If you are looking for a super off-the-beaten-path option for a hotel in the Genoa area, stay a few nights at the La Cervara Abbey set high on the mountain between Santa Margherita and Portofino.
Super posh, and super exclusive (maybe one night is enough??), this stunning Abbey has a few overnight guest rooms - include one tucked into the old tower that once held King Charles V of Spain prisoner in 1525. With sweeping views of the water, this hotel is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and a wonderful way to be centrally located to enjoy all the activities of the Portofino promontory (ie hiking, watersports, shopping, etc.).