Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Belmond Hotel Splendido


A dreamy, glamorous 5-star hotel, perched above Portofino

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Belmond Hotel Splendido


Overlooking Portofino on the Ligurian Coast, also known as the Italian Riviera

Travel Information

Genoa International Airport - 45 mins (37km)

Top Tips

Choose a suite with a spectacular view or stay in Splendido Mare, overlooking the Piazetta and harbour, if you want the buzz of the port

5-Star X-Factors

Stunning views of the pretty port and la dolce vita moments whilst sipping a cocktail on the terrace

Utterly Splendido

We recommend this famous Italian beauty when you are in the mood for opulence on a grand scale, combined with picture-perfect postcard views and old-style impeccable service. Belmond Hotel Splendido continues to offer a nostalgic indulgence you simply can't resist. There is no chicanery: it's just in a class of its own and is a real treat at any time of year.

Belmond Hotel Splendido is a former monastery situated on a pine-covered hillside overlooking the quaint scene that is Portofino, dotted with fishing boats, luxury yachts and the turquoise Ligurian Sea – an essential pit-stop for the followers of luxury hotels worldwide and especially those who are stretching the legs of their supercars on a Côte d'Azur to Tuscany roadtrip.

Portofino is the best-known fishing village on the Italian Riviera, southeast of Genoa, with a cobbled Piazetta, pastel-hued houses hugging the port and gleaming white super-yachts now outnumbering traditional fishing boats. Guy de Maupassant loved Portofino so much he wrote a poem in praise of it. More recently, it has become a favourite haunt for the jet-set, due to its first-class la dolce vita credentials.

Ligurian delights

Approaching this 5-star gem, it is impossible to ignore the staggering array of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys, even though the roads are narrow and twisty. There is so much splendid eye candy to behold that a large dark pair of Guccis and an Hermes scarf, wrapped lightly around the bouffant - à la Sophia Loren - is required to hide your natural curiosity.

Apart from the crowd, there really is immense pleasure to be had at this coastal landmark, where the terraces provide a divine location for sipping cocktails and dining on the freshest of fish. By reserving a table closest to the view you can enjoy Ligurian delights and Italy's finest wines, with a view that makes you feel a million dollars. It's just very special. The urbane pianist, Vladimiro Gatto, who has played here for more than 40 years, is not only dapper, but talented too, accompanying Rod Stewart amongst other celebrity guests, whilst the flamboyant barman, Antonio Beccali, is known to join in as well..

Some great hotels hold the secrets of patrician partying and the Splendido is no exception. After dinner, reclining languidly in the piano bar, sipping a sticky digestif and singing along to Sinatra, you experience the nearest thing to '50s nostalgia you will find in any 5-star hotel worldwide. Slinking off to bed, ascending the Scarlet O' Hara staircase, last cocktail in hand, is the perfect end to a perfect evening.

Suite, suite views

Let's be honest. When staying somewhere as special as Hotel Splendido you have to book a room with a sea view. Some double rooms here are a tad small for our tastes, so we recommend a Junior Suite with a balcony or terrace or, better still a suite overlooking Portofino's port and the Tigullio Gulf, as I enjoyed in my 2022 trip. The Dolce Vita Suite and Presidential Suite, with its four terraces are for special occasions, while the Ava Gardner Suite in Splendido Mare occupies the entire top floor of the portside building. Generally, room sizes are more generous in Splendido Mare.

Our advice is to book the best room you can afford and we promise you will never forget sitting on your suite terrace, sipping a Bellini or two...

Credit card control

Forget that! You will lose all thought of statement horror because a shuttle down to the port could end in credit card incontinence. Not only are all the haute designers there - Loro Piana, Marni, Armani, Vuitton, Bottega Veneta - but also the best of Italy; don't miss out on local retailers like Spinnaker and sandle maker Calzoleria Mingo Portofino to name but two. 

We did find a couple of other fantastic restaurants in the port: Chuflay at sister hotel, Splendido Mare, is excellent and Da Puny was good too (closed Thursdays), but a wider choice of Michelin-quality restaurants can be found in nearly Santa Margherita. Book in advance, as you can easily be disappointed elsewhere.

Splendido Mare is a good option to stay if you want to stay and experience the "buzz" in the port. The rooms are larger than 'up top' and you have a regular shuttle between the two buildings where residents can enjoy the facilities of both hotels.

Post-shopping, we enjoyed a chill-out cocktail on an old boat moored in the port, accompanied by a divine plate of San Danieli ham and little green olives. It was the only boat-bar available to the non-super-yacht crowd, but it really helped ease the conscience about the little Marni suede coat in the bag by my side.

Relax and unwind

Spa indulgence has become an imperative for many and the Splendido has not forgotten that. There are saunas, Turkish baths, hot stone massages and all the redefined beauty treatments. Hair, unlike many grand hotels, is also pampered and a pre-terrace-dinner-hair-do is very important for some of us.

Yes, it really is dreamy and seems like another world. However, you can combine all this great style with a striking panoramic view and make Hotel Splendido part of your world.

As film director-turned-hotel critic Michael Winner once said of Splendido "I can offer two words of advice - go there, you won't regret it". He never was much good at maths, but that helps in Portofino.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer