The spectacular Belmond Hotel Splendido in picturesque Portofino
Experience a touch of Italian glamour at Belmond Hotel Splendido
When I initially discovered Belmond, the brand transformed my experience of luxury travel. Needless to say, I have not looked back since my first acquaintance with a Belmond property and my love of their philosophy continues to flourish.
The service is second to none and they boast an impressive portfolio of hotels in exquisite locations. None more so exquisite than Belmond Hotel Splendido, which overlooks the picture-perfect fishing harbour of Portofino. Even the name suggests a special experience is in store for visitors, which is exactly right.
Belmond Hotel Splendido is only about 40 minutes from Genoa Airport. Those who choose to explore this luxurious hideaway can start a visit in style by organising a chauffeur driven car to collect you from the airport and whisk you to the Italian Riviera. The winding road that wends its way to the tip of the coastline of Liguria offers plenty of viewing points and the scenery is simply stunning.
Luxurious properties with immaculate gardens are dotted along the dramatic rocky cliff edges, where the drop beneath leads to crystal clear seawater that sparkles in the Mediterranean sunshine. Several hidden harbours add a touch of intrigue to the impeccable scenery.
Hotel Splendido is nestled high up in the hillside and on arrival you veer off the narrow main road to ascend a steep private lane, in order to reach the hotel entrance. With the climb comes even better views and while the drive into Portofino will definitely have taken your breath away on several occasions, it cannot compete with the incredible sight that greets new guests at Hotel Splendido.
Facing out to sea, the view includes a glimpse of Dolce and Gabbana’s imposing villa that is perched on a lush hillock opposite. Superyachts, which are owned by the rich and famous, pass beneath and add even more glamour to the location.
Unsurprisingly, the property makes the most of the magnificent view with both the impressive infinity salt water swimming pool and main restaurant positioned so that guests can spend as long as they choose absorbing the panorama.
This infinity pool must offer one of the best views in the world and many guests choose to spend the day here enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Despite the popularity of the pool area there are lots of discreetly located sun loungers for those seeking privacy while soaking up the rays.
The main restaurant is called La Terrazza and it is relatively famous in Portofino with non-residents also welcome for dinner. The best seats in the house line the front of the terrace where nothing can interrupt your vision of the Italian coastline but there is also a more formal dining area inside.
Various champagnes are served by the glass and Krug is a popular choice among guests who opt for a bottle to toast their dining experience. The restaurant offers an impressive menu that has been designed by Chef Corrado Corti and it includes plenty of authentic Italian cuisine.
Seafood is prevalent given the location and the baked fillet of seabass is a particular favourite. The fresh fish from the Gulf is served for two people and comes broiled or baked in the oven.
There are also plenty of pasta options for those wanting to embrace the national culture and further regional influences add a special twist to many of the traditional options. Highlights include the simple yet delicious short pasta served with pesto sauce and the Ligurian ravioli with vegetable and herb filling, served with walnut sauce.
While there is a shuttle service that transports guests down the hill to Portofino, I would recommend that you take the pretty path that descends the hillside and provides plenty of remarkable photo opportunities. The walk only takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Once you are in Portofino it is possible to browse local boutiques for summer lace dresses or you can splash out on a special outfit from one of the high end designer showrooms.
Portofino is much smaller than I had imagined but it is incredibly beautiful and the picturesque marina almost looks like a theatre set. There will likely be a few superyachts to admire stationed in front of the stunning Italian buildings and outdoor cafes that are situated by the water’s edge.
A short walk up the steep hill opposite will take you to the museum. There is also a path that allows you to view Belmond Hotel Splendido from the area that is near D&G’s villa, across the way. Here you can admire the hotel in all its glory and appreciate why it has such an acclaimed reputation.
Belmond Hotel Splendido Mare is the sister hotel and this is located at the heart of Portofino. It has a number of suites and also provides guests at the main hotel with another dining option, the Chuflay Bar. This restaurant is just as glamourous as La Terrazza but with a more rustic style of food. Again, the pasta is excellent and the seafood main course that can be ordered to share is very generous in size and allows you to enjoy some of the fresh fish from the area.
After dinner you can walk back up the hill to compensate for an overindulgent meal and this also provides the opportunity to admire the scenery by night. Climbing the steep gradient is rewarded by the best view in the area and that is from Hotel Splendido and a nightcap cocktail on the terrace whilst listening to the live pianist is a wonderful way to end an evening.
Although it is lovely to experience the charm of Portofino and stroll along the delightful footpaths, it is also very tempting not to leave the lavish cocoon of Hotel Splendido. This property provides the perfect destination for an exceptional weekend away. The suites are very grand and many offer a balcony where you can admire the surroundings in the privacy of your own room. The best appointed rooms include terraces that overlook Portofino’s cove and the Tigullio Gulf.
There are lots of activities to keep you busy too, including a fitness centre with sea views and personal trainers on hand for those wanting a bespoke workout programme to follow. For the sociable fitness fanatics, the tennis court is the place to be and this is surrounded by trees and plants. However, few will be able to refuse an excursion in the hotel’s private motorboat, which can be booked to give you a tour of the nearby islands.
While Belmond Hotel Splendido can of course accommodate an extended stay, I believe that a trip to this part of the world is ideal for either a long weekend away or as part of a larger trip that explores the rest of Italy. After all, Belmond Villa San Michele is only a few hours away by car and pairing the two properties together as part of a broader journey will allow you to also explore Florence and the Tuscan hills during your adventure.
Regardless of your itinerary, Belmond Hotel Splendido is definitely among the top properties in the world to visit and Portofino presents visitors with majestic Italian glamour. The stunning setting adds the perfect finishing touch to the typically flawless luxury experience that Belmond embodies.
Watch our visit to Belmond Hotel Splendido on Sloaney TV…
To make a reservation at Belmond Hotel Splendido, visit www.belmond.com/hotel-splendido-portofino or telephone +39 01 852 67801