Wow. NH Collection Grand Hotel Conventi di Amalfi is impressive and one of those breath-taking places to stay. NH Collection Amalfi can be found in a stunning location on the cliffs of the Amalfi coastline. Built into the grounds of a 12th Century Italian Monastery it’s a truly breathtaking and impressive place to stay, unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s a fascinating blend of modern architecture combined with the original ruins of the ancient monastery.
The entire hotel overlooks the Amalfi Harbour with it’s yachts boats and ferries, and the narrow streets of the town below you can see the coming and going of visitors. It reminds me very much of Santorini in the way the hotels and swimming pools are built into the cliffs in a layered way looking out into the sparkling ocean. You can see the sea disappear out into the horizon and on a clear day look upon the coastline of Sorento and Capri out in the distance.
Arrival and Welcome-
Our arrival at the hotel was a 1.5 hour drive from Naples and was a very picturesque and bucolic journey. We opted to use the hotel transport as we knew that this was probably going to be the easiest way to travel there. We had a wonderful driver who not only was waiting for us on our arrival at the airport, but also spent some time pointing out some of the sights on the way to Amalfi. One of the most impressive of these sights was travelling through Pompei and seeing the still active Vesuvius Volcano dominating the landscape. Worryingly there are plenty of residential properties built on the Volcano itself (I can’t help but wonder about the lesson of Pompei!).
The hotel entrance is actually located a short distance from the narrow main road with a small car parking area facing it on the other side of the road, just at the base of the tunnel. The entrance is small, sleek and elegant, in a similar vein to NH Collection style. There is a friendly welcome from the concierge and large elevator which takes you up through the cliff into the grounds of the hotel.
The lift took quite some time to go up to the reception floor, and you also need to change lifts again before you actually reach reception - which gives you a sense of how high up it is from the main streets. The glass elevator stops near to the beautifully alabaster reception area with the grand corridor to the left and spacious dining area to the right. Enormous cream seats and welcome area great you as you take some time to settle in.
This is where we met Flavia who gave us a wonderfully warm welcome and tour of the hotel. It was fascinating to hear about the ancient monastery and to see the ancient ruins and artefacts which have been kept as part of the hotel.
There is so much to see within the hotel itself, the cloister, and the rectory, to see the little the “punishment area” where the monks were tied up when they had hidden food from others! You can also see the amazing arches and columns, and where the monastery was built into the actual cliff side. We could see why people choose to get married here.
It is hard to describe the effect of seeing some of the ruins, it’s a place you to have to physically be to quite capture the sense of spirituality and presence of the monastery – it’s impressive and quite profound. Combined with the acoustics, it’s becomes a very magical experience.
There was very little on the Amalfi coast in ancient times and one of the first buildings to have been constructed here was the monastery itself.
During our stay, the hotel has been installing an exciting new electronic application which you can use on a tablet or mobile phone to look at “past and present” parts of the hotel. The hotel has prided itself on being able to keep much of the monastery in its original form. There was a ghostly moment where I actually took a photo of myself, and then swiped across the apps picture to see the same photo taken from 100 years ago with people stood there in dress of the time! Flavia explained to us that the hotel is hoping to launch this app across the entire hotel very soon.
I also have to say that I loved the artwork which is through the hotel. Quite gothic but also modernistic, it really represents the combination of old with new. The artwork is for sale and so you also have the option of purchasing items.
The hotel grounds open up onto to lemon and orange groves, herb gardens and fruit trees which are very pleasant to walk through both visually and aromatically.
The hotel prides itself on using all of it’s own fruits and herbs in the Ristorante Dei Cappucini– which has its own Michelin Star Celebrity TV Italian Chef (Natale Giunta). We enjoyed the degustation tasting meal here with gusto!
The infinity pool is a great place to relax and to look out onto the ocean. As you can see from the photo here – it’s like you are merging into the horizon as you relax in the calmness of the pool.
The rooms are beautifully designed with spectacular views of the harbour and ocean. The rooms are high up but with the landscape and space it feels also very grounded. Being high up on the cliff provide you with excellent privacy but panoramic views of the coastline. I have to say part of me felt slightly eerie that I was sleeping in the location where 12th Century monks had also been sleeping!
The room was well equipped with mini bar, beautiful egg shaped hanging chairs from the ceiling, draped linen see through curtains around the bed, temperature control, snacks and room service, and wooden blinds with traditional Italian windows which open up to the Cliffside vistas.
There is a fully equipped modern gym which is open 24 hours, and a fully functionally equipped Spa for massages, facials, relaxation and aromatherapy and the like. There is also an on hand bespoke expert who can arrange an extensive list of tours and activities to suit your interests and needs – and when I mean extensive I really mean it. There were whole books of activities from cooking classes to visiting the Capri island – too many options for me to attempt to list here.
Our stay in this truly extraordinary hotel was one of those experiences to remember. I don’t think I would want to stay anywhere else if I was visiting Amalfi – this is simply the best place to stay by far. It’s so extraordinary and unique, you simply won’t find anywhere like it. How many places can say they offer 5 star luxury service within the setting of a 12th Century Monastery, with all modern cons and features without losing the ancient and fascinating features of the original building? I’d like to say a special thanks to Flavia and the waiter/hotel staff who were just amazingly friendly and polite – they made our stay a fantastic experience and we hope to return!
Via Annunziatella, 46, 84011 Amalfi SA, Italy