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“Great location and great potential”

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Imperiale Palace Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 5, 2011

My wife and I stayed here for 4 nights in late September 2011. The location and the views are fantastic. It's a turn of the century hotel that really has the potential to be something special. We sucked it up and booked one of the terrace suites and the terrace alone was worth it. Big, marble, with 270 degree views up and down the coast including views of the SML harbor. 2 lounge chairs plus a round table and chairs. Perfect for sipping wine at the end of the day or for sneaking in a late afternoon nap.

The room was very large as was the bathroom. The shower stall, however, was like a phone booth (the tub also has a hand shower option if you get claustrophobic).

The grounds were very well kept and from the outside it was really a striking place. As others have noted, the interior was a bit worn. For instance, the doors in our room that opened out to the terrace were warped and rubbed against the floor, and the walls in the room had scuffs from luggage banging against them. The furnishings were period pieces and they showed some wear. A small flatscreen TV with a handful of channels (none in English), no radio or audio system, and no clock but I guess that's what a smartphone is for. Our entry door was also tough to open and close. If the management/owners spent some money on an interior refresh and upkeep it would really elevate this place (to be fair, we stayed at the end of the season so it's possible that the touch-ups are taken care of when the hotel shuts down for a few months).

Besides the great views, the hotel is just a short walk from the town of SML. It was an easy and worthwhile 5 minute trek both day and night. SML is really a great little town and we were very happy that we chose this location instead of our original plan to stay in Rapallo. SML also provides you with an option to take the train (also more or less a 5 minute walk from the hotel) or a boat (maybe more like 10-15 minutes to walk around the harbor) to Cinque Terre.

I saw some references to the pool and want to raise awareness that most people elect to skip the pool and instead continue down the property to the sea (another 1 or 2 flights of stairs down). Lounge chairs are laid out for guests with umbrellas and waiter service, and if it gets too hot you can cool yourself off in the sea. We only went down there one day but really enjoyed it.

Besides breakfast (included), food at the hotel is expensive. We had lunch at the pool restaurant one day (it was good), but chose to dine in town for our other meals. The food prices were about 2x at the hotel.

US standards of hotels are different from Italian standards so a 5 star rating in the US is not the same as a 5 star rating in Italy. In Italy, it's more of a comparison of core services (multi-lingual staff, 24 hour desk, ...) as compared with luxury and service ratings. So if you are American and compare the Imperiale Palace against a universal 5 star property like Hotel Splendido you will quickly come to realize that beyond the views these places are not in the same league. Neither are the room rates though.

Overall, the views are what made the place. It's a little worn inside, the staff is pretty friendly and helpful, and the convenient location to town make the Imperiale a worthwhile consideration.

Room Tip: We stayed in suite 226. The ceiling of the bedroom is an impressive fresco with a 6 foot wide Muran...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank D P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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156 - 162 of 357 reviews

Reviewed September 29, 2011

I nice location but the hotel is very tired and can use a renovation of the grounds. The bathrooms are so small that 2 people cannot stand in there at the same time. They only give basic products (shampoo, lotion) I had to ast for a shower cap. Old hair dryers that barely works and and old A/C system, old beds. The pool area was old and looked like it was stuck in the 1950's. It felt like a 3 star hotel at best. I would not stay there again.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank nyer_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2011

A wonderful location with a fantastic private rocky 'beach' looking out over the bay. Also a great terrace and good breakfast. Having said that, the rest of the experience is so-so. Staff v helpful but not enough of them. Restaruant way over priced and average (wine too). I heard it has a new owner who sees it as a money machine. My room was a junior suite. Actually a normal double room with - it has to be said - amazing view. The busy road that separates hotel from the beach is artfully disguised in the website pictures. That said, there's a bridge over the road and I wasnt aware of any noise during the night. Come on, Imperiale, up your game, you could be an amazing hotel if you really cared.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled solo
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4  Thank david_pearl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2011

Our family loved loved loved it here. Yes it is very expensive. but so beautiful and elegant. Our kids loved the pool, fun to go in the ocean. It is the perfect example of old world european elegance. We were lucky that the school in italy were not out so the town, hotel and pool were not that crowded. Lovely breakfast. The staff was very nice and helpful. they didnt have maps to give us to get to restaurants - that was the only thing that would have been helpful. I look forward to returning - it was the most relaxing part of our European adventure.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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Thank SFMarian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2010

We were in this hotel with my husband and my child for a short trip...we wanted a heated pool for my daughter....We arrived in a huge oldy hotel, with a poor reception service, bad information, very very old garniture....and so cold atmosphere my god!!! it looked like this hotel hasn't changed since years 1960 !!!It looked like the hotel in the film La Vita è Bella.....60 years ago! poor insonorisation, we could hear every floor, we could see light under the room door!...No electric plug!!! just one at the floor level, impossible to have it switched with the phone battery if opening the door , because no space for the door ! Bathroom was correct and clean. Bead was comfortable.
The petit déjeuner was poor too : only 2 kinds of bread... There were 3 varieties of cheese. Croissants with jame , pains au chocolat, muffins. Salmon and eggs. Poor fresh fruits. Natural Yogurts only. Fruit juices and water. Cereals, milk. That's all. Nothing to see with 5 stars hotel I've been before : OLD OLD OLD!!!! and Cold atmosphere, above all in the dining room!!!
Beautiful view from the terrace and beuatiful garden. BUT, the swiming pool water was so cold that we could not use it! we brought our daughter for the pool!!! the private sea shore was interesting, but no sand, impossible for the child to play there! Restaurant : We paid 28 euros for ONE club sandwich!and it was small. and 7 euros for a bottle of water....
We asked to live earlier, but they did'nt arrange it, even though my daughter was ill and my husband sick ! The reception was poor, no real answer to our claims, this is definetly NOT a 5 stars, I would put 3 stars. I won't return there!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank liliwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2010

I booked this hotel despite it being double the price of other 5 stars in the vicinity as I wanted a very special hotel to celebrate my husband's birthday. This was a surprise present and I wanted to be sure the quality and service would not disappoint. Alas, this was not to be and here is why.
Externally the hotel has a wow factor, fantastic imposing position and a beautiful building
The reception area is nice, not great, but with no wow factor or flowers
All the staff give a basic service, rarely with a smile, and there is an almost dour attitude
The room key didn't fit the lock accurately and it sometimes took 5 minutes to enter our room - despite complaining - nothing was done and it materialised that it was already known to the staff - previous guests had complained too!
The pool/beach area was okay, nothing special - and noisy maintenance was carried out whilst we were trying to relax
It was impossible to get a snack by the pool on arrival (3pm) as the chef had gone off duty - Some very stale peanuts, cheesy biscuits and olives were produced
After being promised a hand held hair dryer soon after arrival (2pm) (I have an aversion to elephant trunk hair dryers). I was then told on return from the pool at 5pm that I would have to wait until the next day as the store cupboard had been locked for the night. After a big fuss (who needs that on a romantic break) they managed to find the key and the hair dryer arrived.
The air conditioning in the room did not work and it was impossible to sleep with the window open as the hotel (like most on the Italian Riviera) is on the main road. I was told this was because it had only just turned warm in the last few days!
The rooms have basic shampoo and bath wash only. Not even basic body lotions provided by most 4 stars! When I asked for some body lotion, two small cheap and nasty little bottles arrived for my 3 night stay
The breakfast was adequate during the 3 night stay, but on the Sunday morning - when the hotel had more guests following a wedding - a truly five star breakfast was on offer!
Complaints to all staff were greeted with an air of complacency - a request to meet the manager of the hotel was ignored and a meeting with the Manager of front desk given and on insistence a meeting with the Assistant Manager who was totally unsympathetic, but did agree that perhaps they should offer a few more cosmetics in the rooms!
My advice, DON't stay here - it is very high on price, very low on service and a great disappointment.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Yvonne W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2010

Ultimate luxury, very convenient location for bathing, dining, and travel to Cinque Terre (by train) and Portofino (by boat).

Stayed: October 2008, traveled with friends
Thank AdelaideP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Imperiale Palace Hotel

Address: Via Pagana 19, 16038, Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Liguria > Italian Riviera > Santa Margherita Ligure
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure
#6 Luxury Hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure
#10 Romantic Hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure
Price Range: $390 - $792 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Imperiale Palace Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 97
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Also Known As:
Hotel Imperiale Palace

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