The Edge of the World

By Sophie Novack / May 21, 2017

“This possessed me,” said Bianca Sharma, owner of Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel and Spa, of first laying eyes on what would become her luxury property on the Amalfi Coast, in southern Italy. She stood in the hotel’s organic vegetable garden as she gazed out on the expansive sea. “It made no sense,” she said with a laugh, “buying this property.”

A former seventeeth-century monastery in Conca dei Marini, the boutique hotel is something of a pet project for Sharma, an American who first spotted the property while on a boat ride in the Gulf of Salerno in 2000. She bought it nearly immediately and, following a 10-year renovation, Monastero Santa Rosa opened in 2012. Together with her son and managing partner Nathan, Sharma aims to make each guest feel very much part of the family.

Nestled in the cliffs overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, the property maintains elements from its history as a monastery, while offering the comfort and elegance of a luxury hotel. With just 20 rooms and suites, guests can make their experience as intimate or adventure-filled as they choose. Take a dip in the infinity pool overlooking the sea. Enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Chef Christoph Bob on the terrace of the property’s Ristorante Il Refettorio. Tour the hotel’s organic vegetable garden and pick produce for a cooking lesson. Choose from an extensive array of spa treatments, then linger to enjoy the Thermal Suite–complete with a tepidarium, sauna, steam room, Hydro Pool and Emotion Showers. Take in panoramic views from the sunset terrace.

The town of Amalfi is a 10-minute drive away and the hotel offers a free shuttle (roads along the cliffs are winding–those with motion sickness should be prepared). The hotel can coordinate a guided hike from town that includes a walk along a stone path beside orchards of lemons grown for the region’s specialty: limoncello. A farther but worthwhile trip is to Pastificio dei Campi Gragnano, a family-owned pasta factory in Gragnano, Naples–renowned for its bronze pasta made special because of simple ingredients and an ideal climate for drying pasta. The small operation produces in one year what a big factory makes in a single day, along with other specialties like sun-dried tomatoes, preserved peaches, olive oil and fantastic marinated baby artichokes (I snuck a jar home in my suitcase!). The hotel can arrange a tour of the factory–and a homestyle meal carefully prepared by the mother.

Monastero Santa Rosa guests must be at least 16 years old. The 2017 season will run from April 14 to November 5.

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