Try to imagine a perfect Italian fishing village – it would probably look exactly like Portofino. Yachts bob in the sheltered harbour and the dockside is awash with a fashion-forward crowd. Add to this a glamorous, grand hotel and you have Belmond’s Splendido, overlooking this little port since its days as a monastery.
It is quintessentially Italian: relaxed, chic and decidedly flirtatious, floating on a celestial staircase of garden terraces with airy bedrooms, a saltwater pool, spa and tennis court. The freshest fritto misto di mare is served by smiling staff in the open-air Terrazza restaurant, with a panorama of speedboat action below.
In the evenings the Piano Bar is the place to be for local villa owners and smart visitors alike. Antonio Beccalli, barman of 45 years and friend to the Hollywood greats, may even join you on the dance floor. From here, expeditions along the Ligurian Riviera are essayed on the Splendido’s handsome launch, seeking out beaches inaccessible by road.
Should, however, sun or fun take their toll, one can always submit to a massage in the shady garden overlooking a bay in where models cavort aboard Rivas off Villa Berlusconi.