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The main house, known as the Cardinal’s Villa, dates back to 1568 and contains the majority of the rooms and suites, with the rest housed in the nineteenth-century Queen's Pavilion.
All rooms have period furniture, oil paintings and silk-covered sofas and chairs. Some rooms have balconies or terraces, with views of either the gardens or the lake. Villa d'Este combines the luxury and style of a bygone era with up-to-date facilities: as well as the floating swimming pool and sundeck on the lake, guests have access to a sports club with an indoor pool, gym, sauna, Turkish bath and squash court. Sports on offer include water-skiing, sailing and windsurfing, and the hotel also has eight tennis courts and a golf putting green. An excellent 18-hole course is located seven miles away. The hotel has a choice of formal and informal dining options, and there are two bars - one indoors and another on the lakefront terrace beneath the chestnut trees - as well as a nightclub.