The Best Hotels in Genoa

Genoa may get overlooked for more famous Italian cities such as Venice, Rome, and Florence, but it’s a hidden gem for those in the know. The art deco icon, Meliá Génova, makes for a great base for exploration or for a touch of nostalgia book a stay at the Excelsior Palace, home to Italy’s first casino. For a truly grand Italian seaside experience, a classic Ligurian villa overlooking the waters of the Riviera di Levante.

Via Corsica, 4, Genoa
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.
Via Arsenale di Terra, 5, 16126 Genova GE, Italy
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.
Via Roma, 2, 16034 Portofino GE, Italy
In a pastel villa that presides over pine-covered slopes and the deep blue waters of the Ligurian Sea, Belmond Hotel Splendido was a 16th-century monastery before it became a cliff-side luxury hotel at the turn of the 20th century. Today, it is one of Portofino’s most iconic resorts, with 70 sunlit rooms (think herringbone hardwood floors, marble baths, and wrought iron terraces) that have hosted the Duke of Windsor, Ava Gardner, and Catherine Deneuve. You’ll get the VIP treatment while sipping champagne on a sunset cruise aboard the hotel’s Chris-Craft Corsair 36, dining on seabream ceviche at La Terrazza, or indulging in a chamomile footbath at the spa. A shuttle can run you down to intimate sister property Splendido Mare, which overlooks the central Piazzetta and is a dressed-up version of a fishing village pied-à-terre, with 16 whitewashed rooms and its own buzzy restaurant.
Via Enrico Figari, 38, 16032 Camogli GE, Italy
Tucked away on the less-trafficked slopes of Mount Portofino, above the picturesque waterfront town of Camogli and scenic Riviera di Levante, Villa Rosmarino is that Italian friend’s vacation house you’ve been dreaming of. Owners Mario Pietraccetta and Fulvio Zendrini left Milanese corporate life to transform this dilapidated turn-of-the-century palazzo into a midcentury-style oasis with touches of Italian modernism, then moved in permanently, inviting others to experience their personal brand of la dolce vita. The library is outfitted with stylish armchairs, warm wood ceiling beams, and a collection of art and travel books that spans the walls, and the living room’s well-stocked honesty bar is the backdrop for friendly nightcaps. Rooms aren’t numbered, and the sprawling gardens are easy to get lost in. Mario and Fulvio are likely to chat guests up while lounging by the pool or sipping espresso on the balcony, offering their insider knowledge about the area and arranging one-of-a-kind excursions, from visits to secluded beach clubs to rides in their wooden motorboat.
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