From the peaks of the cliffs offering a bird’s eye view of historic villages to cave dwellings dating from the Stone Age, it is through natural landscapes that we can experience the journey most authentically. Add a dose of sophisticated luxury to age-old charm and the setting becomes even more utopian. Prepare to become intimately connected with the environment by staying at these idyllic properties that blend in with their landscapes.
Set your sights above the bay of Palma as you enter Cap Rocat, a former military fortress dating from the 19th century. Declared a heritage asset and classified as a national monument, meticulous care has been taken to preserve the exceptional architecture of this ancient limestone complex. Maintaining the harmony of Mallorca without disturbing the biodiversity of the Spanish island was also part of the plans. This award-winning project by Antonio Obrador’s studio has resulted in a unique and secluded hotel, secluded from the mainland and the sea. In the 28 sumptuous rooms and suites, four-poster beds gently sway against the delicate decor. Signs of a historic past include bullets used as doorknobs and gun stands as coffee tables. The drawbridges, bunkers, trenches and arches excavated for armament are still intact. Former lookout points transformed into luxurious suites, the Sentinels feature private terraces with plunge pools and stunning sea views. La Fortaleza restaurant creates a romantic ambience in the courtyard with a rooftop aperitif scheduled at sunset, while that the more relaxed Sea Club has a taste of tradition. The sensory journey in this fortified citadel continues 12 meters underground when you step into the spa.
Carved into the caldera wall along Santorini’s volcanic cliffs, the rooms at Iconic Santorini were once home to the people of Imerovigli. The village bakery once occupied the place of the Iconic suite, the most sumptuous of the 19 suites with a generous terrace and plunge pool. Decades later, this landscape is graced by architecture and design firm A&T Kontodimas, with cave dwellings offering a glimpse of history, while providing the comforts of the present. Natural wood details paired with lush beds decorate the elegant whitewashed rooms, spread over five levels. The generous terraces are complemented by Jacuzzis and lounge chairs. Secluded from the donkey crowds of Oia and the neighboring party scene in Fira, Iconic Santorini allows the mind to meditate on the rugged landscape while breathing in the glow of the turquoise sea – when not standing still. Refresh in the infinity pool or dine at the hotel terrace restaurant, ie.
Follow the scents of oranges and lemons along the Amalfi Coast to Santa Caterina, overlooking the azure bay of Salerno. This 19th-century family-run hotel next to the town of Amalfi perfectly showcases the beauty of the terraced landscape while preserving what makes it such a popular destination. The newly refurbished Villas della Marchesa offer an inviting addition to the 67 spacious, antique-infused rooms and suites spread throughout the property – independent Chalet Giulietta & Romeo included. The hand-painted earthenware tiles in the bathrooms and in the living space are reminiscent of a more artisanal era, ubiquitous, if you look closely enough. Take the cliffside elevator to the private beach club or relax by the pool for a good dose of The good life. Run by chef Giuseppe Stanzione, the Michelin-starred Glicine restaurant serves innovative regional cuisine ranging from seafood tagliatelle to Amalfi-style lemon soufflé. Lemons, flowers and local plants are also part of the spa’s wellness program.