Best Boutique Hotel in Cinque Terre

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Just about every hotel in the idyllic old fishing villages of Cinque Terre could be considered a boutique: they're all small, independently run, and full of local quirks and character. But these ten bed-and-breakfasts, mid-range and upscale hotels, and uber-intimate properties (think: just two rooms) really stand out.

  1. The long waiting list at the Il Giardino Incantato is evidence of how popular this place is with guests. The in-demand bed-and-breakfast has four gorgeous guest rooms with such details as exposed stone arches or wood beams, gold chandeliers, and ornate headboards. The hotel is a five-minute walk to the beach and offers a breakfast buffet that can be eaten in a beautiful garden with lemon trees and colorful flowers. 

  2. Located in the heart of Monterosso al Mare's old town, the 39-room, mid-range hotel Albergo Degli Amici is within a five-minute walk of the bay and a 11-minute stroll to the train station. The rooms at Albergo Degli Amici are minimal, but comfortable, and include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs (and some have amazing views from balconies). The view from the hotel's garden terrace includes lemon trees, sloping rooftops, and the waterfront. By comparison, the nearby Affittacamere Lo Scoglio is in a similar price range, with more modern rooms, but no breakfast or free Wi-Fi.

  3. La Serra sul Mare offers an intimate retreat in Italy’s legendary Cinque Terre National Park. Private and communal terraces overlooking the Mediterranean Sea are the hotel's main feature. The four rooms are named after a type of flower or plant and have a bright, antique Provencal charm as well as modern amenities like air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. Guests looking to stay in the iconic cliff-clinging village of Manarola should try Ca’ de Gianchi, though rooms won’t have the same Mediterranean views or level of charm.

  4. Situated on the main street of Monterosso al Mare's old town, the mid-range Hotel Margherita is within a short walk of numerous restaurants, bars, and shops. The hotel's 31 rooms are decorated with contemporary, if unremarkable, furniture and have flat-screen TVs, safes, and free Wi-Fi. The breakfast, included in the room rate, is well-reviewed, especially the homemade cakes, but there's no full restaurant (there is a bar that specializes in local wine, and drinks can be enjoyed alfresco on a charming patio).

  5. Steps away from the bell tower and old church in the square of Manarola, La Torretta is an upscale hotel with gorgeous views. Outdoor stairways with purple and pink flowers lead to the 12 rooms, each with a flat-screen TV, iPod docking station, Nespresso coffee machine, and free minibar. Free transfers are provided from the train station on a golf cart, breakfast includes chocolate croissants, and a free aperitif is served in the evenings.

  6. It's all about the view at this intimate, two-unit property, which is built into the maze of clifftop buildings overlooking the sea. Both units have ocean-facing windows and flat-screen TVs; the homey apartment has a kitchenette area and small terrace. Guests receive a welcome gift of limoncello, and the hosts get high marks for customer service. Wi-Fi is available.

  7. Cinqueterre Residence's tiered terraces climb up the cliff, offering partial sea views, but mostly views of the picturesque town of Riomaggiore. Ten rooms and suites are arranged throughout the property -- which guests should note has a lot of stairs -- and feature pastel furnishings and shared patios or balconies. Breakfast and evening drinks are served in the contemporary dining room, while private parking, an anomaly in the area, is provided at the entrance. There's a terrace hot tub for guest use.

  8. Hotel Marina is a mid-range, boutique hotel with 25 charming guest rooms and a rooftop terrace with ocean views. The hotel is a three-minute walk to the beach and offers an elaborate breakfast buffet that can be taken on a lemon grove terrace, and a free, delicious, light afternoon meal of pasta and salad. Guest rooms are charming but a bit on the small side. The property draws mostly couples, who may also want to consider the nearby Il Giardino Incantato, a popular nearby bed and breakfast that must be booked far in advance.

  9. This quiet bed-and-breakfast in Vernazza books quickly during peak summer months thanks to its stunning views of the sea from its perch on the coast, its contemporary decor, and its amenities -- which are more plentiful than at other small hotels in Cinque Terre. The four white-washed rooms are airy and loaded with creature comforts like minibars, flat-screen TVs, and rainfall showerheads. But reaching rooms requires negotiating several steps, which could be a problem for anyone with mobility issues. Visitors looking for a slightly less expensive option can opt for Camere Elisabetta, a two-pearl hostel with views of town and the sea.

  10. Located about 15 minutes by car up the hill from the center of Monterosso al Mare's old town, the budget Hotel Monterosso Alto has a great view of the mountains. The decor is a pastiche of flea market finds, giving the place a quirky bed-and-breakfast vibe. Each of the eight guest rooms has a bold signature color, and some have ocean views, but they lack air-conditioning and in-room Wi-Fi. The hotel's restaurant is known for its regional cuisine and numerous local wine varietals, and there is a free continental breakfast. The shuttle to and from town can be arranged through the front desk. 

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