American businessman Bill Gates, through the Four Seasons company, purchased Villa San Giorgio, known as Portofino Castle. The property, which measures 1,200 square metres, is now divided into 12 small apartments with a private elevator leading to the small beach below. The founder of Microsoft had bought the castle with the aim of turning it into a luxury hotel, for his “Four Seasons” chain, which was acquired in 2021 for $2.2 billion by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. News of the sale was circulating a few days ago, as was the purchase price: between 50 and 60 million euros. The ownership of the former castle, which now belongs to a Genoa insurance company, has confirmed its intention to sell and, moreover, the advertisement for an ultra-luxury real estate agency with offices in Santa Margherita, Camogli and Genoa is still available online. In the past, the property was owned by Baroness Jenny Watt Maugham, widow of Baron Maugham, who is still remembered today in Portofino as the “Lady of San Giorgio Castle”.
Apart from the restored Villa Bersilvio Berlusconi, in recent months there have been acquisitions of the brands Dolce & Gabbana, Jacquemus and Louis Vuitton, without forgetting the businessman Bernard Arnault, who bought the Hotel Splendido (20th among hotels according to Condé Nast Traveler) as well as the Hammams Splendido Mare, Fiore and Langosteria in Paraggi. To transform a castle into an ultra-luxury hotel, the need to change the intended use of the property must be taken into account. Portofino Castle is actually intended for “residential” use, and to change its destination you will need the green light from the municipality and the Portofino Park Authority.
Mayor Matteo Viacava explained: “The master plan is very clear and only a villa for residential use can get there. I imagine Bill Gates knows that. We are happy that such an important person has shown interest in Portofino. But rules are rules and they must be respected by everyone.”
Reproduction © Copyright ANSA
“Infuriatingly humble social media buff. Twitter advocate. Writer. Internet nerd.”