It is almost unbelievable how stunning the Liguria region, also known as the Italian Riviera, is. And that’s saying something considering there is no lack of breathtaking destinations all over Italy. With the dazzling blue waters of the Mediterranean on one side and dramatic cliffs on the other, it’s amazing how well the locals have adjusted to the local landscape. Colorful villas dotted on cliff edges with lush gardens occupying every free bit of land between the rocky surface create jaw-dropping contrasts. In true Italian fashion, the hotels on the Italian Riviera aren’t just your regular cookie-cutter resorts. Not at all. Grand hotels dating back to the 19th century, when the old world was at its peak, and smaller boutiques dating back even further to the 16th century are stunning, unique and truly grandiose. Here are five of our favorite hotels on the Italian Riviera.
Royal Hotel Sanremo
Dating back to the late 19th century, Royal Hotel Sanremo evokes a feeling of traditional classic European elegance which is due to its imperial past as it was first used as a winter retreat for the Russian aristocracy. To this day the hotel proudly wears its beautifully gracious appearance that fits seamlessly with the charm of Italian Riviera. Surrounded by lush gardens complete with palm and lemon trees and overlooking the dazzling Mediterranean waters, the Royal Hotel Sanremo is an idyllic royal oasis that welcomes those seeking absolute comfort and luxury with open arms. Don’t expect subtlety here – it’s all about chandeliers, reading rooms, lush gardens and heavy brocade. The well-appointed luxury rooms and suites feel authentic and truly welcoming – freshly-cut flowers included.
Grand Hotel Miramare
Located on the Gulf of Tigullio in a wonderfully charming town of Santa Margherita, Grand Hotel Miramare sits elevated above the buzz of the town surrounded by beautiful gardens creating a peaceful oasis overlooking the blue waters. In a true Italian manner, this hotel also evokes the feeling of a historically grand hotel with the grandiose frescoed facade, endearing shutters, and wrought iron details on the balconies.
The classically sophisticated decor continues throughout the property and it never feels dated or old – it’s Italy, after all, the shoe really does fit and we love nothing more than a splash of authentic old-world charm. The hotel has a curvaceous saltwater pool in the lush gardens, and a small private beach complete with loungers and umbrellas. There are 78 rooms and suites altogether and the interiors feature classic elegance. Beautiful brown-wood antiques and repro pieces are placed atop gorgeous parquet floors.
Belmond Hotel Splendido
Set amidst unbelievably stunning terraced gardens on a steep hillside, the Belmond Hotel Splendido is very well-located for fully enjoying the beautiful Italian Rivera – close both to the sea as well as charming shops, cafes, restaurants and the buzzing town life. Furthermore, you can expect a familiar sight that includes some of the most noteworthy superyachts, which regularly moor here.
The spacious hotel has been welcoming guests since the very beginning of the 20th century and gained its most notable clientele in the 60s during the Dolce Vita. Old-world charm and splendid glamour still steep through the seams at this wonderful property. As with most grand-style hotels in the region, the interiors are kept very traditional without feeling dated. Beautiful and well-crafted antique furniture is complemented with a neutral color palette. Marble bathrooms feel luxurious and spacious, and all have tubs. Almost all of the 70 rooms and suites have views of the sea, which is definitely a huge plus as it’s not always the case with the 5-star properties in the region.
Something different among grand hotels of the centuries gone is Palazzo Grillo which still exudes authenticity and classic Italian architectural excellence but does it in a way that feels extremely contemporary and fresh. This boutique hotel is set in a timeworn Renaissance mansion dating back to the 16th century and still reflects ostentation and intimacy. A jaw-dropping vaulted, museum-worthy entrance and monumental staircase open way for uniquely-designed bedrooms and frescoed corridors. Clean lines, authentic accents, concrete, and wood as well as modern furnishings define the interiors – never overwhelming yet absolutely elegant through and through. There are only 25 rooms within this boutique hotel so it’s the perfect place to seek out some peace and quiet while still being at the very heart of Genoa.
Grand Hotel Alassio
Dominating the surrounding landscape, Grand Hotel Alassio is a heritage hotel located on the impressive promenade near the famous Il Budello strip full of lovely boutiques and charming bars and cafes. Only dating back to the late 80s, it’s become one of the most iconic hotels on the Italian Riviera with a perfect balance between beach resort vibe and classic heritage. A nautical color palette dominates in the interiors which are clean, contemporary and laid-back while still feeling luxurious and high-quality. Rooms have either sea or mountain views and the landscape is complete with charming Italian villas dotted on the steep hillsides. Grand Hotel Alassio also boasts a luxurious spa that has everything from various massages, steam baths, and seaweed scrubs to detox and weight-loss programs.