The hotel was really nice, but a little too formal for my taste and definitely too pricey for what you get (especially in the restaurant). I prefer high quality lodging, food, and service in a relaxed setting. The location was great, the pool and man-made beach/jetty were really nice and exactly as we expected. The elevator through the rocks down to the sea was amazing, but the topography is such that you don't have sun after 3 or 3:30 pm. We didn't want to sunbathe much, but the beach loses its allure when people start to leave, you need a towel to cover up because it was a little cool, and you can't really go swimming since there's no sun to dry off in afterwards. The powerboats pulling up for hotel guests to go on private boat excursions was also a real turnoff because of the noise and gasoline pollution. The large number of American guests, particularly from NY and NJ was a bit off-putting and I am from NJ -- I just don't want to travel 4,000 miles to feel like I'm on the Jersey shore. It was also annoying to be in Italy at a hotel where I had to twist the staff's arms to speak Italian -- English, English, all the time. The pool staff were great (very friendly, no problems getting extra towels, etc), but they were more like waiters than lifeguards (not the experience we have had in Liguria and made me less confident in their abilities should the need arise). The water was also very deep and pretty rough, but enjoyable (except watch out for jelly fish). The pool was heated, has two depths and a nice ledge to sit on by the rocks. The hotel has a nice gym and very nice manicured grounds/gardens. The restaurant by the pool for lunch and upstairs for dinner was pretty good, but super expensive -- 30 eu for a chicken breast or 38 eu for a grilled fish fillet, not even the whole fish, is about double what you would pay at a good local restaurant. The grilled vegetables were very tasty so we pretty much enjoyed those everyday. The pizza wasn't good to me -- I saw good reviews, but I don't know why because the crust has no flavor, which seems to be typical of the region. It's also ridiculous at 19 eu, when I got the same pizza in town for 5 eu.
Now to the real positives: Room was lovely with a huge balcony (we booked a garden view and got lucky with Rm. 23 on the 1st floor, which is really the 2nd floor). The bathroom was nice, although I would have chosen different tile and tub -- the bedroom has amazing acqua colored tile, but the bathroom wall has a tired dark yellow tile that just looks out of place. Breakfast was really good, including roasted vegetables so I had roasted vegetable scrambled eggs every day (super tasty, don't knock it until you've tried it, the fennel was especially yummy). They also have fresh-squeezed oj, though they don't tell you about that, you have to ask persistently, and I didn't realize it until the 2nd to last day). I think there are too many sweets, but one of the sweet challah-type breads was addictive. The bellinis at the bar and fruit smoothies were lovely at the pool , but at 18 eu each, they kind of hurt a little. The local green olives are amazing.
The one thing that bothered me was that the Santa Caterina doesn't automatically offer dishes that have high quality, expensive ingredients, but they will do so if you ask. For instance, the chicken breast entree came with horrible tater-tots instead of some higher quality, unfried side. We requested a vegetable and a whole plate of broccoli rabe came out, but why don't they just do that from the start? Why should you have to ask for that when you're paying 30 eu for the entree? It seems to me that the hotel cuts corners, and for 460 eu a night, that just shouldn't be the case. Additionally, the hotel allowed a large, American tour to have lunch at the hotel one afternoon and they were a raucous, drunk group that was gawking down at us on the beach and was really tacky. I know the restaurant isn't private, but they should not allow tour groups to come through just to earn an extra buck. It really degraded the 5-star nature of the hotel and hotel management's reaction was "We couldn't say no," which is laughable and ridiculous. The hotel's internet connection is also super slow -- 4 lines for 66 rooms and 5 hotel front desk staff is insufficient, the one public computer was ridiculously slow and there was often a bit of a line. We took a private car to Pompeii and two and from the airport. We had one nice driver out of three -- Pepe. One other complaint is that although the hotel was super clean, the restrooms by the pool and gym were not maintained/cleaned enough so that was frustrating.
Amalfi itself is cute, but super touristy (especially if a cruise is in town) and really tiny -- 15 min and you've seen the whole thing. The ferry to Positano and the bus to Ravello were really great -- Ravello is so refreshing, the air is like you're in the Alps. All in all we are happy we went to the Amalfi coast and we wouldn't have stayed anywhere else (Santa Caterina is the only hotel I found with a pool, beach, and elevator to the beach), but we weren't completely satisfied.
Da Ciccio was a great neighborhood restaurant with amazing spaghetti with clams, olives, and tomatoes in parchment paper. Franco told us about them and they came and picked us up for dinner -- seems to be a thing in Amalfi. We also ate at La Campanina, about 15 min up the mountain in Pogerola, the owner picked us up as well. The food there was good, but Da Ciccio was better and closer, although somewhat more expensive (dinner for two, salads, pasta, whole fish with 1/2 bottle of local wine for about 80 eu).
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Odigeo, Priceline, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., getaroom.com, Cancelon and Evoline ltd so you can book your Santa Caterina Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Santa Caterina Amalfi
- Hotel Santa Caterina