Beautiful setting overlooking the sea, a 10-minute walk from the city center
Gorgeous historic property with decadent interiors and high-end services
Elegant rooms with crystal chandeliers, antiques, and marble bathrooms
Many rooms have furnished balconies and/or panoramic sea views
Lovely seawater outdoor pool with bay views and shaded areas
Private beach area on rock platforms with loungers and towel service
Small, pleasant spa offers massages, salon services, and a Turkish bath
Excellent dining options, some with sea views and outdoor spaces
Small fitness room with a handful of machines and natural light
Free outstanding breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking
Four classy meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment
Street-facing rooms may be subject to traffic noise
Entry-level rooms are a tad small for the price
Set on a small bluff overlooking the Ligurian Sea, the 89-room Imperiale Palace Hotel is one of the top luxury properties in the Italian Riviera. Rooms offer a combination of Old-World elegance and modern amenities that makes them comfortable and appealing, with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, minibars, and marble bathrooms. Dining options are varied and excellent, and range between casual lunches by the sea and gourmet dinners in decadent dining rooms with huge arched windows offering pretty views. The hotel offers direct access to the sea via private rock platforms with steps to the water and loungers, and there is also a lovely seawater pool on a separate deck surrounded by pine trees. Families seeking something cheaper and more modern may want to compare rates at the Best Western Hotel Regina Elena.
Renowned historic hotel with lavish interiors and gorgeous outdoors with sea views
First built in 1889 as a private villa for a noble family, the Imperiale Palace is gorgeous inside and out. The stately original building was designed in a beautiful Belle Epoque style, featuring an imposing stone facade with huge windows, arches throughout, and classical balustrades. The lobby is small but decadent, with polished marble floors, a heavy wooden front desk, and small crystal chandeliers, setting the vibe for an intimate, luxurious stay. This classic, elegant style continues in the rest of the common spaces, most notably in the Novecento restaurant, which features huge arched windows offering sea views, beautiful marble floors, and stunning vaulted ceilings decorated with delicate frescoes. Outside, spacious terraces dotted with wrought-iron furniture and umbrellas offer plenty of space to unwind and take in the panoramic sea views, while the seawater pool -- also offering lovely views -- is surrounded by pine trees.
This decadence and Old-World charm has drawn the rich and famous since its opening in the early 20th century. Royals, writers, artists, and international socialites have stayed in the Imperiale Palace’s lavish rooms, dined in its handsome restaurants, and attended events held in its elegant halls. The 1922 Treaty of Rapallo between the Russian Republic and Germany was signed in one of the hotel’s meeting rooms. It is not surprising, then, that the property has some of the highest rates in the area. One of the few hotels that can compare is the Royal Hotel Sanremo, which has a similar feel and vibe, and is as exclusive as the Imperiale. Travelers shopping around for more contemporary property may prefer Hotel Santa Margherita Palace, though it lacks the Imperiale’s charm. Grand Hotel Bristol Resort & Spa is a good alternative for travelers seeking something cheaper; it features classic rooms, an excellent rooftop restaurant, and a large outdoor pool.
10-minute walk from the center of Santa Margherita Ligure
The hotel is located on a bluff above the town of Santa Margherita Ligure, overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Though it is not in the heart of the city center, the Imperiale Palace offers easy walking access to restaurants, bars, and shops in town, most found within a 10- to 15-minute walk of the property. The hotel has its own rocky beach with steps to the water, and there are several other swimming areas within a short walk. This location is also convenient for those wanting to explore the area, be it by car or by public transport -- Santa Margherita Ligure Portofino train station is a five-minute walk from the hotel, and Rapallo and Portofino can each be reached in less than 15 minutes by car. The nearest major airport is in Genoa, about a 50-minute drive away.
Elegant, classic rooms with up-to-date amenities and marble bathrooms
The hotel’s 89 rooms are similar in style to common areas: handsome wooden floors, well-maintained antiques, and rich fabrics give rooms an elegant, luxe feel, while big windows with heavy drapes lend them a palatial vibe. Entry-level rooms are slightly compact for the price, but all other categories are spacious and airy, with enough space for at least a small sitting area with a couple of love chairs, a two-seater sofa, and a coffee table. Suites are the most lavishly decorated of all room types, with stunning vaulted ceilings featuring original frescoes, delicate Murano glass chandeliers, and large wardrobes with classic lines. Some rooms and suites have small balconies with either garden or sea views.
In-room amenities are good without being top-notch: air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, safes, flat-screen TVs, and well-stocked minibars. Marble bathrooms are spotless and traditional, featuring spacious sink areas, big mirrors, bidets, and shower/tub combos with fabric curtains. Toiletries include shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, body lotion, and hand soap, and hairdryers are provided in all rooms, along with robes and slippers.
Light sleepers may want to request a room in the back of the building, as the street running in front of the property can be busy and loud.
Excellent dining options, outdoor pool, spa, gym, and event space
Novecento is the hotel’s main restaurant, serving up gourmet Mediterranean cuisine in a gorgeous dining room with huge windows overlooking the bay. A wonderful breakfast buffet is served outdoors (weather permitting) every morning free of charge, offering a wide array of cold and hot options, including made-to-order eggs. Le Vele Grill serves up snacks, cocktails, and light lunches in a casual atmosphere by the beach, while Caffe del Trattato is a good spot for an aperitif or a coffee in a more formal space.
Tucked away among pine trees, the outdoor saltwater pool is pleasant and relaxing, with sea views, loungers, and umbrellas. Although small and a tad limited, the spa offers a full body treatment menu, along with salon services, a Turkish bath, and private yoga classes. The gym is also small, but features enough cardio and strength-training machines for a quick workout. The hotel is a popular wedding and event venue, and it has four meeting spaces, including a large terrace with sea views. Outdoor parking is available for free.
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