As metaphors, cliffs suggest portals to new beginnings. Viscerally breathtaking, precipices can make us feel more alive—it's no wonder they've captured the traveler’s imagination. They teeter over vast vistas and infinite horizons, invoking awe and wonder. For travelers seeking repose, these five bluff-hugging retreats take the cake, from a hill-hewed homage to Frida and Diego in Zihuatanejo to a treehouse-like collection of luxury tent bungalows in Thailand’s Golden Triangle.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand
This 16-tent luxury camp peers down at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers with Myanmar and Laos in sight, in far north Thailand. Modeled after the 19th-century explorer’s lifestyle, this fantasia stretches across jungle expanses (including a rescued-elephant reserve), riddled with winding paths and imaginative elements (such as suspension bridges).
Belmond Hotel Splendido, Italy
Many visitors arrive to Portofino on the Italian Riviera by yacht, which means they’ll have to make their way up the hill to check into Belmond’s Hotel Splendid. Once a 16th-century Benedictine monastery, this resort is a favorite of Hollywood’s rich and famous. The hotel is absolutely stunning, with gardens, an immense swimming pool, grape-vined terraces, and wisteria-drooping lattices slot into the slope-side grounds.
Grace Hotel Santorini, Santorini, Greece
With its whitewashed stone houses, cobbled winding streets, and blue-domed churches, Cyclades style reflects not just the encompassing Aegean Sea, and seemingly touchable low-hanging sky’s fluffy clouds, but also the Greek flag itself—a duet of blue and white. Built into the face of volcanic cliffs, cave houses called yposkafa, dotted with various shaped windows, comprise the indigenous construction trends on the island. With more horizontal lines than curved ones, including rooms that vaunt dark volcanic rock walls and multiple private infinity pools, this is a must visit resort.
Angama Mara, Maasai Mara, Kenya
An intimate safari lodge with 30 tented guest suites, this luxury travel escape is suspended above East Africa’s most storied reserve. Architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens achieved an ethereal sense of levitation above the bush with partially glass-wrapped tent-style rooms that showcase boundless vistas, including animal sightings and mesmerizing morning hot air balloon flights along the horizon. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the African safari but still prioritize clean, comfortable living, this is the place for you.
Jumeirah Port Soller, Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca, an island edged with stunning beaches, is a popular place for serious cyclists, who pedal competitively to ascend its serpentine, bluff-verged roads. A popular place for a the most chic of cyclists is Jumeirah Port Soller, an otherworldly complex that crowns a scarp above the characteristic beachside village of Soller. Designed by Madrid-headquartered Arditecnica to “float between sea and sky,” the hotel comprises 11 low-rise buildings connected by orange tree groves and herb gardens, rife with romantic passageways, peek-a-boo views of the sapphire-hued water, and cliff-clinging terraces.
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