HELLO! reviews Hotel Santa Caterina on the Amalfi Coast – the luxurious five-star property adored by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian
The Amalfi Coast is a destination that many travelers put at the top of their bucket list and with the offer of exquisite azure sea views, coastal towns and villages perched on cliffs and fresh Mediterranean cuisine, it is easy to understand why.
Plan a trip to Italian hotspot might seem a little daunting given the choice of accommodation, but one place you should definitely spend a night or two is Amalfi itself.
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While many tourists will take a day trip to the historic city, you’ll get a real sense of the place by spending the night there and there’s no better choice than the luxurious and exclusive Hotel Santa Catarina.
Hotel Santa Caterina hosted guests from Angelina Jolie to Kim Kardashian
The five-star property is the definition of old-world glamor and sophistication where its celebrity clientele reads like A-listers roll call. Kim Kardashian honeymooned here with Kris Humphries, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt spent time away from the cameras early in their romance, while Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea also vacationed there. Looking further, the hotel was also a favorite for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Located an hour and a half from Naples airport, Hotel Santa Caterina is easily accessible using the hotel’s shuttle service and it’s a breathtaking drive along the Amalfi Coast, a site UNESCO World Heritage. Guests immediately feel the dolce vita upon entering the immaculate lobby, which features a quaint, flower-covered veranda with views of the Bay of Naples and the charming town of Amalfi.
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The hotel is the definition of old-world glamor
The hotel itself is an oasis of calm, set away from the hustle and bustle of central Amalfi but easily accessible on foot (15 minute walk downhill) or with the hotel’s shuttle service. This exquisite 19th-century venue has been in the family for over 100 years, which explains the personalized and friendly service offered to guests.
Like the rest of the hotel, the rooms, which start from £460 per night, are traditional and epitomize old-world glamour. We were treated to an ultra-luxurious suite with gilded furniture and red satin curtains draped around the bed, a pink-tiled bathroom with jacuzzi and mosaic, and a large private terrace with lounge chairs. Guests can expect all the amenities and luxuries of a celebrity-endorsed hotel, such as Bulgari toiletries in the bathroom, impeccable turndown service, and the welcome offer of delicious sweet treats in your room.
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Bathroom amenities include Bulgari products
The hotel has two restaurants to try — the more casual Al Mare Restaurant and the exceptional and more formal Michelin-starred Glicine Restaurant. Perfect for relaxed al fresco lunches and dinners, the Al Mare Restaurant features an expansive terrace that sits above the hotel’s private beach and swimming pool. A gentle breeze blows through the restaurant as diners enjoy fresh seafood, pizzas, bruschetta and salads, while enjoying the sparkling sea view.
The Glicine, on the other hand, is where you’ll want to book for a more formal meal, like a special occasion or your last night at the hotel. This is a truly exceptional restaurant and although it is the same place where you have your buffet breakfast – which is also exceptional – it is totally magical at night with its candlelit setting and view of the twinkling lights of the restaurant. ‘Amalfi in the distance. Be sure to ask for a table on the panoramic terrace.
The magnificent Michelin-starred restaurant Glicine
It’s no surprise that the fine dining establishment, the hotel’s flagship restaurant and headed by chef Giuseppe Stanzione, has earned a Michelin star three years in a row. It was truly a highlight of our stay and an unforgettable meal. The menu focuses on local recipes and Mediterranean flavors and makes the most of the ingredients the Amalfi Coast is best known for – lemons and seafood.
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With that in mind, I indulged in semolina rice-shaped pasta with king crab drizzled with olive oil and chilli, followed by lemon Sfusato Amalfitano with mint sorbet for dessert. “Sfusato” refers to the pointed or tapered end of the lemon and the Amalfi Coast is known for its oversized, tart lemons. It’s almost impossible not to find them on the menu in one form or another and add delicious flavor to every dish.
The gourmet restaurant was a highlight of our stay
In addition to upscale fare, guests can also enjoy a drink at the hotel’s two bars – La Terraza which is next to Glicine and serves homemade lemon liqueurs, and Il Grottino which is adjacent to the pool and beach club.
To access the beach club, you have to go down the glass elevators that have been literally carved into the rock. The swimming pool, open from April to October, is the ideal sunbathing area for guests who wish to enjoy a dip in the seawater pool or relax on a lounge chair with a book in hand. There’s also a small fitness room for those who want to keep working out while on vacation — though this gym has great views of the Bay of Naples.
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The hotel overlooks the town of Amalfi
For a real moment of relaxation, the wellness center offers a range of face and body treatments with essences of Mediterranean herbs and citrus fruits. Or you can treat yourself to a beauty session like a manicure and pedicure.
Hotel Santa Caterina has been attracting guests for years with its friendly and attentive service, exclusive environment, upscale facilities and unbeatable restaurants. It truly offers a la dolce vita experience and if you needed another reason to visit, this summer the hotel is opening its new Villas della Marchesa. Accommodating 14 people, the villas have their own 36m outdoor swimming pool, gardens and private wine cellar, as well as sea views from every room and suite. Seems perfect for our next group booking.
Rooms at Hotel Santa Caterina start from €550 (£460) per night.