Review: Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel (Amalfi Coast, Italy)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (November 1, 2017): Review of Monastero Santa Rosa in Amalfi, Italy.

Perched on the cliff’s edge, Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa stands alone in majestic solitude, its rock base evoking the robe of a king. Originally a 17th-century monastery, Monastero Santa Rosa has been affectionately and respectfully restored into a ultraluxe boutique hotel. It’s hard to imagine that the generous grounds, filled with four levels of gardens, lush landscaping, plentiful lounge chairs, and canopied daybeds, serve just 20 rooms and suites. Monastero Santa Rosa also hosts a fully equipped spa to rival any major city spa, offering not just treatment rooms, but large-scale amenities that include a sauna, steam, mosaic-tiled experience shower, hydro pool, and tepidarium.

Monastero Santa Rosa features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Italy, the world’s best luxury hotels that are soaked in history, and the best luxury hotels on Capri, Ischia, and the Amalfi Coast.

In this review (more info below my slideshow & Youtube clip):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Monastero Santa Rosa enjoys one of the world’s most spectacular settings, as the hotel is located on a razor-sharp cliff’s edge near the sleepy fishing village of Conca Dei Marini on Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast. The monumental hotel literally clings to the mountains in the vicinity of the medieval town of Amalfi and hovers between sea and sky. It’s only from a distance – such as from the road from Conca Dei Marini to Amalfi – that you can truly appreciate the property’s breathtaking, almost heart-stopping setting on a rock that evokes the robe of a king.
  • Because of its location on the region’s most dramatic bluff, it should not come as a surprise that the property offers unobstructed, phenomenal views in all directions. The views of the towering mountains of the Sorrento Peninsula, which are dotted with picturesque Italian villages and plunge straight into the glittering turquoise waters of the Tyrian Sea can be enjoyed from most parts of the hotel. From every angle, a new perspective of the Amalfi Coast and Bay of Salerno is revealed – gleaming white Amalfi to the south, sun-kissed Praiano to the north, Conca dei Marini’s quaint fishing village below, and the ubiquitous sea beyond.
  • The hotel is housed in a former 17th-century monastery and has been affectionately and respectfully restored into the exclusive boutique hotel as it is known today, honoring its historic heritage. The building of the monastery was funded by Sister Rosa Pandolfi, a descendant of a noble family Pontone di Scala who had taken up residence in Conca dei Marini. Upon completion in 1681, the convent was dedicated to the glorious St. Rose of Lima. The nuns became renowned not only for their aforementioned baking skills but also for their apothecary. In the mid-1800s, however, the religious establishment was removed following the laws of eviction and the convent was handed over to the municipality. The monastery’s structural integrity has been maintained and the monastery’s original atmosphere remains ever present in her current design.

  • The historic monastery began life as a hotel in the previous century. Purchased by a Roman hotelier Mr. Marcucci, who recognized the property’s historic value, the old convent was transformed into a hotel in 1924. The property was run by the Caterina family for 3 generation. However, after the death of the Caterina family, the building was once again left without a purpose. Things changed for the better in 2000, when US citizen Bianca Sharma was boating in the Gulf of Salerno with her two sons and admired the majestic yet ruined monastery on the spectacular promontory towering above her. She was instantly captivated, bought the building, moved to Amalfi, and lead a decade-long restoration and transformation of the former monastery into a luxury boutique hotel.
  • Away from the tourist crowds that flood the coastal towns of Amalfi and Positano during summer, the Monastero Santa Rosa property strikes the perfect balance of seclusion without solitude. It’s about a 10 minute drive to the medieval town of Amalfi and the hotel provides complimentary transfers (on request) to/from Amalfi.

  • It’s hard to imagine that the generous grounds, filled with four levels of gardens, lush landscaping, plentiful lounge chairs, and canopied daybeds, serve just 20 ultra-luxe rooms and suites. Each room is named for a herb that the nuns used in making their medicines from the Monastero Santa Rosa garden. During my holiday, I stayed in a so-called ‘Sea View Deluxe Open Space Suite’ – or Laurus Suite – which is the only one of its kind in the hotel and contains unique historical context as the a nun former refectory. The suite features an elegantly furnished living room and a bedroom with a green-and-gold, antique-framed king-size bed. The bedroom has ample closet space due to the additional storage provided by the custom-made, stylish closet partition that separates the bedroom space from the living room sitting area. The extraordinary bathroom is designed in dark wood and Jerusalem stone with a separate walk-in shower and soaking tub for relaxing baths.
  • As the historic property cascades down the hill, four levels of lush gardens feature magnificent landscaping in the tradition of the exclusive estates and palatial Italian villas of yore. The multi-level gardens offer sweeping panoramic views of land, sea, and sky, culminating at the dramatic cliff-edge infinity pool (cf below). Each level presents stylish, comfortable areas to relax and soak the day away. Ranging from private cabanas on the cliff’s periphery to day beds in the gardens to lounge chairs by the infinity pool, the elegantly manicured grounds are gracefully connected by interwoven stairways and free-flowing passages. Everywhere the Santa Rosa gardens’ intoxicating perfume encircles brimming with the fragrant botanical wonders of bougainvillea, lavender, agapanthus, coreopsis, rosemary, roses, and local-origin lemon trees, just to name a few of the many botanical wonders that grace the grounds.
  • Unquestionably, the vanished-edge infinity pool of the Monastero Santa Rosa is one of the most dramatic and precipitous of the entire Amalfi Coast. Seamlessly architecturally sculpted into the rock-base cliff of Monte San Pancrazio at the lowest level of Santa Rosa’s sloping cascade of gardens, the elliptically shaped fresh water infinity pool blends into the sea, disappearing between the horizon and sky.
  • Rest and relaxation are guaranteed at Monastero Santa Rosa, but should you feel the need to find time for fitness, the property makes it easy to stay on a healthy track. An abundance of walking trails, kayaking, windsurfing, and scuba diving are prominent in the area, and the hotel’s staff is happy to assist with all arrangements. Or, should you choose to feel more of a burn, you can always head to the outdoor fitness area and hop on any of the latest TechnoGym equipment while you stare at the sea. An elliptical trainer, upright bike, recline bike, rowing machine, dumbbells, exercise balls, and weight-lifting bench provide all of the elements seen at a top gym, only in a much more idyllic setting.
  • Each room within the extraordinary spa preserves the original 17th century vaulted ceilings and many of its rustic walls, maintaining the monastic heritage of this beautiful property. The Italian heritage of bathing is presented in the form of a Thermal Suite, consisting of a collection of vaulted spaces inter-connecting the various warm rooms via arched openings & changes of levels. The Thermal Suite includes a stunning double-height vaulted Tepidarium with pomegranate infused foot spas & heated mosaic loungers; domed aromatic steam room; crushed ice fountain to refresh between thermal bathing; rock sauna; hydro pool and emotion showers. The most exceptional treatment room – the Spa Suite – is a ‘private spa within a spa’ with a stunning double height vaulted space with Rasul; steam room; double wet & dry treatment couches; manicure/pedicure; relaxation lounge; private dressing & grooming space and a garden terrace.
  • Monastero Santa Rosa has only one restaurant – called ‘Ristorante Il Refettorio’ – which features a terrace that allows guests to dine alfresco while admiring one of the most exclusive views on the entire Amalfi Coast. The culinary treats of Santa Rosa are as unique as the monastery itself. The hotel’s Executive Chef Christoph Bob has created an innovative Mediterranean gastronomic experience for the most discerning palate with the freshest ingredients from the surrounding Campania region. His insatiable love affair with food is reflected in every delectable dish on the menu. To give you an idea, appetizers include lobster with chickpea puree and smoked olive oil broad bean salad with Colonnata’s bacon and king prawn ravioli with Corbara’s tomatoes and candied lemon. Breakfast is also served hereunder the pergola shaded dining terrace, or, alternatively in the comfort of your room on silver trays.
  • Monastero Santa Rosa’s sophisticated main bar is located on the lower terrace level. Its flowing indoor/outdoor spaces provide cozy entertainment areas that deliver panoramic perspectives around the twinkling bay and offer the ideal setting for savoring an aperitif at sunset, twilight, or après dinner. You can make yourself at home in the bar library area or relax below the stars with a limoncello or a vintage Barolo from Santa Rosa’s extensive wine cellar. The hotel’s bartenders take pride in their cocktails created from fresh fruits and herbs from our very own gardens.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Monastero Santa Rosa is one of the most stunning hotels I have ever visited. The cliffside setting, infinity pool, ultraluxe accommodations and sublime service blew me off my feet. The hotel is truly perfect for a vacation on the Amalfi Coast, but you may want to know the following nonetheless:

  • The accommodations were once cells and hence some of the rooms are not huge. However, the accommodations are spotlessly clean and every inch of space is thoughtfully used, with no detail left unplanned from the heated floors to the views. However, if you want a spacious accommodation, you should book a suite.
  • The hotel enjoys a spectacular but also secluded location. There are no places of interest (restaurants, shops, tourist sights) within walking distance from the hotel. That said, Monastero Santa Rosa offer a reliable and very flexible free shuttle service into Amalfi or nearby destinations upon demand.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 10/10
  • Rooms: 10/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Breakfast: 10/10
  • Spa: 9/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Value for money: 10/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9,8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Monastero Santa Rosa, whether it’s booking a room at the cheapest price or receiving complimentary VIP perks (e.g. upgrade, breakfast, resort credit, etc …).
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP perks at Monastero Santa Rosa when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome cocktail, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Room tip: if you want a spacious accommodation, you should book a suite (since some rooms are rather small).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Without a doubt the best time to see the Amalfi Coast is from April to June, when the spring flowers are in bloom, the weather is just warm enough, and the temperature of the Mediterranean allows for the first dips of the season. By choosing late spring or early summer, you can also avoid the tourist crush of July and August and the oppressive temperatures later in the year. The autumn months of September and October are also an excellent time to visit the Amalfi Coast, since the temperatures are still mild, the days sunny (most of the time), and the lion’s share of tourists have left.


HOW TO GET THERE

Naples International Airport in Capodichino is a short 65 km (60 minutes) drive from the hotel. Transfers can be arranged via the hotel, or via a private taxi company (I used Eurolimo and paid 120 euros one way for the transfer between the airport and the hotel). For a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Naples, click here.


HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD
HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD
HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD
HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD
HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD
HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD
LOBBY: CONCIERGE AREA
LOBBY: CONCIERGE AREA
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW
LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW
LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW
LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW
PRAYER ROOM
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
GUEST ROOM FLOOR
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW
SUNSET TERRACE
SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW
SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW
SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW
LAURUS SUITE: ENTRANCE
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM
LAURUS SUITE: WARDROBE
LAURUS SUITE: WARDROBE
LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM
LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM
LAURUS SUITE: VIEW
LAURUS SUITE: VIEW
LIBRARY
BAR
BAR
BAR
BAR
BAR: TERRACE
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS: FITNESS
GARDENS: FITNESS
GARDENS: FITNESS
GARDENS: FITNESS
SPA: ENTRANCE
SPA: ENTRANCE
SPA: ENTRANCE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THERMAL SUITE
SPA: THE SPA SUITE
SPA: THE SPA SUITE
SPA: THE SPA SUITE
SPA: THE SPA SUITE
SPA: THE SPA SUITE
SPA: THE SPA SUITE
SPA: THE SPA SUITE
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOLS
INFINITY POOLS
INFINITY POOLS
INFINITY POOLS
INFINITY POOLS
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL
INFINITY POOL: LUNCH
INFINITY POOL: LUNCH
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
RESTAURANT: DINNER
RESTAURANT: DINNER
RESTAURANT: DINNER
RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER
RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER
VIEW IN EARLY MORNING
VIEW IN EARLY MORNING
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST (LIVE HARP MUSIC)
RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST (VIEW)
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP: VIEW
HOTEL’S ROOFTOP: VIEW
CHURCH NEXT TO THE HOTEL
CHURCH NEXT TO THE HOTEL
TOWN OF AMALFI
TOWN OF AMALFI
TOWN OF AMALFI
TOWN OF AMALFI
TOWN OF AMALFI
TOWN OF AMALFI
TOWN OF AMALFI
TOWN OF AMALFI

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