Monday, October 22, 2012

HOTEL CHECK ITALY, part 15, Hotel Splendido

Glamour all the way to the top.

Arriving in to nearby Santa Margherita train station we were met by our impressively attired chauffeur and our equally impressive BMW and taken on the short coastal drive to Portofino and Hotel Splendido.

Glamour exudes from every pore of the Splendido; with its history and reputation you feel as if you may bump into a famous face around any corner. Indeed visit the hotel’s “Golden Book” to see some of their more well known guests over the years. http://www.hotelsplendido.com/web/ospl/golden_book.jsp


Portofino & Hotel Splendido - long building to the right on top of the hill.
Luxury yachts and fishing boats in the cove

Back to the present and our stay. The terrace is the focal point of the property and it is no wonder, perched as it is on a steep hillside with views down to the azure blue waters of Portofino‘s cove and the luxury yachts that are berthed there. Decadent breakfasts of prosecco and the finest Italian hams and cheeses give way to lunchtime cappuccinos, afternoon cocktails and then as the sun sets a transformation in to one of the most romantic dining spots in Europe.

Accommodation

Almost all of the 69 rooms and suites enjoy excellent sea views and we would certainly recommend those with private terrace/balcony to maximise your experience. Our Junior Suite was beautifully appointed with warm colours and fabrics and a sensational view. Deluxe rooms are smaller but equally stylish while various other suites can be found on the upper floors with spacious terraces.

Executive suite

Executive suite

Facilities & activities
As well as a gorgeous infinity pool (once again boasting those magnificent views) the hotel has a small spa (where incidentally one of Select Collection’s excellent spa team used to work), tennis court and fitness centre. For a special experience let us help you reserve the hotel’s private boat for an afternoon cruising along the stunning coastline or perhaps for sundowners in the bustling harbor. Costing from only €500 for a sunset cruise with champagne and canapés, or from €1000 for a half day’s hire we think it is well worth looking into.

A regular shuttle takes you to Portofino in just a few minutes, but the walk takes only 10 minutes (a little more time and energy is required coming back up the hill). Small cafes, bars and restaurants line the piazzetta and waterfront, while in the narrow streets you will find boutiques and luxury stores such Hermes. It’s fair to say that much of the price you pay to eat in Portofino is for the view…but what a view it is. Luxury yachts bob up and down sharing the same small harbor as traditional fishing boats and the backdrop of colorful old buildings or forested slopes with castle turrets and luxury mansions means a stunning vista from any angle.

On the opposite side of the cove to the village is a small peninsula, home to an old castle, stunning gardens and some of Italy’s most expensive homes. A narrow path through the heart of this peninsula gives you a glimpse of these stunning properties but also affords you with memorable views and at the end of the path is a Lighthouse which is home to a small bar looking out over the sea and on to the Italian coast. From the bar we went a little “off piste” and made our way through the trees to some nearby cliffs where we enjoyed one of the most incredible sunsets. Waves crashing below, a view along the deserted coastline and a bright orange sun dropping in to the blue waters…

For a longer walk we can also suggest the coastal trail to San Fruttuoso Abbey.

San Fruttouoso Abbey beach

A cliff path leads from behind the hotel up in to the hills and past an eclectic mix of centuries old farmhouses mixed with magnificent mansions. Planning is extremely strict in the area so all buildings blend in to the surroundings (or often as not are almost completely hidden) and no new buildings have been allowed since the 1960s. Amazing views meant the 70 minute walk took us around 2 hours, so often were we stopping to admire the scenery. The tiny bay of San Fruttuoso can only be reached by boat (and even then only in very calm seas) or on foot and is incredibly picturesque. A couple of local restaurants share space with the 11th century  abbey and your path to the beach actually takes you under the cloisters – quite an entrance. Straight in to the clear waters to cool off from the walk, followed by an ice cool Birra Moretti before the passenger boat took us back to Portofino and our fabulous hotel…

Splendid Splendido...

Hotel Splendido terrace restaurant

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