Monastero Santa Rosa: The Amalfi Coast hidden gem

Updated: Nov 3, 2019

Kudos to the #MonasteroSantaRosa Hotel & Spa, in our opinion the #AmalfiCoast best #hiddengem. Monastero Santa Rosa is a 20-room #luxuryresort, built in a sky-swimming 17th-century monastery perched on the most dramatic promontory of #ConcadeiMarini, nestled above a titanic cave. It is Europe’s most beautiful stretch of coast, where cliffs features lemon-grove terraces and luxurious villas clinched precariously to unforgiving slopes. It was built by sole-owner Bianca Sharma, who discovered the site after the death of her late husband, Ken Sharma – originally from #TexasInstruments and co-founder of i2. While on a boat trip, she looked up at an imposing ruined building, a centuries-old closed convent, 1,000 ft up a near-vertical cliff, and said she had to buy and restore it. It took 10 years to rebuild and the hotel's first guests were Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, making instantly the hotel a must-visit destination. It was also once Jackie Kennedy's Italian hideaway. The hotel is located along one of the most scenic roads in the world, in the small village of Conca dei Marini, less than 4 km from the famous but very touristic village of Amalfi. Monastero Santa Rosa certainly features in our top 10 of the World's most beautiful hotels, offering amazing food and an infinity pool with stunning views.In this review:

  • ​Things we like

  • Things to know

  • Our verdict

  • Tips to optimize your stay

  • Best time to visit

  • How to get there



Watch this video of the Monastero Santa Rosa (courtesy of Foodenomad)

THINGS WE LIKE: The star attractions of the hotel are without any doubt the spectacular location, infinity pool, terrace views, world-class service and phenomenal food:

  • It’s hard to imagine a more majestic location than the one of the Monastero Santa Rosa in the small village of Conca dei Marini, perched on a almost vertical cliff between towering mountains and the deep blue #Mediterranean sea. From every corner of the hotel property, the ocean view spreads out before you like an azure blanket, disturbed only by boats anchored in the bay of Amalfi or navigating the Mediterranean sea. This has to be one of the best views of the bay of Amalfi coast because the Monastero Santa Rosa is located on the cliff allowing glorious views on the coastline itself towards #Amalfi and the Gulf of Salerno.

  • Monastero Santa Rosa is oriented toward the west, meaning that you will enjoy the evening sun until it disappears behind the mountains  (not the case with most hotels on the Amalfi Coast that are in the shade starting late afternoon). 

  • With its monasterial interiors and luxurious terraces, Monastero Santa Rosa’s design oppose two style that marry well together offering to its guests a unique and superior experience. 

  • Service is simply the best we've experience in our traveling. Under the helm of the hotel's general manager, Flavio Colantuoni, it's a real "ballet synchronisé" of highly skilled staff offering the best service you could wish for — on pair with the service you would expect at a #RelaisetChâteaux. Whether it is near the pool, on the many terraces, at the restaurant or in the bar, you will be served with a smile and utmost professionalism.

  • Monastero Santa Rosa has a spectacular infinity pool — definitely one of the highlights of the hotel, surrounded by outstanding terraces and gardens, maintained by the gardener, who incidentally is also the Pope’s, at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo! Out on the multi-tier terraces or right next to the infinity pool, you'll find many private cabanas, loungers and parasols, all with views to die for.

  • There is as an open-air gym and a full-service health Spa, with treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, a hydro pool, an “experience shower” as well as a tepidarium (warm bathroom of the Roman baths).

  • The food is one of the highlights at Monastero Santa Rosa. So much, that for the first time in our life, after our first dinner on site, we cancelled all our reservations in the city and dine at the hotel every one of the 6 nights we spent there. It simply the best hotel food that we ever had.  The restaurant, #RistoranteIlRefettorio  (‘refectory’) is located on the top-floor terrace with yet more amazing views of the Amalfi coast. The Executive Chef Christoph Bob — who has worked in some of the finest kitchens including with Alain Ducasse, has created an innovative Mediterranean gastronomic experience for the most discerning palate with fresh ingredients from the surrounding region.  The food, as well as its presentation, is simply fabulous and the service incredible. Breakfast à la carte is yet another highlight, offering anything you might wish for, even out-classing buffet breakfasts served throughout Italy and in other most luxurious hotel brands in the world.

  • Not to be missed are the hotel's heavenly #sfogliatelle ('small, thin leaf or layer'), known as 'Santa Rosa', a shell-shaped, cream-filled pastry served every morning. This is a special tradition honoring the recipe created by the Monastero's original residents, nuns cloaked in traditional white wool and black cap attire busy baking delectable pastries.

  • The hotel design is magnificent, yet simple with clean lines. The corridors have been left as they were centuries ago, with straight and wide polished stone floors, painted plaster walls coming up to a barrel ceiling. The owner commissioned art pieces from many artist, including paintings from Paolo Sandulli. The glass-doored elevator, connecting the room floors to the restaurant or pool area, soars down past an artwork of illuminated bottles in the bar. It is quite spectacular.

  • Each room offers a sea view and  is called after local herbs renowned for medicinal purposes. They were once three nuns' cells that were combined to create good size space with modern bathrooms. The bed's bases and mattresses were made to the owner's specifications and are extremely comfortable, not to firm, as usually found in Italy. They are shrouded in soft white Italian cotton sheets. Bathrooms are fully equipped and come with #Ortigia toiletries, a small Italian soap and scent company founded in Sicily. All bedrooms have flat-screen TVs and free internet access.

  • The hotel offers on-demand shuttle service to Amalfi (4 km away), which needs to be booked shortly in advance. This is a huge advantage given the shortage of parking space on the Amalfi Coast, especially in Amalfi.

  • Children under 16 years of age are not allowed, so tranquility is guaranteed.

THINGS TO KNOW : The hotel has it almost near perfection, so it's difficult to find issues that you need to beware of:

  • The hotel is perched on a cliff, and has no direct access to the water or public beach. It is steep walk down to the beach, but the hotel offers a navette to the Amalfi port, from where boats will lead you to a beach or beachfront restaurant of your choice for free.

  • Access by car is rather simple and parking is available. The hotel is 4km from Amalfi, but as mentioned the hotel offers a navette to the city for those who wish to go explore the small touristic town.

  • The minimalistic design may not fit everybody’s taste, but this should be a non-issue because of the spectacular surroundings.

  • The Superior Rooms are on the small side and have tiny windows. But in the end, that will not matter as you will be overwhelmed by the phenomenal views that embrace you from morning till sunset, from the amazing top floor terrace, steps away from the rooms. 

OUR VERDICT :

  • ​Localisation: 10/10

  • Design: 10/10

  • Chambres: 9/10

  • Restauration: 10/10

  • Service: 10/10

  • Overall Experience: Excellent (9,8/10)

TIPS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR STAY :

  • Book your airport or local transfer via the hotel (fixed price). Not only is this the same rate as for a regular taxi, but you will be transferred in a premium car (Mercedes) and you will not encounter problems with local taxi drivers trying to overcharge you.

  • To explore the Amalfi coast beyond Conca dei Marini and Amalfi, we don't recommend renting a car as traffic is busy at all time (even off season). Rather, make sure you book a boat ride during your stay to take advantage of the spectacular coast and to swim in the warm mediterranean waters.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Monastero Santa Rosa is open from April through the end of October. In our opinion, the best time to stay on the Amalfi Coast is in spring (until mid-June) before the summer break, while the traffic in this spectacular stretch of Italian coastline is at its lowest, that the flowers and lemons are at their paroxysm, that the perfumes are sublime and that the powerful rays of sun warm up the water already enough for an unforgettable swimming at sea. From the beginning of the summer holidays and that until the end of the summer holidays, at the end of August, the only #scenicroute (#SS163) that winds the coast is almost impracticable because of the high level of traffic and prices are out of control.Alternatively, autumn (end of September to mid-October) is also a good season to visit the coast while the sea water reaches the level of outside temperature (26C) with cooler evenings.

HOW TO GET THERE?The drive (by car or private transfer) from Napoli's international airport to the Monastero Santa Rosa is about 90 minutes. Most European airline companies services but there are no direct transoceanic flight available. We strongly suggest to organize with the hotel for a private transfer.

Photo/video courtesy of #Foodenomad


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