The Grand Hotel Convento Amalfi -- Ahhhh.
I hope that you have a ‘place’ you can go when you are feeling a bit out of sorts. A place of escape from sometime and somewhere that has comforting memories for you.
I do, and I want to share it with you in hopes that you might think to dwell on such a place from your own life. And if you don’t have such a place, staying at this fabulous hotel will give you a place where your mind can go to settle for years to come.
In September, you saw the article titled ‘One Fine Day’. That article was about a fabulous day on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Today’s article is about our base of operations while we were in Amalfi.
History of the Convent/Hotel
First, you need to understand that in modern English usage since the 18th century, a convent refers to a community of women. However, in much earlier times, it referred to a community of either brothers or sisters. The convent from which this hotel sprang was originally an abbey of Cistercian monks beginning in 1223. In 1583, it passed to Capuchin Friars who were there for two centuries until they were expelled in 1813 (I’m sure there’s a great story in there somewhere). It wasn’t until 1885 that it began to be used as a hotel, and it experienced a series transformations to keep up with an increasing tourism demand.
Here are a couple of photos of what remains of portions of the old convent. White plastered walls with intricate stonework make for a contemplative scene.
The Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi, sits at the end of, and high above, Amalfi Town. You can see the hotel in this old photograph that seems to pre-date elevators and today's roadway, which you can see in the next photo.
To get to the hotel, one parks their car in the right lane of a two lane road just as that road enters a tunnel (and the Italian drivers give your parking in the roadway not a second thought -- its just the way its done along the Amalfi Coast), as that’s where the hotel entrance is located. You can see the tunnel entrance along the main highway in this photo, taken from the hotel pool.
A bellman comes out to greet you and unload your bags. They then maneuver your car into that small lot you see in the photo -- if there is a space, that is. If there are no spaces, who knows where your vehicle winds up?
The hotel entrance is a cave-like opening in the cliff through which you walk to an elevator. That elevator takes you up a couple of hundred feet where you disembark (the glass elevator structure can be seen in the photo) to another elevator within the hotel proper where you then go to the lobby on the fifth floor.
Now, if you had been smart, you might have arrived in Amalfi by boat. Or maybe you arrived by car driven by a professional. And then there’s a bus. But we drove ourselves from Salerno along the most terrifying road on which we have ever been. When we arrived, we were given a complementary prosecco as seen above, complete with goose berry, to calm our nerves. See that guy in the background? He’s an Australian who said after learning that we had driven ourselves along the coastal road, “I admire you!”
Our room, with balcony and lovely whitewashed walls and ceiling, looked out over the blue Mediterranean.
The grounds were dreamy. Bougainvillea arbors covered the dining patio, where we had both breakfast, lunch and dinner whilst eating at the hotel. And the weather was superb!
The Amalfi Coast is noted for its lemons and its limoncello. Almost everywhere you look along the coast, you will see arbors of lemon trees, like these in the hanging gardens of the hotel.
The reach the pool, you walk along this loggia for a bit.
And then you come to the most dramatic pool setting that we’ve ever seen.
The view from the hotel’s terrace is spectacular, whether it be sunrise, midday, sunset or evening. The town of Amalfi sits just below. In this photo, you see the sunrise we experienced from the roof of the hotel.
Here is a view during the day of Amalfi and its harbor. The pool cabana can be seen in the middle-left of the photo. And the ever-present lemons can be seen along the lower edge.
I’m not sure if ‘what goes down, must go up’ is part of Newtonian physics, but if you’re staying at the hotel and want to go into town, that’s the reality of the situation. The good part is you don’t have to walk all the way up – just to the roadway where you can go to the hotel entrance and then up the rest of the way to the hotel by elevator. But still, there are plenty of steps to negotiate for you to get your exercise.
Want to go to the beach? Here is what you find just below the hotel…with crystal clear waters.
And this shot from the hotel shows the ‘beach’ of the hotel just past the exit of the tunnel mentioned earlier. The Italians make creative use of their resources, don’t they?!
Now, if you’re like me, and I certainly know that I am, you are probably wondering about the food at the hotel. Rather than me telling you how scrumptiously delicious it is, just take a look.
The breakfast buffet – scrumptious.
Poolside lunch – scrumptiouser
Dinner – the scruptiousest.
And of course, at each meal we had either our favorite ‘Coca Cola Lite’ or wine – or sometimes, both.
And how did the food get to our table? Well, it was usually Alfonso who took care of us, and he did a marvelous job!
After our evening meal, with this being Amalfi and all – home to the world’s best limoncello -- Alfonso brings us a bit of the yellow liquid to finish off a perfect evening.
I hope that you have your own special place where you can go to dwell on happy times whenever you need such a diversion. If you don’t, feel free to borrow ours!
Here is a link to the website for the Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi:
Ciao for now,
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