The first property to be renovated under LVMH ownership will revive the alluring spirit of Portofino
Splendido Mare, a Belmond Hotel, Portofino, will reopen on April 16, 2021 following a complete renovation by Paris design agency Festen Architecture. The first to be renovated under the LVMH ownership, the opening of the ‘The Mare’ will revive the timeless allure of Portofino, embraced within a charming guesthouse in the heart of the harbor. Inspired by its maritime heritage, Festen Architecture reinterpreted traditional craftsmanship in contemporary ways, complemented with antique objects and custom furnishings. Rates will begin at $670 plus taxes per night, per room on a bed and breakfast basis.
References to the harbor’s nautical history can be found throughout the property. Each of the 14 rooms and suites feature locally sourced and hand-varnished wood, traditionally used in the fishing and sailings boats that dot the harbor. Rope patterns are woven into the marquetry of the handcrafted headboards by renowned textile designer Véronique de Soultrait. The nautical knot is the emblem of the hotel and is referenced through detailed touchpoints from the bespoke glassware and crockery to the individual room keys. The 7,000 terracotta tiles, handmade by local Ligurian craftsmen and laid in the Chuflay restaurant, feature the undulation of the water to create the feeling of walking on the sea.
With all materials locally sourced and handcrafted, every detail evokes a sense of place. The traditional Ligurian colors of the harbor buildings – a palette of amber, terracotta and sea green – are used to accent the archways and ceilings. The pastel colors are symbolic of the region, having been used to decorate the façades and window shutters for generations. The design of the wooden floor is also inspired by the church of San Giorgio in town. The bathrooms are designed to create a calming sanctuary, pulling inspiration from the neighboring ‘Santa Margherita’ beach cabins. While and yellow geometric tiles form bold striped walls, further enhanced against a pure white Carrara marble floor.
Mid-century modern furnishings celebrate the iconic 1950s era that defined Portofino’s glamorous history and an important time for Italian design. Each guestroom features authentic antiques including fruitwood armchairs by Paolo Buffa and Gio Ponti – selected for their graphic and joyful style. Walnut armchairs by Ulrich Guglielmo and table lamps by Oscar Torlasco evoke a sense of nostalgia, as these pieces were commonly found in Italian family homes. The furnishings are layered with soft Italian fabrics by Loro Piana and Rubelli and the wall lamps are from Murano Glass. One of the suites is inspired by Ava Gardner who personifies mid-century glamour and was a frequent visitor to the guest house when filming ‘The Barefoot Contessa’ in 1954 with Humphrey Bogart.
The eight rooms have been named to reflect each element of the design inspiration. La Marea (tide), Fioco (jib), Gozzo and Riva (boats) reference the nautical heritage, while La Baia (bay), Aurora (new dawn), Libeccio (southwesterly wind) and Tramontana (northerly wind) call on the surrounding beauty and natural phenomena that shape the bay and geography of Portofino.
“We like to work on the transformation of classical spaces – delving into a storied past to conceptualise its future. For Splendido Mare, we are cherishing its humble beginning as a guest house for fishermen and the cinematic setting of Portofino. The redesign evokes a stylish home where contemporary and vintage pieces co-exist to provide a timeless feel. We want guests to feel comfortable, at ease but also feel the historical spirit, and we want them to feel the coherence we try to create between the design of the hotel and its surroundings,“ comments Charlotte de Tonnac, Co-Founder, Festen Architecture.
Splendido Mare will also feature a curated art collection with commissioned pieces by Italian artist Gabriele Cappelli, renowned for his modernist simplicity. Cinematic photography and abstract pieces by Ligurian artists have also been selected for their portrayal of the destination and its iconic history and landscape.
Milanese fashion designer Arthur Arbesser was commissioned to design a stylish attire to reflect the detailed design elements. Recognized by LVMH as an emerging talent in fashion, Arthur is passionate about creating timeless pieces that celebrate the destination. Celebrating a relaxed sophisctication, Arthur created elegant, mid-century modern silhouttes for the uniforms, working with geometric patterns, nautical detailing and botanical references from the Portofino National Park.