At around 11:00 pm on an especially hot, sticky August Calabrian night, we dialed Capovaticano Resort Thalasso & Spa in a panic.
“Bonne notte! Do you have any rooms available….right now? And for the next 3 nights?” I begged, as my husband solemnly studied my face for the answer I was getting on the other end of the line.
“Grazie mille! We’ll be there in 15 minutes!” I told the reservationist as I slammed down the keys to our current guesthouse on the bed, scribbled a quick note to the owners and packed up the car with our wide-eyed 18-month old son in his pajamas, ready for the next adventure.
Without looking back, we set out down the dark, windy road towards the town of Capo Vaticano with just our iffy Google maps and some adrenaline leading the way.
Capovaticano Resort Thalasso & Spa. I had found their website early on in our trip-planning but dismissed it for two reasons — first, because we wanted to stay directly in the old town of Tropea, walkable to the stunning beach we had seen so many photos of, and also because we normally prefer smaller, boutique hotels with charming local details over large conference-style properties that lack any true semblance of where you are in the world.
There were no boutique hotels in Tropea so instead, we’d booked a well-reviewed guesthouse. An unfortunate turn of events which began with a sudden torrential downpour on our way to check-in after we’d just driven over 5 hours from Matera and ended with two bags full of sopping wet clothes, a frightened baby with water in his eyes and a puddle pooling in his stroller, and my husband and I in very sour moods, led us to re-think this decision very shortly after our arrival.
After what seemed like 30 minutes stuck outside the guesthouse in paralyzing rain, banging on the door and peering in through the window at the dark, deserted reception desk, a woman let us in and offered apologies and towels. She led us up a million flights of stairs to our tiny, cramped room equipped with a temperamental air conditioner (read: broken.) We decided to take a deep breath and step out for dinner — maybe we’d just gotten off on the wrong foot with this guesthouse — and asked for our air conditioning to be fixed at Reception on our way out.
When we returned, the room was stifling. Now it smelled, probably from all of our damp belongings attempting to dry out in the humidity. My husband made the call to jump right then and there.
We breathed a sigh of relief as we finally wound down the steep hill that led all the way towards the Capovaticano Resort. I had never been so happy to see a soaring lobby with a giant skylight and a one man Casio band entertaining guests.
We were invited to relax with welcome drinks at the lobby bar, which after the day we had, were gone in 30 seconds. Then around midnight, we opened the door to our room. Here we would find just what we needed at the end of a 2 week trip — it was spacious and comfortable, and had air conditioning! The bathrooms were clean and modern with slate tiling, rain-shower heads and fancy bath products. A sliding glass door opened to a small patio with a table and chairs that faced the ocean; mostly obscured by another wing of the hotel, we could still hear the sound of the waves and imagine what the view would be like in the morning.
We woke up and confirmed — the resort really is beautiful. The grounds are lush with pink flowers and manicured paths. The infinity pool looks out onto the turquoise blue sea down below. You can see Stromboli erupting off in the distance. A gift shop sells all the beach toys you forgot at home, and the ocean front beach club has plenty of sun loungers, umbrellas, and space for families to dig and build sand castles together.
Between the huge buffet breakfast (included in the room rate,) the beach, the pool, the spa and the complimentary sunset apperativi around the pool, many people stay put throughout their entire stay. (We, of course, chose to drive 3 hours round-trip each night to seek out the best food in Calabria — which unfortunately, there was not too much of nearby.) There are even group activities planned each day, like this water noodle aerobics class we witnessed one morning in the pool.
Though our stay here was not originally on the itinerary, it ended up being the perfect place to unwind and spend the final few days of our epic road trip, which spanned 3 regions of Italy — Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.
Grazie mille, Capovaticano, per un soggiorno bellissimo!
Capovaticano Resort Thalasso and Spa
Localita Tono | Frazione San Nicolò
89865 San Nicolo di Ricadi, Italy