Design concept: Belmond Splendido Mare, Portofino, Italy

by | 27 Aug 2021 | Design

Our latest TOPHOTELDESIGN exclusive looks at the renovation of a luxury hotel in north-west Italy that once hosted iconic Hollywood film star Ava Gardner.

This Belmond-branded property reopened in April 2021 following a transformation that took place over the course of several months.

A landmark renovation

Architectural practice Discreet Architecture and interior design firms Festen and Tanit collaborated on this eye-catching hotel renovation project, with the help of DPA Lighting Consultants (lighting design) and Apir (hotel product supplier).

Together, the team paid homage to the history of this legendary property, which was originally transformed from a guesthouse for fishermen into a Belmond retreat that retains its sense of place for luxury travellers. Among its most famous visitors is American actress Ava Gardner, who stayed here in the early 1950s while filming The Barefoot Contessa.

This is the first hotel to have been transformed by Belmond since the hospitality company joined LVMH Group in 2019.

Locally inspired design

To create a sense of connection between Belmond Splendido Mare and the history and landscape of this enticing area of Italy, the designers used emblematic Ligurian pastel tones in accent ceilings, with amber and sea green then featuring throughout each room, along with white and yellow tiles in the bathrooms.

The property as a whole embraces a nautical feel, with the 7,000 terracotta tiles of the restaurant referencing the undulating water, and wood traditionally used for the boats of Portofino harbour helping to decorate the 14 rooms and suites. Within the guestrooms, headboards come with a rope pattern, and the design of the wooden floors is reminiscent of the local San Giorgio church, while attractive furnishings range from the walnut armchairs of Guglielmo Ulrich to table lamps by Oscar Torlasco.

Materials such as Carrara marble and Murano glass are sourced from across Italy and the curated collection of artworks includes cinematic photography. Adding to the overall look and feel, Milan-based fashion designer Arthur Arbesser designed the stylish staff attire, drawing inspiration from the changing colours of the sea.

For more info about this scheme, and to view an extensive gallery of hi-res images, check out Belmond Splendido Mare’s project page on the TOPHOTELDESIGN website.

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