About the Hotel Sant’Angelo
I stayed at the Hotel Sant’Angelo some years ago. Please read on if you would like to discover my experience and opinions, but do also check the latest online reviews from recent guests.
The Hotel Sant’Angelo – also called the Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort – is a four-star hotel in Matera, the famous cave-town in Italy’s southern Basilicata region. The hotel is in the historic cave district, the Sassi, and its rooms are mostly cave-bedrooms scattered over a few paved outdoor flights of steps. I stayed at the hotel in June 2010 for two nights, in two different bedrooms.
Arrival and facilities
The hotel is at the heart of the cave-dwelling area of Matera, on a narrow street opposite the church of San Pietro Caveoso. It looks out over a little piazza, the church, a rocky pinnacle containing cave-churches, and the great ravine which borders the town. The setting is truly breathtaking. On a practical note, this location is down several flights of steps from the upper town and if you’re arriving by public transport, I’d suggest a taxi transfer from station or bus stop to the hotel.
The hotel reception is in a pleasant building on the little street which runs through the Sassi districts. From here, staff will escort guests to their bedrooms, most of which are in caves or in historic buildings which extend into the rock face behind the hotel. Footpaths and steps wind up past buildings, caves and combinations of the two. All the bedrooms have independent entrances from the outdoor spaces.
I saw several different bedrooms during my stay at the Sant’Angelo. The hotel’s rooms are all individual, as they are each carved out of historic buildings and cave-dwellings. All were refurbished and decorated in a simple but stylish fashion, with good-quality furnishings. There were big differences between rooms, not just in shape and furnishings, but also in size and standard. One was large, elegant, white-painted with a kind of rustic elegance and not particularly cave-like, one was a small, very troglodytic cave, and the last was a large smart room in a building overlooking the street. I would suggest to guests making a booking that they study different room types on the booking pages if possible, or on arrival consider asking to see more than one room.
I spent one night in a very traditional cave (room 46), which was atmospheric, but I found it rather claustrophobic and far too damp; it was small and lacked a desk, too. This bedroom plainly didn’t get enough air; even the sheets were damp. Obviously caves generally lack windows and tend to dampness; the hotels in Matera deal with these issues by using glass doors and installing ventilation systems, with varying success.
When I asked for a change the following day, I was shown to a marvellous room (room 98) accessed from an external staircase alongside the hotel reception. This was in a building with a high vaulted stone ceiling, white-painted walls and a window with a superb view of the church and ravine. Furnishings were smart and stylish; a perspex chair, white leather soft seat, flat-screen TV, perspex lamp, wooden desk, suitcase stand and wardrobe. The double bed was large with a white leather headboard, and very comfortable. There were two large mirrors in the room, and fragrance-diffusing sticks along with a selection of candles. This room, like the first room I’d seen and unlike the little cave, was a comfortable, luxurious place to spend time day or night, and I loved the view from the windows.
The en-suite bathroom in my final room was large and had a bath with a shower above. There was a good hairdryer, a large mirror and nice toiletries. The other bathrooms I saw were also good, with showers rather than a bath.
The hotel’s caves and outdoor spaces were generally very quiet. I visited during the Festa della Bruna, Matera’s greatest annual festival, which culminates in a massive midnight firework and music display above the ravine on the 2nd July. Obviously this was extremely noisy and attracted local crowds into the Sassi; however I wouldn’t have missed this for the world, and the hotel’s terraces were a prime viewing spot.
Breakfast and public spaces
Breakfast was served in an elegant and atmospheric building cut right into the rocky slopes. There was a generous buffet with all the usual Italian breakfast foods: fresh fruit, yoghurts, a choice of fruit juice, hot drinks served at the table, cheese and cold meat, and a wall of niches containing more offerings: croissants, bruschetta with tomato, cake slices, dainty miniature cakes and more. Additional ‘luxury’ items such as hot food and freshly-squeezed juice could be ordered at an extra charge from a menu.
The hotel also has outdoor restaurant terraces with fantastic views, where guests can enjoy tasting menus of local dishes. Tables and chairs were dotted around the outdoor spaces; most rooms had their own little outside seating area. There was also an indoors lounge area alongside the reception.
Hotel Sant’Angelo is on Piazza San Pietro Caveoso. The hotel reception is located on Via Madonna delle Virtù, the street which curves around the brink of Matera’s ravine, along the Sassi districts. The hotel is in a very picturesque and convenient location for walking around Matera and exploring the cave districts; the grander buildings and shopping streets of the town centre can be reached on foot by ascending the winding staircases and alleys of the Sassi. Both the railway station and bus stop are in the busier upper town, and to reach the hotel on foot would be quite difficult and tiring with a suitcase. I’d recommend taking a taxi or asking the hotel to arrange a transfer (they quoted me the price of 10 for a transfer from the railway station) so that you can arrive in comfort.
Tihe hotel offers an elegant way to sleep in caves. The overall atmosphere and standard of decoration was at the upper end of the four-star category. Staff were very polite and helpful, and obliging about making room changes. It’s important to bear in mind that all the rooms are individual and range considerably in quality and type, from a traditional bedroom to out-and-out caves. The ‘cave’ location means obvious compromises on decor, light and dampness. I found the first room I was allocated was not really up to four-star standard – it was just too damp and ‘cavey’. The second room I slept in, and the other rooms I saw, managed a better compromise between atmosphere and comfort. Guests shouldn’t hesitate to discuss their wishes in advance, or ask to see additional rooms if not completely happy with the first cave they are shown. The hotel has a selection of lovely rooms in an ideal location for experiencing Matera’s unique atmosphere, and if you are looking for a high-quality place to stay in the cave district, it’s a very good choice. I wouldn’t hesitate to return.
Make a booking
> Make a booking or check availability at the Hotel Sant’Angelo
> Other Matera hotels and B&Bs – including more accommodation in caves
> Locanda di San Martino – my review of a 3-star cave-hotel in Matera
I stayed at the Sant’Angelo as a guest of Basilicata APT (the regional tourist board). Their official UK website can be visited at www.discoverbasilicata.com/uk.
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