One of Italy’s landmark hotels, the Grand Hotel Savoia is an icon in the heart of Genoa, a grande dame founded at the height of the Belle Epoque boom by one of the country’s original luxury hoteliers, attracting aristocrats, royals, and other elite international travelers to the renowned port city. Not only was it the first hotel in Italy to have hot and cold running water in private bathrooms (in all rooms), but it was the first in Europe to have a centralized climate-control system.
Though its groundbreaking heyday is past, the Grand Hotel Savoia is far from falling into obscurity. The opulent building has been lovingly restored in the seafaring tradition of Christopher Columbus’ hometown, with antique travel trunks, 1950s-yacht-inspired furnishings, and panels of vintage Genoese postcards adorning the rooms. Original accents like parquet floors, Murano chandeliers, and marble columns complement overstuffed leather chairs and carved wooden tables, all contributing to a pervasive sense of drama and history. That drama and history is no more obvious than on the rooftop terrace, where the most discerning locals flock for unparalleled views of the harbor and city—whether that’s over a cocktail or from the relaxing perch of the spa’s hot tubs.
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Overlooking the historic port, not far from Genoa’s central train station, the Grand Hotel Savoia is a scenic 10-minute walk from the medieval city center. While the bulk of the city’s sights, cafés, restaurants, and museums are in the historic heart—including the 16th-century palaces-turned-museums of the Palazzi dei Rolli, the main drag of the Via Garibaldi (La Strada Nuova), and the vibrant café life of the Piazza delle Erbe—the area around the old port has its own attractions. Visit the 19th-century antiquity collector’s home that’s now the Museo delle Culture del Mondo. Or the interactive Galata Museo del Mare, honoring the city’s maritime tradition. The historic streets—with a hodgepodge of architectural styles from throughout the city’s lifetime—are best explored by wandering, so that you can stumble upon charming little squares like the Piazza del Carmine and ornate palaces like the Museo di Palazzo Reale.
Need to Know
Rooms: 177 rooms, two suites. From $159. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Whimsical and elegant, the Ristorante Salgari serves a seafood-focused menu of traditional Italian cuisine amid seafaring memorabilia and on the breezy garden terrace. A typical Genovese trattoria, Tralalêro offers gourmet but unfussy Ligurian classics for lunch and dinner. Located beneath the lobby’s soaring ceiling, the cigar-bar–style Bar Royale is one of Genoa’s most elegant cocktail bars, complete with leather wingback chairs and a piano. An extensive breakfast buffet is also served daily. Spa and gym details: In addition to a small, modern gym, the hotel is home to the La Spiaggia Segreta wellness center, which offers a full range of massages and treatments in addition to a thermal pool, aromatherapy showers, sauna, and a rooftop solarium with two hot tubs. Fitness fanatics can also book the Gym Suite, which has an in-room treadmill.
Who it's best for: Luxury lovers who appreciate whimsy and Old World charm. Our favorite rooms: Each room at the Grand Hotel Savoia is uniquely decorated in nautical and historic Genoa themes, which means that each has its own distinct charm, but the harbor-facing suites are the largest and most decadent. Good to know: On Thursday evenings, the rooftop is transformed into Settimocielo, a themed aperitif bar overlooking the city.