Matthias Welzel’s career spans over three decades, during which he has held various managerial positions at prestigious hotels around the world. His journey began in Munich, Germany, where he graduated from hotel management school. Over the years, he has gained experience in luxury and full-service properties, working in both city business hotels and resort properties. His extensive background allows him to bring a unique perspective to his role at Hilton Lake Como, where he has been making significant contributions since May 2022.

Hilton Lake Como is a new-generation hotel with spectacular scenery, traditional charm, and jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the lake from its rooftop pool. Formerly a silk factory, the building is steeped in history and is now home to 170 spacious guest rooms, including stunning suites, a pampering spa, and a popular rooftop cocktail bar and restaurant. The hotel’s prime location offers guests unique experiences on and off the lake, making it an international must-visit destination for families, business travellers, and couples.

Matthias Welzel, General Manager of Hilton Lake Como

Matthias Welzel, General Manager of Hilton Lake Como

Welzel is known for his commitment to providing exceptional service and creating personalised experiences for guests. His leadership style focuses on empowering team members and fostering a positive work environment. He believes in continuous professional development and ensures that his team is well-equipped to meet the diverse needs of guests. This approach has not only helped in retaining staff but also in achieving recognition for the hotel’s excellent work environment.


In this interview, Welzel discusses the distinct features that make Hilton Lake Como a preferred destination for travellers. He delves into the hotel’s innovative culinary offerings, wellness initiatives, and sustainability efforts. He also shares his insights on the current trends in the travel industry and his vision for the future of Hilton Lake Como. Through his experience and dedication, Welzel continues to enhance the guest experience and maintain the hotel’s reputation as a premier luxury destination.

What makes Hilton Lake Como stand out from other hotels you have worked with?

I have enjoyed various and diverse rewarding and challenging work experiences in luxury and full-service properties. Experience ranging from a hotel opening to well established institutions and from city business hotels to resort properties in Europe, Middle East and Asia, incorporating a combination of quality and commercial focused operations within the hotel to retail sector of the hospitality industry. Each experience is rather unique and can’t be compared. 

Hilton Lake Como stands out due to its unique blend of modern luxury and historical charm. From its Terrazza241 Bar and Restaurant rooftop infinity pool, the hotel offers breath-taking views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains, in addition to a luxurious spa, and multiple dining options that cater to diverse culinary preferences. The hotel’s commitment to providing exceptional service, personalized experiences, and attention to detail ensures a memorable experience for its guests and team members.

What types of guests are staying with you? Where are they from? What changes are you seeing in the travel industry with guests visiting Lake Como for summer 2024?

Nestled in the picturesque beauty of Lake Como, Hilton Lake Como attracts a diverse array of guests seeking a unique escape. From discerning Luxury Travellers savouring our exquisite Terrazza 241 dining experiences to “Romantic Getaways” guests revelling in intimate dinners and spa treatments, we cater to every desire. Adventure Seekers can enjoy our outdoor activities, while families cherish moments of relaxation and engagement. Cultural Enthusiasts are enthralled by historical tours and museum visits, showcasing the rich heritage of our destination.

However, I do not wish to categorize types of guests as we like to focus on each and every one’s individual desire and expectation from us as a hotel and from our beautiful destination. Personalised Experiences in addition to health and wellness continue to be a trend in the travel industry for this year, and therefore we encourage guests to explore lesser-known areas and villages around the lake. The sustainability focus and increasing demand for eco-friendly accommodations and sustainable travel options delights us, as we have adopted various green practices, such as reducing plastic use, offering organic food options, etc.

Building the right team is crucial for a hotel’s success. What are the key skills you look for when hiring new employees? What are your best practices for retaining staff and promoting growth and development at the hotel?

At Hilton Lake Como, our strong track record of retaining team members can be attributed to several key factors that collectively create an environment where colleagues are valued, motivated, and committed. We invest significantly in the training and professional development of our team members. This includes regular workshops, skill enhancement programs, and opportunities for career advancement. Employees feel empowered and equipped to deliver an attentive and authentic service. A positive work environment, recognition and rewards, competitive compensation and benefits, career growth opportunities and a genuine caring and open-minded leadership approach with diversity in mind throughout our organization, contributed to achieving 1st Place in Italy, Great Place to Work, for the second year in the row by the way.

You started working at Hilton Lake Como in May 2022. A GM is constantly juggling many situations daily and working long hours. What is your most challenging activity in your role and why?

Since starting at Hilton Lake Como in May 2022, I have implemented several significant changes aimed at enhancing guest experiences, improving operational efficiency, whilst fostering a more engaged and motivated team. I am a passionate team player who empowers his professional and dedicated colleagues as we strive to continue our Journey at Hilton Lake Como together. We introduced a range of personalized guest services, such as tailored itineraries, bespoke dining experiences, and personalized welcome amenities. We upgraded the hotel’s technology infrastructure to include mobile check-ins, digital concierge services, and enhanced messaging service for our guests. Furthermore, we partnered with local suppliers to source food and amenities, reducing the hotel’s carbon footprint and supporting the local community. Likewise, we undertook renovations of various areas, including the lobby, restaurants, and spa, to maintain the modern style of our facilities and enhance the overall guest experience. We expanded wellness offerings with new spa treatments, fitness programs, and wellness retreats to cater to the growing demand for health and well-being experiences, which I mentioned before. I fine-tuned the development of our team with training programs focused on customer service excellence and cultural awareness to ensure all team members are well-equipped to meet diverse guest needs.

Hilton Lake Como has a year-round approach to creative culinary offerings from a new vegan menu to an Italian street-food pop up throughout summer and an ever changing cocktail menu and more at rooftop restaurant, Terrazza 241. What are the biggest food trends you are identifying with your guests this year and as a hotelier? 

Food and Drinks play a crucial role at Hilton Lake Como as we welcome local and international guests 365 days a year to the various venues. Our offerings, including the renowned rooftop restaurant and the new Italian street food pop-up, significantly enhance the guest experience and contribute to our hotel’s overall appeal. The rooftop setting of Terrazza 241 offers not just a meal but an experience with stunning views and a vibrant atmosphere. Terrazza 241 offers Experiential Dining, as guests are increasingly looking for unique and immersive experiences. We notice a growing desire for authentic and locally-sourced dishes, hence the introduction of our Streetfood concept as an additional dining venue to the Terrazza where guests appreciate our focus on Italian street food. Offering diverse and high-quality culinary options makes, in my opinion, Hilton Lake Como a preferred choice for both leisure and business travellers.

Was a career in hospitality something you always dreamt of? What is your advice to aspiring hoteliers?

The hospitality industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. Let’s be patient, open to change and adaptable to new technologies, market demands, and guest preferences. For younger hoteliers aspiring to build a successful career in hospitality, I would suggest gaining diverse experiences and work in various roles within the industry to understand different aspects of hotel operations. Excellent customer service is the cornerstone of hospitality. Therefore, the development of strong interpersonal skills and empathy must be considered in addition to leadership skills which become increasingly important. Last but not least, work has to be enjoyable and rewarding, a career is a personal journey, and you never stop learning, and this is why working in the hospitality industry is so exciting and enjoyable for me.

Hilton Lake Como has launched the ultimate gentleman’s getaway, a high-end break for groups of men in Como, and bambinimoons, the final trip for couples before their baby arrives. What are your plans next?

I am glad to learn that Hilton Lake Como is recognized for its innovation of guest experiences. After recent successful launches of the ultimate gentleman’s getaway and bambinimoons, we have introduced Wellness offerings such as Yolatis, Aqua gym experience in our heated infinity rooftop pool. A new culinary Journey will be launched linked to the ultimate private dining, so watch that space for further details. These offerings will attract a diverse array of guests, enhancing Hilton Lake Como’s reputation as a destination that offers memorable experiences.

In your opinion, how will travel trends change in the second half of 2024?

The focus on sustainability is steadily increasing, prompting us to adopt numerous eco-friendly practices to meet our guests’ expectations. It is evident that sustainability has emerged as a key criterion by which consumers evaluate wellness and beauty trends, particularly within hotels and hotel spas. Guests now seek products that are not only natural and minimalist for the benefit of their skin but also environmentally friendly in terms of testing methods, packaging, and ingredients. This is why we have selected Comfort Zone as our spa skincare partner, a certified B Corporate group renowned for their eco-friendly policies.

Favourite or most inspirational place?

Sardinia is my personal choice for a summer holiday as I visit friends and family members who live on the island, which offers stunning beaches, rich history, and delicious cuisine.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

The piece of advice I’ve been given and use the most is to “always expect the unexpected”. It encourages open-mindedness, adaptability, and resilience, which are crucial for personal and professional circumstances. By remaining curious and flexible, you can better navigate life’s opportunities in my opinion.