La Locanda delle Donne Monache

Maratea & Cilento Coast, Italy Book from Book from £104 per night

Soothe your soul at this 17th-century convent in Maratea's old town, with monastic-chic rooms a few miles from the beach
An as-yet largely undiscovered gem, this locanda is a joy to stay, swim and eat in. Perched up the mountainside in Maratea's centro storico, high above the terracotta roofs of the 'new' town, its poetic, misty views are enhanced by the soft clanging of ancient church bells. Originally a convent built in 1735, it still has the cloistered, winding corridors, but its tasteful boutique restoration has been given pizzazz by Arabic flourishes and a colourful, quirky feast of modern art collected from around the world.

Drink in the dreamy mountain views, chill in the upper or lower levels of the lush garden, float in the turquoise sun-trap pool, or unwind completely in the fragrant Massage Room. Afterwards, treat your taste buds to a light lunch by the pool.

As an added bonus, the steep, meandering streets of sleepy, cat-filled old Maratea are right on your doorstep, and a stunning 40-minute climb above you is the imposing 21m statue of Christ the Redeemer, which seems to spread its arms protectively over the town. Wonderful.

Information provided by La Locanda delle Donne Monache on 10/07/2020.

Cleaning and hygiene
Enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures in place.

Food and drink
Breakfast a la carte.

Facilities
No bus service to the beach available; guests to use their own car. Fitness room closed. Social distancing at the pool including fewer loungers and less people in the pool at one time.

Highs

  • Maratea's natural beauty: a 19-mile coastline of secluded pebbled beaches lined by pine trees, and blissful azure waters. The hotel offers a free daily transfer to Il Mirto beach in the summer months
  • The calming, graceful rooms, most with lovely balconies and mountain or garden views; the Suites are well worth splashing out on
  • Perfect for a honeymoon or romantic holiday - Maratea is often referred to as Amalfi without the crowds, and this hotel is the best in town
  • Staff are friendly and warm - though this is an upmarket hotel, the ambiance is relaxed

Lows

  • A 2.5-hour drive from Naples airport, with some steep winding roads
  • Having to manually turn off the toilet flush (not good for water conservation!)
  • There aren't enough sun loungers if all guests throng to the pool

Best time to go

July and August are high season for Italian holidaymakers; most foreigners tend to stay in May-June and September-October. June and September are both quiet with good weather, neither too hot or cold, and in May there's lots of blossom and wild flowers and the sea is at its most scintillating blue. The hotel is closed from November - April.

Our top tips

  • Remember the Italians love their siesta, so most shops and restaurants in old Maratea are firmly closed for a big chunk of the afternoon, with the exception of the supermarket and a couple of cafes, so plan your day accordingly
  • During July and August, steep yourself in Italian art culture during the town's '7 Event' or 'Film Festival' weeks
  • Great for...

    Family
    Romantic
    Spa
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 27
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Bicycles Available
    Room:

    Rooms

    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.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Central heating
    • Cots Available
    • DVD player
    • Extra beds
    • Hairdryer
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Satellite TV
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi

    Eating

    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 for a light lunch, or out on the parasol-shaded deck, where you sit on white-cushioned chairs and sofas. The poolside bar is also open until 8pm. The restaurant doesn't serve dinner, so we'd recommend the old town's Taverna Rovita, which serves 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!

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    • Vegetarian menu
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Spend the day at Il Mirto beach, a pretty rocky cove 8km away - locanda guests get free transfers, entry, and a waterside lounger & parasol. Or drive to the sandy cove of Macarro Beach (5km)

    • Explore the narrow alleys of old Maratea: shop, talk to the cats, visit some of the 44 churches, and see archeological finds in the Convento dei Cappuccini and Palazzo de Lieto Museum

    • Pop down to the lively little port with its old fishing trawlers, luxury yachts, shops, cafes and chic bars and restaurants

    • Savour the stunning views on the 40-minute climb up to the medieval ruins and bright-white, 21m statue of Christ the Redeemer - it's well worth the effort!

    • Rent a launch from the port and explore the surreal caves and grottoes of the Maratea coastline, as well as finding secluded pebbly coves

    • Water babies can go sailing, paragliding, rafting or canoeing, or book a diving and snorkelling trip to enjoy the azure blue waters and visibility up to 20m

    • There are lots of stables nearby for horse riding

    • Further afield, visit the pretty hilltop towns of Rivello, Nemoli and Lagonegro (all 20-30km), and the wonderfully preserved Greek ruins of Paestum (108km), medieval Caracciolo Castle in Brienza (90km), Roman ruins of Grumentum (70km) and the famous charterhouse of Certosa di Padula (60km)

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse riding
    • Kayaking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Paragliding
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Private guided tours
    • Rafting
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Well being
    • Windsurfing
    • Wine tasting
    • Yoga

    Kids

    Families are welcome, though it's largely a romantic retreat. Children under 3 stay for free; from 3 onwards there's a 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!

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    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:

    Babysitting available on request.

    Baby equipment:

    Baby cots and highchairs

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    La Locanda delle Donne Monache is set in Maratea, a town of Basilicata in southern Italy. It is a mile inland, and about 200km south of Naples.

    By Air
    Lamezia Terme airport is the closest as the crow flies (to the south): 150km by SS road, about 200km by motorway. But most people will fly into Naples Capodichino (200km by motorway to the north), which also makes it possible to combine with Paestum or the Amalfi area. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving Naples.

    From the Airport
    A transfer service is available (see Rates), but we'd recommend hiring a car (see below).

    By Car
    The locanda is about 2.5 hours' drive from either Naples or Lamezia Terme - see our car rental recommendations.

    By Train
    The train from Naples to Reggio Calabria stops at Maratea Inferiore, from where you can get a taxi or prebooked transfer (or a bus, if you're adventurous) to the hotel in Maratea proper. Some trains only stop at Sapri which is 15 mins' drive from Maratea, and there are taxis to whisk you to the locanda.

    By Sea
    Metro del Mare has several ferry lines that connect Naples and Sapri, a 10-minute taxi ride away from Maratea.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

    Read our guide to Getting to Italy and Getting around

    Airports:

    • Lamezia Terme 152.0 km SUF
    • Naples - Capodichino 207.0 km NAP

    Other:

    • Beach 5.0 km
    • Shops 0.2 km
    • Restaurant 0.2 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    10/10
    Room
    7/10
    Food
    8/10
    Service
    9/10
    Value
    8/10
    Overall

    Lovely hotel with beautiful rooms. Fantastic and very helpful and kind staff. Excellent location in Maratea, which is a wonderful town to visit. Our favourite local restaurant was La Taverna di zu Cicco (recommended by the hotel). Only downside of the hotel is that their once-famous restaurant has completely closed and at the hotel you can now only get light lunches which are ok but nothing special.

    9/10,

    An amazingly special place in a gorgeous part of Italy. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and will be back. Beautiful attention to detail and lovely staff made this hotel really stand out.

    9/10,

    Very nice room, quiet and clean. Perfect breakfast with large variety. Unfortunately we had rain for three days during our 6 nights stay, so we were limited in what we could do in the area.

    6/10,

    A lovely hotel in a great little town. Its an old quirky building built on many levels - not good if you have dodgy knees I'd say as it has loads of steps and stairs inside and out. Nice quiet location and not too much noise from neighbouring rooms which is good, but when the wind whistles through on a blustery night you are reminded it's up on the hillside when the windows rattle, as we found out. We had a room with balcony with the morning sun and great views over the town which was definitely worth the extra expense. The pool was lovely and a bonus for a hotel in the middle of town as the beaches are not walkable. In the restaurant the food was lovely but the ambience was a bit stilted we felt - we preferred to walk into town to one of the more laid back eateries. A car is a real bonus in this area and its great to have free hotel parking. Overall its a lovely little place in a super little town well worth the trip to visit this magnificent stretch of Italy's coastline.

    10/10,

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    Rates for La Locanda delle Donne Monache

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