First impressions of the Grand Hotel Billia
The Grand Hotel Billia is nestled in the foothills of the Italian alps, on the outskirts of the small village of St Vincent. It’s grand Venetian lemon exterior can be seen perched on a hillside above the valley as you approach from Turin or Milan. It resembles a grand, renaissance chateaux, stolen from a Marie Antoinette movie set, but would be equally at home in Monaco or Cannes.
This is a hotel that dresses to impress. It seamlessly combines antique pieces and décor with sumptuous modernity. Sleek, glass walls provide panoramic views over the valley, whilst sunlight creates glittering patterns in the elegant dining rooms. Whoever did the interior design on this hotel deserves an award. It is no accident that this is one of the Leading Hotels of the World.
A living museum
The hotel is a combination of the weird and the wonderful. Display cases house an eclectic collection of items, from clogs to deer. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if a mad professor appeared at any moment. These oddities somehow add to the hotel’s charm – you may love it more for its eccentricities.
Our entrance ★★★★★
As we drive up the winding drive to the car park, the colourful façade beams down on us, the sunny lemon décor a stark contrast to the frigid, winter air. We rush into the greenhouse of a reception to a warm welcome. Our receptionist even personally guides us to the lifts for our room.
Our room ★★★★★
The Grand Hotel Billia actually comprises two hotels within one, although you will be hard pressed to tell where one begins and the other ends. The five-star Grand Hotel is housed in the chateau at the front of the building, whilst the Park Hotel Billia is located in a modern annex to the rear. The latter is a mere four stars but guests benefit from all the same facilities.
Our room does not disappoint in any case. At less than half the cost of the rooms in the Grand Hotel, it is spacious with a huge king size bed and comfortable furnishings. Everything is sleek and modern and the lighting is a gadget lover’s dream. A little box allows you to fiddle with the various settings until the lighting is to your taste.
The bathroom is all brooding, dark tiles with an oversized sink and plenty of storage space. A further electronic panel controls the lighting in the bathroom.
A heavy glass door panel in the bedroom can be manoeuvred to allow access to a small ledge where you can enjoy views of the valley. It is not quite a balcony but achieves the same affect.
Bars and restaurants ★★★★★
There are two bars in the main hotel. The Vinotheque is a more casual bar area whilst the main bar is very grand with huge ceilings and large leather sofas. Drinks are served with generous rounds of crisps and canapes (please note there is an extra charge of €3 per person for these which we only discovered on check out).
The main dining room offers both a set menu and a la carte options. We opted for the set menu on Jason’s birthday. The price of €45 per head included a bottle of wine and four courses. Our starter was spectacular but we were a little underwhelmed by the other courses. We joked that our main of cod resembled a boil in the bag fish! Obviously not a compliment so unless you really enjoy haute cuisine food, you may wish to walk into the village and dine in one of the local restaurants.
St Vincent Casino ★★★★★
The casino St Vincent is attached to the main hotel via an underground corridor. It has an impressive entrance with a €170,000 Mercedes gracing the concourse. You will need ID to enter, and first time visitors to the hotel receive €20 in credit for the casino. Jason put this to good use winning €170. Yay, that paid for the ski hire and lift passes in Valtourneche.
Spa and swimming pool ★★★★★
In the basement of the hotel is a small gym and access to the indoor and outdoor spa pools. A large outdoor swimming pool is also open in summer time. In black tiles, and low lighting, it is a very sexy spa indeed. Sadly, we didn’t indulge, preferring to race off to the ski slopes instead, but we will be back.
Our verdict ★★★★★
This hotel made it onto our list of the most enchanting, luxury hotels we have stayed in. There are only 11 hotels on that list, despite us having visited hundreds in our time, so it is a high accolade indeed. The service was superb, the location stunning and the facilities perfect for a romantic weekend away.
Need more convincing?
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How did you know my husband and I are planning a trip to Italy right now? And we’re looking at all the grand hotels we can find. This one sounds wonderful. I love the old world style with the modern looking spa pools. I’d be happy whether I was in the 4 star part or the 5.
Where are you fancying Carol?
I visit the Italian Alps at least once/year – I can’t believe I’ve missed the Grand Hotel Billia. I love luxury hotels and after reading your review, I’m interested learning more about St Vincent and neaby Grand Hotel Billia.
Thanks for the tip about the charge for the canapés – this seems unusual for Italy. Based on my experience, Aperitivo is usually drinks with salty snacks at no extra charge.
Where do you normally head to Nancy as I will be heading back and am keen to try other places too?
The spa looks amazing with those mountain views. Really disappointing that the food wasn’t better, though! Are there other good restaurant options in the area?
Yes, just a few minutes walk you come to St Vincent and can select from around a half dozen local restaurants which are very reasonably priced. There is also another town a few minutes drive in the opposite direction which is a bit bigger.
The exterior and facade of the hotel are gorgeous which speak highly of its character. A picturesque view of the pool amidst a backdrop of trees and mountains is amazing. Indeed a perfect place for a weekend getaway.
Not kidding. I’m just trying to figure out when I might be able to go back!
This hotel certainly looks ‘Grand’ indeed! I would love to have a huge king size bed to sleep in and that spa sounds absolutely wonderful as well. Plus a casino? No need to even leave the hotel!
It would have been very tempting to stay in the spa if I hadn’t forgot my swimming costume!
The Grand Hotel Billia looks flawless. I love the pale yellow exterior with the glass frontage, it’s modern and traditional all at once. I’ve never a heard of a hotel that is a two in one with a 4 and 5 star in one place, but its great that everyone gets to use the facilities. It’s a shame the crisps that come with the drinks in the bar come at an extra charge though – I’ve never had that anywhere else I’ve stayed!
Yes I’ve never seen that before. It’s kind of strange but a great way to get a luxury hotel for less
Such a nice place. I think I would have spent my time at the spa pools instead of the ski slopes, to save myself a broken leg. What a great place! Love your pose on the stairs! So cute.
Aw thanks Kathleen
Talk about the epitome of Elegance! I appreciate your star ratings on the services – it gives a true perspective of what you like and didn’t like. What an incredible view from the pool, and the rooms look so comfortable.
What a beautiful hotel, I love the combination of a historic and modern building. Swimming pool looks like it has a great view of the mountains as well, what a lovely destination. Shame about the issues with the in-house food, but I guess it doesn’t detract from the nice hotel too much.
Definitely not because there’s a bunch of restaurants around five minutes walk away
The exterior is indeed impressive. It looks very elegant and yet the rooms and facilities look very modern. I love the outdoor pool. What a view!
Yup, I can see myself crashing here if I was in the area. Loving hte look of the bar. 🙂
Yep it was lovely and the staff were great. The only thing to be aware of is that drinks are served with huge portions of canapés and crisps/nuts but when it came to checking out we realised they were actually charging us €3 for them. Just something to be aware of