A superb hotel spread across three old buildings in the sleepy Ligurian village of Borgomaro. Delightful Elena and her family have converted a 19th-century butcher’s shop, her grandparents’ home and a 14th-century stone house into a stylish ‘Albergo Diffuso’. Life is wonderfully slow here; church bells mark time and only ducks quacking in the river disturb the silence. You check in at Casa Madre, where there’s a cosy library for afternoon tea, a garden planted with rambling roses and fragrant jasmine, and an irresistible pool. Impressive breakfast spreads featuring biscotti, cured meat and focaccia are served here too – you can even start the day with a glass of prosecco! Bedrooms in this traditional, double-fronted house are light and airy; some overlook the garden and village square. Wander across the river to Casa nel Borgo where you can sleep in elegant rooms with vaulted ceilings; room 12 has a luxurious roll-top bath. Casa del Fienile, 40 metres away, has two atmospheric bedrooms furnished with antiques including a wardrobe from Elena’s grandmother’s dowry. Borrow thoughtful guides to local walks and beaches.