Hotel Santa Caterina. One of the most relaxing hotels I’ve ever stayed in.
In a nutshell…. Hotel Santa Caterina is a totally gorgeous Mediterranean-style hideaway from the stresses of daily life. It’s 5 star, with 67 rooms and is open all year round. You’ll feel like you’ve stumbled across a hidden gem in the most gorgeous part of the world. You’ll kind of not want to tell anyone about it.
Let’s talk about…London life
In hindsight, this trip to visit Hotel Santa Caterina came at a very good time indeed. I was having a horrible bout of anxiety, that had tapped me on the shoulder and wouldn’t go away. Perhaps it had been creeping in on me slowly, but I hadn’t noticed it. I was dangling on the edge of Work Overwhelm, beating myself up that I should just been happy with how busy I was, and not complain, and not tell anyone how anxious I’d been feeling about my diary filling up with Big Things. Being busy is definitely not something to brag about – EVERYONE IS BUSY GET OVER IT – but as a self-employed young woman “having a lot on” is a positive thing when you’re trying to grow a business – so it feels really moan-y to admit you’re struggling underneath it all. And of course it is less stressful than having no work coming in. One thing I’ve found to be true since working for myself, is it’s all or nothing. It was an “all” week. You don’t have colleagues to pass it onto. It’s just you. I felt like it was all closing in and piling up. Then the irony is you get so stressed out that you cancel the “fun” stuff and enter into a endless loop.
I had my first panic attack as I went into central London which totally freaked me out because it happened while doing something so normal (I go into London on the tube ALL the time). I had a meeting to interview Dawn O’Porter (my friend! It wasn’t even anyone scary!) and I couldn’t breathe on the tube and then couldn’t physically go into the building to meet her. That has *never* happened before — and it hasn’t happened again since either. Maybe a sign that I was letting everything build up without talking to anyone. Since then, I’ve had some amazingly helpful conversations — mainly around the topic of “boundaries”. Saying no to things that aren’t helping me, saying no to things I think I *should* do versus *want* to do, and saying yes to more opportunities to switch off. This trip to Amalfi being one of them. Something I’m definitely glad I said yes too, even when work was piling up around me. It’s a perk of my writing career, to get to travel to different places. But it sometimes comes with a feeling of: “can I justify going away when my to-do list is longer than my left leg?” The answer is: it’s ALWAYS worth an opportunity to down tools.
I love writing about careers stuff. Ambition. Work. Business. I love doing my podcast where we talk about living your career dreams. BUT!!! Getting away and feeling totally completely utterly away from it all is so so important, too.
Let’s talk about…first impressions
The drive from Naples airport to the hotel is a lovely scenic one. It’s quite a wind-y and zig-zaggy drive but the views make up for it. On arrival, the first thing that soaks in is how beautiful the reception area is. The gorgeous unique floor-tiling immediately makes your shoulders drop down into relaxation mode. Walking through the beautiful lobby area you can walk out onto the balcony where you can eat and look at the gorgeous view of the sea. It’s an amazing “first
impressions” hotel. Big “wowwwww” factor when you first walk in.
Let’s talk about…unique stand-outs
The hotel grounds are much bigger than you first think. The garden areas are so much fun to explore, there are lots of different levels tumbling down to sea level and to get to the pool you go in a lift that drops you all the way down. You can even take a dip directly into the sea via some steps that are situated right next to the pool. The grounds are gorgeous, surrounded by orange and lemon groves, full of scenic garden paths. This is something I loved so much about this hotel, how much greenery there is making you feel like you are really in NATURE. It makes you feel so so far away from a busy city life. Every hotel room is slightly different, each having it’s own stand-out features be it the tiles or the bathrooms. I also loved that the hotel is the product of the hard work of the family that own it, who have been running the hotel for four generations. This definitely set this hotel aside from many others – unique characteristics that can only come from a family’s love and attention. The spa is also really unique, with a big variety of massages and treatments, sauna, Turkish bath and Scottish Hydrotherapy shower. I loved the outdoor patio right next to the spa where you can relax in the sun after your treatment.
Let’s talk about…exploring the area
Another amazing thing about the hotel is how close it is to the town of Amalfi. It’s either a nice shortish walk, or a very short drive. The town was beautiful and reminded me of other Italian towns with so much personality, atmosphere, culture and gorgeous food to offer. We visited Saint Andrew’s Duomo in the heart of Amalfi. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century and the outside of the cathedral is Byzantine in style and is adorned with various paintings of saints, including Saint Andrew. We also visited Chiostro del Paradiso which was very peaceful and historical religious site where you can look at all the beautiful old Medieval frescos. I loved how much hustle and bustle there is in Amalfi, young groups of students, big families eating outside, ice-cream stands, it’s an amazing vibrant town which is full of life.
There is also the option to explore by boat! You can sail past a gorgeous view of Positano and other places on the Amalfi coast and truly I don’t know if there is a more beautiful place on earth?
Let’s talk about…eating & drinking
The food offerings at this hotel is divine. Breakfast is served in the Santa Caterina restaurant, lunch is served in the Al Mare open-air restaurant in the warmer months, overlooking the swimming pool. The menu offers fresh fish, hand-made pasta (I recommend the lemon pasta, it was absolutely delicious) for lunch. For dinner there is an opportunity to have a lovely candlelight dinner with the view of Amalfi and the ocean. It’s also worth mentioning how great the cocktail selection is! So many different varieties plus homemade lemon liqueurs to accompany lovely canapes before dinner.
My favourite meal on the menu was the Ravioli al Limone (lemon is a big feature in lots of the food here). Followed closely by the Risotto ai Frutti de Mare, Zeppoline “Santa Caterina” con Crema agli Agrumi and the selections of pizza and bruschette. (I’m drooling whilst typing this.) The wine list was also impeccable and I really enjoyed the Costa d’Amalfi Furore Bianco, Marisa Cuomo.
I also wanted to point out that the hotel is open to doing corporate meetings, conferences and planning of events. I’ve definitely been fantasising about hosting an event here.