Everything tastes sweeter in Amalfi. Maybe it’s the sunshine or perhaps it’s the warmth of the people here - whatever it is, it’s the perfect tonic for frazzled nerves. As I sat on our private patio overlooking the Mediterranean while an enjoying a delicious apricot and orange (compliments of the hotel), I couldn’t help but feel content.
Hotel Santa Caterina is a 5-star hotel located along the famous Amalfi drive on the Amalfi Coast, only a few minutes away from the centre of Amalfi or a 15-minute walk down the winding road if you’re feeling brave as the cars zip perilously close!
The hotel was built in 1850 by Giuseppe Gambardella and his son later redesigned the property in 1904. Two generations of Gambardellas have upgraded the hotel to bring it up to date. Today, the hotel is still family run and has 67 guest rooms and suites.
The impressive cliff-top location with its landscaped natural terraces, which snake down to the pool at the edge of the sea, makes guests feel as though they’ve just stepped onto the set of a Bond film. A handy elevator transports guests to the poolside area, just don’t look out the window if you suffer from vertigo!
If you love really sleek, modern hotel rooms, then this probably isn’t the place for you, however if you love traditional Italian décor with charm in spades, then you’ll be in for a treat. All of the rooms have traditional furnishings, multi-coloured ceramic tiles and a balcony or a terrace with views of the Amalfi Coast and most rooms have a Jacuzzi bath. Prices start at £336 per night (including breakfast, based on two sharing). If you really want to splurge, book the Romeo and Juliet suite, a two-story chalet perched on the cliff above the sea with a terrace that boasts its own swimming pool and solarium.
As you meander to the pool, about halfway down the descent you’ll see the lush garden – the perfect oasis to relax in the shade with a cool drink should the Italian sun prove too much. A stylish mosaic bench and leafy parasols provide the perfect photo opportunities.
The first thing that strikes you is the spectacular setting of this cliff-side pool with its wavy edges and rocky cliff walls, which serve as a striking natural backdrop making it a unique place to take a dip.
On a hot summer’s day, swim to the end of the pool with its thatched parasol roof, which provides respite from the blistering heat.
When you’ve had enough of the pool, retreat to one of the chic wooden sun loungers, and feel yourself drifting to sleep to the sound of waves crashing against the rocks, providing a soothing symphony of white noise. As you gaze out towards the sea, a bright red row boat named ‘Salvataggio’ bobs gently in the sea next to the cliffs, helping to create a picture perfect scene.
Complimentary bottled water is provided at the pool, however, if you feel yourself getting peckish, grab an apple from the gym or order a snack from the poolside bar, which you can enjoy from your lounger or in the bar area, depending on your preference. Menu options include everything from salads to club sandwiches. One of our favourite treats from the bar was the fresh apricot and orange smoothie, which was delicious, but steeply priced at 19,00 Euros.
Santa Caterina Restaurant
The hotel has two on-site restaurants serving delicious Italian food or for guests who are feeling really lazy, room service is also available.
For a more formal dinner, there is the Santa Caterina Restaurant, with its blue marble floors and crisp white table cloths, which affords guests with breath-taking views of Amalfi and the Meditteranean Sea. At night, the pianist Bruno plays relaxing music and the dining room is lit by candlelight, creating a romantic atmosphere.
Menu options feature a wealth of dishes from the Campagnia region and menu items include starters such as fried zucchini flowers filled with ricotta cheese and salami in a basil sauce or grilled octopus on a potato veloute flavoured with lemon. Mains include homemade potato ravioli with local cheese, broad beans and bacon, risotto with green peas and crispy suckling pig, grouper with vegetables and lemon or chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce.
For a more casual affair during the summer months (early May - late October), guests can enjoy fresh fish, pasta or oven baked pizzas at the Al Mare restaurant at the beach club, which overlooks the swimming pool.
Italy isn’t famous for its breakfast offering, however, the Santa Caterina Restaurant serves one of the best breakfast buffets we’ve come across. Here guests can order freshly made omelettes or tuck into a selection of fruits, pastries, eggs, bacon, sausages, grilled vegetables or traditional Italian foods such as salamis, cheeses, sundried tomatoes and olives. And you can’t start the day without a frothy cappuccino, as you gaze out at the sea while you devour your breakfast.
No 5-star hotel is complete without a spa and the Darphin spa is the perfect place to treat yourself to a variety of treatments from facials to massages. Amalfi is famous for its lemons, so why not try the ‘Amalfi Gold’ massage (120.00 euros), which features a stimulating lemon balm. Or if your legs are tired after strolling around Amalfi, go for the ‘Detox Legs’ massage (95.00 euros), which will make heavy legs and tired feet feel revived.
The staff at the hotel are all friendly and accommodating and seem to be able to guess your needs before you have a chance to voice them. Whether you’re at the pool, dining in the restaurant or relaxing on the terrace, you’ll be well looked after.
If you're visiting Amalfi and want to stay in a luxurious location while being treated like royalty, there's no other place to go.
Traveling further afield
The hotel is perfectly located for taking day trips to Positano, Ravello, Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii and Naples. You can organise trips to these locations from the tour providers located in Amalfi.
The nearest airports are Rome or Naples Capodichino International Airport (located 1.5 hours from the hotel).
Hotel Santa Caterina
S.S Amalfitana, 9
To book your stay, visit www.hotelsantacaterina.it or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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