Hotel Margherita: A Hidden Gem on the Amalfi Coast

Can I let you in on a secret? Promise not to tell anyone? I’ve found (well, really my mom found) a hotel on the Amalfi Coast with world class service, Wi-Fi, and even a pool (yes a pool!) and it won’t set you back several thousand Euros. Miracles happen, right?

Hotel Margherita: A Hidden Gem on the Amalfi Coast

When I first dreamed of visiting the famous Italian coastline after seeing countless Gray Malin photos, I thought it would simply be too expensive. Hotels like Santa Caterina in Amalfi or the famous Le Sireneuse in Positano are iconic and luxurious but not attainable for someone like me. Staying somewhere within my price range conjured up images of schlepping it to a dingy B&B with run-down facilities. Since finding Hotel Margherita, however, I think anyone’s dream Amalfi Coast vacation is within reach. Now just don’t tell too many people – I’d like to be able to book a room next year!

Arrival & Check In
From the moment you arrive at Hotel Margherita, you experience their five-star service. Suela and Gennaro greeted us how everyone should be greeted: “Beer or wine?” Check-in was quick,  and they helped carry our bags to our room, all while giving us a tour of the grounds. We definitely appreciated the efficient and warm welcome after a winding drive along the curvy coast (Italian drivers know how to keep you on your toes!).

Hotel Margherita on the Amalfi CoastThe view from the terrace. A stunning start to our stay.

Location
Carved into the cliffs above the Mediterranean, Hotel Margherita is in the picturesque town of Praiano, located ten minutes south of Positano and 25 minutes north of Amalfi. The ideal location, Praiano is close to the action, but without the hustle and bustle and heaving crowds of tourist. You truly feel like you’re staying in an authentic Italian town.

Approaching Praiano by water taxiApproaching Praiano by water taxi, my preferred mode of transportation.

Transportation
While you may not be located steps from the beach or right in the center of town, transportation to these attractions are seamless. A bus to Positano leaves right from in front of the hotel every hour and only costs a couple of euros. Additionally, the hotel offers a free shuttle to the local beach and goes above and beyond to make your transportation stress-free. We went to dinner at Locanda Costa Diva, at a neighboring hotel, and Suela offered a van to take us there without even having to ask her – free of charge. They’re incredible.

Praia BeachThis magical beach is a quick and free shuttle ride away.

Service
Not only is service exceptional when it comes to transportation, but your entire stay at Hotel Margherita will also feel like luxury 5 star service, yet without the hefty price tag. The staff truly surpasses all expectations and do so with a smile on their faces. We had lunch brought to our room, had tours and cars arranged for us, and were always made to feel at home. There’s a reason they have the rare, flawless 5 star rating on TripAdvisor.

Lunch on the balcony at Hotel MargheritaAfter a long, sweaty day of shopping in Positano, the hotel brought this mouth-watering spaghetti to our room for me to enjoy on our balcony – after the restaurant had finished lunch service.

Rooms
Rooms at Hotel Margherita are classic and simple. You aren’t going to get over the top or super expensive decor, but your room will be comfortable, clean and tasteful. Our bathroom was the standout with intricate blue tile-work and a tub with a window overlooking the ocean. Almost all rooms have a balcony, and I would definitely pay any extra fee for an ocean view. It’s truly surreal  to wake up to the glistening Mediterranean Sea every morning. Wifi and Sky satellite TV are included, but you’ll be too busy soaking in the sun or eating more spaghetti with clams than you should to use them.

Hotel Margherita RoomPhoto of a guest room from the hotel website. I dropped the ball and was too entranced by my Amalfi Coast daydream to remember to take a photo of ours!

Dining
The hotel restaurant, Ristorante M’ama! was delicious and situated on a terrace, so you can watch the sun set as you savor your seafood and pasta. We also made daily use of the free breakfast included in your room rate. I feasted on freshly made omelettes, pastries, local fruit and wayyyyyy too much nutella. All topped off with a cappuccino of course! You’ll need that energy if you’re going to jet off to a beach club or Capri. This fresh and filling breakfast is also a money-saving option if you are on a budget – fill up in the morning and avoid an expensive lunch at a tourist trap in one of the neighboring towns.

Processed with VSCO with a1 presetMassive amounts of nutella not pictured. Probably in my stomach.

Amenities – aka that pool!
In addition to the aforementioned restaurant and sun terrace, the real jewel of the hotel grounds is its infinity pool. By no means a lap pool, it’s still so satisfying to dip into after a long day spent on a boat, hiking, or simply after rolling out of bed. It’s saltwater, and there are plenty of sunbeds nearby for your sun worship. My parents stayed at a different hotel on their previous trip to the Amalfi Coast and really regretted not having a pool. It can get scorching during summer holiday season, so you’ll be thankful for the opportunity of a quick refreshing soak.

The pool at Hotel Margherita on the Amalfi CoastThe pool, midday. That’s me! Probably in a daze that I’m actually in that dream of a location.

Hotel Margherita at duskCandy colored skies at dusk. No filter necessary.

Areas for improvement?
The only reason I wouldn’t recommend staying at Hotel Margherita is if you absolutely HAVE to be right on the beach or in the middle of “the action” in Positano or Amalfi. Even then, I think the hotel goes to great lengths to make both of those things very accessible, so it’s still difficult for me to not recommend it to anyone and everyone. Seriously, just stay here. As long as there’s still space for me too 🙂

Where to book: https://www.hotelmargherita.info/bookonline.htm
How to get there: Fly or take a train into Naples. From there, take a bus or hire a car to take you to the hotel. The drive is about 2 hours, and Hotel Margherita helped us book a driver who was friendly, reliable and fairly priced.
Price: About $200/night depending on when you go and what room you book.
Tips: Book as far in advance as possible. The hotel is boutique, so it will fill up during the busy season (July-August are busiest). There is an elevator, so rolling luggage is fine. If you have any questions or need special arrangements, email Suela. She won’t steer you wrong.
Would I go back? In a heartbeat. It’s not a matter of if, but when!

Hotel Margherita on the Amalfi COast

Arrivederla – or see you soon!

Amalfi Coast style:

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Weekend Wanderlust – hosted by a Brit & a Southerner! Please check out both link parties for more excellent travel content! Thank you!

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Amalfi Coast Essentials

If you have spent any time here on Always, Erin (hi, Mom!), you’ll know that I love writing a lot about two things: the Amalfi Coast and packing. So, I thought I would do the obvious thing and combine these two loves and share my Amalfi Coast Essentials. My normal Carry On Essentials are here, so you can supplement those with these beach specific must-haves, tailored to that iconic Italian coastline.

Amalfi Coast Essentials

 

Beach Bare Necessities

No use heading to the beach unless you have a proper beach bag. A longtime Longchamp fan, this bag is perfect for carrying all your bits and bobs, smart enough to take out to dinner, and water resistant. Toss in a cute, yet compact, wallet to hold plenty of Euros for all of those lovely Italian leather goods that will surely tempt you. Of course, you’ll want your phone.  Even though you likely (and luckily IMO) won’t have Wifi while exploring, pack a portable charger. I took more pictures than on any previous vacation and was glad to have extra battery so I could capture that dreamy watercolor sunset at the end of a long day of touring.

While a bikini seems like an obvious addition, I’d like to remind you to pack at least two. I only brought one and definitely underestimated how much I’d be frolicking in the Med. Whether it’s taking a day trip to a beach club in Positano, diving off a boat in Capri, or just dipping into the hotel pool – you’ll be glad you packed multiple swimsuits for your multiple aquatic adventures. For that beach club in Positano (or really any beach on the Coast), you should wear water-proof flip flops. Amalfi Coast beaches are all rock or pebble, so you’ll want shoes you can wear right up to the waves since said pebbles can get scorching in the height of summer. My Birkenstocks did NOT cut it, so my poor toes were left toasty.

Paradise Protection

While we’re discussing the necessary summer armor, sunglasses (preferably of the colorful variety) are a must, as is sunscreen. This solid stick is perfect for travel, since you don’t have to waste precious space in your quart size bag for liquids or bother finding a 3oz version.  I have a bit of OCD when it comes to chapstick application, so this grapefruit Burt’s Bees option is always on hand. Once I’m lathered in SPF, to keep cool I like to shelter under this Panama hat and spritz with a bit of Evian mist, in between long, languorous floats in the ocean of course. They also just make me feel like some sort of Fellini-esque diva, so who cares if they’re a tad over the top.

Seaside Style

After a long day of sunbathing, drinking prosecco and swimming in the salty sea, you’ll likely want to duck into a restaurant (Chez Black in Positano is the perfect beachside detour) to enjoy a restorative glass of rose and nibble on antipasto. Pack a full-coverage cover-up that doubles as a dress to make the effortless transition. For post-beach beauty, I’m a big fan of this hair conditioning spray and Wet brush for making my rat’s nest of a hairdo look somewhat presentable. (Pro-tip, definitely pack conditioner for Italy – most hotels don’t supply it) As for summer make-up, I like my tan to do the talking and will just accentuate it using this liquid bronzer and solid blush with a few flicks of mascara. Then, voila, I’m coiffed for my Italian boyfriends and selfies, yet still undone and free-spirited enough to relish in la dolce vita.

Grazie for stopping by my friends! I hope this will help you prepare to your next trip to the Amalfi Coast- whether it’s your first or hopefully one of many! It’s one of my favorite places in the world, so it definitely keeps me inspired.

Check out more of my packing posts here:
Carry On Essentials
Coachella Essentials
Road Trip Essentials
Walt Disney World Essentials
Travel Beauty Essentials

 

Linking Up With:

My first Wanderful Wednesday hosted by Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World.

My first Weekend Wanderlust – hosted by a Brit & a Southerner! Please check out both link parties for more excellent travel content! Thank you!

Wanderful Wednesday

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(Almost) Everything I Ate on the Amalfi Coast

After we ate our way through Rome (you can read more about those culinary pursuits here), we made our way via high speed train to Naples then on to the Amalfi Coast. The food on the coast is very much dictated by what’s available to eat locally – fresh fish from the neighboring sea, lemons from one of the many blossoming lemon groves, and local produce. If you’re a seafood lover – you will gobble up enthusiastically every single meal. I’ve included almost everything we ate minus a jar of nutella (or two) that I may have consumed all by my lonesome. So grab a slice, down a shot of limoncello, and dig in.

DAY ONE

After a long day of cab ride, train ride, then another cab twisting over the craggy cliffs, we finally arrived in Praiano. We had made no plans on arrival day, instead deciding to leisurely sink into coastal life. Our only appointment was a dinner reservation at the Trip Advisor approved Locanda Costa Diva. Nestled underneath a lemon grove dangling above the sea, Costa Diva is a dream for any seafood fan. Like most meals in Italy, we didn’t stop at one course, enjoying appetizers of shrimp, calamari and mussels, then moved on to the main course – pasta with tomatoes and prawns for me. European shrimp, I’ll warn you, comes fully body and head on – and I was not expecting my shrimp to look quite so fresh (aka alive)! The pasta was still lovely, and we finished off the meal with chocolate cake and shots of limoncello. To aid with digestion of course 😉

So beautiful. Definitely recommend this spot for a romantic evening.
Appetizers (these were good, but not earth shattering).

 

Yummy pasta. I picked around the shrimp – the heads freaked me out!
DAY TWO

Unlike our first day, our second day on the coast was jammed-pack. We chartered a boat to Capri (full post on that experience to follow), and spend the majority of the day wandering the island then sailing around its grottos and coves, only taking a break to slip into the perfectly turquoise water. Lunch was in Anacapri at a random street cafe (sorry can’t remember the name!). I wasn’t expecting much, and maybe it was my hunger, but the pizza with prosciutto was actually quite yummy. From Anacapri, we wandered back down to Capri, and enjoyed Straciatella gelato, that’s chocolate chip for you fellow yanks, while overlooking the busy harbor below.

Gelato at Bar Funicolare. Easy and yummy cafe right in the center of Capri. Italian fast food at its finest.
When we finally arrived back in Praiano several hours later, we were properly sun kissed, sleepy, and ready for sustenance. Beat after a long day in the sun, we decided to stay close to home and try our hotel’s restaurant, Ristorante Mama.  Weirdo that I am, I was craving red meat. Even though we were in fish central, I ordered a juicy steak, enjoyed after complimentary fried risotto. Not really taking advantage of seaside flavors, but delicious nonetheless.

 

DAY THREE
While my dad and brother stayed to chill at the hotel, my mom and I spent the morning exploring Positano and gleefully bringing business to the shops. I’ll talk more about that day later, but needless to say, climbing up and down the hills and spending all that money left us famished.  As soon as we arrived back at dreamy Hotel Margherita, I inhaled spaghetti via room service, all while taking in the afternoon sun and passing yachts on our balcony.
After properly freshening up in the pool, we made the trek up the mountains to neighboring Ravello. We fiddled about the popular ceramic shops, and I may have tripped over a basket of ceramic knick knacks and broken one or two eek! On the lam from the shop owner, we found our way to one of my favorite restaurants on the trip – Cumpa Cosimo. Unassuming in a dark back street, the restaurant is spartan, but the food more than makes up for the lack of elegance.  Following recommendations from our waiter, we tried fresh antipasti, bolognese, and the best veal marsala I’ve ever had. I still dream of this damn marsala. Finished off, of course, with tiramisu. If you’re nearby, you must make the trip to Ravello and go!
I have never been a veggie lover, but these may have made me a convert.

 

Marsala of dreams.

 

DAY FOUR
You can read about my unforgettable tripe to Arienzo Beach in this post, but the fab beachside lunch is worth mentioning again. Pasta with mussels and clams paired with a watermelon mojito – all overlooking an orange umbrella dotted paradise? Yes please!
Dinner, sadly our last one of the trip, was back in Positano at Da Vincenzo. Our guide of our Eating Italy tour in Rome highly recommended the joint, and it definitely lived up to expectations. We zipped over in the orange bus from Praiano and were let off on one of the winding Positano cobblestone streets. Sadly, no breathtaking views of the pastel buildings lining the harbor, but the fare was still excellent. Appetizers were stuffed peppers, and they were good but not really my jam per se. I was quickly revived, however, with the arrival of my rigatoni ragu. Hummina hummina. All finished with the required chocolate cake and shot of espresso.

 

 

After cleaning our plates, no licking was involved I swear, we ran down the hills of Positano to catch our bus back to sleepy Praiano. I really did not want the magic of Italy to end, especially the culinary parade of delights.
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