Best Luxury Hotels in the Italian Riviera

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The Italian Riviera has been a travel destination for centuries. Many of its finest hotels -- a 1600s palace, a historic hillside villa, a turn-of-the-last-century resort that attracted Rita Hayworth and Ernest Hemingway -- splendidly capture the region's age-old allure. Take a look at the best luxury hotels in the Italian Riviera.

  1. Dating back to 1872, this 126-room hotel is classically elegant, with lavishly furnished rooms and plenty of old-world charm. A short walk from the town center, the Royal Hotel Sanremo has gorgeous sea views, a big outdoor saltwater pool, and modern spa with sauna and hot tub. The hotel lacks a private beach and some rooms are in need of renovation, but there is a lovely restaurant and bar with live piano music on-site. 

  2. The 99-room Melia Genova is an upmarket hotel filled with fine Italian marble, smart Art Deco touches, and modern pieces by renowned Italian artists. The hotel has an imposing facade and interiors are understatedly luxurious. Set in a quieter neighborhood away from "Old Town" Genova, the hotel is still within walking distance of many major attractions. Rooms are fresh and bright with marble bathrooms, but the spa is a little small for an upscale property.

  3. Built in 1897, this 117-room hotel exudes grandeur, but also has quirky and modern touches, like its themed suites and hot tubs on a rooftop terrace. It’s directly across the street from the main railway station and is a short walk to the Old Port, though there is not much in the immediate area. Its on-site Tralalero Trattoria and Bar Royal both have an old-world, clubby feel. 

  4. The 129-room Excelsior Palace Hotel is perched high above the Ligurian Sea with sweeping views. First opened in 1901 under a different name, this hotel has rooms and suites with antique furniture and gold accents creating an elegant and romantic feel, though some less renovated rooms have worn carpet instead of nice hardwood floors. There is an outdoor infinity pool, indoor heated pool, and rocky beach area on-site. Located a short walk from the town of Rapallo, the hotel has a convenient location, but dozens of stairs must be climbed to reach the entrance.

  5. The Domina Home Piccolo is a modernized historic villa perched on a hillside overlooking the Portofino Gulf. This charming property has a garden leading to private sunbathing terraces and its own pebbly beach (complete with drinks service). Rooms are tasteful but can be on the small side; get one with a big balcony facing the sea to make the most of the location. There is an on-site restaurant and Portofino village is only five minutes away on foot, but note that local winding roads can be dangerous for pedestrians. 

  6. The Hotel Europa is an upscale hotel set in an ornate shell-pink building that dates back to the 1600s. It’s in the perfect location for seeing Rapello, as it’s set opposite the historic castle, and it's a short walk to all of the town’s main attractions, including the beach. Equally alluring are the beautiful gardens and excellent on-site spa, which includes an indoor hydromassage pool, Finnish sauna, hot tub, and steam bath. There’s also a small fitness center, and bikes can be rented from the hotel. The 58 rooms are individually decorated and have a traditionally elegant decor in neutral shades; some rooms have been renovated and are a touch more modern and fresh. Some guests find the walls a little thin, as noise from neighboring rooms can often be heard. 

  7. The 61-room, upscale Grand Hotel Alassio is a historic and stylish beachfront property with excellent sea views right in the center of the Italian Riviera town of Alassio. Contemporary rooms have light wood accents and a beachy minimalism throughout, plus rainfall showerheads and sea or mountain views. Some rooms have large living areas and balconies or terraces with seating. The stylish, full-service Thalassio Spa offers body treatments plus an indoor saltwater pool, steam room, and sauna, and there are several on-site dining and drinking spots plus a free breakfast. The hotel has a private beach that's open to non-hotel guests for a steep fee, and it can be crowded. Wi-Fi and the kids' club are free, but on-site parking costs extra.

  8. This 20-room, upscale hotel is a super-stylish option that sits between Portofino’s beautiful harbor and the lush hillsides surrounding the town. It’s a five-minute walk to the busy Piazzetta, but the Eight Hotel Portofino's gardens and spa give it a distinctively tranquil, away-from-it-all vibe. Rooms are spacious, especially by Italian standards, and have a classy, modern look created by hardwood floors and a sharp gray-and-beige color scheme. Flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and minibars are nice extras, and suites have enormous bathrooms and private terraces. Travelers seeking a pool, fitness center, and an on-site restaurant might want to consider the nearby Belmond Hotel Splendido, which is similarly priced.

  9. The 28-room Hotel de Paris Sanremo is an upscale property set in a classical 19th century building that's been tastefully restored. Rooms are as elegant as the common areas of the building, with refined decor in addition to modern conveniences such as air-conditioning and flat-screen TVs. They also offer stunning views of the sea and the Russian church. The location is convenient and central, with all of the main sights and a gorgeous private beach within easy walking distance (though there's a fee to access the beach). The polished restaurant on-site is one of the best in San Remo, offering traditional Italian and French cuisine. There’s also a bar, spa, and fitness center on-site. 

  10. The upscale 44-room Hotel Riviera dei Fiori is in a quiet, beachfront area of San Lorenzo al Mare, just a 10-minute walk from the town center. Rooms have a bright, contemporary design with beautiful mosaic tile bathrooms plus terraces with sea or garden views. The private, seasonal beach with lounge chairs draws plenty of couples (and a few families) and the hotel also has an on-site restaurant and bar plus a free breakfast buffet. The modern on-site spa includes a steam room and sauna, but use of the facilities costs extra and requires reservations. Wi-Fi and parking are free.

  11. The four-pearl NH Collection Genova Marina is located in the historic old port of Genoa and looks out over the harbor. Gorgeous views of the water can be taken in from the restaurant's outdoor seating area and from the balconies of many of the hotel's sophisticated guest rooms. Its location by the Genoa Aquarium and near the city center makes it ideal for tourists and business travelers alike. The hotel also offers an on-site restaurant, a small gym with modern machines, free Wi-Fi, and a free buffet breakfast, but it lacks a swimming pool. 

  12. Widely considered the best (and most expensive) hotel Monterosso has to offer, the upscale 40-room Hotel Porto Roca has spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding hillsides. Rooms are small and have dated furnishings, but those with seaside balconies are worth the extra cost. The saltwater infinity pool and private beach area are noteworthy features, as is the property’s central location for exploring the other towns of Cinque Terre. If a steep hillside setting is a deal-breaker, consider Il Giardino Incantato; the tiny bed and breakfast doesn't have a pool, but it's a short walk to the beach.

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