My wife and I stayed here from May 6 - May 8, 2012 and are still working our way through Italy. Of all the places we have stayed, this was the most disappointing. After a 9 hour flight and a 3 hour car ride, we were excited to get to Portovenere. It was absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, we were greeted by a gruff (rude is too strong, but indifferent and off-putting would be about right) desk clerk who acted like we were inconveniencing her from the moment we walked in. My take on it is that The Grand knows that it is one of the only places to stay in town, and therefore, needs only to do the bare minimum when it comes to customer service. (While Portovenere is somewhat small, the hotel couldn't be more ideally located.)
A couple of other significant points: 1. The beds are terrible. They are hard as a rock, even by Italian/European standards. 2. They charge for internet. It is not cheap or even reasonable. 5 euro for an hour (there are other options: 30 mins or 24 hours). Every other hotel we have stayed in from Florence to Montepulciano to Positano offers it at no charge (e.g., Hotel Davanti - Florence, Villa Cicolina - Montepulciano, and Hotel Marincanto - Positano). 3. They also charge for parking, which they do state on their website. What I would say for people unfamiliar with the area is that there are other good hotels that do not charge for parking in the area, so you should consider diverting from TripAdvisor ratings when it comes to thinking of where to stay in the Portovenere area. 4. Breakfast - I am not a big breakfast person, but my wife is. The breakfast is mediocre compared to the other places listed above, but admittedly it is good that they do not charge for it.
Bottom line - The lack of hospitality and poor customer service made this a really bad way to start our honeymoon. I am not that picky, but we splurged on our hotel choices given it was our honeymoon, and this was our only choice that I wish I had to do over again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.