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Awe inspiring on the Amalfi Coast....an Albergo "Clash of the Titans"

Awe inspiring on the Amalfi Coast....an Albergo "Clash of the Titans"

Old Oct 1st, 2015, 08:06 AM
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denisea, I'm not sure you saw my comments up thread on the 29th when I mentioned going to Nocelle. It sounds like we were in Positano at the same time.

It would have been great to meet you. We went to L'ancora a few times for drinks.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 10:32 AM
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Sandralist, it seems to me that the attitude you disparage is quite similar to what you do in almost every post.....pass generally unfavorable judgments regarding posters here, people I don't think you've ever met.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 10:56 AM
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Denise- When you choose to visit a location like Positano, or Capri, St-Tropez, East Hampton, etc the chances increase that you will have an experience like you had on the boat.
Don't let it spoil your memories of Positano but this isn't a surprise when you visit wealthy enclaves filled with many pampered, spoiled, self centered people.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 11:13 AM
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There is nothing like a good side eye:

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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 12:08 PM
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sandralist - you're just as self-congratulatory as the rest of us as your posts demonstrates. Self-knowledge is a wonderful thing, god knows my obnoxious screen name is as smug as they come!

Take your own advice, if you don't like the thread move on.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 12:31 PM
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What welltraveledbrit and Judy said. Ugh. This is exactly the kind of thing that drives people away from doing trip reports on Fodor's. I just can't understand why people don't move on when they don't like what they read. Why must they feel compelled to make snarky comments? Just move on!

Denise, I love that your reports also include your thoughts, feelings, impressions - travel-related or not. Those are the kind of reports I enjoy the most. Looking forward to the next leg!
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 12:39 PM
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yes, personalised reports are the best ones because you find out more about the writer - anyone can write a long list of places visited, meals written. The skill is to make it come alive for the reader - which is what you achieve, Denise.

I may not share some of your tastes, but that doesn't mean I don't want to read about them.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 01:12 PM
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annhig, I try, but often don't succeed, to ignore comments from this particular poster. I did a poor job of it this weekend and thank you for providing a voice of reason on a separate thread of mine.

denisea, your reports absolutely come alive and that's what makes them so wonderful!
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 01:29 PM
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Still enjoying your report. Laughing at the dumb self serving comments which are not surprsing at all.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 04:57 PM
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Grazie mille, everyone. LouisaH....sorry to have missed you while in Positano! I did miss your comment.

Day 7 ---arrivederci to Le Sirenuse and on to the top of the world.

Boy did we overpack for this trip! Chaz had convinced me that it would be chilly at night, so I brought some long sleeved stuff and it did not go back into the suitcase as easily as it did on the way over. But, I did have a new dress and two pairs of shoes (and some Eau d'Italie samples). We managed to get it all in and zipped up (and praying the suitcases don't explode in the lobby on the way out). I slept awful that last night....maybe the dread of leaving such an excellent hotel and town.

The bright side....one last breakfast. Sad, the zeppoles didn't make another appearance on the buffet while we there. But, it was nice to enjoy it, the view and the staff there once more. I got a hug from my pal Pepe on the way out and I have to admit that it made me cry just a little bit. The staff there was so generous, kind, warm and above all, hard working. They are great people and I would love for all of them to get the chance to have a dream trip of their own. We get to do so much and we are very fortunate to be able to do all this.

We checked out and was so glad I didn't put my contacts in to actually be able to really read the final bill. The driver to Monastero Santa Rosa showed up a few minutes later and we were on our way to the next Albergo perched high on a cliff.

I don't know what it was on this trip but I was super nauseous after breakfast (maybe it was the bill). While the winding road is gorgeous, it's rough on a rumbling stomach. The climb up to the monastery just past the Emerald grotto, is quite a climb. So glad I'm not driving!

We arrived and were greeted by Roberta and shown to a small terrace and given a hot towel and lemonade. It's an excellent greeting because you can see that view and the spectacular gardens below. The grounds at MSR are so gorgeous. Kind of rustic, but so pretty and relaxing. Our room was not ready, so we were given a tour of the hotel.

There is a beautiful sun deck at the end that overlooks it all and you can phone the bar if you would like service up there. Every view is a wow view. We were then taken to the pool area (where we first met a new guest there...a sweet kitten named Yvonne) which is also beautiful and the spa. The spa staff gave us a tour and you have access to the sauna, steam and tepidarium even without a spa appointment. This spa is exquisite. And no one was in it!

I felt better after the tour....I was pinching myself at how wonderful this property is.
We were allowed a private dinner with the chef and we scheduled it for that night. We also had spa treatments that were part of our package, so we booked those for the next afternoon.

We checked in with the front desk and the room was ready. We were lucky to get one of 3 rooms with a terrace. The room was much smaller than the room at LS but well done. A bottle of chilled Prosecco was waiting and a dish of peaches. The bathroom, while smaller than LS, was NICE. Frosted glass doors, heated floors, beautiful soaking tub overlooking that view and a large shower with a rainfall shower head. We got some lessons on using the shower and the light system. Love the night switch that turns on dim floor lamps for midnight bathroom trips. The terrace was not huge, but had a table with chairs and the view was spectacular.

We got slippers and two robes...one plush and spa like and a second dressing robe. Very nice. The closet was well done and we had the room we needed. Compared to other rooms we have stayed in, it was still roomy. All the rooms are named for a flower instead of a room number and there is a matching pillow specific to that room with your flower, ours was Viola.

We decided that some spa time would be nice, so off we went. We started with a foot bath. Automatic, the foot tub fills and they have salts for you to pour in, it bubbles and churns and then drains on its own. Next, the tepidarium soaking tub which was awesome...perfect temperature. Lots of bells and whistles to work out kinks and just relax. I skipped the sauna but Chaz went. It's a pretty sauna and there is a chute and bowl with crushed ice just outside the door. I hit the steam room and alternated that witha shower that had different setting with different water temps, mist, and aromatherapy built it. So cool. For most of the time, we were the only ones there. I could get used to this. We were hooked!

After that, lunch sounded good. We ordered a panuozzo that came with a tomato salad. Delicious. Until halfway through and the nausea was back with a vengeance. No, no, no!

Prosecco was not for me that night. We spent some time on the terrace while getting ready. We cancelled the chef dinner. I could not even consider more food.
I was so tired and sick to my stomach.

I felt like a 3 year old ordering a ginger ale (could a Shirley Temple be far away)? The outdoor area of the bar was so pretty lit up at night. I could get down the ginger ale but food was not an option.

We were seated for dinner and I think we disappointed the servers because we did not order a bottle of wine. Chaz enjoyed some fresh fish (sea bream, mashed potatoes and green beans) and a nice glass of while wine. They brought me some plain rice with Chaz' appetizer risotto...4 bites and, no. Absolutely not eating anything else. Kinda embarrassing as they all probably thought I had a major hangover. I just needed to go to bed and get some sleep.

We had an early night and did just that. On arrival back to the room, Nat King Cole was playing (and no strange graphics on the TV). They also left visors for both of us on the bed and bottled water for the night. Very nice touches. I ordered room service to have on the terrace and the menu goes in a little cylinder, wrapped in gold cord that you hang on the door. So cute. I slept very well...super comfy bed.

Next....I can't believe we slept throught THAT then nothing but pool and spa!
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 05:48 PM
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Denise: Just found this report. Many thanks for every word! You have been having such a good time, you two. and it is a pleasure to read about it!

We were in Paris when you started this report and I haven't been on Fodor's in a couple of weeks, so now I'm on board with your travels, and looking forward to the next chapter.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 03:22 AM
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Hi taconictraveler...great to hear from you!

Photos from MSR and Conca dei Marini are at the link below for those who are interested.

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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 05:17 AM
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Denis & Weekender...thanks for the links to the Eau d'Italia fragrance.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 07:04 AM
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I am still reading and enjoying! Your photos transported me to another world. My goodness, such gorgeous scenes!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 07:38 AM
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Beautiful photos and entertaining trip report, Denise!!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 08:23 AM
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Day 8-

I did sleep very well, thankfully and the nausea was gone! My first move was to the terrace to catch the view. One thing of note for me, was the difference in the view depending on time of day and light, so it was always interesting to me to take a look first thing before the sun was really up.

I couldn't help noticing a distinct smoky smell and how strong it was. Hmmm, what is all over the terrace? We heard some firewood last night. Is this the "shrapnel" from that? Must have been a bigger display than we thought.

Room service arrived and so do the answer. Wildfires. Jeez....are we in California instead Conca dei Marini? Our table was cleaned off and the gentleman told us there were fires in the area and one burning above the hotel. That explained it. How close to the hotel? Pretty close and the road was closed.

After breakfast, which was good but I only had cornflakes so as not to get my stomach going again. We headed to the pool. Well, I did. Chaz went to the outdoor gym and I got us some chairs. I could see fires off toward Amalfi and the fire above us was still smoldering. A couple at the pool told us they had made their own evacuation plan last night as the fire was pretty close and they watched it burning. They were from Califiornia and were kinda stunned that no one was really doing anything about the fires. They essentially just let it go. They were leaving that day and concerned about the road being closed. The shuttle to Amalie was not running, so I am glad we had planned a day of nothing because we weren't going anywhere.

Chaz spotted my new little friend lying under his chaise lounge. Yvonne is a skiing little thing and one of the pool guys had told us she hadn't eaten the past two days. He said she was stupid (which I didn't like) but I think it didn't translate. She was very curious and had bright eyes and she seemed like she wanted to engage. She is young and on her own, so she is a bit scared I am sure. She moved around all day lying under people's chairs and I did see one guy petting her. Why I decide to worry about these things, I will never know but I was hoping we would get a chance to feed her. I think she makes a good little mascot for the monastery.

Lunch was poolside with club sandwiches and some of the best fries I have ever had. And, my treat for the day.....I saw Yvonne eat most of the lunch she was brought. I am glad the pool guys look after her and extra glad she ate! She has found quite a property to call home. If I just hung around, I wonder if they would feed me?

The pool there is an infinity pool and it looks like you will just step from the pool into the ocean. Really beautiful. The gardens surrounding it all are so nice and they have so many little nooks and niches you can seclude yourself in. If you wanted to be on your own, you have a wide choice of scenery and furniture to choose from.
The spa awaited us and we were anxious to go do all the pretreatment soaking and steaming, so we said Ciao to Yvonne and headed over.

When they came to get us we went down into what is this massive spa theatre. Super sleek and very well equipped for every type of treatment and set up for couples. This is where the sense of humors comes in,

Chaz is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and I love to watch him interact with people. Especially when they don't speak English that well....I could tell that he didn't quite understand the instructions we were being given (but was smiling and nodding his head). When they left us to change, the thought crossed my mind to have some fun with him and let him go out for this scrub and Vichy shower treatment completely naked. He didn't get the part where they give you this awful disposable paper underwear to put on and you shoulda seen his face when I told him he had to wear it. We put it on and were cracking up at how bad it is.

They had us set up on side by side treatment tables and when I would turn over he would catch my eye and we were trying not to laugh. The treatments were great but you feel a bit like a pork tenderloin that someone is rubbing a spice mixture on and then marinated you. We both squeaked when they turned the Vichy on above us as it is chilly at first. They tell you it will be and you still aren't quite prepared for it!
Next, some fresh paper undies for the massage part of the testament on the other side of this massive subterranean treatment suite. And it gets better....this time Chaz' paper undies were a lot like mine....a paper thong this time. And, he put on sideways. I was dying laughing at him. Totally worth the price of admission and he is a great sport for letting me rat him out here.

The massage was wonderful and lasted forever it seemed. They do it with candles that they light and pour on you, then rub into your skin. It is hot but not burning hot. Hard to explain but very nice. When we left they reboxed the candles for us to take home with us. The estheticians were very nice and we were polished, scrubbed, rubbed and relaxed for our dinner and drinks.

After a rinse off and re-dress, we headed to the outdoor patio of the bar and ordered a bottle of Per Eva from Tenuta San Francesco. We tasted it earlier in the week and it made a great day move right into a relaxing dinner.

I will admit to being a bit tired of fish and seafood, so dinner was a nice filet and Chaz had lamb. Both were very good. Dessert was lemon cake with lemon sorbet that was delicious and perfect for the Amalfi coast. They grow the fruits and vegetables on property at MSR....nice!

Back to the room, where Nat King Cole was playing and the turn down gift was a ceramic lemon magnet with the MSR insignia.

A good nights sleep with no real plan for the next day except a wrap and facial in the spa!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 09:33 AM
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”Who needs selfies when you've got trip reports?” Actually, I agree with that statement sandralist, BUT what sets Fodor’s travelers apart IS the desire to share information. Are we lucky to be able to travel? You bet but how many of us convey any superior or condescending attitude? Perhaps that is what makes Fodor’s such a good forum.

Anyhow, perhaps man wasn’t meant to climb 1600 steps, denisea! Sorry to read that you got a little sicky but glad things improved.

That things do not go back into the suitcase as easily as they did on the way over is one of the great travel rules! Fodor’s should use your phrase in one of the books.

Good that you got lessons on shower—I’ve sprayed quite a few bathrooms in my days in Italy.

Sighing for Italy.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 05:42 PM
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What a fabulous trip report. Love the way you write--I feel that I am eating and drinking with you! We will be going to the Amalfi Coast next year. I will use your report as a planning tool!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2015, 05:06 AM
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Thanks Italy2012. I hope the info is useful. I have gotten so many great ideas and advice from Fodors over the years...really helps in planning exactly the trip you are hoping for!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2015, 10:56 AM
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Day 9---Spaaaaahhh

We had breakfast in the restaurant. They don't have a buffet but you can order pretty much what you want. MSR only has 20 rooms so a buffet probably wouldn't work there. I went with cereal, fruit and yogurt. Still no diet coke, just pineapple juice and water. Chaz got eggs and bacon...review on tha bacon, good but not Le Sirenuse good. We enjoyed it but it's not as good as breakfast at the ' Nuse!

We had time to kill before our spa lunch and afternoon treatments. Chaz needed a day out of the sun and I wanted to get off property. We didn't really have time to get to Bomerano to hike the Walk of the Gods. Which after our trek to Nocelle and the path to Montepertuso, we really wanted to do. The hotel reviewed a few options for us and we decided we would walk down to the big ceramics store just outside of town across from the elevator down to the Emerald Grotto.

We loved the things we bought in Orvieto a few years ago and I wanted to get some things that would remind us of this amazing trip. The ceramics here are so well known, so off we went down the road. There were still fires burning and we would see some firemen along the way. We also got to see a great little Italian traffic jam and impasse, complete with arguing, cursing and gesturing until someone gave in and backed up. Highly entertaining.

We met a man along the way who, despite sweating profusely, directed us to a shortcut to get down the hill by steps rather than the rode. He was so nice and kept apologizing for sweating and saying, "it's so hot, it's unbearable". It really was quite hot, in full sun, on the pavement.

We went down the first stair case and came to a church (we realized later, it was the wrong church and the wrong staircase). We get lost on every trip, so par for the course.

We eventually found the right staircase down that took us past residents front doors and their gardens with tomatoes loaded on the now dying vines. Even at the end of summer, their gardens are still producing! It's very intriguing to get a small glimpse into the local's lives. We ended at the San Pancrazio church and then it was time to walk on the coastal road. It's a little bit like a game of "chicken" crossed with "Frogger" and dodge ball. Chaz did not enjoy being on the road one little bit! I was not deterred... There was shopping to do (plus, we left our water in the room and I knew we'd need water for the trek back up to our perch high on the cliff).

We were enjoying the views along the coast, who wouldn't and trying not to die on the way. We passed a little garage and a dog barking at me out of no where! It's a wonder I didn't jump out in the road in front of a car. At last, we got to the ceramics store and water! How in the hell did we leave without a bottle of water?

We browsed a bit and decided on some the traditional blue bowls with what I call an "Amalfi Coast" design. An olive boat, and some plates and serving pieces with lemons and olives. I know we will be happy to have these pieces in the years to come as a rememberence of this trip. Our purchase netted us a free bottle of water a piece for the hike home. I wanted to go down to the water but Chaz wasn't sure we had time....we really didn't know how long it would take to climb back.

We decided to head back and I did have to wonder why I was hiking back up a mountain again! Kidding! At least I could work off some of the pasta!

This trip up was not as bad as to Nocelle but I did have to stop a few times to catch my breath. The lack of shade was the hardest part. We did make it back and we got a better look at the hotel facade and the courtyard in front.

We took a quick shower and then reported for our spa lunch. It's very nice but one of those things that the execution is not quite there. We found ourselves discussing how Le Sirenuse would go about it.

They have a covered treatment room outdoors and then a large patio up the stairs from that. We were escorted (after ordering in the spa) to the patio. The problem is that the patio bakes in the sun until 1:30. They should put the umbrella up earlier in the day. We decided to go down to the treatment area because it is covered all day. It was MUCH cooler there. We had to ask for water (unusual for any spa...they usually have water everywhere). It's a small thing but one of those touches that is missing in the execution of the spa lunch. We eventually got our lunch which was good and the smoothie served with it was much needed after the climb earlier. The carpaccio was sooooo very good. Chaz had fish, I had chicken...both good. The dessert is a massive plate of fresh fruit that I could not have finished in a week. As soon as we would finish a course at the table, we would move back to the treatment area to cool off. We skipped the pre-treatment steam ( we were plenty hot from the hike and the patio). Today's treatments were back in the massive spa suite downstairs and complete with paper thongs. We had body wrap treatments, a pomegranate foot bath and a super long facial. I think we were in there for 3 hours.

After the hike and all that relaxation, I was tired. We both were. Very relaxed until we got back to the room. As we were unlocking the door, I saw a couple with a stroller and another child at the end of the hall near reception. Followed by a blood curdling shriek. Let me tell you that in an old monastery, that sound travels and it went on for quite a while. Not very zen and talk about bad timing. I have no idea what that was about, this hotel is supposed to be 16 years and older to stay. It's not the kind of place or in a location where you would just drop in for a drink. After about 30 minutes, mercifully, the shrieks stopped. I had to have a shower as I was quite greased up after the spa.

We had our bottle of prosecco on the terrace on our last night at MSR. The view is so gorgeous, and again the light changing on it as the sun goes down is so pretty.

Really what we should have done, was order room service but we had rescheduled the chef dinner for that night. I am sure it was because we were not that " in to it". But, the chef dinner is not that special. He visited with us and we decided on a mix of seafood and meat. We didn't get anything that was not already on the menu. It was good but not great or creative. It felt like the chef was on auto pilot.
We had a starter of prawns, then fried red mullet and calamari over couscous. Next, the best dish of the night was fresh ricotta ravioli w/ fresh tomato sauce and filet of beef for the main course. We got a pre-dessert of milk chocolate mousse with watermelon sorbet....both good but they did not "go" together. Dessert was a chocolate sphere with pistachio gelato inside and apricot sorbet on the side. Very similar to the pre-dessert and, to me, the apricot sorbet didn't really work with the other flavors. All good but it was not a standout meal for us.

The farewell gift was a box of pasta that they developed at the hotel restaurant and again, Nat King Cole sang us to sleep.

Another good day here.

Next---breakfast with Yvonne and return to Rome
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