Travel Two Ways: Lake Como or Lake Tahoe

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Villa d'Este and its pristine Lake Como perch.

Como or Tahoe?

Find la dolce vita in Italy or soak up fall on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe pastimes: Fireside lounging and (below) alpine hiking.

By Susan Hanson
Splurge: Lake Como
Five nights, $7,000
STAY: Long before George Clooney moved into the neighborhood, northern Italy’s Lake Como was a beloved getaway for the glamorous. Many of the 152 rooms at Villa d’Este, a former sixteenth-century residence set among 25 acres of gardens, have gorgeous lake vistas, but the top-floor Junior Suites offer some of the best perches for taking it all in; private terraces further encourage the splurge. From $6,140 for five nights; Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and one three-course dinner at Veranda restaurant.
PLUS: Get out on the water during a captain-led boat cruise arranged by the hotel. The three-hour excursion includes a stop for exploring and shopping in Bellagio. $653.
SOUVENIR: On chilly nights, wrap yourself in a silk scarf from Pierangelo Masciadri, a local designer and proprietor of Bellagio’s Arte e Moda boutique (19 Salita Mella). From $275.
TOTAL: From $7,068 per couple

Steal: Lake Tahoe
Three nights, $1,200
STAY: Autumn looks good on Lake Tahoe, with smaller crowds, calmer waters, and temperatures in the 60s. It’s the ideal time to book one of the coveted Lakeside Cottage accommodations at the 422-room Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino. Curl up in your cushioned bay window or watch the sunset from an Adirondack chair on the resort’s private beach before roasting s’mores over the fire pit. From $1,197 for three nights; Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.
PLUS: Admire the golden hues of the area’s aspen groves (and the continuous lake views) on a hike along part of the 14-mile Flume Trail. The resort’s concierge can direct you to the trailhead.
SOUVENIR: Brighten up your home with a painted gourd from Handmade at the Lake (Incline Village, Suite 3, 873 Tahoe Boulevard), a cozy outlet for locally made jewelry and ceramics. From $50.
TOTAL: From $1,247 per couple

*Prices were accurate when this article appeared in the October/November 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler. Check with your travel advisor for current rates.