The Amalfi Coast is one of the most spectacular places in the world and if you’re looking for a unique place to stay then Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa is a real delight. Set in a former monastery dating from the 17th century, it has the most incredible views over the Gulf of Salerno with beautiful gardens. As for the infinity pool, it has to be seen to be believed.
Perched high on Monte San Pancrazio cliff close to the town of Amalfi, Monastero Santa Rosa is an intimate retreat with just 20 bedrooms. It’s perfect for honeymooners or anyone who wants utter tranquility. One of the nicest things about the hotel is how they have built on the history of the building to create memorable experiences. For example, when you arrive, ring the monastery bell to let them know you are there. The staff are so welcoming that you really do feel like you’re in a home from home.
Each room has been given the name of a herb that the nuns used for making medicine and our suite was called Salvia – there was even a pretty bed cushion with the name on it. I instinctively sensed a woman’s touch behind the design and sure enough, the owner Bianca has had a great deal of creative input. She has worked with a local Neopolitan designer to incorporate Italian antiques and to create a timeless style.
The well equipped bathroom had a separate shower and toilet, and was stocked with one of my favourite Italian toiletry brands, Ortigia. Not only that, there are also fragrant Santa Maria Novella pomegranate bath salts from Monastero’s spa.
It’s fascinating to think that you’re staying in what was once a nun’s room, yet every modern creature comfort is present. Our living room had a flat screen TV and there was complimentary WiFi throughout the property. The air conditioning and ceiling fan would come in handy in the height of Summer and there’s also a minibar, safe and hairdryer. We were treated to fresh fruit and prosecco upon arrival, with bottled water provided at turndown.
Where do I start? For a boutique hotel, the facilities are truly impressive. Firstly, the gardens are on four levels and beautifully maintained. They lead down towards the iconic infinity pool…
You really do get the impression that you’re on the brink of the cliff but it’s perfectly safe as it curves naturally at the edges. No wonder that the pool has won awards for its design.
It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic spot…
Close by, you can try your hand at a game of boulles. There’s also an indoor library and bar, in the unlikely event that the weather turns bad.
Whilst the outdoor fitness area is way more inviting than your average gym ;-). It’s got all the latest TechnoGym equipment including an elliptical trainer, rowing machine, recline bike, upright bike, dumbbells and more. I’m told that kayaking, windsurfing and scuba diving can also be arranged.
On a more sedate note, the hotel’s luxurious spa is a must visit. Access is complimentary for all in-house guests, and you can book a range of relaxing spa treatments. There’s a stone sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and vaulted tepidarium. We tried out the foot spas here, making ample use of the pomegranate foot scrub and heated loungers and refreshing ourselves with the Emotion shower and crushed ice fountain. I was lucky to experience a signature Light a Candle treatment in the Spa Suite. Designed to relax the nervous system and restore the body’s natural biorhythms, it started with a pomegranate foot bathing. After an invigorating body scrub, my therapist gave me a face, scalp and feet massage using the wax from a Santa Maria Novella candle. The wax is made from pure emollient butters and plant oils and is gradually worked into the skin to leave it super soft. My scalp and feet were given a gentle acupressure massage and my hair felt much more hydrated afterwards. I was given the remnant of my candle to take home, another nice touch. The Spa Suite itself is an imposing vaulted space with its own steam room, double wet and dry treatment couches, a relaxation lounge and a garden terrace for outdoor treatments.
The elegant cascading gardens have dramatic views over the Mediterranean. Around 5,000 plants were imported for the gardens from 10 different countries. With a nod to the past, 20 percent of the hotel’s plants are either edible or therapeutic —recalling the therapeutic creations of the nuns here in the 17th century.
Take a moment to savour the aroma of bougainvillea, lavender and mint, as you lounge on one of the many daybeds.
The Sunset Terrace is situated at the highest level of the hotel. With extensive views from Amalfi to Positano, it’s a great place to propose or to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand.
If you’re lucky, you might even get a tour of the hotel roof with its very distinctive architecture…
or of Monastero’s carefully restored chapel, still used for occasional ceremonies.
Once the sun has gone down, no need to head indoors just yet. The grounds are artfully lit up at night time.
The hotel has a fabulous restaurant, Il Ristorante Il Refettorio. Executive Chef Christoph Bob uses all natural ingredients in order to prepare the most healthy and nutritious dishes possible. Sourcing many of his ingredients from Monastero’s own garden, Christoph has come up with an authentic yet contemporary Mediterranean menu. We particularly enjoyed our fresh sea bream and osso bucco with polenta.
Although the real star of the show for me were the desserts…just look at the presentation! The wine list was equally impressive and the knowledgeable sommelier will guide you to wines that match your choice of dishes perfectly. The restaurant has a lovely al fresco terrace for outdoor dining and a cosy indoor area for chilly evenings. For lunch you can also opt to eat beside the pool or in the gardens.
With true attention to detail, Christoph sourced the finest quality olive oil and pasta. He even created a unique shape for Monastero Santa Rosa. Pastificio dei Campi is considered by many to be the best pasta in Italy as it is slowly dried and prepared in traditional fashion, respecting the environment. We were delighted to be given a pack of it when we left the hotel.
We decided to have breakfast in the shaded dining terrace, although you can take it in your room if you prefer. I loved the homely crockery and the local specialty, the sfogliatella, a delicious shell-shaped pastry filled with orange-flavoured ricotta. You can see them below on the Buon Giorno plate, they really are a must try!
When you can tear yourself away from the tranquility of the hotel, there are some amazing sights on the Amalfi Coast including the little town of Amalfi itself, less than 10 minutes away and the fishing village of Conca dei Marini’s just below.
I can promise you this, if you visit Monastero Santa Rosa, you’ll savour the memory forever. Don’t forget to post your “confession” before leaving…no it’s not anything too serious, they would just like your opinion on how you enjoyed your stay 😉
We had an amazing stay at Monastero Santa Rosa, and I hope you like this tour of the property.
I’m still dreaming of that glorious infinity pool and the kindness of the hotel staff.
Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa, Via Roma 2, 84010 Conca dei Marini, Italy
Our stay was complimentary for the purpose of this review