It’s not often that you want to take tips on keeping it classy from the Kardashians, but I’m happy to make an exception. And that exception would have to be Hotel Santa Caterina, a gem of a hotel on Italy’s Amalfi Coast; it’s where Kim Kardashian honeymooned with Kris Humphries, and it’s where I headed for a weekend’s R&R, albeit not in my private jet this time (it’s, um, in for its MOT).
The Amalfi Coast is a 30 mile stretch of rugged coastline in Italy’s Campania region, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts celebrities and A-listers like it’s the Met Ball on heat. From Audrey Hepburn to Tom Cruise and John Steinbeck to the ubiquitous Kardashian klan, it’s the perfect place to come and relax in style.
The Hotel Santa Caterina is one of the true grand dames of the Amalfi Coast, a hotel seeped in history and oozing style. Perched on the cliffside, it brings out the true glamour of the region and offers spellbinding views into the bargain. Of course you can stylishly arrive in your mahogany Riva launch, but I opted for the free shuttle bus from Amalfi town centre.
The Amalfi coast is all about views; the gorgeous azure blue sea dominates and given the hotel is literally built into the landscape, you can’t escape it, not least thanks to the fact that all the rooms have sea-facing balconies. Some also boast private pools (Kim and Kris had one, obvs) and each room is individually decorated, with an interesting emphasis on decorated tiles. Every room is unique so make sure you get one with the jacuzzi bath in!
The hotel boasts the only lift in the area, taking guests down to the private heated pool by the sea where you can take a dip, weather permitting, or just lounge poolside, beneath the lemon trees which pop up everywhere in the region, flashes of citron amid the lush greenery and lemons the size of a boxing glove. They’re also incorporated in to the menus, with dishes like lemon linguine followed by a dessert of Chef’s Lemon Delice or for yet more lemony zest, find yourself slathered in lemon oil during a relaxing massage at the hotel spa.
Italian food is the best in the world, with the emphasis on good quality produce and simple flavours, so at Santa Caterina I was in my element, scoffing down everything in sight thanks to new chef, Giuseppe Stanzione. The A La Carte “Santa Caterina” restaurant serves a mean buffet breakfast as well as a more formal dinner. Or try the open-air “Al Mare” restaurant, or the there’s also fine dining option, Glicine Restaurant with its breathtaking views and excellent food (I met my first olive oil sommelier at the hotel!).
After dinner, and maybe a drink at the bar Il Grottino Bar or La Terrazza Bar, head to your room and lose yourself in the delightfully oversized beds, a world away from home.
Waking up in my luxurious Mediterranean style room, complete with white shutters and private balcony, I couldn’t have been further from the hustle and bustle of rainy London, but it turns out that I was approx five hours away, when you factor in the 90-minute windy road trip back to the airport and the two hour flight. Staying at Hotel Santa Caterina was Mediterranean bliss: complete with beautiful scenery, friendly people and amazing food, my only complaint is how quickly a weekend goes by! And I bet Kim Kardashian didn’t have to mess about with the Gatwick Express, either.