The Amalfi Coast is somewhere that can be severely overhyped. From ludicrous superyachts to Em Rata's constant Instagram presence there, the coast can be quite daunting if not a little pretentious. However, look at it from the right angle and you'll see the true beauty of the rugged terrain.
Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello is the perfect conduit for that realisation. Precariously perched atop a ridge behind the town of Amalfi, the 5-star establishment is a tastefully styled 11th century palace that features some spectacular amenities, two of which we were able to test out earlier this week with a group of friends.
After a fairly quick transfer from Positano, first up was the traditionally themed Belvedere Restaurant. Located on the edge of a pool (which we'll get to later) and Caruso's extensive terrace gardens, the eatery provides a range of locally influenced dishes with a great mix of seafood, pasta and pizza to choose from. To start, we were served an amazingly delicious elderflower spritz aperitif mixed with herbs and citruses. A specialty of the restaurant, the cocktail was the perfect summer drink.
This was followed by an entree of pizza margherita and caprese salad. Both were solid, with fresh produce really putting the caprese ahead. The mozarella used was phenomenal, with a light and clean taste that melted in your mouth, and the tomatoes were super sweet and delicious, as you'd expect from Italy.
Next in line was the pasta, a linguine with clams and a white sauce. This was probably the highlight of the whole meal; the clams were cooked to perfection and the linguine was nicely al dente. It was a light, flavoursome dish that wouldn't weigh you down for the rest of the day.
For mains we were served up some battered seafood and a grilled tuna steak. Showing off the exemplary seafood of the coast, these were simply done but particularly delectable. The portions were also perfectly sized to share between four people, with one serving leaving us all satisfied. That's a lot of the idea behind Belvedere. It's not a place where you'd want to stuff yourself silly, it's a place where you want a quick and light meal before hitting the pool. Welcoming staff, speedy service and a spectacular view right from your seat all help to provide that.
After finishing off the meal with a quick coffee, we slowly made our way down to the main attraction of our visit. Hanging on the edge of a cliff, an infinity pool overlooks the coast and town of Amalfi. It's an astonishingly beautiful spot and the garden surrounding it provides a serene hideaway from the sun. Sitting back on one of the lounge chairs, the panoramic outlook feels like a backdrop for a James Bond film.
Sliding into the water, the first thing you want to do is go straight for the edge. Leaning on it, you can look down at the oceans in utter tranquility. It's the ultimate relaxation experience, the silence of the mountains blending in with the scenery. All your troubles simply melt away.
The awesome service from the restaurant also translates poolside. A variety of drinks are easily available upon request and even the simple provision of towels makes you feel like royalty. Strong Wi-Fi is also usable all around, meaning the envious Instagram shots of your visit are easily within reach.
Overall, Belmond Hotel Caruso is an amazing day trip or stay for anyone visiting the Amalfi Coast. You could stay within it's ground all day and be completely satisfied with your experience. Definitely check it out if you're visiting Italy this European summer.
For more details about Belmond Hotel Caruso head here.