Splendido, As Seen By Chris Rhodes

Words by Belmond Editors

Splendido, As Seen By Chris Rhodes

The concierge waves from the hotel's courtyard, surrounded by lush wall-hugging ivy and a long hedge of pink roses

Rhodes’ work is rich with a spirit of irreverence and effortless luxury – a perfect lens through which to view the Portofino gem that is the hotel Splendido.

Step into Chris Rhodes’ world and the first element you’ll notice is the underlying poetry in his photography. His first book, Hotel Mermaid Club (2019), is an ode to daily life filtered through the mundane — cups of espressos evoke a melancholic charm, while a close-up shot of a crystal door handle refracts light, alluding to an ethereal presence. In his work for Jil Sander, Supreme or Burberry, this playful spirit still shines through, with what he calls “the beauty within the everyday.”

He follows this philosophy in his quest to capture fleeting moments at Splendido, our storied hotel in Portofino. Originally constructed in the 16th century, the hotel blends its saintly past — it was built by a group of Benedictine monks, seeking to elevate a residence as close to the sky as possible — with the conviviality of modern living. Steeped in history, Splendido’s walls now welcome discerning guests eager to create cherished memories while enjoying the local culture from a prized vantage point.

Perched atop a hill overlooking the gulf of Tigullio, Splendido offers breathtaking views that inspire a sense of the infinite. In Rhodes’ series, radiant shades of blue and green are met with white boats sprinkled across the water. From the distinctive architectural details of the façade to the exquisite works of art that grace each room and suite, his lens deftly explores the hotel’s decor — the considered details and historic charm of this place channelled through his singular vision.

One shot at a time, Rhodes draws back the curtain. Soon, unique characters start to emerge — he captures the hotel staff in moments of unstaged action, their smiling warmth true to the hotel’s spirited personality and sense of ease. In the crisp Ligurian light and with saltiness in the air, a group of friends bask in the warm sun, surrounded by greenery. They await as effortless afternoons at the pool turn into elegant drinks at sunset.

The allure of Chris Rhodes’ photography is its exquisite simplicity. Be it some fruit dotted on a pristine breakfast table or enigmatic scenes of a deserted tennis court, he injects a sense of playful modernity into every image. From his world, he invites us into a radiant residence, an appeal to create splendid moments in our daily life — keeping things simple, but lyrical.

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