Located within close proximity to Monte Carlo and Nice, France, Sanremo, Italy is a great choice for a weekend getaway.
We had heard about the Sanremo Music Festival (sanremofestival.info) that takes place every year in February, but that is all we knew about this famous seaside destination.
Arriving at the Nice airport from Zurich, we hired an Uber to take us to the Royal Hotel Sanremo, about an hour away. This would be our home base for 5 days as we explored Sanremo and got to know more about this fascinating part of Italy.
Opened in 1872, it has been home to famous European royalty, high society, and celebrities throughout its history. Their guests have included: Maria Callas, Sofia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Miles Davis, Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Elton John, and Liza Minnelli, among many, many others.
With a prime location just minutes from the beach and the center of town on the “Italian Riviera of Flowers,” the Royal Hotel Sanremo, with its own subtropical park, sea-water swimming pool, and splendid views of the Mediterranean, offers guests a perfect blend of timeless elegance, modern comforts, warm hospitality, and personalized service.
Our ocean front suite overlooked the pool and the sea, and was framed by a huge pine tree just outside our window. This vista and location made us feel like we were staying in our own private Italian villa.
The hotel features 127 rooms and 14 suites, and amenities include 24-hour room service, twice-daily housekeeping, in-house laundry and dry-cleaning service, Wi-Fi, convenient USB ports, air-conditioning, an in-room safe, minibar, and plush bathrobes and slippers, which come in very handy when visiting the spa.
The state-of-the-art spa features high-end treatments, massage, a wet zone with large hydro massage pool, a Turkish bath, and relaxation area with herbal teas and juices.
We began each morning feasting on an amazing breakfast in the stunning Restaurant Fiori di Murano with its unique glass flower chandeliers and panoramic view of the sea. Their buffet breakfast is one of the best we have experienced in our travels, and they are quick to restock everything as quickly as needed. Many mornings, the owner was in the dining room having his own breakfast, all the while making sure his guests were happy. If you prefer dining al fresco, during the warmer months tables are set up in the garden where you can enjoy the natural beauty all around you.
Every day we also made sure to swim in the hotel’s one-of-a-kind pool. The salt-water swimming-pool was designed by Giò Ponti in 1948 and it was one of the first hotel pools in Europe. Featuring a deck with a mosaic of stone tiles, a bridge to cross from one side to the other, tropical landscaping, and stunning views of the Mediterranean, this is a true oasis.
When it comes time to explore Sanremo, you will appreciate the hotel’s convenient location close to many of the areas local attractions. These include the Casino, Russian Orthodox Church, Borea d’Olmo Ducal Palace, Villa Nobel, Villa Ormond with its botanical garden, two marinas, and a yacht club. While we were there, the Royal Hotel Sanremo help arranged a private sunset cruise for us.
After your daily excursions, enjoy lunch, cocktails, or dinner at the hotel. Restaurant Corallina is perfect for an informal lunch, while in the evening, you can have cocktails in the Bar delle Rose with live music. Afterwards, head to Il Giardino for a refined candlelit dinner on the terrace overlooking the sea.
Our dinner at Il Giardino was both romantic and palate pleasing. Order a glass of prosecco and enjoy a mouthwatering appetizer. Perhaps the seared octopus with pumpkin flower cream, lime, and ginger, or cuttlefish carpaccio with sprouts and mango chutney. For our main courses we savored the heavenly sole with capers, lemon, and parsley, and the lamb shoulder stuffed with plums, chestnuts, and aromatic herbs.
End your evening with a stroll along the beachfront promenade, then return to the Bar delle Rose for a vodka martini, shaken not stirred.
While exploring the city, we discovered some places close to the Royal Hotel Sanremo that you may want to visit during your stay. Located just a few blocks away on a pedestrian-only street, there is an enjoyable café in front of the Hotel Nazionale (sanremohotelnazionale.com) that is perfect for people watching, strong drinks at great prices, and delicious free appetizers.
For dinner, we highly recommend Buena Vista (ristorantebuenavista.it). The staff here made us feel at home, and everything we tasted was delicious. Combining Argentinean and Italian cuisine, this is a culinary experience that we truly enjoyed, and so did many of the other LGBTQ people who were dining there. Start with a couple of choices from their Tapas del Giorno menu, including: avocado with prawns, a croquette with Iberico Ham, or a Spanish tortilla. The food here includes so many great choices, from salads to antipasti to fish and perfect pasta to delectable grilled meats.
If you like to walk after dinner like we do, you will find some great options for a postprandial promenade. One of our favorite was to walk along the docks in Porto Vecchio, checking out the inspiring array of boats, and trying to decide what type we would like to have if we lived somewhere on the Mediterranean.
Keep in mind that wherever you walk in Sanremo you are most likely going to find many steps and hills. This was particularly apparent while we were exploring the Medieval Old Town one day. Its narrow labyrinthine streets and ancient buildings are a must see, and the Royal Hotel Sanremo will gladly arrange a walking tour for you.
Whether you decide to visit Sanremo for their annual music festival, or a long, romantic weekend, the Royal Hotel Sanremo combines one-of-a-kind experiences and Italian hospitality that will have you saying “la vita è bella” (life is beautiful)!