From cliff tops boasting bird’s-eye views of historic villages to cave dwellings dating back to the Stone Age, it is through natural landscapes that we can experience travel most authentically. Add a dose of sophisticated luxury to the centuries-old charm and the setting becomes even more utopian. Prepare to become closely connected to the environment when staying at these idyllic properties blending into their landscapes.
A view inside the pool at Cap Rocat.
Set your sights high above the Bay of Palma when entering Cap Rocat, a former military fortress dating back to the 19th century. Declared a heritage asset and listed as a national monument, meticulous care was taken to preserve the exceptional architecture of this ancient limestone complex. Maintaining the harmony of Mallorca without disrupting the Spanish island’s biodiversity was also part of the blueprints. This award-winning project by Antonio Obrador’s studio resulted in a uniquely secluded hotel, out of view from the mainland and the sea. Within the 28 plush rooms and suites, canopy beds billow softly against the delicate decor. Signs of a storied past include bullets used as door handles, and gun carriages as coffee tables. The drawbridges, bunkers, trenches, and excavated vaults for weaponry are still intact. Former surveillance points turned luxurious suites, the Sentinels include private terraces with plunge pools and uninterrupted views of the sea. Restaurant La Fortaleza sets a romantic mood in the courtyard with a rooftop aperitif timed to the setting sun, while the more casual Sea Club tastes of tradition. The sensory journey at this fortified citadel continues 12 meters below ground when you sink into the spa.
A pool at Airelles Gordes in La Bastide overlooking olive groves and cypress trees.
Carved from the caldera wall along the rim of Santorini’s volcanic cliffs, the rooms at Iconic Santorini formerly housed the residents of Imerovigli. The village bakery once stood in the place of the Iconic suite, the most lavish of the 19 suites boasting a generous terrace and plunge pool. Decades later, this landscape is honored by the architectural and design firm A&T Kontodimas, with cave dwellings presenting a glimpse into history, while offering the comforts of the present. Natural wood details paired with luxuriant beds decorate the sleek whitewashed rooms, laid out upon five levels. Generous terraces are complimented with jacuzzis and lounge chairs. Isolated from the donkey-riding crowds of Oia and the neighboring party scene in Fira, Iconic Santorini allows the mind to meditate upon the rugged landscape while inhaling the brilliance of the turquoise sea—when not taking a refreshing dip in the infinity pool or dining at the hotel’s terrace restaurant, that is.
Follow the scents of oranges and lemons along the Amalfi Coast until you reach Santa Caterina, overlooking the azure bay of Naples. This 19th-century family-owned hotel neighboring the town of Amalfi perfectly enhances the beauty of the terraced landscape while preserving what makes it such a desirable destination. Newly renovated Villas della Marchesa offer an inviting addition to the 67 airy antique-infused rooms and suites spread throughout the property—detached Chalet Giulietta & Romeo included. Hand-painted majolica floor tiles in the bathrooms and living space recall a more artisanal era, one that is omnipresent, if you look close enough. Take the cliffside elevator down to the private beach club or lounge idly by the pool for a proper dose of la dolce vita. Helmed by Chef Giuseppe Stanzione, Michelin-starred restaurant Glicine serves innovative regional cuisine ranging from seafood tagliatelle to Amalfi-style lemon soufflé. Local lemons, flowers, and plants are also part of the spa’s wellness regime.