Gruppo Zacchera, the 5-star family hotel hanging from bureaucracy

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The name has not yet been defined but the project is something important for the area: the creation of a five-star family hotel, a hotel aimed at an international and high-spending clientele to help deseasonalize tourism on the Piedmontese shore of Lake Maggiore. The intention is that this hotel will be built in Stresa. The project exists but the works, the expected investment is 30 million, have not yet started. Everything is at a standstill due to bureaucracy. «We have been at stake since 2012 – stated Antonio Zacchera, CEO of the Zacchera hotel group which owns 4 hotels and a residence, all directly managed for a total of 900 rooms and apartments between Baveno and Stresa, on Lake Maggiore -. We are the owners of land for residential use near the Bristol hotel in Stresa and we are asking for this area to be turned over to hotel use. A normal procedure because normally the passage is reversed but we are unable to get to the bottom of it due to the slowness of the administrative machinery of the municipality. We would need political will, then an administrative step because we are asking for a variation to the master plan.” While waiting for the authorizations, the total costs to build the structure are growing and have gone from the 25 million estimated years ago to reach today’s 30 million.

In the CEO’s plans, the family hotel will be created after the renovation and expansion of the Grand Hotel Bristol. «To offer the services of a family hotel, additional volumes are necessary, indeed essential to organize all the activities and services – continues Zacchera – which must be offered indoors in case of bad weather and in the cold season». The five-star family hotel will be open all year round and will have 200 rooms to accommodate around 600 customers with children under 15, with wellness areas for adults and children, and separate dining areas. «There will be a room dedicated to adults, one for families who want to have lunch together and another where children have lunch with the entertainers» explains the CEO. There will be a staff dedicated to sporting activities, entertainment and animation of the children. The aim is to intercept an international clientele who chooses Stresa during the various breaks foreseen by the school calendars such as, for example, Pentecost, Easter, spring break, summer and autumn with an average stay of 5-7 days.

There are good employment implications linked to the development of the project. The 80 seasonal employees of the Bristol hotel, employed for approximately 7-8 months a year, would be hired on an annual contract in addition to the creation of at least another 20-25 new jobs in the entertainment staff. Not to mention the impact on related industries. «Tourism and tertiary activities are the only activities in Stresa because everyone works interconnected with the tourist activity» recalls Antonio Zacchera, fifth generation of the hotel group he leads together with his brothers: Massimo takes care of human resources, Andrea is sales manager and Gabriella responsible for operations. This year the group celebrates 150 years of activity. The family’s business began in 1873 when Francesco Zacchera opened the Milanese Osteria in Baveno which offered 4 rooms. That Osteria first became the Locanda Italia and then the Hotel Splendid.

Over the years, the Grand Hotel Dino was added, whose name pays homage to Corrado Zacchera, known as Dino, one of the grandsons of the founder Francesco, the Simplon, surrounded by a centuries-old park and purchased in 1957, followed by the Bristol in Stresa purchased in 1963, the Carl&Do residence and finally the Aquadventure Park on Lake Maggiore, an amusement park with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, beach, slides, suspended courses, climbing routes, paintball, tennis courts, padel courts, beach volleyball and five-a-side football pitches. The group’s hotels aim at business customers in the MICE segment (meetings, incentives, conferences and incentives), those traveling for pleasure and ending with trips organized by tour operators. In 2022, Zacchera Hotels was registered in the register of historic brands of national interest and this year the Group is preparing to close 2023 with a turnover of 58 million and during the season it has a staff of around 320 employees also considering the activities to support the core business. Between this and next year, the Group has envisaged a 4 million investment plan for the construction of photovoltaic systems, renovating the entrance and part of the garden of the Gran Hotel Dino and the construction of another 9 apartments in the Carl&Do residence.

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