The Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi is equally great for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. It’s hard not to relax in the midst of the laidback Mediterranean vibes in Camogli. It is important to note that the hotel–and Camogli in general–has a lot of staircases, which means it’s not particularly accessible for differently-abled people.
How to get there:
By air: The closest airport is Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA), which is only 30-40 minutes away by car or train. However, the Genoa airport only has flights available from within Italy and a few other European countries. The most accessible international airports are Milan-Malpensa (MXP) and Rome-Fuimicino (FCO), which both have train routes to Camogli.
By train: The Camogli train station is basically one stairwell away from the hotel (or about two blocks if you want to avoid the stairs). It’s around 4.5-5 hours by train from Rome and 2.5-3 hours from Milan; typically a quick change at a nearby station is necessary.
Driving: The hotel has a free, private parking lot in front of the hotel. Other parking in Camogli is hard to come by, but nearly everything is within a short walking distance of the hotel.
Best time to go:
The main tourist season in Camogli is May through September. Outside of those months, a lot of businesses close. Summer in Camogli is hot, but typically the coastal climate is milder than the inland cities of Rome, Florence, and Milan.
The hotel sits at the end of the main promenade in Camogli, just at the base of the mountainous Portofino peninsula. Whether by foot or by car, guests arrive in a lush courtyard filled with bougainvillea, gardenias, and palm trees. The front desk provides a quick and pleasant check in experience. Guestrooms are found in both of the connected buildings–one bright pink and one yellow–that match the rest of the brightly painted town. From the restaurants and pool deck, you can see up the coast toward Genoa and out toward the huge expanse of azure sea dotted with sailboats and cruise ships. Below the hotel, two private beaches are lined with sunbeds and umbrellas.
We stayed in a standard room (without sea view) on the mezzanine level of the pink building. The standard rooms are pretty typical of European size standards–small, but not claustrophobic for two people–at a little over 200 square feet. The rooms are outfitted with quality furniture, wooden floors, and beautiful moldings.
The hotel provides most of the amenities you’d expect of a 4-star hotel: wifi, minibar, phones, safe, air conditioning, hairdryer, robe and slipper (only missing a coffee/tea maker). Our small bathroom had a shower, toilet, bidet, and vanity with custom-branded toiletries. We also got a complimentary outlet adapter from the front desk for charging our electronics.
All of the hotel’s restaurants boast panoramic sea views.
Il Doge, the nicest of the hotel’s restaurants, serves regional cuisine and wine in a white tablecloth setting. This is the only restaurant that’s open year-round, though the terrace is limited to warmer months. A generous breakfast buffet is served here in the mornings (included in all room rates). The breakfast options include pastries and jams, hot items like eggs and sausage, cheese and charcuterie, and fruit. Hot drinks are served at the tables.
La Playa is open for lunch and dinner from May to September. This cliffside restaurant overlooks the hotel’s private beach (hence the name “the beach”) and serves Italian food in a casual, open-air venue.
La Terrazza di Giulia is open for dinner during the summer (June-September) and serves regional cuisine and wine in a more casual setting than Il Doge. Live music is played inside and diners have a choice of sitting indoors by the bar or outside on the terrace.
Drinks and a limited menu of snacks are available to order poolside.
The oceanfront pool area is lined with palm trees and lush vegetation, making it a tranquil spot for sunning and relaxing. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas, and the hotel provides towels and drink service. Some of the chairs in the prime locations–closest to the water–are available to be reserved for a fee, but even in the middle of tourist season (July), we never had trouble finding chairs.
The hotel has two private, pebble beach areas away from the very crowded public beaches. The beaches also have sunbeds, umbrellas, and towel service. There is plenty of room to swim, as long as you don’t mind the cool water.
In town, stand up paddle boards and sea kayaks are available for rent, as well as boats. The old town also has many opportunities for shopping and eating.
The hotel is located just steps from the hiking trail that leads to San Rocco, San Fruttuoso, and Portofino. The hike to San Rocco takes about 30 minutes and is all on stairs. San Rocco is home to a quaint church and a couple of bakeries and restaurants. You can continue to hike another 3.5 hours along the coast (or 2 hours on the inland trail) to San Fruttuoso, a breathtaking inlet where a 10th century former abbey/monastery lies. Another 1.5-2 hours of hiking will get you all the way to Portofino. It’s a moderately difficult hike (especially the San Rocco to San Fruttuoso portion), but the payoff is incredible. Read the full post about the hike here!
If hiking isn’t your style (or you don’t want to hike in both directions), there is ferry service to San Fruttuoso, Portofino, and other nearby stops. Some companies also offer day trips to Cinque Terre by boat. Golfo Paradiso is one of the companies that operates out of the Camogli harbor.
Points + Credit Cards:
This hotel is not part of a hotel group, so no loyalty points can be earned.
Use a travel credit card that has a multiplier for hotel purchases, such as the Citi Prestige or Chase Sapphire Preferred. The other option for maximizing your purchase is to use a travel card that allows you to redeem points for statement credits on travel purchases, like the Capital One Venture Card, Barclaycard Arrival Plus, and Bank of America Travel Rewards card.
Why I love it:
The sweeping sea views (visible from many areas of the hotel) are simply breathtaking. The location is superb; it’s a very short walk to the old town, but it’s separate enough to be away from the crowd. The pool and private beaches are an ideal retreat, and they’re especially nice since the public beaches are so crowded in the summer. The proximity to fantastic hiking was a huge reason why we chose the hotel in the first place.
Having breakfast included in the room rates is really helpful (since Italians don’t really eat breakfast), and it’s quite good. I loved that the buffet included a make-your-own boiled egg station. We weren’t able to get a late checkout because the hotel was fully booked the day we left, but they let us use the pool and changing rooms after we checked out, which was a nice gesture!
Given the prices of other comparable hotels in the Riviera and the amenities offered at Hotel Cenobio, we thought the value was great. (Standard rooms start at €170 or about $190 as of August 2016).
We traveled as a couple in July 2016.