We arrived on the Amalfi Coast on a baking hot morning in July, and I instantly fell in love.
There aren't many places in this world that can make you feel as though your soul has come alive, and that somehow you just 'belong' there, but for me this short stretch of coastline in South-West Italy is one of them. I could easily have handed in my notice back in Qatar right there and then, purchased a little boat and lived happily ever after with my new husband, exploring the aqua shores of the Med that lap against the dramatic cliffs. Yes, it's safe to say that I was a little smitten.
Of course, this new-found infatuation was probably helped along by the fact that the first stop on our journey along the coast was a rather astonishing boutique, luxury hotel and one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I had ever stayed.
Casa Angelina Lifestyle Hotel, in the tiny hamlet of Praiano is one of our honeymoon hotels that we still reminisce about with nostalgia and fondness. It is an unusual sight on the Amalfi Coast because rather than a rustic and rambling old dwelling, it is an elegant, unique and exclusive space which is brand-spanking new (it opened in 2005) and is packed with contemporary art and adorned with exposed wooden floors and enormous floor to ceiling windows which flood the hotel with light.
I loved the Murano glass figurines which are displayed throughout the communal spaces of the hotel, lovingly collected over the years by the hotel's artistic owner.
Our room was a clean, bright and comfortable haven, with some extra special touches which helped us to feel at home and comfortable.
Outside, we had a good-sized balcony sporting two sun loungers and a jaw-dropping view over the cliffs of neighbouring Positano, and the vibrant blue Mediterranean stretching out towards Capri in the distance.
It was the perfect place to crack open the first of many complimentary bottles of Prosecco that we were going to enjoy as we traveled down the Amalfi Coast.
We spent our first few days doing very little. We explored the area around the hotel, and took the elevator that is cut into the rock of the cliffside down to the hotel's shared beach club at the water's edge.
However, most of our time was spent basking in the warm sunshine on the poolside deck below our room, more often than not with a glass of Limoncello or Negroni in one hand; a book in the other.
The pool itself is quite small and by far the least remarkable of our stay on the Amalfi Coast, but it was perfect for a cooling dip. We spent a lot of time wallowing in the waters, making plans and chatting with the other guests.
When our stomachs grumbled, we moved across to the Marrakech Bar, where we sat out on the terrace and enjoyed the view from our cliff-edge perch, or moved inside to lounge on one of the sumptuous Gervasoni sofas. Here, a variety of salads, home made pastas and the catch of the day are served from homely Le Creuset pots.
The food at Casa Angelina is surpassed by very few hotels we have stayed in to date. Breakfast stands out in particular, as it is an almighty affair with ample choice. When faced with such a gorgeous display, it was very difficult not to opt for a little bit of everything.
However, the main event of the day at Casa Angelina is supper time. Like breakfast, it is served in the restaurant's rooftop restaurant, Un Piano el Cielo, "a floor in the sky". With gourmet, locally-sourced and seasonal cuisine, as well as a variety of local wines on the menu, Mr Sunshine and I were in our element.
Watching the sun go down over the Mediterranean Sea from that spot with my new husband on our first evening on the Amalfi Coast is a moment I will never forget.
But just five nights later, and what felt like as soon as it had begun, our Casa Angelina love story was over. We enjoyed a final evening of aperitifs beside the pool as the sun went down...
Before retiring for our last night.
Early next morning, we were off on a brand new adventure, but I wasn't quite sure I was ready to leave.
We purchased a Comfort Double, but were upgraded to a Premier Double with sea view.
Casa Angelina is currently closed for the Winter, but will re-open on March 24th 2016. In the meantime, the hotel is still taking bookings.
I am posting this as part of the monthly travel link-up with Angie, Jessi, Emma and guest Kaelene. This month it's all about luuuurve, and if you want to join in, head over to one of their blogs before 7th January to link up your post.