From Pirates to Postcards:
a Brief History of
Hotel Splendido

BY Italy

Perched above the luxury yachts of Portofino harbour you’ll find Hotel Splendido—a property so lavish, its own name hardly does it justice. (Though to be fair, the name “Hotel Jaw-Droppingly Resplendent” doesn’t really roll off the tongue.)

Hotel Splendido
Pirates are great at ransacking and applying eye liner. But property up-keep? Not so much.

What today is one of Italy’s most ornate hotels began life as a Benedictine monastery. After repeated ransacking from pirates, the monks abandoned the property in the 16th century. (We don’t mean to imply that we endorse ransacking, but given the beauty of the place, it’s hard to blame the pirates.)

But pirates, as it turns out, make better Keith Richards impersonators than tenants. The property fell into disrepair by the 19th century, making it a steal for Baron Baratta, an Italian aristocrat who converted it into a summer home. In 1901, Ruggero Valentini purchased the property and converted it into a hotel, which officially opened in 1902.

See (and Stay) for Yourself

On our Piemonte to Portofino Walking trip, your reward for strolling through Barolo and Barbaresco, and sampling their famous wine and truffles, is a stay at the legendary Hotel Splendido. (But, come on: we had you at “wine and truffles” didn’t we?)

From Monks to Movie Stars

Much to the surprise of no one, Hotel Splendido immediately became the preferred playground of the rich and famous. Its early guest list reads like a veritable who’s who of Hollywood glamour, including names like Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and more.

Today the property is perhaps more glamorous than ever. Its stylish rooms epitomize Mediterranean cool and comfort, while its pool provides the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun, all of it ensconced within the lush hills of Portofino and the scenic harbour below.

Staying at Hotel Splendido is like stepping into a postcard—ransacking no longer required.

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