Posh, picturesque and swathed in old world glamour, Portofino is a quiet finishing village on the Italian Riviera. Famed as the holiday destination of choice for stars past and present, from Frank Sinatra to Beyoncé, this dazzling enclave of pastel coloured houses is a must-visit for anyone in search of a little la dolce vita.
The port houses traditional Italian restaurants, bustling aperitif bars and independent boutiques upon the azure Ligurian Sea. Spend your afternoon sipping limoncello and delighting in the glamour before you, as the piazzetta is the ultimate people-watching spot; that is, if you can see beyond the superyachts. Sunsets are spent at the northern-most tip of the village – venture towards Faro lighthouse, where to the right you’ll find Al Faro di Portofino, a quaint bar with postcard-worthy views. The bar staff will be happy to reward you with a stiff drink after your steep hike!
However, while the village port is sure to keep you entertained, the main event in Portofino is the Belmond Hotel Splendido.
Housed in a 16th-century monastery, Portofino’s most famous hotel boasts a guest list only the Academy Awards could expect. It is one of Italy’s Grande Dame hotels and offers a lesson in true old-world luxury without being pompous. With envious views across the bay, lush terraced gardens and a peach façade straight off of a postcard, Belmond Hotel Splendido is nothing short of truly spectacular.
The hotel features terracotta tiled roofs, antique furniture, white marble and a calming, neutral colour palatte, offset by that monochrome photos of pasts guests, including Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart. Past guests’ photographs are adorned across the walls of the lobby and tiled indoor bar, which opens up onto a splendid terrace swathed in seasonal sauna. Here is where the hotel comes to life – from breakfast sittings to romantic dining and sweet sundowners, guests meet on this terrace throughout the day to enjoy the unrivalled views of the port below.
An eclectically dressed pianist joins the party for happy hour, where complimentary canapés are served alongside the mixologist’s classic cocktail menu. While we sat playing cards the pianist leapt to his feet to great a guest — a regular who hadn’t visited the previous summer, as he usually does, prompting the pianist to think the worst. The two were reunited over a Negroni, in true Italian style.
The bedrooms are bigger than most London apartments and breakfast can be served on your private balcony each morning, at no extra charge. Featuring antique furnishings, the pastel coloured rooms are elegant and airy, while maintaining an old Hollywood glamour. When choosing which room to book, opt for a Junior Suite for romantic sunrise views!
You wouldn’t be judged for not wanting to leave the grounds of this haven, with a salt-water infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a gourmet restaurant and an incredible spa at your fingertips. However, as with all Belmond Hotels, promotion of the local area – which feeds the hotel’s heritage – through curated itineraries encourage guests to explore. Cycle into the mountains to visit vineyards and cheese producers, indulge in a romantic private dining experience at the Portofino lighthouse or board the hotel’s 36-ft boat for a sunset champagne cruise along the coastline.
Needless to say, staying at Belmond Hotel Splendido is a once-in-a-lifetime experience we want to repeat every summer.
For more information and to book your stay at the world class Belmond Hotel Splendido, visit www.belmond.com.