There's something alluring about the most dizzying heights, in spite of the potentially dangerous void below. Perhaps it is because they represent the fine line between land and sky, caught in the middle, not entirely on the Earth, nor in the clouds. They are places where one can stand in majestic solitude and feel as if they could shake hands with God.
Clifftop dwellings are no novelty. As early as 600 AD, the Anasazi tribes that once occupied the lands now known as the American Southwest built their homes high on sandstone cliffs. The reasons were obvious: protection against their enemies, as these spots offered strategic views of the valleys and seas below. However, leaving all wars and feuds aside, clifftop views are deemed spiritual, almost heavenly. Spending the night atop a cliff is even more magical. Just imagine waking up to an uninterrupted 360 degrees panoramic view of the surrounding oceans, seas, mountains, peaks, and forests, absolutely nothing in your way to spoil the image.
Consider yourself warned. These hotels are not for the faint of heart. Although, if you find heights to be addictive, these transcendent places with glass-walled bedrooms set into the cliff edge, with no curtains and no blinds, and still more intimate than you can imagine, will introduce you to jaw-dropping views that will please all five senses, hundreds of feet above the splashing waves. So watch that first step.
10 Punta Tragara in Capri, Italy
Overlooking the whimsical Faraglioni Rocks coming out of the emerald Mediterranean, Punta Tragara Hotel in Capri is a stronghold of unmatched beauty. Set in the heart of the island, the building was originally designed as a private villa in the 1920's. It later served as American Command during World War 2, and hosted Eisenhower and Churchill in its rooms. A unique destination, the hotel seems as if carved directly into the rocky face. No two rooms are the same. Its crown jewel is the Penthouse, offering stunning views of Marina Piccola Bay, so close to the Castiglione Hill you'll feel as if you could touch it from the balcony. This luxury boutique hotel overlooking the blue Capri sea looks as if barely clinging to the cliff face, and features two outdoor pools, a Monzu restaurant, and its very own private small pebble beach.
9 Belmond Reid's Palace in Madeira, Portugal
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by subtropical gardens, and offering panoramic views of the city of Funchal, Belmond Reid's Palace in Madeira is a historic hotel that first opened its doors in 1891. One of the many famous guests it welcomed throughout the years was none other than Sir Winston Churchill. With numerous swimming pools and outdoor lounging areas scattered along the cliff, from the highest point all the way down to sea-level, views of the marina in the distance and lovely sloping gardens, balconies, Cocktail Bar, and Tea Terrace with gorgeous views, Reid's abounds in classic luxury, with a touch of that old world charm to complement its heavenly beauty. There are three luxurious swimming pools, pool terraces, tennis courts, sea level platform, and even a spa tucked in among the trees. However, their pride and joy is a salt-water pool with direct access to the ocean. Talk about a spectacular way to take the plunge.
8 Banyan Tree Seychelles on Mahe Island, Seychelles
Set atop a hill on Mahe Island in the Seychelles archipelago, a total of 60 Creole-style bungalows offer picturesque views of some of the Indian Ocean's most spectacular unspoilt beaches. Banyan Tree Seychelles is an intimate retreat enclosed by rainforests, the perfect destination for your desert island getaway. Located on the south-west coastline of Mahe, in Intendance Bay, a scenic harbor abounding in marine life, the villas are perched on the rocky cliffs nestled by the hilly terrain, each with its very own swimming pool, king-size bed, and pavilion with great views of the waves splashing against the rugged coastline. Expansive verandas overlook the seascape, while guests can play hide and seek among the palm trees and tropical forests on their way to the spectacular infinity pool.
7 Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Majorca, Spain
Located in the tranquil fishing village of Port Soller and enclosed by the Tramuntana mountain range, Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Majorca is a five-star clifftop hotel offering a total of 120 rooms and suites, all interwoven with lovely gardens. The hotel is set on the northwest coast of Majorca on a 360-foot high cliff. When looked at from a distance, the hotel seems like a village cascading down the cliff and straight into the sea. There are four bars and plenty of outdoor lounging areas introducing some of the most spectacular views of the Mediterranean and of Puig Major, the highest mountain in Majorca. Behind the hotel lies a medieval watchtower that was once used to keep a lookout for pirates. The scented gardens host two swimming pools, spa, gym, and spacious ballroom, as well as a number of lovely unspoilt beaches beneath.
6 Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia
Perched high above the 600-acre Anse Chastanet beach resort on one of the Caribbean's most coveted jewels, the island of St. Lucia, Jade Mountain is an all-inclusive resort facing the stately Pitons, an emblem of these seas. Rising majestically over a cliff, the resort boasts an organic architecture in complete harmony with the Caribbean and its scenic beauty. There are a total of 24 so-called sanctuary suites, each with its very own infinity pool missing a wall, thus offering staggering views of the Pitons, the two green plugs of volcanic origins rising straight up from the blue Caribbean. There are no windows, curtains, or blinds, only uninterrupted views of nature's unmatched work of art. There are no telephones, television, or radio in the sanctuaries. With infinity pools measuring an average of 450 square feet and such a view, who would even consider leaving the room?
5 Cosmopolitan Suites Hotel in Santorini, Greece
In the heart of Fira, the capital of the Greek island of Santorini, Cosmopolitan Suites is an elegant boutique hotel with a traditional whitewashed facade offering luxury suites overlooking the cliff-side landscape and the Agean Sea. Perched on a volcanic cliff of Caldera, the hotel encompasses the very essence of Greek hospitality, with its 10 immaculate rooms and suites. Reading contemporary luxury allover, you can lounge next to the active volcano on one side, and over the legendary cliff-carved town of Fira on the other. Nevertheless, the pool is the highlight of the hotel, a large infinity pool that seems to stretch out into the horizon without limits.
4 The Caves in Negril, Jamaica
They say Negril offers some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, and what better way to enjoy one than from a clifftop hotel? A total of 12 villas, all handcrafted using primarily wood and stone, perched on limestone cliffs above volcanic-formed caves, wonderfully blend in with the stunning landscape. Overlooking the Caribbean and its crystal-clear waters, as well as a few historical lighthouses, The Caves in Negril is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Set on two acres of exotic vegetation, the luxurious rooms with large comfortable beds offer stunning views from all angles. Steps lead from the villas to swimming platforms and several jumping platforms for those brave enough to try cliff-jumping from 30 feet straight into the blue waters of the Caribbean. Plus, guests can dive from the salt-water swimming pool right into the ocean.
3 Birkenhead House & Villa in Hermanus, South Africa
Overlooking Wilderness Beach, Birkenhead House & Villa is a small boutique hotel offering only 11 rooms, the perfect retreat if you are looking to spend some relaxing time just 100 miles southeast of Cape Town, in Hermanus. A stunning sea-front location perched on the rocky cliff high above the sandy beaches, the all-inclusive resort is set around a central courtyard featuring a number of small infinity pools, lounge and dining areas overlooking the swirling surf of Walker Bay. Its main attractions are the stylish Cocktail Deck, the inspired Library Lounge, and The Pool deck with gorgeous views of the neighboring Outeniqua Mountains. Plus, the hotels organizes wine trips, Great White cage diving tours, and whale watching tours. During the months of winter, guests can spot southern right whales coming close to shore thanks to the 11 miles of protected coastline. If you are lucky enough, you don't even have to leave the room to go whale watching. The balcony will do the job for you.
2 Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy
Perched on a clifftop on Italy's most beloved coastline, the Amalfi Coast, Belmond Hotel Caruso is set in a former 11th century palace, opening to stunning views of the azure sea, seemingly floating above the Mediterranean. Set at the highest point above the town of Ravello, the ancient walls and fresco-covered ceilings have been wonderfully preserved and offer a unique feeling of legendary romance. The terraced gardens and infinity pool will make you feel as if drifting on the clouds. Often dubbed an architectural masterpiece, set right into the cliff's edge, Hotel Caruso overlooks the city of Salerno, while the Amalfi bay lies some 1,150 feet below. The hotel offers complimentary daily boat tours along the Amalfi Coast, and guests are also invited on a boat trip to Positano or a one-day trip to Roman Pompeii.
1 Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa on the Amalfi Coast, Italy
What is it with the Amalfi Coast and its countless clifftop dwellings? It's as if everything here has been perched up on the steep hillsides, from the winding roads to the cascading villages and stunning seascape hotels. It does have something to do with the times when the Barbaric hordes ransacked Europe and the inhabitants found a way to protect themselves by using nature as their guardian. Nowadays, remnants of those long gone days make for an unbelievable destination. Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa is all about superlatives, boasting a stunning architectural setting and luxurious facilities, spectacular waterfront view, gardens, and gorgeous infinity pool. There are only 20 rooms set in a restored 17th century monastery. After a 12-year renovation process, the owners are proud to present guests with plenty of lounging areas with swinging chairs , outdoor gym, outdoor fireplaces, bocce court, sunset terrace, and secret gardens you'll wish you got lost in, all in the vicinity of a peaceful fishing village. Quiet and romantic, the pictures simply don't do it justice. Expect to be blown away.