When we were looking for accommodations on the Amalfi Coast we kept coming back to this beautiful photo (see below) and an article we read about an amazing hotel perched upon a cliff in the village of Conca Dei Marini.
Here’s an excerpt from that article: “a most extraordinary new luxury resort. Bianca Sharma is an extraordinary woman. She is the sole owner of Europe’s most extraordinary hotel to open this century, Monastero Santa Rosa Bianca acts on impulse. She is a former schoolteacher who had always defined herself as a wife and mother of two sons. Married to Texas-born Ken Sharma, co-founder of the software company i2 Technologies, he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1997. He passed away in 1999. That same year the soft-spoken Bianca and her two teenage sons went for a visit to the Amalfi coast, staying with longtime friends. During a boat trip along the coast, she looked up at an imposing ruined building, an old monastery 1,000 ft up a near-vertical cliff. Back in the 1600’s a nun by the name of, Rosa Pandolfi, a descendant of a noble family had founded the convent. The monastery, as it became known (not because monks lived here, but because it was the home of a secluded religious order) closed its doors in the mid-1800s. In 1924, it reopened as a hotel but by the end of the 20th century that establishment had shut its doors as well, and the convent once again stood silent, in danger of falling into ruin. When Bianca saw it hanging on the cliff she said, I HAVE A DREAM as she envisioned a 20-room luxury hotel.”
Her dream took many years to form but the hotel finally opened in 2012.
When we visited the Amalfi Coast back in 2015, the hotel had only been opened for 3 years. Even though it was a bit pricey back then, we certainly lucked out price-wise as it has now gained a reputation for being one of the best hotels in the area. We have read that in recent years the hotel has hosted its fair share of famous guests. Bernard & Aline? NOPE! Proud to say neither rich nor famous but we are always up for a bit of pampering.
La vie au Monastère 🛐.
To get to this hotel the cab driver drove up along a steep hillside and followed a very small winding road. Suddenly as we looked up, we spotted the hotel at a distance just hanging there on the edge of a cliff. 😊
We were able to check-in early that morning as we had booked spa services. When we drove up to the hotel the staff at the entrance rang the Monastery bell to signal our arrival. The bell is rung for every guest on their arrival and departure, as was the tradition during its Monastery days. Stepping into the entrance of the hotel was certainly one of those memorable “pinch me” moments. I think what got our eye more than anything was all the attention to detail. Everything in the hotel has been left with many of its original features (as a Monastery), but the owner, Bianca Sharma has now added, of course, some extra features which make it stand out to be the luxury hotel that it is today.
There are only 12 small guest bedrooms and 8 larger suites in the entire hotel. Most of the rooms would have been where the nuns slept many years ago. Most have been kept to their original size but some have been transformed into larger exquisite suites. Each room is named after a flower or herb that the nuns would have used for medicinal purposes back in the Monastery days. Ours was an orchid (Orchis) and was accented on pillows and on the room door.
Original features of the Monastery have been preserved, such as the hallway arched walls. the ancient wooden doors and the white-washed vaulted ceilings which are all so impressive.
There’s even a confessional in the hallway, located across from the sinner’s room.
A walk around the property…wow so immaculate and peaceful. A visit through this slideshow…
The poolside for a little lunch.
Then total relaxation…
We had a memorable dinner on this beautiful outdoor terrace.
The following morning was spent just being lazy and admiring the views from the upper terrace. It was so calm and peaceful looking at the sea and the mountains. All you could hear were the birds and the very soft Italian music in the background. What a place to meditate. I was thinking and imagining the nuns who would have lived here many years ago. The “pitter-patter” of their feet moving around. If they could see this place now!
We finally had to convince ourselves to leave this terrace and go down for breakfast. We were served sfogiatella which we were told are pastries often made at the Monastery by the nuns. We were also told the nuns sold their apothecary potions and pastries in order to give money for charity.
Well, it’s time to leave this beautiful spot and move on to seeing what else the Amalfi Coast has to offer.
Bernard, can we come back here for our 40th wedding anniversary? I’ll start saving our pennies now.😊
Bianca Sharma thanks for bringing this beautiful paradise back to life.
AU REVOIR! ❤️