For this week's Throwback Thursday we've picked an oldie but a goodie in Italy. Jules stayed at The Monastero Santa Rosa in 2013 - read the review.
Perched on the cliffs..
Our chatter was rather subdued as we wound up and down the narrow roads on the way from Naples airport to the Amalfi Coast. The mild car sickness was WELL worth it... as we arrived at the Monastero Santa Rosa, a 17th century monastery renovated into a beautiful spa hotel perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi coast. We were greeted at Monastero Santa Rosa by a large 17th C bell clanging to let the porters know we'd arrived, the same bell that alerted the monks that pilgrims had arrived in need of some help. I guess they weren't feeling as car sick as I was but potentially more in need... I somehow doubt that the pilgrims were greeted with quite such impeccable service, with a chilled drink and beaming smiles. You never know though. This beautiful spa hotel is hovering over the sea, with an infinity pool on the bottom ledge of tiered gardens, dribbling over the cliffs.
11 years of restoration..
Bianca, the owner, bought the crumbling monastery in 2001 and has spent 11 years painstakingly restoring it to its authentic self, polished with a film of discreet luxury. The love and attention she has put into the restoration oozes out of even detail. The furniture and 17th C artefacts were salvaged from the monastery, or collected from around the world. Pictures from when the monastery was still active have been blown up and spotted around the grounds paying homage to its history. I felt like I'd been welcomed into someone's home, the staff all brought their own personalities to the experience, but underlined with immaculate service.
Three great reasons to go..
ah the food... the chef is a Michelin starred chef who jacked in the big lights of the Michelin kitchen circuit. He takes his culinary inspiration from 17th C recipes and adds modern (and tasty) twists using food grown in the tiered gardens and fresh fish from the bottom of the cliffs. Every mouthful was perfection. The poor chef had to spend 40 mins each night talking through every detail of the meal - food porn at its best.
A warren of (again) intelligently restored chambers and staircases leading to treatment rooms, a thermal spa, Jacuzzi... I could go on. There was a sarcophagus-like bed for a turbo treatment (they have a better name) including a Vichy shower, and I opted for a candle massage which was... aahhhh I want to go back now. I slid out to recover from my intense relaxation by the infinity pool. I recovered.
If you can face leaving the Santa Rosa, you're a boat or drive away from the quaint little cobbled towns of Positano and Amalfi. Both beautiful in their own right. But I was completely hooked on the Santa Rosa so could only think about how to get back! Perfect for a restorative escape, part of a honeymoon, a stop over on a road trip around Italy, or simply as excuse to indulge for the weekend. Oh and did I mention the food?