…is Grand Hotel Portovenere on the Bay of Poets, Liguria
– according to Richard Bangs from the Huffington Post.
The Top 10 List is called “Richard’s Picks: Best Hotels in the World for Fall, 2015” and collects hotels with “qualities that make a stay utterly comfortable, meaningful and unforgettable, so much so that you can check out, but you can never leave. At least in your memory”.
Who is Richard Bangs? He has “often been called the father of modern adventure travel, having spent decades as an explorer; leading first descents of 35 rivers around the world including the Yangtze in China and the Zambezi in Africa. […] Richard has authored over 19 books, 1000s of magazine articles, produced a score of documentaries, and currently produces and hosts a series of public TV specials” (Huffington Post).
The list includes hotels in Ireland, Slovenia, USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, France and – of course – Italy, represented by the boutique Grand Hotel in the seaside village of Portovenere.
Here is an excerpt of Richard’s observations and experience:
“…[the Instagramification of travel pics makes] everything more ridiculously luscious than anything in unfiltered real life. These days I rarely find an actual view that matches its photos.
The Grand Hotel is the exception. Opening the floor-to-ceiling French windows, on the third floor, I look out to what no Renaissance painter ever adequately rendered, the hyper-blue Portovenere Bay, its bawdy harbor, a piazza free of any structured brush work, and the marine gateway to the Cinque Terre. In the glow of the afternoon light, it’s more like a movie set than real life.
Originally cast as a Franciscan convent in the 13th century, the structure fell into disrepair when Napoleon laid claim and closed the churches. That was a spell ago, and now, newly renovated, The Grand is the central jewel in the case sometimes called The Poet’s Bay, evoking Lord Byron’s swimmingly sybaritic time here.
But the views are not merely to be guzzled from the sea-breezed room, or the dinner terrace while sipping a chilled rosé and noshing bread dipped in the local olive oil.
Within steps is the quay where boats excurse to the Cinque Terre; down the street a parade of tall, thin, terratetto apartments, colored like Christmas toys, march to the sea, buttressed by bars and cafes padding with cats. Cats have a knack for finding cozy, and they prove it here, throughout this World Heritage Site.
At the end of the village courtyard, steep steps spiral upwards, with a medieval castle on one side, a copse of olive trees and dry stone walls the other. […] Beyond there is a flight of blue infinity, and with a turn around, a look back down to the rose facciata, arches, and frescoes of a hotel so dauntingly good it would make a dragon want to retire.”
To read the entire article, see
To learn more about Richard Bangs, visit his website
To learn more about the Grand Hotel, visit portoveneregrand.com