Villa Rosmarino

Camogli, Liguria, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Negar Esfandiary
Super-stylised Ligurian palazzo with pool set above the achingly beautiful fishing village of Camogli
Camogli is the last secret of the Italian Riviera, a breathtaking cliffside of yellow and ochre trompe-l'oeil houses and clear blue waters around the peninsula from legendary Portofino, where the Armani and Versace villas sit.

Up above, Villa Rosmarino, built in 1907, is an authentic Genoese palazzo with original mosaic flooring. The pool is set in a lovely garden of magnolia, lemon, tangerine and grapefruit trees, with restful scents of lavender and rosemary. It's been given a thoroughly modern makeover by owner Mario, an ex-advertising exec who gave up Milan for this tranquil hideaway; in its stark simplicity, the main decoration is the collection of contemporary art that came with Mario, including a spectacular cache of Italian vases. A wonderfully stylish base from which to explore the coast - beautiful walks, romantic boat rides, sunset aperitivi - and the absorbing city of Genoa, with its labyrinth of streets and moody bars. The area's cuisine is the icing on the cake.

Highs

  • Location - the only hotel of its kind in this enchanting fishing village, a (steepish) 10-15 minute walk downhill
  • Private collection of paintings, photographs, interesting furniture, art and design books
  • Luxurious bedrooms and ensuites - with resin flooring and some with pancake-size showers
  • Some rather special restaurants a short drive away
  • No need for a car - the coastal trains are brilliant

Lows

  • No in-house dining - just breakfast and, during high season, poolside light lunches
  • No air con and a lack of in-room TV and telephone (a bonus for some)
  • No twin beds
  • Interiors could feel slightly clinical for those who don't relish the immaculate, uncluttered decor
  • The nearest beach (a 10-minute walk downhill) is pebbly - but sunloungers are available

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are particularly glorious times, for the rich colours in nature and the overall light. July and August are busy with Italian holidaymakers and summer jazz, but the position of the villa and its restful atmosphere mean you can escape to the poolside, emerging for the nice evening vibe of dinner in the small towns. Winters are spectacular for absolute quiet.

Our top tips

Don't miss Santa Margherita (10 mins by train or car), with its exclusive shops and the stunning gardens of the Villa Durazzo.

Great for...

Beach
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 6
  • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
  • Ages 8+ are accepted
  • 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
Room: Palma

Rooms

There are 6 very individual rooms - Angolo, Giardino, Grande, Piscina, Palma, and Terrazzo - named according to their position and aspect within the 3 floors of the villa. They're characterised by bold artistic works and furniture, including a marvellous neo-medieval bronze and wood bed in Angolo. All rooms have queen- or kingsize beds with beautiful white linen. Floors are a lovely tan resin, luxurious to walk on, continuing through to ensuite bathrooms tiled in Saint-Hubert natural stone and featuring vast basins carved from Carrara marble, ample shelving and heated towel rails. For extra special showers, book Terrazzo (spectacular view!) or Angolo (well-designed space and large showerhead).

Of the more expensive rooms, Giardino is a suite-like room with 1900s French daybed and original Genoese mosaic flooring; Terrazzo is the only room with a terrace, offering glorious views; Grande is the largest, as you'd expect, with double-aspect views; and Angolo ("corner") has a lovely bed and shower.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The lovely Anna serves breakfast (included) either communally at a designer blood-red glass table, or at individual tables in the garden if you prefer. Expect seasonal fruits, cereal, Italian brioche and breads, delicious locally made organic jams, freshly squeezed orange juice, teas and coffees. Lunch is also available on request during summer.

Other than that, and perhaps an evening aperitivo, no meals are served at the villa - despite its rather beautiful, state-of-the-art kitchen. However, this is more than compensated by the fantastic choice of excellent local (and untouristy) restaurants. Mario will tell you about La Cucina di Nonna Nina and Da Paolo (all within 15 minutes' walk or drive), where you can taste perfection in the form of homemade Ligurian specialties: pansoti con salsa di noci (local pasta with walnut sauce), lasagne al pesto or focaccia al formaggio. Pesto and focaccia both come from this part of Italy, so you can indulge in several variations on the theme; and there's all manner of the freshest seafood and pasta combinations, followed by chocolate and pear or ricotta-filled torte.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the charming village of Camogli, with its fishing harbour, ice cream parlours and the beautifully decorated basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, largest of the town's 5 churches
  • Swim in the clear blue waters, snorkelling to discover plentiful flora and fauna around the rocks; the village has a nice swathe of pebble beach
  • Walk to the magnificent 13th-century abbey of San Fruttuoso (2-3 hours), through forest and panoramic sea views, lunching on the beach there - and, if you're clever, returning by boat
  • Visit the famous "jewel" of Liguria - Portofino - by boat or car, climbing to the very splendid Hotel Splendido for aperitivi and people-watching on the terrace
  • Jump on a train to explore the great city of Genoa and the spectacular architecture of Via Garibaldi
  • Laze by the villa pool and take siestas under the magnolia tree, or retreat to the sanctuary of your room
  • We love this diverse and fascinating corner of Italy, and there's lots more to see and do. For a more comprehensive guide, check out our destination guide

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children over 8 are welcome, but with the tranquil atmosphere and lack of immediate activities, perhaps best to leave them behind for this holiday.

Family friendly accommodation:

Giardino can hold an extra bed - specify requirement when booking.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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