“Soothe your soul at this 17th-century convent in Maratea's old town, with monastic-chic rooms and exquisite dining, a few miles from the beach”
The rooms are an elegant blend of old and modern, ascetic and exotic. Plain white walls, wafting floor-length curtains, locally made floor tiles, and the occasional raw-rock wall are brightened by colourful wall art and vibrant silk cushions. Decorative touches have been chosen with care and some, like the punched metal or carved-wood lampshades, have a distinctly Middle-Eastern feel. Beds feel downy-soft thanks to fine Italian cotton and duvets.
It's worth splurging on your accommodation. The Classic Rooms are the smallest, and feel small (1 has a single bed). The Superior Rooms are larger, with more floor space and an armchair, but have only courtyard-facing windows. Deluxe Rooms are bigger again, and most come with private and super-sunny terraces with fab views of the misty mountains - we loved ours! The Suites are the biggest roomsand are all quite different, although there's always a kingsize bed with slim metal canopy, and wonderful views. La Badessa is the most spacious, with a large private terrace; La Vicaria has a groovy rock-embedded bathroom, but only a slim window balcony; Le Novizie is split-level with a single sofabed in the bedroom, and a small single bed in the living room - ideal for families; La Superiora has 4 windows so is lovely and light-filled (but doesn't have a bathtub), and Le Converse has a separate bath and shower, and a private garden.
Bathrooms are peacefully tiled in shades of blue/green and have showers or bathtubs, plus little luxuries like the finest-Italian-linen robes and towels, plus slippers, a hairdryer and L'Occitane toiletries.
The locanda's gourmet restaurant, Il Sacello, serves up the best food for miles around (so it's worth booking ahead, particularly in July and August). It offers unusually light, nouvelle cuisine-style portions (which means you are able to try several), with seasonal, organic and local ingredients, including surprising ones like tomato leaves and caper flowers.
Each dish has been calibrated to offer a unique taste sensation - we had to close our eyes to savour each delicate mouthful! Our dinner consisted of a single lobster-stuffed cannelloni (on a teaspoon of asparagus and beans, topped with fresh fennel), followed by fresh lobster. Next up was gnocchi with scampi, then sea bass fillet in a tomato pot. We finished with chunks of dense frozen ricotta ice cream with shards of dark chocolate and a warm, fluffy muffin. All utterly delicious.
Breakfast is the usual Continental buffet of cereals, yoghurts, fruits and juices, bread, pastries, cakes, cheeses and cold meats (though the Italians seem to like their bacon almost raw!), along with teas or frothy cappuccinos. Eggs any style or crepes can also be ordered for no extra charge.
You can dine in the restaurant, or out on the parasol-shaded deck, where you sit on white-cushioned chairs and sofas. The menu only changes few weeks, so if you're here for a few days, we'd also recommend the old town's Taverna Rovita and Antichi Sapori, which both serve richly-flavoured and filling traditional Lucanian fare. The fresh seafood at port-facing Lanterna Rossa is also excellent. Just steer clear of La Torre's pizzas, which are oversalted and undercooked!
Families are welcome, though it's largely a romantic retreat. Children under 3 stay for free; from 3 onwards there's a small charge for an extra bed. Kids will love the pool and the winding, cloister corridors - and no doubt have fun with Maratea's many cats!
Babies (0-1 years)
Le Novizie Suite is split level with a single sofabed in the bedroom, and a daybed which can be made up as an additional single bed in the living area.
Babysitting available on request.
Baby cots and highchairs
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking