Via San Michele di Pagana, 8, Rapallo
Photo courtesy of Excelsior Palace
Excelsior PalaceA grand dame in the Belle Epoque holiday tradition, the Excelsior Palace opened in Rapallo in 1901, as Italy’s first casino and one of the Riviera di Levante’s most celebrated society haunts, where the likes of Rita Hayworth and the king of Jordan hobnobbed over Aperol spritzes on the seafront terrace. Nowadays, the casino is gone, but the cognoscenti return, attracted by the old world glamour of the hotel’s soaring columns and arched windows, yacht club–style bars and infinity pools overlooking a private beach, as well as the opulent rooms overlooking the Tigullio Gulf. A stay here takes you back to a bygone era, where boat excursions and afternoon aperitivos are de rigueur. Just don’t forget the fedora and oversize sunglasses.