
With a Mediterranean feel, the Sunstar resort hotel in Brissago offers a range of elegant suites and dining options, and there are garden or lake views from each room.
Whichever room category you book, a range of services are included as part of the rate. The tariff includes breakfast, the Ticino Ticket for complimentary use of public transport, drinks from the minibar and use of the indoor and outdoor pools and spa facilities.
Junior Suite Classic
There are 32 junior suites at the Sunstar Hotel in Brissago. Each has a private balcony.
Whether you opt for a garden or lake view suite, your room will have a lounge area with a sofa bed. The lake view suites also have a luxurious granite en-suite bathroom.
Like all rooms, our spacious Junior Suite Classic was decorated in an Italianate fashion. The suite was equipped with free WiFi, flatscreen TV, radio, safe, coffee machine, minibar, ceiling fan and hairdryer.
There was plenty of storage in the cupboards, while a desk provided a work space if required. A small fridge meant we could keep drinks cool, and the bathroom came with a full sized bathtub.
One of the nicest features was the private outdoor balcony, which had dining furniture and two sun lounges. From there we could enjoy fabulous views over the pool and lake during our stay.
The Sunstar Hotel in Brissago has some great amenities. Outdoors, the swimming pool is ideal for taking a refreshing dip during summer.
During the cooler season, guests can enjoy swimming in the indoor pool, which forms part of the wellness centre. This also boasts a sauna, experience showers and a steam bath.
The hotel also owns a private lakeside deck for guests’ use, just 50 metres from the property. There is free WiFi throughout and complimentary car parking is available on site.
Room rates include a full à la carte breakfast, all drinks from the in-room minibar, use of the spa and wellness centre and the Ticino Ticket covering the use of public transport.
Sunstar Hotel Brissago also owns a boat, and guests can book lake trips on this via the front desk.
Restaurant Caesar is one of the highlights of a stay at the Sunstar Hotel in Brissago. Breakfast is served daily between 7.30am and 11am.
During our stay, we enjoyed our breakfast each day by the pool. The generous range offered lots of choice, with both hot and cold foods available. For guests who prefer to eat breakfast in the room or on the balcony, room service can be arranged for a small surcharge.
The restaurant is also open for dinner between 6.30pm and 11pm. At breakfast each day, guests can view the menu before stating whether or not they wish to dine at the hotel that evening.
We dined at Restaurant Caesar once during our stay and our delicious meal was eaten while live music was played by the pool. Dishes are based on the freshest local produce and can also be served in the orangery.
The hotel has its own walk-in cellar, so guests can pick from an extensive selection of fine wines. These can be enjoyed alongside dinner or in the bar and lounge area.
With a menu heavily influenced by Italian flavours, dishes such as risotto, pasta, meat, fish and vegetarian mains are featured. For dessert, delights such as tiramisu and panna cotta are offered.
The chef is happy to cater for those with allergies – simply advise this when booking your table and special arrangements can be made.
We enjoyed a welcome drink in our room on arrival, courtesy of the hotel. Each Friday at 6pm, a welcome evening is held in the grotto by invitation, when all those who have arrived during the past week are served aperitifs while mingling with the hotel owners and other guests.
The minibar within each room is provided on a complimentary basis as part of the room rate, so you can crack open a cold drink without any concerns over the cost.
All guests are also issued with a ‘Ticino Ticket’, which entitles the holder to free use of public transport as well as special discounts on admission fees to local attractions.
You can read more about the benefits of the Ticino Ticket in this article.
Where is Sunstar Hotel Brissago?
Brissago is located on Lake Maggiore’s western shore in southern Switzerland, close to the Italian border. Belonging to the Locarno district, it lies within the canton of Ticino.
The Sunstar Hotel in Brissago is located just two minutes’ walk from the town’s lakeside promenade. A number of cafes, restaurants and bars can be found in this area.
Should you wish to travel further afield, the local bus stop is only five minutes away on foot. From here you can catch buses to Ascona and Locarno – and with your included Ticino Ticket, travel will be free.
The hotel is also conveniently located should you wish to visit Isole di Brissago (Brissago islands) which are home to the region’s botanical gardens. Regular ferry services operate from the Brissago pier – just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel – to the island.
Lugano, another popular destination in Ticino, is just 45 minutes from Brissago by car and 70 minutes by bus and train.
How to get there by car and public transport
Brissago and the Lake Maggiore area is easy to reach from various locations across Switzerland and neighbouring Italy.
The area’s major railway station is at Locarno with local bus services connecting passengers to Brissago. Buses depart every half hour throughout the day with the journey taking 30 minutes.
To reach Locarno:
From Zurich, the car trip takes around two-and-a-half hours, or you can travel by train. Travelling via Bellinzona is the fastest train route, and this takes around two hours and 20 minutes.
Those travelling from Bern can also take the train – the route via Lucerne takes around three hours and 20 minutes. If you are driving, the trip from Bern to Locarno takes about three hours and 10 minutes.
Allow around two hours to drive from Lucerne to Brissago, with the fastest train journey taking a similar amount of time.
If you are travelling to Locarno from northern Italy, the train journey from Milan takes just under two hours with a similar journey time by car.
With only 32 suites, the Sunstar Hotel in Brissago has an intimate feel, and the owners are very welcoming and helpful. We were left with the feeling that they genuinely wanted to get to know each and every guest.
During our stay, one or both of the owners would be present at breakfast each morning, and were always happy to chat or give advice regarding what the area has to offer. This gives the hotel a homely atmosphere.
Sunstar Hotel Brissago was a great hotel to base ourselves at whilst we explored Ascona, Locarno and the Verzasca Valley, and I would happily return to the hotel.
If you would love to stay at a comfortable, elegant property in a spectacular lakeside location, booking into the Sunstar hotel in Brissago is highly recommended.
Note: I paid for my stay at the hotel.