Belmond, now under ownership of LVMH, has been busy behind the scenes preparing for a 2021 return to travel. We hear that Splendido Mare, a Belmond Hotel, in Portofino, Italy reopens on April 16 with a full renovation by Paris design agency Festen Architecture. “The Mare” is the first to be renovated under the LVMH ownership; each of the hotel’s 14 rooms and suites have been locally sourced for furnishings and fixtures that speak to the tiny property’s location right in the heart of Portofino’s chic harborfront. One of the suites is inspired by Ava Gardner, who was a frequent visitor to the guest house when filming “The Barefoot Contessa” in 1954 with Humphrey Bogart.
Splendido Mare will also have commissioned pieces by Italian artist Gabriele Cappelli, known for his modernist simplicity. Cinematic photography and abstract pieces by Ligurian artists have also been selected for their portrayal of the destination, its history and landscape.
We’re anxiously hearing if Splendido Mare’s glorious sister, Hotel Splendido, which is up the hill and overlooks the beautiful Portofino Bay, has any renovation news in the works.
Separately, Belmond said it has new routes aboard the famed Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for the 2021 season. Known for its “slow travel” experiences throughout Europe aboard Art Deco carriages, the train has five new boarding points in Rome, Florence, Geneva, Brussels and Amsterdam that provide for unique itineraries.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will also debut three new Grand Suites this season, bringing the total to six. The new suites — Vienna, Prague and Budapest — will have private bathrooms with showers, double beds and a living area with underfloor heating. A personal 24-hour cabin steward, free-flowing champagne, in-suite dining and private transfers to and from the train are also included. Tip: Travel advisors can charter one of the Grand Suite carriages for their client (think, a private takeover of the three Grand Suites) for ultimate luxury and privacy.