Italy’s best-kept secret, Cinque Terre is a string of five old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera. And one of the nicest places to stay is the Grand Hotel Portovenere. Baroque Travel investigates
This luxury boutique hotel is located in one of the five picturesque fishing villages that make up Cinque Terre in Eastern Liguria, called Portovenere. The area is famous for its colorful houses that cling to the cliff, harbors filled with fishing boats and numerous trattorias beckoning you to savor their delectable seafood specialties that include Liguria’s famous pesto sauce.
Portovenere is a charming little village, the start of the famous Cinqe Terre. The village has been in existence since Roman times, offering a safe harbor to those who sail the Mediterranean Sea. Many celebrities and famous poets lived here, or visited during the summer months, so the village was nicknamed ‘The Gulf of Poets’.
The hotel has one of the best locations in town, and is literally an eight-minute walk from the beach. It’s located right on Portovenere’s little seafront and boasts a terrace that overlooks the small port as well as Palmaria Island in the distance. The 16th Century hotel building was originally a Franciscan monastery, and is located literally just a few steps from the center of the little town.
Grand Hotel Portovenere has been meticulously restored to its former glory and offers just 54 guest rooms and two suites, each with air-conditioning, free WiFi, TV, minibar, and some with spectacular sea views. Each has an en suite private bathroom with bath or shower. Guests enjoy a buffet breakfast on the terrace with its panoramic views, and can enjoy fresh fish and traditional Cinque Terre specialties at lunch and dinner at the hotel restaurant. A highlight of a visit here is having a meal by candlelight on the terrace. Pure magic! The Venus Bar is also located on the terrace, and the cocktails are renowned.
For those who enjoy the beach, the hotel has partnered with one of the most exclusive beach clubs in town, the Sporting Beach. Guests enjoy comfort even by the seaside at this luxury beach club, which has its own restaurant and bar along the waterfront.
The entire area is a joy to explore, and aside from the colorful fishing villages, pristine waters and marine reserves, Cinqe Terre is also famous for its variety of hiking trails. Portovenere is the ideal base from which to explore this scenic area.
You can explore in small fisherman’s boats or in a luxury speedboat – the hotel ensures that every trip is made to suit your desires. Aside from Cinqe Terre, both Portofino and Santa Margherita are just a short boat ride from Portovenere, and further afield across the gulf are two charming villages, Lerici and Tellaro, offering breathtaking views and scenic little coves. There’s also the historic town of Sarzana with its flower-lined streets and great shopping, and Carrara, famous for its marble.