High above Lake Maggiore, Orselina was known for its healthy climate which gave relief to patients suffering from chest ailments. Nowadays, this hill village is one of many on the tour of the Locarno area. At first glance, the Mirafiori looks like many other hotels in the Ticino region. What makes it special, however, is the unaffected warmth of the welcome. Rooms are named for local flora and fauna such as Lucciola (firefly) and Cigno (swan) but not all are in the main building. Some are in small annexes up the terraced hillside at the back. Formica (ant), for instance, is large, with a floor-to-ceiling window and its own covered terrace, while Margherita (daisy) is a little Hansel and Gretel cottage, all on its own and a favourite with newlyweds. The garden, full of honeysuckle and beds of lilies, has the swimming-pool plus a miniature picnic table for young children a few steps from the adult-sized version.
Since 1952, the Schmid family has been in charge. Now son Carlo is the chef and his cooking obviously hits the spot "Excellent food here", our inspector was told by an English guest who savoured the Ticinese specialities as well as the international dishes.