Bill Gates buys Portofino Castle for over 50 million euros: will it become a luxury hotel ?

Oct 8 2023, 11:00
Bill Gates buys Villa San Giorgio, the castle of Portofino. The patron of Microsoft may want to make it luxury hotel: he owns the Four Seasons Group

Bill Gates has just purchased Villa San Giorgio: 1,200 square meters with a private elevator to the beach below, also private. A historic villa, linked to the name of Jeannie Watt Mumm, beloved in the Ligurian village for saving it from Nazi destruction and remembered as The Lady of the Castle of San Giorgio, widow of Baron Mumm, the very one of the Champagne of the same name. The purchase of the so-called Castello di Portofino for between 50 and 60 million euros seems aimed at turning the property, for now residential, into a hotel for the Four Seasons group that the Microsoft patron acquired in 2021 from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal for about $2.2 billion.

That is, if the change of use is approved by the municipality and the Portofino Park Authority. Which is not a given given given the words of Mayor Matteo Viacava: "The master plan is very clear and only a villa for residential use can go there. I guess Bill Gates knows that. We are happy that such an important person has shown interest in Portofino. But rules are rules and must be respected by everyone." That's not the only obstacle: the villa now houses in 12 small but super-luxury apartments, currently rented (apparently to members of the Loro Piana and Armani families) who will have to be evicted.


Bella vita passes by Portofino

Bill Gates is only the latest of the big names seduced by the Ligurian village: in may Dolce & Gabbana arrived, which took the historic Caffè Excelsior, while the LVMH headed by Bernard Arnault, who has his buen retiro here at Villa Beatrice, counts on several signs under the Belmond brand, acquired a few years ago: there is the Splendido hotel, the Splendido Mare. Also in the area are the Bagni Fiore (Langosteria property) customized since 2022 by Dior and the Langosteria in Paraggi, there is also the Ligurian headquarters of Carlo Cracco, where the young Mattia Pecis operates, now a reference point of good eating in the Gulf of Tigullio and ended up in the local news despite himself.

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