When traveling, I usually couch-surf, stay with friends or at a hostel but, I do occasionally stay at hotels. After being accustomed to the general cramped quarters and chaos (which I love!) that ensues from co-habitation, it is a real treat to stay in a hotel where even the smallest things, such as a complimentary toiletries, in-unit hairdryer, bathrobe, fluffy pillows and soft sheets, seem like a luxury. Because I love sharing my travel finds with others (and mostly because I like reminiscing), I will do a series of posts on my favorite hotels in Europe. Here is the first, and quite possibly, my absolute favorite.
Hotel Margherita Praiano
Via Umberto I 70 - 84010
Praiano, Salerno Italy
About a year ago, while browsing random travel websites as I usually do, I stumbled upon a small town on the Amalfi coast, Positano. I was instantly enamored with what seemed to be (and indeed was) a slice of heaven. One night, I showed my cousin photos of the town. Absolutely spell-bound, we stumbled upon a picture of this hotel and knew we had to stay there.
"Margherita, beautiful and elegant daughter of Praiano's town doctor, marries Giuseppe and moves to the United States. But the longing for home transforms her nostalgia into a desire: to go back and offer hospitality in the charming setting of the Amalfi Coast...Giuseppe's dream is to restore the family home of Praiano, built along an Aragonese watchtower, to turn it into a hotel. Today it is Suela, daughter of Giuseppe and Margherita, and her husband Andrea Ferraioli who...continue the works undertaken by Giuseppe....The care for guests remains the same as that of Margherita, extremely careful in the kitchen in order not to betray history and the spirit that has kept her dream alive"
A few moths later, we were in Italy. After a perilous drive through the twists and turns of the Amalfi coastline, we dragged our suitcases out of the car, took a look at the sun-drenched, white-washed facade of Hotel Margherita, the bougeanvilla crawling up the parking terrace and the stunning turquoise water just within our reach and knew, we were in Paradise.
The hotel itself is in Praiano, a neighboring town. But it is only a short bus ride away from Positano and the owner, Andrea, and his family never hesitated to personally drive us to town and pick us up later in the evening. Our room was small, but well decorated, clean and charming. We had a private terrace built right into the garden filled with lemon trees, and there is also a pool and deck with magnificent views. Breakfast is served in the morning, and we indulged in the succulent fresh fruit, various pastries, yogurt and croissants. Would our stay in Positano have been wonderful even if we hadn't stayed at Hotel Margherita? Yes, without a doubt. But to us, staying in a town, and in a hotel, that had previously only been accessible on our dimly lit computer screens at work, was a fairytale come true.
I am counting the days until my return...