“A 6-room hideaway with soaring views and gourmet food, perched high above the Cinque Terre in an authentic Ligurian village”
The 6 rooms, named after members of Otto III’s family, have a charming mix of antiques and homely comforts. Expect squishy chairs, wooden desks and carved beds beneath gnarled 17th-century beams, plus shuttered windows that open onto a slice of that wonderful view. Many have sofas that can be converted into 2 extra beds.
Ottone III and Adelaide are both painted in a delicate duck-egg blue; the latter can become a twin on request. Teofano is a 2-room suite decked out in spring-like pinks and greens, with a double bed and a sitting room that can be made up as an additional bedroom. We stayed in Silvestro II, a cosy space in sunshine yellow, with an armchair gazing out at the distant sea. The other 2 rooms have been added since our last visit. Created by interior designer Alberto Ratti, they have a stylish, more minimal take on rustic charm, with contemporary lighting, curtained wardrobes and whitewashed walls.
All rooms have snazzy ensuites, some with grey marble tiles and bathtubs, others with walk-in showers; Teofano’s is clad is colourful mosaics. You also get all manner of teas and coffees to brew, and piles of books to browse.
Dinner, served in the intimate stone-walled restaurant or under a vine-tangled pergola outside, is a real treat. Mary (who trained with renowned former chef Luca) is passionate about Ligurian food, taking inspiration from the changing seasons to produce creative twists on local specialities. You get the choice between à la carte and a 5-course tasting menu, and everything we sampled was mouth-wateringly good - a fondue-like mix of spinach and pecorino, spaghetti with the freshest of clams, a silky-smooth panna cotta doused in chocolate. Mary is also extremely knowledgeable about all things wine-related and will recommend the perfect pairing for each course, as well as serving up an aperitivo to savour before your meal (on the house if you book through i-escape).
Breakfast is another spread of local delights - organic cheeses, cured hams, still-warm focaccia, jam and marmalade, and a freshly baked ‘cake of the day’. It’s best eaten outside so you can linger over the view.
Lunch isn’t served, though chances are you’ll be out and about anyway. Bear in mind that Sunday is Mary's night off, but picnics (savoury pies, salami, fresh fruit) can be ordered to enjoy in your room or on the terrace.
Despite the tranquil atmosphere, children are warmly welcomed. Four of the 6 rooms can accommodate additional guests, and Mary is happy to tailor meals. That said, the stone steps, steep drops and bumpy path to the village mean it’s not best-suited to roaming toddlers or babies in pushchairs.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Ottone III, Adelaide and Gregorio all have sofas which can convert into 2 extra beds for children; Adelaide and Gregorio can be made up as twins on request, and Gregorio can interconnect with double room Zoe. Teofano has a living room which can be made up as an additional single or twin bedroom. Baby cots are available, too.