While many Italian hotels rest on the country’s historic laurels by harking back to bygone eras, from the opulence of the Renaissance to the sleek design heaven of the 1960s, the Meliá Génova—itself an art deco icon—is confident enough to stride straight into contemporary decor. Originally a steel manufacturer’s headquarters, long known as the luxe Bentley Hotel, its geometric lines and burnished metals evoke midcentury styles. But the hotel is undeniably modern and understated, with its bright and airy rooms, designer furnishings, abstract artwork, and luxurious touches like hot tubs on balconies. The serene, Zen-inspired subterranean pool and spa area demonstrates the Meliá’s fearlessness in breaking from Italian Riviera traditions, a fact only reinforced by the sultry restaurant and bar, which serves Spanish, French, and Greek cuisine—near heresy in a country that prides itself on its excellent food. But the bets have paid off: not only does the Meliá attract glamorous out-of-towners, but even the locals know it’s one of the hottest spots in town, as evidenced by the lively scene found in the bar each night.
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Less than a 15-minute walk from Genoa’s medieval city center, the Meliá Génova is located on a broad, tree-lined boulevard on the southeastern side of the harbor, in a newer (by Italian standards, anyway) part of the city. While there are a handful of shops, cafés, and restaurants in the neighborhood—the shop-lined arcades of the Via XX Settembre are just up the street—and the Natural History Museum isn’t far, most of the interesting sights are within reasonable walking distance in the city center. Iconic sights like the Palazzi dei Rolli—the 16th-century aristocratic palaces along the Via Garibaldi (La Strada Nuova), many of which now house art museums, boutiques, and cafés—and the Palazzo Ducale (also a museum and arts center) are just a scenic stroll away, as is the vibrant café life of the Piazza delle Erbe.
Need to Know
Rooms: 99 rooms, 14 suites. From $114. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Decked out in chrome, neon, dark wood, and white leather, the Blue Lounge Bar & Restaurant is a sultry, atmospheric watering hole and Mediterranean-fusion eatery that attracts well-heeled Genoese for lunch, dinner, and drinks. The shady sidewalk terrace is especially popular in the warmer months. An impressive breakfast buffet—included in all rates—is served daily in the less characterful Marea restaurant. Spa and gym details: The hotel’s relaxing wellness center includes a heated indoor pool, Turkish bath, tropical mist showers, a whirlpool tub, and a 24-hour gym; massage treatments are also available.
Who it's best for: Business travelers and fans of traditional luxury. Our favorite rooms: Rooms on the top floor have private balconies overlooking Genoa’s rooftops, many with views of the sea beyond. The decadent Presidential Suite even has a hot tub on its spacious private terrace. Look up: Take a moment to admire the architecture; the building was designed and built by iconic Genoese architect Giuseppe Crosa di Vergagni, who is responsible for many of the city’s main sights, including the fountain in the Piazza de Ferrari.