San Montano Resort & Spa in Ischia, a small island off the coast of Naples in Italy, is a truly rich experience. During a visit, you’re likely to find rich, young beauties lounging in the thermal pool, rich, little kids swimming, older statesman in the lobby with thick salt-and-pepper locks, and elder ladies who lunch and are never seen without makeup and high heels. They are the folks of Gatsby, of a bygone era that we’ve never seen in real life.
Un Pesce Out of Water
Of course, I will never feel entirely comfortable in such a place. After all, mine are peasant people from the other side of Ischia, many of whom I watched executing construction and landscaping projects while I was poolside. I almost picked up the trowel to join them. I didn’t do it, but I felt obliged to explain from whence I came. It was as though this was a case of mistaken identity. My husband, on the other hand, is regal, knows it, and doesn’t care what anybody thinks when he’s getting his spa on. I love that about him, and it’s probably why we were celebrating 10 years of marriage.
Entrance to Paradise
Surely, a stay at San Montano Resort & Spa comes with a hefty price tag. I’m thankful that I have no idea how much it cost. If I did, I might have divorced my husband. After all, he surprised our son and me with a one-night stay in 2018 to honor our 10th wedding anniversary. The point is that normally I would never allow for such a fancy, expensive experience. But it is a bucket list type of stay. And it was mad awesome.
Home Suite Home
We didn’t just get any old room at the resort either. My husband splurged for the two-floor suite with a private pool and terrace. What takes your breath away, however, is the splendid view of San Montano Bay. If God could bottle and sell tranquility, the air and scenery from this room would be in it.
Unforgettable Sensory Experience
The salty hot water of the thermal pools touching my skin and the plush towels for drying off set the tone for the day in paradise. Taking a deep breath and indulging in silence, I noticed a butterfly that put on a show just for me amid a bed of golden flowers. My son frolicked nearby. I never knew he could do that, but he can. He ran his fingers through the blades of manicured grass, a rare find in Ischia. Then, he lounged under a tree and told me how lovely he found everything. The refined language of my 7-year-old had me feeling as though I had stepped into a classic novel the likes of which Jane Austen never read.
Our Little Prince
Although I felt the need to shush him more than a few times, he was elegant and sophisticated. It kind of bothered me. He’s just a little boy. He’s little for such a short time, and we accelerated his growth in but a day. But, heck, it was just for a little while. And he too would never forget the experience of being a prince.
Beauty and Grace
Like many of my adventures in Ischia, this one frequently reminded me that I come from a place of magnificent beauty. Everywhere you turned, you looked out on a view that was prettier than the one before. There was the “Fungo,” a rock jutting out of the sea that looks like a mushroom and is the symbol of the town of Lacco Ameno. Pastel houses dotting the countryside and following the curves of the road sat beneath another thermal pool. And a lush landscape towering over the emerald sea with blue beach umbrellas lined up in front of it served as the “bella vista” or beautiful view.
The One Perfect Night
So much of the experience was aspirational. It made you feel rich but not because you could afford to stay there. Instead, you felt a certain power that comes from being in possession of peace, even if just momentarily. Indeed, it was fleeting. The clock was always ticking down on our luxury. It was, after all, just one night. I had deadlines and laundry and ironing to tend to back at home.
Nonetheless, witnessing the sun sink into the sea while turning the sky all shades of pink, as my son played pirate in the background, will stay with me forever. Family is our gift to each other. Nature is God’s gift to us. Truly, there are no greater gifts to cherish on any occasion but especially an anniversary of love. San Montano Resort & Spa was a chance to bathe in the light and hide from the darkness. Don’t we all need that every now and then?
More Beauties from the Resort
Di Meglio is the author of Fun with the Family New Jersey (Globe Pequot Press, 2012). She also has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10.