Monastery hotels: From 12th century English abbeys to 17th century Italian monasteries

The Big Six

Lord Crewe Arms, England

This building started life as Blanchland Abbey in the 12th century when it was founded by monks from Prémontré in Normandy. Situated in the Northumberland village of Blanchland, it later came under the ownership of Nathaniel Crewe – the influential 17th-century Bishop of Durham. After his death in 1721, it was named the Lord Crewe Arms in his honour and served as the village pub. But on Monday, it remerges as a 21-bedroom hotel after a joint £1.5m renovation by the Lord Crewe's Charity and Calcot Hotels – known for Barnsley House and Calcot Manor in the Cotswolds. Expect a vaulted ground-floor bar and manicured gardens in what once formed the abbey's cloisters.

Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland, Northumberland DH8 9SP (01434 675 469; Doubles from £140, B&B.

Monastero Santa Rosa, Italy

This former 17th-century monastery overlooks the Bay of Salerno on the Amalfi Coast. Poised on a dramatic cliff, a short drive from the pastel-painted buildings of Positano, it once housed nuns who were famed for baking heavenly desserts, such as sfogliatelle – a shell-shaped pastry, known to this day as the "Santa Rosa". As a hotel, the offering is equally indulgent, with sea-view rooms, a terraced pool and a cavernous spa, complete with ancient vaulted ceilings.

Monastero Santa Rosa, Conca dei Marini, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy (00 39 089 832 1199; Doubles from €429, B&B.

Parador de Santo Estevo, Spain

This converted Benedictine monastery is hidden away in the northern Spanish region of Galicia, in an area known as "Ribeira Sacra", where the Sil and Mino rivers meet. Surrounded by glistening green hills, it's the perfect spot for some quiet reflection. Built during a range of architectural periods, it features 75 idiosyncratic rooms, with exposed stone walls, overlooking a series of interlinked cloisters. Modern additions include a spa.

Parador de Santo Estevo, Galicia, Spain (00 34 902 54 79 79; Doubles from €65, room only.

Pousada de Arraiolos, Portugal

This pousada stands in the Alentejo region outside the medieval city of Evora, with its wealth of well-preserved palaces and cathedrals. The gleaming white building even retains its chapel, complete with original tiles that relay scenes of saints and sinners from the Bible. Elsewhere, there are 35 whitewashed rooms, a pool with sun terraces and a restaurant that proffers traditional Portuguese dishes. Spend days riding, cycling or walking in the Alentejo countryside.

Pousada de Arraiolos, Arraiolos, Alentejo, Portugal (00 351 266 419 340; Doubles from €110, B&B.

Le Couvent des Minimes, France

The tiny town of Mane in Provence is home to this converted monastery – which is due to reopen on 18 April, following a renovation. Founded for the religious order of Les Minimes in 1613, it continued to act as a working monastery until 2000. Over the years, successive residents cultivated fruit trees, grape vines, nasturtium and fuchsia plants, meaning that today, the grounds flourish. In spring, a surrounding grassy plain also bursts into a vivid display of wildflowers.

Le Couvent des Minimes, Mane, Provence, France (00 33 4 92 74 77 77; Doubles from €200, room only.

The Augustine, Czech Republic

For an original stay in the Czech capital, check into to The Augustine. Located in Prague's historic centre, the atmospheric hotel was converted in 2009 from a 13th-century monastery, that once housed the friars of Saint Augustine. Contemporary furnishings and modern art now rub shoulders with ancient frescos in the stand-out suites, while the vaulted inner sanctum holds the sleek 1887 Bar. A European restaurant and spa provide space for sybarites.

The Augustine, Prague, Czech Republic (00 420 266 1124 22 23; Doubles from €212, room only.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home