Rooftop pool and whirlpool with sundeck and ocean views
Private (rocky) beach across street with loungers
Two restaurants and two bars, including beachside options
Family friendly with kiddy pool and kids' club
Small fitness center with cardio and weight-training equipment
Comprehensive breakfast with seaside views (free with most rates)
24-hour business center and free loaner laptop (when available)
Bike rentals and snorkeling equipment on-site (for a fee)
24-hour front desk, luggage storage, concierge
Private beach is rocky
Can get noisy with tour groups
Annex-building rooms have inferior sea views
The four-pearl Best Western Hotel Regina Elena offers splendid views from a hillside perch overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Common spaces display an Old World sensibility, but guest rooms are minimalist and modern. Its private beach is rocky but not unappealing, fronted by paved flagstones topped with orange loungers. A beachside restaurant and bar add to the appeal. But guests may prefer the boxy rooftop pool with its wooden sundeck, whirlpool, and ocean views. Although this romantic stretch of Italian coastline is favored by couples, the Best Western is family-friendly with a children's pool and kids' club. Another option travelers could consider is the chalet-style Hotel Laurin, which is in the same price range.
An Old World atmosphere, rooftop pool, and private beach drawing a diverse crowd
There's an Old World elegance to the lobby of the Best Western Hotel Regina Elena. Its ceilings are high with well-placed crystal chandeliers, and tasseled drapes frame the large windows. Velvety club chairs and low tables give a spot to enjoy the free coffee, tea, and newspapers on offer. Framed prints and a few oil paintings adorn the walls, and a wooden Art Deco reception desk dominates one corner. At the other end, a lounge holds a leather-paneled bar with stools. And the serene Principessa, the hotel's more formal restaurant, follows this look with bentwood chairs and white tablecloths under an accordion-pleated ceiling. It offers seating inside with large windows facing the sea or on a terrace with sliding-glass partitions. But most guests prefer lingering by the rooftop pool and whirlpool with impressive views of the Ligurian coast, which are even more dramatic at night as the sun goes down over the Gulf of Tigullio and the lights of the nearby towns wink on. Another scenic spot is the hotel's private beach, accessed by an underground tunnel connecting the hotel to the coastline. Down at the rocky beach, topped with orange loungers and green-and-white umbrellas, the more casual La Conchiglia serves lunch and lighter fare with a full bar menu.
The hotel is popular with large tour groups, so common areas can be bustling. Couples are also drawn here for the undeniably romantic Italian coastline, though this hotel is family-friendly, too, resulting in a mixed crowd of guests.
On the road to Portofino in the picturesque village of Santa Margherita
The Hotel Regina Elena is a beautifully scenic area of the Ligurian Riviera, with a rocky coastline strewn with elegant Italian vacation homes full of locals pursuing primo sunbathing. The hotel itself is connected to the beach through an underground tunnel that dips under traffic to reach the rocky shore. This area faces the nationally protected marine area of Portofino. But apart from sun and surf, there are various attractions in the area. The clifftop Cervara Abbey is a three-minute drive away. And the Santa Margherita Ligurian Railway is a six-minute drive; from here, guests can take a train to Castello Brown Villa, a stunning house museum above the harbor of Portofino that's a 21-minute ride by rail or an 11-minute drive. The ferry is a five-minute drive or a 17-minute walk, but there's very little shoulder and traffic can be treacherous. Genoa is a 54-minute drive or 68-minute train ride for those who crave a more urban outing. The hotel rents bicycles for exploring. There are also boat rentals and charters nearby. Genoa Christoforo Colombo Airport is a 40-minute drive or around a two-hour train ride from the hotel.
Streamlined contemporary rooms -- a departure from the Old World look found elsewhere
Unlike the traditional appearance of the rest of the Hotel Regina Elena, the 80 guest rooms are minimalist and stark with bleached wood floors, all white linens, task lighting, and accent pillows in bright pops of color. Some Standard Rooms, many of which are in a building adjacent to the main hotel, have a view of the courtyard. But even the sea-facing rooms here lack the same sightlines as those in the main hotel. Some rooms have sea-view balconies with small tables and chairs and low walls between rooms. Each room has air-conditioning, a well-stocked minibar, an electric kettle (on request), black-out drapes,a clock radio, and turndown service. Irons and ironing boards are on request. The bathrooms, while small in some rooms, are modern with tone-on-tone tiles in the glass-door showers or shower/tub combos. In some, toilets and bidets are separated from the sink and shower areas. Hairdryers, toiletries, magnifying mirrors, and robes and slippers come standard.
Rooftop and kiddy pool, private beach with dining, and elegant bars and restaurants
The hotel's most arresting features are its beach and rooftop pool. The pool and whirlpool, positioned on the rooftop with expansive views, is a popular spot for guests to linger, occupying loungers along its wooden sundeck. The private beach, reached via a private tunnel under the road, is another. There are loungers, umbrellas, and towels. In the tradition of the Italian shoreline, a staff member walks guests to their chairs, sets up umbrellas, provides towels, and takes drink orders. There's also a beachside a restaurant serving lunch and lighter fare and a bar.
Other options for drinking and dining include the elegant bar and full-service restaurant, which serves a free breakfast (with most rates) including, among more traditional fare, an array of cured meats and honey from the mountains of Portofino. Limited room service is available as well, and the lobby offers free coffee and tea along with free newspapers.
The hotel has a small fitness center with cardio and weight-training equipment. For families, there's a kiddy pool, tiny playground, a beachside sandbox, and a kids' club with activities. Bicycles and snorkeling gear are also available for rent.
Two meeting rooms, a conference room, and a computer station are on-site. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, and some guests report that the hotel has, on occasion, loaned them a laptop computer. The concierge can help guests plan day trips or charter boats. The front desk is staffed 24 hours, and luggage storage is free. Laundry and dry cleaning are available for a fee. And guests can request an in-room massage for a fee.
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