Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino Behind the elegant dark wood-paneled reception desk sits a thick, weather-beaten leather-bound book. Among the slightly yellowed pages you’ll find the signatures of many of the historic hotel’s most distinguished guests decades ago: Princess Grace of Monaco, who can be seen strolling by in the mesmerizing black-and-white photographs The hotel’s laid-back restaurant, La. The Terrace restaurant; Ava Gardner even has a suite named after her in the hotel’s sister hotel, the Splendido Mare, a stone’s throw away; Elizabeth Taylor’s Once accepted a marriage proposal from Richard Burton, on the wisteria-covered patio (her favorite dish, tomato pasta with three textures, is still on the menu).
Despite its illustrious pedigree, Splendido was never content to rest on its laurels, as evidenced by the notes left by a recent visitor on the final pages of this book: From Dua · Dua Lipa to Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly. Of course, they were drawn to the building’s incredible setting and history – built on the edge of a verdant cliff overlooking the shimmering What started as a Benedictine monastery, then an Italian baron’s summer residence and finally transformed into a charming hotel in the sparkling Ligurian Sea. — and its consistent discreet and relaxed atmosphere, and its eternal desire to look to the future and adjust its luxurious suites and palatial public spaces accordingly.
To this end, the hotel is currently in the midst of an epic, multi-year restoration and redesign led by Swedish architect Martin Brudnizki. The old luxury hotels of Bloomsbury and The Beekman in New York, as well as countless other hotels, bars, restaurants and private members’ clubs. Known for his flair for revitalizing historic buildings by injecting them with a playful dose of drama and humor, he was an ideal candidate for the project, though he hesitated to call it a redesign per se. “We’re just reviving it for a new era,” he asserts, adding that the goal is for guests to feel like they’re sleeping in a friend’s villa, albeit a very wealthy one. “We wanted it to look like a family-owned house that has been lovingly added to over the years.”
To achieve this authentic, informal, lived-in feel, Brudney Tzky draws inspiration from the region’s many stunning buildings, from La Cervara, a
century monastery with spectacular gardens and now a scenic wedding venue, to two From the panoramic terrace: St. George’s Church, a soaring lemon-coloured church; These details are combined in unexpected ways in the space being renovated to create something that pays homage to traditional techniques and local craftsmanship, while feeling decidedly modern.