If, as our well-known colleague Arrigo Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice once said, “the little nuances in the quality of service unmistakeably measure the intelligence of the hotelier and truthfully state the value of his spirituality. Because serving is, above all, loving.”
And so Dear Guests, our love for you started some 50 years ago. And we will leave it to Francesco Cerini to tell this happy story. Immediately after the War he decided to leave his job as a waiter on the boats on Lake Garda and start up his own business, opening La Baracca, a small restaurant on the Brescia-Verona road in Desenzano which was open 24-hours-a-day. The introduction of these non-stop working hours and his business acumen were far-seeing, because in 1955 La Baracca took an important step: first it was demolished and then rebuilt in cement. The new name was “La Casa dell’Autista,” and some rooms were added. His two sons, Franco and Vittorio attended the hotel school in Stresa for three years. In the summer months they helped their parents and during the winter they toured Europe learning languages and refining their skills. The property had by now become “La Nazionale,” the number of rooms had grown and the two boys had opened a discotheque called “La Galera” in the basement.
By this stage “La Nazionale,” was an important hotel with 130 rooms and with an Olympic swimming pool (one of the first on Lake Garda). Making great sacrifices the family acquired the “Savoia Splendid,” formerly known as the “Due Colombe,” and now called the “Park Hotel.” It was the end of the Sixties and the hotel was reconverted using modern technologies and becoming one of the best on Lake Garda. In 1977 the Cerini Family bought the Hotel Olivi in the little town of Catullo.
In 1981/82“La Nazionale” got a facelift and in 1985 we inaugurated the Hotel Eden in Sirmione. In 1994 Francesco’s daughter Pucci also decided to get into the hotel business and transformed the old dependence of the Hotel Nazionale into a modern and elegant residence called “Il Sogno”.
Then it was the turn of the Castello Belvedere, one of Desenzano’s oldest mansions and one of the most prestigious around the lake which, after careful renovation, opened in the Spring of 2000. In March 2007 the Hotel Nazionale reopened after two years of radical rebuilding and today it is a little gem of design.
This is our story, a story of passion and hard work. We have always been ready to listen to our guests, anticipating their needs and interpreting their desires. And this then is our philosophy of hospitality which is a passionate declaration of love.