More time lingering in Portofino


Look carefully at these buildings. The floor inside is actually all one level, with an internal corridor like any hotel or apartment building. But the colours, varied rooflines, and different window treatments give the people outside the joy of a traditional Italian streetscape. I see no reason why buildings cannot be built here, using these techniques, but not necessarily the faux-Italian stucco.


After six or eight “houses” (hotel rooms) the building row takes a shift, with an inset portion that fosters the 3D effect. These exteriors do not seem expensive to construct, but pay huge dividends in civilization.


the Portofino property probably has as many Vespas and Italian bikes as Joe Cotroneo has bounded within his car museum. Note the peg that bolts the bike to its parking spot.

Below: outdoor courtyard:



Below: indoor courtyard / corridor:




The property did not cheap out on details. Real shutters, real operating hardware and detailing in many places:





This interior lobby space carried out the theme:



The “front” of the hotel faced the motor court and the lagoon [Portofino Bay]. The back faced a Italian-garden style pool complex (it is a resort hotel, after all):




PS:  I enjoyed my stay at Portofino, but it certainly looked expensive. Maybe sometime I will find a room there on Hotwire. But after an afternoon exploring the grounds and the piazzas, it was time to find the rental car [cunningly stashed in the bus parking lot, absolutely no car parking allowed, to avoid the $18 guest parking fee] and return my $35/night hotel, after a quick stop at Publix to pick up some supper.

PS2:  (alternatively, there was a unmonitored employee parking lot on the north side, off a separate highway from the Portofino main entrance where one might be able to stash the vehicle)

ps3: shown below is an absolutely crackjack building exterior that our design review committee considers superlative for its variety and friendly streetscape appearance on little ole’ dead end Norman Street:

97 norman, elevation, fall 2013

Notice the tremendous variety of brick colours and textures that slash the facade making it look just like …. townhouses. Or so they say. At recent council meeting on this project, I thought too much time was spent by certain councillor gushing with Taggarts about the wonders of golf at Montebello, the ambience of the hotel’s exterior, its lobby, and the food … perhaps we could crowdfund a ticket for them to see some more popular architecture?



3 thoughts on “More time lingering in Portofino

  1. This approach is something I’ve been impressed with at the Tremblant resort as well – the way they break up large continuous condo buildings into a set of much more intimate, street-friendly facades.
    I’m sure purists sneer that this stuff is just fakery, faux Disney-esque trickery. But it really does WORK to create a better urban experience. It’s a shame we couldn’t have done something like this with LeBreton Flats, the Convent Lands, or CFB Rockliffe. Chaudiere Island perhaps?

    1. I’m not sure I would even class the Tremblant resort architecture as “fakery”. It’s been used so extensively there that it must now be considered the local Tremblant resort venacular.

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