Hand-painted ceramic tiles and climbing plants are the theme of this Liberty-style hotel, which the Gambardella family has managed for five generations since 1880
The 19th-century villa of Santa Caterina sits perched on one of the hills that overlook the water and the rocky shores of Amalfi. Natural terraces create a staircase that climbs it way up to the villa among cluster pines and citrus groves. The Liberty-style white façade of the hotel reflects the Mediterranean aesthetics, creating a familiar combination that is core to the hallmarks Italian hospitality.
The Gambardella family has owned and managed the hotel for five generations. The original structure was built by Giuseppe Gambardella in 1880, and was redesigned to host six guest rooms in 1904 by his son Crescenzo. Over time, Crescenzo’s successors expanded the resort to its present sixty-six rooms and suites that are now managed by sisters Giusi and Ninni and their children Crescenzo, Alessandro, and Beatrice — each directly involved in day-to-day operations. The business passed down for generations and became part of the Leading Hotels of the World.
Each of the accomodation solutions that Santa Caterina offers displays a variety in furnishings, amenities and themes. The suites with gold and marble accents and draped canopy beds, and the guest rooms, in their modernity, boast hand-painted ceramic tiles on the floors and bathroom walls, and enjoy access to jacuzzis and private infinity pools. In the bathroom, the room manifests its expression with white arches and the emerald flora of Santa Caterina in the tessellation of the walls, or recreating a Liberty-style terrazza with a paneled ceiling and hand-painted tiles depicting the gulf. The traditional square-patterned mats complement the bathrooms, while their plastic counterparts do not contribute to the interiors. The connected balconies and private terraces share the view of the gulf and hills, but the proximity can at times prove to be indiscrete, while the potted plants often pale in comparison to the rich foliage covering the hill.
Guests are welcomed to Santa Caterina in a white hall with an arched ceiling and stone columns rising from a polished tile floor with a floral motif— the black silicon that seals them creating a contrast that is, in its starkness, somewhat detrimental to the elegance of the hall. Glass panels on the wooden doors and windows allow light to flow into the room, furnished with dark wooden elements. Four-leaf clovers are painted on the green ceramic lampshades, thus creating a theme along with the climbing plants that take over the hall.
Ceramic accents uplift the terracotta tiles of the terraces with their shades of green. The summer warmth is sweetened both during the mornings and nights with the scent of wisterias and the cool wind that rises from the gulf. Tiles pave the main terrace of Santa Caterina, where the Michelin-starred Il Glicine unfolds under a woven reeds roof. Chef Giuseppe Stanzione, who is behind Il Glicine’s curated selection of dishes, acquires his ingredients from local producers and traditional Amalfi gastronomy to bring forth flavor to the fullest. Developing under the wisteria-covered arches and white fabric screens of another terrace, restaurant Al Mare is not second to Il Glicine, with furnishings like wrought iron tables and wicker chairs resulting in neater and more organic aesthetics. A private pathway lit with lanterns descends the slope of the hill, connecting the terraces to the lounge bar and leading to the sea-level sunbathing platform where guests can plunge into the Gulf of Amalfi.
Via Mauro Comite, 9
Member of the Leading Hotels of the World