We were blown away by super-chic Grand Hotel Il Convento. This real-life 13th century monastery had been an important fixture in the history of Amalfi for hundreds of years and then run as a grand hotel for more than a century, until new owners and management came in and gave this historic site a bottom-to-top 21st century makeover. Now, the white-washed walls of the historic building are complimented by all-white furnishings and flax-colored linen accents, from the street level entry all the way up to the top floor dining room and right through to the cliff-hugging guest rooms. The hotel looks like it could walk down a Milan runway and certainly could serve as the backdrop for any fashion shoot!
How many hotels boast their own cloister, vine-clad arbor and functioning church? Add in the spectacular cliffside views of Amalfi from every angle and you’ll be hard pressed to want to leave.
We had a very interesting suite, consisting of three rooms (probably each originally a monk’s cell) on three levels, each separated by only a couple of steps – a living room, a bedroom and a killer bathroom with a huge white ceramic free-standing bathtub and a gigantic walk-in shower with a window looking out to the sea. As noted, the white-and-flax color scheme continued in the guest rooms. Rather than looking bland or austere, it was really quite hip – SoBe meets Amalfi.
The staff of the hotel could not be nicer or more helpful, with excellent dinner and touring suggestions. They even gave us a private tour of the hotel church (which is kept locked for preservation purposes). The hotel offers a shuttle into town on the hour, but we quickly realized that we could walk into town on the main road (not recommended according to the doorman because of traffic) or down a flight of public stairs from street level to the marina and then a mere three blocks to the center of town. The stairs were not difficult at all (in either direction) and became our preferred way to have the freedom to come and go as we pleased without having to rely on the shuttle. But for those not so inclined, it is nice that the service is offered.
But there were also some glitches, especially the Internet. There seems to be a regional problem with the speed of the Internet because of interference from the mountains that surround the Amalfi Coast. But the hotel also requires going to the front desk to get new codes and signing back in every 24 hours and if you’re in the middle of work (as I was one day) when that 24-hour mark is reached, you are thrown out, you of course lose all your work and, in my case, a very important Skype call was dropped. That issue is separate from whether the Internet is slow and the hotel really needs to improve this part of its Internet service. Additionally, on the last morning, for some reason, the hotel (or at least the guest rooms) had no hot water. We thought the front desk’s reaction to the inconvenience was just a bit indifferent, which stood in stark contrast to the attentiveness to everything else. When one is paying over 700 Euros a night, something needs to be done when you can't shave, shower or wash. I'd also note that the spa treatments were not particularly good, with a massage that I could not wait to end.
Notwithstanding those issues, in the big picture, this hotel is fantastic. We are glad that the “great” hotels in Positano were booked because otherwise we would not have had a chance to stay at this “back-up” hotel. It will never be just a “back up” again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi has been and continues to be one of the most significant monuments of the entire Amalfi Coast. ... more less
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