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10 Spectacular Hotels That Sit Precariously on Cliffsides

For those who like living on the edge.

Clifftop hotels are a stark contrast to rooftop hotels—not better or worse, just different. Both are a testament of imagination and ingenuity, but when you’re lounging in a cliff-hugging room admiring nature’s handiwork, there’s a sense of awe at the unintended drama. 

We’ve handpicked 10 of the most breathtakingly beautiful clifftop hotels around the world. Perched on the edge of ruggedly handsome cliffs, these hotels have unobstructed views of life under their shadows. What’s better is their promise of luxury and seclusion, so romance and discretion are included in the package.

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Monastero Santa Rosa

WHERE: Italy

Perched on a cliff between Amalfi and Positano, this is a 17th-century monastery with unmatched views of the Gulf of Salerno. The restored 20 rooms and suites once belonged to nuns and there are still remnants of their life here. The rusticity is complemented by the modern-day comforts, including a Michelin-starred restaurant and a glamorous spa. Take a dip in the cliffside infinity pool, go for a walk in the four-level terraced gardens, and discover the lovely coast dotted with art galleries, fine-dining restaurants, and quaint villages—Monastero Santa Rosa is perfect for a romantic getaway.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Le Toiny
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Le Toiny St. Barths

WHERE: Saint Barthélemy

Set atop a hillside, Le Toiny offers a private, exclusive sanctuary to travelers who want the Caribbean coast right at their feet. There are just 22 Villa Suites, each with a private pool, a terrace, and uninterrupted views of the ocean. Between the two dining venues, LE TOINY and Beach Club, you will have no cause to scout restaurants on the island. An undeniably luxe space is the Villa Nureyev—a four-bedroom villa with a floating deck, a terrace with a private pool, Jacuzzi, and steam bath, and 24/7 concierge services. 

Le Toiny St Barths has recently added the Villa Ocean to its collection. This new address—stretching 7,000 square feet—is steps away from the hotel with its own tropical garden, heated pool, bar area with gazebo, and four rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Goes without saying that ocean views are the biggest draw here.

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Cliff House Hotel

WHERE: Ireland

This cliff-hugging boutique hotel is located on the south side of Ardmore Bay. With 39 seafront rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant, an indoor pool, and a wellness spa, Cliff House Hotel is the ultimate retreat with the Atlantic right outside. Sun-kissed terraces and balconies overlook the turquoise waters and the modern Irish architecture is intended to bring nature in. Local produce from Waterford and the Irish Sea is the star of the show at both restaurants, and sustainability is at its forefront—biodegradable golf balls, green roof, and natural, small-batch spa ingredients are a few of the examples.

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PHOTO: Kodiak Greenwood
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Post Ranch Inn

WHERE: California

One of the most stunning hotels in the U.S., Post Ranch Inn sits 1,200 feet on the cliffs of Big Sur with magical views of the Pacific Ocean. The 100-acre property embraces its surroundings of forests, mountains, and ocean with its earth-toned interiors. It’s designed with care for its occupants: skylights in rooms to gaze at the sky, floor-to-ceiling glass windows so views are never too far, redwood walls that seamlessly blend into the scenery, deep soaking tubs and fireplaces for cozy moments, and private decks overlooking the ocean or the forest. 

There are 40 guestrooms and suites to choose from, all independently designed. The cantilevered Peak House features an outdoor stainless steel soaking tub and wood-burning fireplace; the Tree House is built on stilts with a private deck for mountain-watching; the Butterfly Room is designed to emulate the outstretched wings of a butterfly; and the two-story Pacific Suites has a curved design that makes it possible to enjoy the views from the living room, bedroom, and soaking tub.

Begin your day with a yoga lesson or guided nature walk, take a dip in the heated pool, get a full-body massage, and dress up for a meal at the cliff-edge restaurant—the inn is no slouch in keeping guests fulfilled.

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Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar

WHERE: Oman

Just two hours from Muscat, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar rises in a sea of canyons, 6,500 feet above sea level, on the Saiq Plateau. The luxury resort boasts 82 rooms with wonderful canyon views and 33 private pool villas. Even when dining at one of the five restaurants, you can have a visual treat of the jagged cliffs. 

There is a spa that offers hammam and signature rose and pomegranate rituals (Al Jabal Al Akhdar is known for its damas roses and pomegranate). An infinity pool with dramatic canyon views is a highlight, as is the viewing platform named after Princess Diana (who visited the site in 1986 with Prince Charles). From hiking, tennis, cooking classes, yoga, activity wall, and village walk, Anantara will keep you busy—if that’s what you wish—with a repository of activities. 

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PHOTO: CLAUS BRECHENMACHER & REINER BAUMANN
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Mystique

WHERE: Greece

Carved into the caldera cliffs, Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel, is a romantic escape in Santorini. The muted colors of the spaces emphasize the blues of the Aegean Sea that are framed everywhere, bringing the outside in. The minimalist Cycladic architecture accentuates the views and the cream-beige facade blends in with its surroundings. There are 41 cave-style suites and villas, all with terraces that let guests enjoy the endless blues of the sea. Restaurants offer authentic Greek dishes and Mediterranean fares; the spa has a cave-like design and Greek-inspired signature treatments; and two pools (one infinity and one by a lounge) are spectacularly positioned to not let the sea out of sight.

Mystique has taken a prime spot in the popular seaside village of Oia and it’s an ideal location to start your discovery of the whitewashed village sprinkled with flashes of blue domes and learn about the volcano that shaped Santorini.

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Cala de Mar Resort & Spa Ixtapa

WHERE: Mexico

Situated on a cliff on Mexico’s western coast, Cala de Mar is a suite-only property. The 59 guest suites open up to the Pacific Ocean, all feature private terraces that have plunge pools overlooking the limitless waters. Guests are pampered here with four restaurants, a spa sculpted from the cliffs offering ancient Aztec traditions, and a designated personal assistant to take care of every small detail (including the COVID-19 test you need to re-enter the U.S.). If you can take your eyes off the magnificent views for some time, there are market visits, sunset cruises, scuba diving, and bicycle tours through a wildlife reserve. 

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PHOTO: Marc Hoberman
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Birkenhead House

WHERE: South Africa

Whale watching from your balcony? Yes, please! It’ll be hard to top the enviable location that Birkenhead House has settled on. Atop the cliffs of Hermanus, the 11-room hotel stares down at Walker Bay, a place known for whale watching. Each room is designed individually and spread across three different houses—the best category is Deluxe Superior Room that’s sea-facing with generous balconies. 

Hermanus is a beach-lover’s paradise and perfect for an outdoorsy soul (think surfing, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking). Looking for something more slow-paced? Go mussel picking with the chef, or indulge in a wine tasting session on the main deck. There’s also an in-house spa and a pool on the edge of the terrace.

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PHOTO: Secret Bay
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Secret Bay

WHERE: Dominica

The six eco-villas at Secret Bay are stylishly seated on a cliff. Constructed with sustainably sourced Guyanese hardwood, each has its own private plunge pool, well-stocked kitchen, and covered terrace. The most coveted is the honeymoon villa that has panoramic views of the sparkling Caribbean Sea and exclusive access to the Wild Orchid Garden Decks, while the hillside villas—nestled in dense rainforests—offer another distinct experience. The luxury retreat has dedicated villa hosts and a no-menu restaurant as well as a wellness pavilion and a spa.

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PHOTO: Courtesy Cabot St Lucia
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Cabot St. Lucia

WHERE: St. Lucia

This is the one that golfers should watch out for. Slated to open in 2022 on Point Hardy—a 375-acre lush peninsula on the island’s northern tip, Cabot St. Lucia is a resort community (under development) with a dramatic golf course, clifftop residential villas, and a 40-key boutique hotel with one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites with idyllic views. Cabot St. Lucia will also be home to a spa and wellness center, a beach club, restaurants, and sports facilities. 

Keep an eye out for its opening date (and launch offers) and be one of the first few guests to try out the pillows and the tee. If the success of its sister property Cabot Cape Breton in Nova Scotia is any indication, it will be a top golfing destination, too.

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