The rich and famous have been flocking to the idyllic fishing village of Portofino on the Ligurian coastline for centuries, and the Belmond Hotel Splendido has always been the place to stay – ‘paradise on earth’ is how many would describe it, thanks to its magnificent views from the glorious terrace and salt water swimming pool. It’s a world of elegance and refinement where the service under the watchful eye of the charismatic manager Ermes de Megni is second to none.
The villa was built in 1901 amid exotic hillside gardens overlooking the colourful harbour and ravishing seascape. Nearly all of the pretty pastel-coloured rooms have arched French windows opening on to terraces with superb views over the bay and across a landscape dotted with cypresses. Each room has been individually designed, but they all have the large luxurious marble bathrooms that the Belmond collection is famous for.
Down the hill along narrow winding cobbled streets is the small village of Portofino, where you will also find the charming sister hotel Splendido Mare, overlooking the famous piazzetta and harbour. From the outside it may not look as luxurious as the main hotel, but looks can be deceiving and the interior has the same qualities as the Splendido but attracts a more relaxed, low-key guest. Our favourite room is the fabulous Ava Gardner suite which takes over the entire top floor and boasts an enormous terrace overlooking the harbour; the perfect place to entertain friends visiting on super yachts and enjoy watching the sun set behind the castle and Dolce and Gabbana’s villa on the promontory.