Bridge and the Italian & Swiss Lakes

Prices from £1,449


7 Sep 2019 - 16 Sep 2019
Duration: 9 nights half board & wine with dinner incl. flights
Ref: 19054
With: Andrew Kambites


Prices from £1,449
Single Supplement: from £18 per night
Deposit: £250

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As with all of our club standard First for Bridge holidays, this holiday uses duplimated boards during the bridge sessions, awards Masterpoints, provide hand records and are licensed by the English Bridge Union. This holiday is suitable for those who play regularly at club level.

The Palace Grand Hotel Varese certainly lives up to its “Grand” name. It was designed by one of the most famous architects in the Art Nouveau period, Giuseppe Somaruga, and the building is so impressive it is actually listed as a photo-stop on the regular Varese tour! It opened in 1913 and has been completely renovated in its original style with marble floors, high ceilings and beautiful furnishings and artwork.

The views from its gardens and terraces across the Swiss and Italian mountains ranges, city, and lakes are simply breath-taking. You even have an uninterrupted view of heritage listed Sacro Monte - or holy mount from the hotel grounds. It is a beautiful location for a group to get together and play bridge and relax and enjoy the hotels ambience and facilities.


This region of Italy borders Switzerland, and within a short distance we can visit many different famous lakes in both countries surrounded by the high mountain peaks, and each with individual character, quaint lakeside towns and spectacular grand Italian villas.

  • Guided tour to Lake Lugano Switzerland. View tour >>
  • Guided excursion to the incredible Sacro Monte, a UNESCO Heritage Site where the 14 chapels lead along an ancient pilgrimage route. View tour >>
  • Guided tour of beautiful Lake Como plus boat trip through Tavernola, Cernobbio, Moltrasio and Torno. View tour >>

There is also an optional tour available to Lake Maggiore and the three Borromean Islands - a gardener’s paradise. This tour can be prebooked with Arena Travel at £69.00 per person. Click here to view >>

Varese itself is not to be missed. This historic city is a wealth of Art Nouveau monuments, ornate villas, parks and landscaped gardens, and it also has an excellent shopping centre.


During your duplicate bridge holidays nothing is obligatory, you can play in as many or as few bridge sessions as you wish. Our bridge programmes will vary according to the length of your break and in addition to playing bridge, we will always endeavour to provide a minimum of two bridge seminars for breaks of 7 days or more.

All of our bridge holidays include bridge seminars with handouts in addition to a varied and interesting duplicate bridge programme. We use duplimated boards every evening to ensure fairness and consistency. Bridge hand records are provided, as well as bridge partners if needed.

Your duplicate bridge will usually be available twice daily, at 2.30pm and 7.45pm. The afternoon sessions usually finish between 4.45pm and 5pm, the evenings between 10.45pm - 11.15pm. The afternoons are normally given over to open pairs/teams. We endeavour to vary the evening sessions, with a balance between teams and pairs, with at least one Swiss style event during a two-week bridge break.

During all evening sessions, we utilise a duplimate machine, which means we are able to produce hand record sheets at the end of the session and when we have two or more sections, both can play the same hands. On our UK duplicate bridge breaks, provided numbers allow, we usually will lay on an "Early Bird" afternoon session on the day of arrival.

We don’t forget you are on holiday, our bridge programmes allow time for relaxation plus giving you plenty of opportunity to explore the surrounding area and relax.

View an example of a one week holiday >>
View an example of a 10 day holiday >>
View an example of a two week holiday >>


Twin/double share: £1449 per person
Single room supplement: £18 per night
Double room for sole use supplement: £25 per night
Lake room supplement: £10 per room per night
Executive room supplement: £29 per room per night (on request basis)

Optional tour of Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands: £69 per person


  • Full bridge programme with seminars and varied bridge sessions
  • Masterpoints and prizes awarded
  • Return flights to Malpensa Airport from London. Regional flights available and subject to supplement.*
  • Return Transfers from Milan Malpensa airport
  • 9 nights’ accommodation
  • Half board including a glass of wine with dinner and coffee before evening bridge.
  • The services of an experienced EBU bridge director and host
  • Full day guided excursion to Lake Lugano Switzerland including boat trip
  • Guided Excursion to Lake Como
  • Guided Excursion to Sacro Monte, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Porterage
  • Free WIFI throughout

*Includes flights into Milan Malpensa from London. Regional airports will also be available, and advised once schedules are released. Transfer from Milan Malpensa airport is approximately only 40 minutes. If you wish to make your own way to the Palace Grand Hotel Varese and meet us there please deduct £150 per person. This is easily done and Varese train station is just 1.2 miles from the hotel.

There is a local tourist tax applicable which is 2.5 euros per day payable direct to the hotel.

Palace Grand Hotel Varese****

The elegant 4 star Palace Grand Hotel Varese was recently fully renovated retaining its historic features of its original design by Giuseppe Somaruga, one of the most famous architects in the Art Nouveau period. It boasts beautiful public rooms with high ceilings and marble floors, lovely terraces with simply incredible views across the lakes and mountains.


The hotel offers 112 stylish & quality, renovated rooms with marble bathrooms. Rooms vary in size and décor and some rooms have windows that open out on to small Juliet balconies.

  • Direct dial telephone
  • TV
  • Hair dryer
  • Full tiled bathroom with bath with shower attachment or walk-in shower
  • Luxury Toiletries
  • Complimentary safe deposit box
  • Mini-bar (charge)
  • Air-conditioning

Executive rooms on the fifth floor (top floor) are on request with a supplement, and offer bathrobes, slippers and coffee machines.

Lake view rooms have a supplement of £10 per room per night.

Actual single rooms are a decent size, 194 ft. square, and have a single bed or small queen size bed. These rooms have a walk in showers and are main city view.


The hotel is set in mature gardens surrounded by a beautiful park. The amazing views from all angles can be enjoyed from the hotel terraces, where you will find a cosy indoor bar, and an outdoor summer bar that serves snacks and drinks during the day. There is an outdoor swimming pool with sunbeds, 2 tennis courts, a gym, and books and board games in the lobby.

We eat in the elegant Liberty Restaurant with panoramic views across the lakes. We enjoy a buffet dinner at 19.00 hours each night before bridge, which includes a glass of wine or soft drink or beer, and afterwards we take coffee in the bridge room. We play bridge in the Giuseppe Sommaruga conference room, named after its famous architect designer.

Please note that the hotel is on a steep hill, which we do not recommend walking up and down, but the hotel runs shuttle buses into Varese, centre which is just 0.7 miles from the hotel. The hotelier has also agreed to run 3 extra shuttles up and down the hill daily during our stay. At the bottom of the hill you will immediately find the bus stop where buses run into the town centre every 20 minutes for 1.40 euro each way. Alternatively it is a flat 20 minute walk passing shops, cafes etc. on route from the bottom of the hill, or taxis are also available into Varese centre from the hotel.