Liguria Design Villa

Castiglione Chiavarese, Liguria, Italy Book from Eur571

Reviewed by Abi Dare
A luxurious rental for 4-11 with sweeping views, a sparkling pool and Scandinavian-inspired interiors, set in a hilltop village a short drive from beaches
Perched eyrie-like on the edge of sleepy little Castiglione Chiavarese, only 10km from the Ligurian coast, this smart lemon-yellow villa was rescued from ruin by Milan-based architect Monika, who had long searched for a weekend escape. She cleverly modernised the interiors without losing any of the original character, moving walls, adding a sleek new staircase, and transforming the ground floor into a vast open-plan living space with a gleaming kitchen and a 2-way fireplace. On the floors above she created 5 light-flooded bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, along with a lounge and a snug tucked into the eaves.

The whole place is filled with an eye-catching blend of contemporary art and vintage Scandinavian furniture that contrasts beautifully with the old beams and exposed-stone walls, but it’s the outside space that will really take your breath away. There are flower-filled gardens, orchards, and views which plunge down wooded valleys to the Med shimmering far below. A rim-flow pool sits in a converted cistern, and terraces face in every direction so you can chase the sun (or shade). In short, it’s spacious, stylish and extremely spoiling - the perfect spot for special celebrations or extended gatherings with family and friends.

Highs

  • A stunning setting with panoramic views over mountains and sea
  • Ideally placed for exploring Liguria - Portofino, Camogli, Genoa and the famous Cinque Terre are all within easy reach
  • Swish interiors with design classics by the likes of Hans Wegner, Kaare Klint and Patricia Urquoia
  • A top-spec kitchen, plus a daily maid service. Shops and trattorias are a short walk away, and Monika can arrange a chef
  • Great for older kids and teenagers, who can find space to themselves. They’ll love the attic snug with its TV and DVD player

Lows

  • Unprotected drops and open-sided stairs mean children under 8 aren't allowed
  • A 7-night minimum stay, with Saturday changeovers only
  • Full payment required in advance, plus a fairly strict cancellation policy
  • Approached via a narrow, single-track lane, with a tight turn from the main road - don’t bring a large car
  • It can be tricky to find, so bring your detailed directions (provided when you book through i-escape)

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are beautiful in Liguria, with sunny days, balmy evenings and verdant countryside. The nearby coast is packed with tourists during July and August, but the villa is a tranquil retreat away from the crowds. It also makes a wonderful winter escape, with plenty of indoor space plus a fireplace to lounge by.

Our top tips

Take the boat (or hike) from Camogli or Portofino to the magnificent 13th-century abbey at San Fruttuoso, sandwiched between forest and sea. The beach next to it is a wonderful spot for picnics and swimming.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 5
  • Self-catering (chef on request)
  • Ages 8+ welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

You’ll spend most of your time on the ground floor - an airy flagstoned space with doors opening onto the terraces. A contemporary 2-way fireplace divides the kitchen-diner from a sitting area with comfy low-slung sofas, mid-century modern chairs and shelves of glossy art books; there’s also a loo off the hallway.

The bedrooms - 4 doubles and a twin - are spread over the 2 floors above, along with a further lounge and a loft-like snug. All are decked out with designer lamps, colourful rugs and throws (lime-green in one, cherry-red in another) and modern art; one also has a sofabed that can be made up for an additional guest. The bedrooms share 3 bathrooms with walk-in rainshowers; one has a tub, too.

Dotted throughout the house are quirky pieces, including salvaged farmhouse cupboards and Monika’s father’s old typewriter; we particularly liked the antique sewing machine set in a nook in the kitchen. You’ll also find a washer, dryer, PC and printer in the basement.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Computer
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Printer
  • Satellite tv
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

The house is designed for feasting, with a huge dining table hewn from a single chunk of wood, plus further tables on the terraces outside. One faces east, so you can soak up the sun as you sip your morning coffee; another looks west - perfect for alfresco dinners as the sun sets.

The glossy white kitchen is kitted out with everything you need to cook up a treat: oven, gas hob, microwave, dishwasher, huge fridge-freezer, and all manner of cutlery, crockery and utensils. There’s also further fridge and freezer space in the basement, and a BBQ outside.

There are grocery stores and bakeries a short walk away in the village, together with a couple of simple trattorias. Monika can also arrange for supplies to be waiting for you on arrival, and can book a visiting chef if you’re celebrating something special (or just fancy a night off).

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hit the beach - it’s only a 10km drive to the coast. Monika recommends the beach clubs at Piscina dei Castelli in Sestri Levante, Bagno Jolando in Moneglia and Bagno Arsella near Forte dei Marmi
  • Rub shoulders with the glitterati in Portofino (don’t miss aperitivi and people-watching on the terrace of Hotel Splendido), or visit the pretty town of Camogli with its seafront promenade, bobbing fishing boats and lovely crescent of sand
  • Head along the coast to the famous Cinque Terre, a Unesco-listed string of 5 pastel-coloured villages which cling precariously to the cliffs; our favourite is Vernazza, though all are beautiful. You can take the train or boat from Sestri Levante and then hop between them by rail, boat or footpath
  • Or catch a train in the opposite direction and spend a day exploring Genoa, a gloriously gritty city with ornate palazzi, a revamped waterfront and a warren of atmospheric medieval alleyways
  • Spend an afternoon perusing the shops in Chiavari, a pretty little town 20km from the villa. Market day is Friday, and there's also an antiques market on the second weekend of every month
  • Walk in the hills. Footpaths lead out in all directions from Castiglione Chiavarese

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Although the open stairs and unfenced terraces mean the villa isn’t suitable for children under 8, it’s a great place to bring older kids. There’s enough space for everyone to spread out, and the snug with its TV and DVD player makes a wonderful hideaway for teenagers. The washer and dryer in the basement will also come in handy for families.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

One of the rooms is a twin, and another has a sofabed that can be made up for an extra guest without any additional charge.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Satellite TV and DVD player
  • WiFi, plus computer with internet access

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches
  • Boat trips
  • Aquarium in Genoa

Distances:

  • Airport: 1-hour drive (Genoa)
  • Hospital: 45-minute drive (Lavagna)
  • Shops: 5-minute walk
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for Liguria Design Villa