120 years of hospitality
The story of the Grand Hotel Bristol begins in 1904. It is winter, at this time the perfect season to enjoy the beaches: showing even bare arms is still considered inappropriate, and the Ligurian coast is a favourite destination for Grand Tours. European tourists, especially British, choose the mild climate to winter in, among the olive trees, mastic trees and myrtles; they let the warm sun caress them, listen to the scents that the wind carries away at sunset. It was in 1904 that the elegant Art Nouveau façade, which still distinguishes the Grand Hotel today, made its appearance amidst the lush Mediterranean nature of the Portofino Coast. The history of this iconic structure, symbol of the Dolce Vita, intersects with the history of the 20th century, which with its historical and political upheavals, its revolutions and its leading figures (from psychoanalysis to cinema, from politics to art) has crossed the threshold of the Grand Hotel several times.
The Nobel Prize for literature André Gide and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius have looked out onto its rooms; it has been the meeting place of choice for heads of state and world powers to sign some of the most important peace treaties; or the natural setting that welcomed artists Adrian Stokes and Charles Buls when they chose to paint the splendid panorama that opened up outside their windows... So much historical wealth is not surprising: not only the Grand Hotel Bristol, but the whole of the Tigullio Gulf has been an important destination both for the unfolding of the Italian and world twentieth century and for the tourism of some of the most famous personalities of the jet-set. Suffice it to say that in the 1950s there was a seaplane that ran the Southampton-Rapallo route. Now that customs and beaches are socially accepted it is summer, and the seaplane lands gently in the gulf. It is not difficult to imagine Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote or Dorothy Gish on board after a stopover on English soil. The sand is hot, from the beaches people are scrambling to see who is hiding behind the hatch that opens. Rumour has it that Mina used to spend her summers right here, treating herself to a relaxing break between concerts.
If the Grand Hotel Bristol has been a landmark of this calibre since its opening, it is due to the Costa family, the building's first owners. Great Corsican entrepreneurs, known even before their empire in the world of cruises for their activities in the hotel, textile and olive oil production sectors, the Costa family had only one goal: to create the most modern hotel in the Gulf of Tigullio, equipping each room with a private bathroom and allowing their guests to move between its different floors by lift. In the decades that followed, the Grand Hotel passed from ownership to ownership until it came into the hands of the Rocchi family, who brought glamour and original allure back to the structure, with an eye to the contemporary.
In over a hundred years, history has passed through the Grand Hotel Bristol; from its windows, the sea has continued to peer out. Today, the Grand Hotel boasts 80 rooms, including 11 suites; guests can enjoy moments of wellness at the Erre Spa (the largest spa in a hotel in Liguria, with an extension of 2,000 square metres), they can choose to dine at sunset at the Le Cupole restaurant, located on the rooftop, enjoy a meal at the Italian bistro La Veranda, or let themselves be tempted by a cocktail and a gourmet pizza by the pool.
La Dolce Vita becomes Dolce Vita 2.0.