The first time I stayed at Splendido, I spent most of my time floating in the saltwater pool, a bottle of rosé bobbing beside me, staring at some stone pines framed against the blue sky, lost in the beauty of it all. It was only after a few days that I made my way into town, and it was there, while enjoying a pizza and watching the yachts come in and out of the harbor, that I hatched a dream of buying one of the small houses that ring the harbor and disappearing from the world.

Top, views of the piazzetta are among the main attractions at casual restaurant DaV Mare; above, some lodgings include elegant dining rooms.

As you’ve probably figured out, I’m still stuck Stateside. But now the Splendido has done what all good hotels do: made my dream a reality. After meticulous work, they have updated two of the small homes that hug the piazzetta into the exquisite Splendido Mare, a 14-room guesthouse, where the warm Ligurian colors are combined with vintage pieces by Gio Ponti and other Italian designers. Think of it as your pied-à-terre in Portofino, waiting for you.

Michael Hainey is a Deputy Editor for Air Mail