The World's Most Exhilarating Hotels: Check Out These Cliffside Spots

Post Ranch Inn hugs a cliffside overlooking the Pacific in Big Sur, California
Post Ranch Inn hugs a cliffside overlooking the Pacific in Big Sur, California | © Dave G Houser / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sadie Whitelocks
8 September 2020

When it comes to dramatic places for a holiday, these epic cliffside hotels certainly rock. From a hanging skylodge in Peru to a boutique sea-facing resort in Ireland, these craggy spots cater to all tastes, so scramble on down to see which one of these lofty lodges grips your attention.

Natura Vive, Peru

Capsule Hotel, Treehouse
Map View
Natura Vive - Credit, Natura Vive
© Natura Vive

Have you ever dreamed of sleeping in an eagle’s nest? If so, head over to the world’s first hanging cliffside lodge in Peru’s Sacred Valle. Natura Vive has three transparent luxury capsules that hang off the side of a mountain so that travellers can fully appreciate the impressive views. Each capsule suite comes complete with four beds, a dining area and a private bathroom. Getting to the Natura Vive Skylodge is an adventure in itself. Guests must either climb more than 1,300ft (396m) of via ferrata (fixed climbing route) or take an alternate trail using zip lines as they go. Overnight stays at the dizzying resort include breakfast, dinner with wine and transportation from Cuzco.

Casapueblo, Uruguay

Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Villa
4.2/5 (105 Reviews)
Casapueblo - Credit - Sadie Whitelocks
© Sadie Whitelocks

This sprawling cliffside hotel, near the celebrity-favoured Uruguayan beach city of Punta del Este, is a sight to behold, with not a straight line in sight. Casapueblo, which looks like melted candle wax running down the hillside, was designed and built – by hand – over 36 years by the late artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, with the help of local fishermen. This part-building, part-sculpture features 13 terraced floors, with the hotel rooms identified by symbols drawn by Páez Vilaró himself. On-site attractions also include a restaurant, spa and museum. Vilaró, who was an ardent traveller and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Pablo Picasso and Brigitte Bardot, picked this spot for its epic sunsets; the sun symbol was a theme of many of his works.

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The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, South Africa

Spa Hotel, Resort, Luxury
4.6/5 (77 Reviews)
Relax with an outdoor massage at the Twelve Apostles
Courtesy of Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Voted one of the top luxury hotels in Africa year after year, the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa boasts an unbeatable position on the Cape Town coast. Named after the ruggedly beautiful mountain range that towers behind it, the boutique hotel is situated on a small cliffside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In total, there are 55 classically styled rooms and 15 swankier suites with wrap-around terraces. The on-site amenities include two restaurants and a bar, a fitness centre and spa and free shuttle buses to the V&A Waterfront in the neighbouring city, where there are dozens of shops and restaurants.
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Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman

Resort, Hotel
4.7/5 (118 Reviews)
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort - credit - courtesy of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
© Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
Stargaze from the viewing platform where Princess Diana once stood at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, which prides itself as being one of the world’s highest luxury hotels. The resort is a two-hour drive from Muscat and is perched on the edge of a cliff in the heart of the desert. The luxury bedrooms boast views over the red-rock canyon, as does the stunning infinity pool. For a real cliffhanger moment, guests have the option to go climbing on Oman’s highest via ferrata or abseil down sheer drops.
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Capella Ixtapa, Mexico

Spa Hotel, Luxury, Resort
Map View
Capella Ixtapa luxury hillside resort hotel overlooking Pacific Ocean Ixtapa Mexico
© nik wheeler / Alamy Stock Photo

Tucked into a dramatic cliffside setting between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by a lush, tropical forest, Cala de Mar Resort and Spa Ixtapa in Mexico is a sublime spot. There are 59 suites that cascade down a cliff toward the sea, boasting spectacular ocean views, private terraces and individual plunge pools. On the wining and dining front, there are three restaurants and a tiered terrace bar if you’d like to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand.

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

Spa Hotel, Hotel
4.8/5 (185 Reviews)
Jade Mountain
© Jade Mountain

Go tropical with a stay at the stunning Jade Mountain resort. The luxury hotel, meticulously designed by architect and owner Nick Troubetzkoy, is nestled atop a dramatic sloping cliff amid lush jungle overlooking St Lucia’s Pitons World Heritage Site. As for accommodation, there are 24 suites with private infinity pools, and the fourth wall of each room is missing so that guests can fully embrace the views of St Lucia’s distinctive peaks and the shimmering Caribbean Sea. There are also five Sky Jacuzzi Suites, which have open-air hot tubs instead of pools; these are located lower down the hillside. The restaurant curves around the resort’s main infinity pool and there is a spa on-site, with Forget The Outside World and an Einstein head massage among the treatments on the menu.

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Cliff House Hotel, Ireland

Spa Hotel, Hotel
4.8/5 (196 Reviews)
Cliff House Hotel Ireland_ shore view day
Cliff House Hotel Ireland | Courtesy of Cliff House Hotel Ireland

Priding itself on being the finest small luxury five-star hotel in Ireland, Cliff House Hotel, close to Cork and Waterford, seems to defy gravity, with the building clinging to a cliff. There are 39 sunny rooms and suites, which overlook Ardmore Bay where there has long been a fishing village. For extra seclusion, a cottage and beach house are available to rent. The privately owned hotel also features an intimate spa as well as a one Michelin-star restaurant. As for activities, hiking, archery, sea kayaking, river kayaking, snorkelling, surfing and powerboating are all on the menu.

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Belmond Hotel Caruso, Italy

Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
5/5 (37 Reviews)
Belmond Italy
© Belmond Hotel

Set into a cliff edge over tiered lemon and olive groves, Belmond Hotel Caruso seems to float above the ocean. The elegant 11th-century hotel was built by a wealthy family and with its lofty location is now considered one of the best spots on the Amalfi Coast. The simple yet stylish room and suites, complete with antique furniture and metal four-poster beds, make the most of the stunning views, with balconies overlooking the coastline below. Other highlights include a very Instagrammable infinity pool and a private Krug Table terrace where diners can eat al fresco on decadent Emilio Pucci chairs with grass underfoot and a chilled magnum of Krug champagne to hand.

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  • Post Ranch Inn, California

    5/5 (8 Reviews)
    Post Ranch Inn Big Sur California
    © Richard Broadwell / Alamy Stock Photo

    Embracing a dramatic swathe of the California coastline, Post Range Inn offers 39 guest rooms and one private home, with either an ocean or mountain view. The Cliff House is particularly impressive, with an outside deck suspended over a vertical cut of rock. The secluded glass-walled bedroom features a wood-burning fireplace and heated floors for the cooler winter months. And, so that guests can truly soak up the watery views, there is an outdoor stainless steel hot tub. Amenities at the resort include two heated infinity pools with expansive views, and a fitness centre. On the activity front, there are plenty of options, including guided nature walks, stargazing sessions, falconry lessons and yoga classes.

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    San Antonio, Santorini

    Spa Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
    4.8/5 (173 Reviews)
    San Antonio Hotel - Credit - Christos Drazos
    © Christos Drazos
    San Antonio, in the picturesque village of Imerovigli on Santorini, is the sole occupant of a cliff face with the luxury hotel built into a sheer wall of volcanic rock. There are 25 rooms and suites with breezy interiors and prime views of the shimmering Aegean Sea. The superior and honeymoon suites have private Jacuzzis and there is a shared infinity pool at the resort, which seems to merge with the scintillating waters beyond. The Cliffside Dinner Restaurant is another highlight, with dishes inspired by Santorini’s Mediterranean heritage and local wines served.
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    Yunak Evleri Hotel, Turkey

    Spa Hotel, Hotel
    4.7/5 (156 Reviews)
    Turkey, Central Anatolia, Nevsehir Province, Cappadocia UNESCO World Heritage, Urgup, Yunak Evleri luxury hotel in old
    © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

    Nestled in Cappadocia’s magical landscape of fairy chimneys, in the ancient village of Urgup, is a unique cave hotel carved into a cliff. The Yunak Evleri has 10 cave houses and 120 guest rooms dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries, and the hotel’s lobby is contained within a 19th-century Greek mansion. All of the traditionally decorated chambers are connected via a labyrinth of narrow passageways and curved stone stairway. Amenities include two outdoor swimming pools, a spa and a hilltop restaurant overlooking the surrounding valleys.

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    Bvlgari Resort Bali, Indonesia

    Resort, Spa Hotel, Boutique Hotel, Luxury
    4.6/5 (157 Reviews)
    © Bvlgari Resort

    When it comes to luxury, the Bvlgari Resort Bali cuts no corners. The hotel, which merges traditional Balinese design with a splash of Italian flare, boasts a spectacular position high on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. There is private access via funicular to a pristine stretch of beach. There are 58 villas, five mansions offering up to five bedrooms and a sprawling villa. All rooms have private plunge pools and secluded tropical gardens. Facilities include Italian and Indonesian restaurants, a lounge bar, spa and cliff-edge swimming pool.

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    These recommendations were updated on September 8, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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