Between opening Il Sereno Lago di Como and managing Le Sereno St. Barths—plus “researching” the Italian fine dining scene—Samy Ghachem leads a busier life than most.
We’ve caught him on a rare off day to get his thoughts on the Lake Como opening, his new life in Italy, personal recommendations, and more.
How has your life changed since moving from the Caribbean to Lake Como?
I’m learning a new language and discovering a new work culture. Opening a new hotel comes with its fair share of challenges, which requires more time than the routine schedule back in the Caribbean.
How’s your Italian?
I have a good grasp of all the pasta dishes, still working on the rest.
What was your first impression of Lake Como?
My first impression was driving along the small winding roads, catching glimpses of the lake. The view from the elevated roads was very nice, but the view from a boat was stunning. I discovered Lake Como’s true beauty from the water.
What’s your vision for Il Sereno and how do you hope guests will remember it?
We plan to deliver a 5-star luxury service in a relaxed environment. Similar to the guest experience at Le Sereno in St. Barths, all of our guests in Lake Como can enjoy the stunning natural scenery from their rooms or any part of the hotel. The new hotel is designed in a way that truly showcases the lake. Most memorable will also be the human connection between Il Sereno employees and our guests. This is one thing we have become known for in St. Barths.
Why choose Il Sereno over surrounding luxury hotels?
Il Sereno will be offering a stellar luxury experience in a contemporary environment. They will have the opportunity to enjoy the exceptional cuisine of our Michelin-starred chef, Andrea Berton, as well as be able to enjoy activities that include boating in any of our 3 custom-made Riva boats.
On a personal level, what do you love most about the hotel?
That I am surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows all day long!
What’s your advice for first-time visitors to Lake Como?
Spend a day touring the lake by boat.
What’s your preference: Italian wine or Caribbean rum?
What do you do between flights from St. Barths to Lake Como?
Sleep, read, or decrease the size of my email inbox.
Besides St. Barths and Lake Como, what’s your favorite place to travel to?
More remote locations like Madagascar, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and of course back home to NYC.
Hong Kong, Dubai, and Frankfurt.
Any experienced advice about traveling/flying?
Drink lots of water and smile.
What will you miss most about living in St. Barths, when in Lake Como?
Warm turquoise water.
In one sentence, what is good hospitality to you?
A sincere, genuine interest in making a difference and an impact in one’s experience.