Concierge.com's insider take:
Staying in this family-run guesthouse in the centre of Levanto is like taking a trip back in time. It's on the second floor, there's no elevator, and the service is laid-back to the point of being casualbut the interiors are breathtaking. Above the creaking parquet floors are original 19th-century frescoes of winsome nymphs and chubby cherubs. Ornately carved wooden bedsteads vie for attention with Deco-style chandeliers and huge mirrored wardrobes that must have been in the family for generations. There's also a small formal garden where predinner drinks are served. This is the place to come to reconnect with your urbane, Oscar Wilde side after a week of sweaty trekking in the nearby Cinque Terre, and at surprisingly reasonable rates. The water in the shower takes a while to heat up, and although rooms feature free Internet access and satellite TV, there's no air conditioning. But you come to Stella Maris for Belle Époque atmosphere, not five-star comforts. Half-board is applied between April and September, with a tasty dinner menu of Ligurian specialties prepared by the owner, Signora Renza; in March and October, bed-and-breakfast terms apply.
Open March through October.