When it comes to bucket list luxury destinations in Europe, few are quite as appealing as the spectacular Amalfi Coast, in Italy. Stretching just 30 miles in length, it has won itself a glittering reputation in recent years thanks to its pretty landscapes, colourful buildings and all-round ‘Instagrammability’, and attracts a wealthy crowd of visitors each year who are in search of a luxurious experience in this highly sought-after slice of Italy.
Despite its small size, the Amalfi Coast offers more than enough idyllic beauty and Italian opulence for a stand-alone trip, and with its winding seaside views and array of charming coastal towns, it’s guaranteed to win your heart.
A stop you won’t want to miss on your scenic exploration of the coast is the pretty coastal town of Amalfi – made up of a hodge-podge of colourful, classic Italian houses and buildings, which pile up into the hills and centre around a bustling piazza lined with a plethora of traditional Italian trattorias, osterias, shops and and bars. With its azure waters, coastal cliff walks and all-round Italian charm, it’s a great place to base yourself when exploring the rest of the coast, and is easily accessible by ferry, car or bus.
It was September when we arrived in Amalfi from iconic Positano, and after a few days of climbing steep hills and hundreds of steps to get just about anywhere, we were more than ready for a little bit of rest and relaxation. If you’ve ever been to Positano, you’ll know that it makes you work pretty hard for the privilege of its spectacular cliffside and ocean views, and while Amalfi has more than a few slopes of its own to navigate, by comparison, it’s a breeze.
Looking forward to a luxurious few days of chill time in the town, we headed straight to our hotel – the NH Collection Convento di Amalfi, which offers sweeping views of the hillside and harbour, and comes complete with its own sprawling infinity pool from which to enjoy it all.
This five-star hotel certainly offers a good dose of luxury, but its charm goes far beyond that. As the name suggests, the building was once a convent – or, more accurately in English, a 13th century monastery – and has been sympathetically refurbished, although it still retains many of the original characteristics, including its cloister and church.
So no, it’s not your usual, run-of-the-mill five-star hotel, and that’s what makes it so special. A stay here is like taking a step back in time and experiencing this rich historical period first hand. Quite unlike anywhere we had every stayed before, and a welcome departure from the norm.
Perched atop an 80-metre-high cliff and just a five-minute stroll from Amalfi’s harbour and town centre, locations don’t get much better than this. Of course, you won’t get away without having to climb any steps, but that’s all part of the charm of the Amalfi coast – and it certainly helps with burning off all of those mouth-watering Italian carbs.
We were pleased to find that the hotel takes its environmental credentials very seriously, and has been awarded the ISO 14001 environmental certificate thanks to its commitment to going green. As sustainability is important to us, it’s always good to see luxury hotels around the world assuming the responsibility for their part, so kudos to the Hotel Convento di Amalfi for its efforts.
Food and drink
Speaking of those tasty Italian carbs, many of those, no doubt, will be consumed at one of the hotel’s first-class restaurants, which serve up delectable cuisine to guests on the daily. Dei Cappuccini features a tasty Italian and Mediterranean-inspired menu comprising a selection of gourmet dishes created by renowned chef, Natale Giunta and his team using the freshest and finest of local produce. Guests eat inside, in a modern and stylishly decorated indoor setting, complete with a panoramic terrace to enjoy breath-taking views of the coast.
Meanwhile, at La Locanda, breakfast and informal lunches are served out on the terrace – and what better way to start they day than with a traditional cappuccino overlooking the harbour and town below? It fast became a highlight of our mornings for us during our stay, and we definitely languished and luxuriated over our breakfast that little bit longer than usual. With an array of pastries, yoghurts, cheeses and freshly cooked eggs or omelettes on offer, it would be rude not to have several courses – after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Rooms here are elegant and contemporary, each with its own unique layout and almost all of them offering spectacular views over the sea and the pretty hillside area of the town opposite. There are 53 in total, all of which feature bright, neutral décor and stylish, minimalistic furniture.
Those staying in the Junior Suite can enjoy a private terrace which comes complete with its own jacuzzi, while the cliffside Presidential Suite, “Dell’Ermita”, is the perfect spot for couples who are honeymooning or celebrating a romantic getaway on the Amalfi Coast.
Beds in all rooms are large and comfortable, and come with a selection of pillows. A highlight is the free-standing bath tub in the bathroom – perfect for a long, hot soak.
When it comes to hotel facilities, there’s no doubt about the fact that the heated infinity pool is a highlight. Our favourite part of each day was lounging on one of the rattan daybeds at sunset and enjoying a cocktail or two brought straight to us, as we gazed out at the spectacular ocean views.
Those who are keen to stay active and work off all of that extra wine and pasta can squeeze in a workout in the hotel’s on-site gym, while the spa makes for the perfect spot for a little rest and relaxation.
In a nutshell
A gem of a hillside hotel, if you’re heading to Amalfi then be sure to book in a few days here. Offering a unique yet luxurious experience thanks to its lengthy history, excellent service here is guaranteed – and from its delicious range of dining experiences to that all-important infinity pool, it has all you need for a perfectly relaxing stay.
Address: Via Annunziatella, 46, 84011 Amalfi SA, Italy
Phone: +39 089 873 6711