Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to find remote and luxurious resorts in the Philippines

Whether you’re in search of an all-inclusive luxury resort or a chilled-out beach villa, the Philippines has no shortage of remote retreats to whisk intrepid travelers off the grid. Home to more than 7,000 islands, the Southeast Asian archipelago counts abundant marine life, colorful reefs and pristine beaches among its selling points.
But you’ll want to get there soon. The country’s natural beauty has caught the eye of international jet-setters and tourism has grown at a rate of 8% per year since 2010, according to a report by Oxford Business Group.
While the cluster of resorts along Manila Bay are easy enough to find, you’ll have to work a little harder to check out these far-flung hotels.

Amanpulo

Amanpulo is one luxurious adventure.
Claiming a plot of sand on its own private island, Amanpulo is all about off-grid luxury. The exclusive address sprawls across 89-hectare Pamalican Island in the Sulu Sea — about an hour’s flight southwest of Manila.
The only catch? To get here, travelers must spring for a chartered flight — the 15-seat jet lands on the island’s own private airstrip. But, then again, if you’re staying at Amanpulo, you can probably afford it.
Upon arrival guests settle into a beautifully appointed villa, designed using natural materials such as Cebu marble, coconut shell table tops and pebbled walls. The experience includes a personal butler, private plunge pools and even personal chefs in some of the top-end villas.
Active types, rejoice: Most days will revolve around exploring the pristine surrounds — think jungle trekking, diving, snorkeling, cycling, turtle spotting and tennis.

Qi Palawan

For those looking for peace and quiet, Qi Palawan is about as secluded as it gets.
To access this family-run retreat, travelers must catch an hour-long flight from Manila to El Nido Airport, followed by an hour’s drive to the northeastern edge of Palawan island. You know you’re close when the van bumps along a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
Once there, it’s nothing but sea views, breezy hammocks and lush gardens. Taking eco-conscious measures to reduce its carbon footprint, the retreat features back-to-basics luxuries such as locally made soaps, an organic herb garden and open-air architecture.
World’s best beachfront hotels
There are seven bamboo villas, a yoga pavilion and an open-air restaurant helmed by one of the best chefs in Palawan. Guests can try their hand at kiteboarding on the beach or take a day trip to nearby dive sites and remote islands.
Other highlights include a picnic lunch, snorkeling or a venture to the lush Linapacan island group, considered one of the most pristine locations in the Philippines.

Tugawe Cove Resort

Hummingbirds, dense forests, limestone cliffs, waterfalls and lakes — Caramoan Island is an idyllic corner of south-central Philippines.
In the middle of it all is Tugawe Cove Resort. Built along a hillside above Lauing Bay, the elevated outpost offers panoramic views of Sombrero, Loto and Litao islands in the distance. There’s an open-air restaurant and an infinity pool perched at the top of the hill, and a path that leads down to the water.
At the beach, guests can hop into a kayak, don snorkeling gear or try their hand at paddle boarding.
The rooms’ warm wood finishes and ocean tones echo the surrounds — with options to stay in three distinct areas: by the nearby lake, along the hillside or at the very top.
Reaching Tugawe Cove Resort requires careful planning to align with the limited flight schedules. Expect an hour-long flight from Manila to Virac, followed by a 45-minute ride to Codon port, and a 30-minute boat ride to the resort.

Amarela

Amarela embraces with an all-natural aesthetic.
A low-key beach resort overlooking the Bohol Sea, Amarela is at home on a secluded beach on Panglao Island.
All about the carefree island lifestyle, the 31-room retreat is a one-hour plane ride from Manila to Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital, followed by a 30-minute car transfer.
Amarela’s location is far enough away to feel remote, but close enough to offer relatively easy access to a few worthwhile attractions on Panglao island. The main draws include the photogenic Puntod sandbar, Hinagdanan cave and lagoon, Balicasag’s colorful reefs, and pristine Alona Beach.
Keeping with the all-natural aesthetics, the resort’s rooms have been designed to complement the surrounds — picture reclaimed wood, antique furniture, local art and a warm, earthy palette.

Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa

Located on Panglao Island in south-central Philippines, Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa stretches across 16 scenic hectares of rustic gardens and dramatic cliffs. The luxury resort feels remote thanks to its position on the southernmost tip of Bohol, but it’s relatively easy to reach — just a one-hour flight south of Manila, followed by a 30-minute drive.
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Relaxed yet refined, all the thatched-roof villas feature private pools, but the hotel’s infinity pool is the pièce de résistance. The water’s perfect shade of turquoise tricks the eye into thinking the pool spills into the ocean.
The pool may look inviting but there are plenty of other water activities at this oceanfront address — from dolphin watching to sunset cruises, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and island hopping.

Apulit Island

Apulit Island’s over-water cottages promise unobstructed views.
El Nido Resort is usually one of the first names to pop up when researching hotels in Palawan.
The string of boutique properties was one of the first luxury ventures to touch down in El Nido more than 30 years ago, when there were only a handful of modest beach bungalows in the area.
The most remote in the El Nido Resorts portfolio? Apulit Island.
Situated on the eastern coast of Palawan in lesser frequented Taytay Bay, this eco-adventure spot is surrounded by imposing limestone cliffs. A vacation here offers an adrenaline-filled few days of diving — there’s a Japanese shipwreck just off the coast — snorkeling, cliff jumping, rock climbing, rappelling, spelunking, snorkeling and island hopping.
Built on stilts, the 50 over-water cottages promise unobstructed sea views and easy access to the turquoise water below. Most travelers budget at least a week to enjoy the area, due to the lengthy trip.
Plan for a one-hour flight from Manila to El Nido, followed by a 1.5-hour drive east, and an hour-long boat transfer.

Ticao Island Resort

Hidden away in the southeastern Bicol Region of the Philippines, Ticao Island Resort enjoys a long stretch of sand all to itself.
It’s a well-earned reward after a long trip. To reach the island outpost, expect an hourlong flight to Legazpi City from Manila, followed by a 1.5-hour drive and a 2-hour outrigger boat ride.
Upon arrival, guests quickly settle into the laid-back island life thanks to full-board rates and nearly all-inclusive activities.
The beachfront cabanas and rustic surrounds are perfect for back-to-basics getaways — picture simply appointed thatched roof huts, breezy decks, an open-air restaurant and uninterrupted ocean views. Thanks to the manta ray and whale shark populations nearby, the address has developed a reputation for its diving classes and tours.
One of the hotel’s partners is also the founder of the Manta Bowl dive site. Ideal for experienced divers, the site is like an underwater ride thanks to a current that pulls divers through the water alongside fevers of rays.
Back on land, Ticao Island Resort offers a full roster of activities, including jungle treks, horseback riding, billiards, darts and outings to nearby Mayon Volcano.

Atmosphere Resort & Spa

Atmosphere Resort & Spa conveniently sits opposite the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary.
An independently owned resort, Atmosphere Resort & Spa is run by two British expats — a scuba diver and an architect — who met in the Philippines more than 15 years ago.
The husband-and-wife duo couldn’t have picked a better location — picture dark volcanic sand beaches in the shadow of Mount Talinis. Thanks to minerals in the sand from the nearby volcano, the area’s marine life is unique and varied, attracting underwater photographers and divers from all over the world.
11 best hotels in the middle of nowhere
The address conveniently sits opposite the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary, which makes for easy snorkeling and diving excursions.
Emphasizing health and wellness, Atmosphere comes fully equipped with a gluten-free and vegan-friendly bakery, daily yoga classes by the beach and a secret garden-like spa where treatment pavilions are surrounded by waterfalls.
The destination is relaxing, but getting here takes some effort. To reach the resort, travelers fly into Dumaguete airport — about an hour-long flight south of Manila — followed by a 40-minute drive.

Cauayan Resort

A recently opened resort on its own outlying island — off the coast of El Nido in Palawan — Cauayan Resort aims to attract a well-heeled crowd. To reach the private island resort, travelers typically fly from Manila to El Nido, followed by a 15-minute transfer to the port and a 30-minute boat ride.
The stylish resort offers a mix of private villas, a few scattered around a lagoon and the rest right on the beach, where baby whale sharks swim freely.
Each of the 24 bungalows is decked out with teak wood, king-sized beds and rain showers, while the Grand Cauayan Pool Villa features two bedrooms and a private pool. Aside from the bamboo bungalows and some wooden steps, Cauayan Island is still an untouched tropical jungle, so expect back-to-nature experiences with insects, birds, and unexpected animal encounters.
To make the most of its location in scenic Bacuit Bay, the hotel runs daily island hopping outings, which may include stops at the aptly named Secret and Hidden beaches nearby, as well as the iconic Big and Small lagoons, accessible by kayak. 

Dedon Island

Every detail has been designed to celebrate the area’s natural beauty.
This is the place for carefree island vibes and a stretch of empty sand.
Dedon Island is a remote outpost on Siargao Island in the far south of the archipelago, about a five-hour trip from Manila via Cebu, followed by a 40-minute ride in the hotel’s jeepney bus.
The luxurious retreat offers all-inclusive rates, so you can spend your time sipping sundowners rather than counting coins. From open-air pavilions to coconut tree groves, frangipani gardens, a hidden treehouse, romantic day beds and bird’s nest woven chairs, it seems every detail has been designed to celebrate the area’s natural beauty.
The upscale address is also a favorite among well-to-do surfing enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to Cloud 9 — a break in the Philippine Deep trench known for picture-perfect tubes.
Can’t balance on a board? No to worry — there’s a wide lineup of activities, including deep-sea fishing, kayaking, wakeboarding, island hopping, biking and relaxing evenings at the outdoor cinema.

Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa

A personal butler, airport transfers, poker nights, an outdoor cinema and a gorgeous pool — Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa is not a typical beach retreat. There are 40 villas and hotel rooms — some with Jacuzzis, and all with ocean views.
The hotel operates tours all over the island, including trips to the nearby rock pools, crocodile sanctuary, mangroves and even water buffalo rides at sunset. Just a five-minute walk to the famous Cloud 9 swell, the resort also offers a special package aimed at experienced and aspiring surfers.
To get here? It’s a one-hour flight from Cebu to Del Carmen in Siargao, then a 45-minute complimentary van transfer to the hotel.

Best Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

An insider’s guide to the best boutique hotels in Cape Town, including the top places for stylish interiors, swimming pools, spas, high-end restaurants, cosy bars and rooms with Table Mountain views, in a city-centre locations near Kloof Street, Camps Bay and the harbour.

MannaBay

This luxurious Cape Town hotel is located high on the slopes of Table Mountain, benefiting from superb city and mountain views, with highly-personal service and generous touches like complimentary house drinks and airport transfers. There’s an atmosphere of comfort, with dramatic wallpaper choices, monogrammed linen, bookshelves filled with well-thumbed books, eclectic furniture and arresting South African artworks. The complimentary house wines are good. The free high tea – served daily, sometimes to live piano accompaniment – is a decadent touch.
From £343 per night.

Four Rosmead

A tranquil, stylish hotel on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, which is popular with older couples (no children under 12). There’s nothing flash or brash; with subtle African touches and hand-picked artworks – much of it for sale. Lots of comfortable public areas to unwind in, including a well-dressed courtyard with small heated pool. Despite the small size there is a hostess available 24/7 to assist with recommendations and bookings and spa treatments. There are just eight bedrooms (one suite, four deluxe and three luxury), some with fireplace, private garden, balcony or courtyard.
From £156 per night

More Quarters

A delightful collection of 19th-century neighbouring houses located in one of the older characterful city residential neighbourhoods, a few paces from Kloof Street’s plethora of bars and restaurants. Hip apartment-style units are standardised in tasteful creams and warm greys; their kitchens and bathrooms are modern, but original features (e.g. creaking floorboards; pressed ceilings) add historic character. There’s a cosy little lounge where tea and treats are served, as well as evening port and snacks. Breakfast is a great spread, and includes hot made-to-order dishes.
From £288 per night

Kensington Place

This has always featured in any line up of the city’s top boutique hotels. Kensington Place still ticks every box: classy yet comfortable womb-like rooms you’ll hardly ever want to leave; excellent service; small but sexy public spaces; and a great Higgovale location overlooking the city and harbour. There is a small pool and courtyard-style garden with comfortable loungers and day beds with curtains that billow in the breeze. Most rooms have splendid city views. There’s a restaurant and bar with excellent wine and cocktail list. You won’t eat a better breakfast in the city either.
From £281 per night

Cape Heritage Hotel

Quirky, characterful rooms bedecked with Persian rugs and Oriental treasures in an 18th-century building in the historic heart of Cape Town. It’s walking distance to all the city sights, shops and restaurants. Décor is predominantly inspired by the Cape’s early history, when the VOC ruled the colony and their ships laden with goods docked here. Rooms are completely different in shape and décor but all share the same lovely high-beamed teak ceilings, and standard comforts such as air-conditioning, mini-bar and king-sized beds.
From £130 per night

Cape Cadogan

This elegant Georgian-Victorian pad is one of the original houses built on the slopes of Table Mountain, just off vibey Kloof Street, with its plethora of restaurants and bars. There’s a decadent, cosy atmosphere in the chandeliered lounge, where complimentary snacks and drinks are served every evening – a great way to meet fellow guests. Service is caring, knowledgable, efficient and personal without being intrusive. The Standard rooms are sufficient in space, but if you can, it’s worth splurging on a Luxury as these open onto balconies or courtyards. Breakfast is the only meal offered, and it is excellent.
From £177 per night

Sea Five Boutique Hotel

Camps Bay’s most elegant beach house offers a great location: set back from the seasonal hustle and bustle of the sunset strip, elevated enough for decent views, and only a minute’s stroll from the beach, restaurants and bars. It’s decorated in soft shades of sand with touches of blue and/or chocolate – pared-down elegance and understated luxury. There are six units to choose from: two rooms with views of the sea; two mountain-facing (equally lovely, and a bit quieter) one two-bedroom penthouse and the entry-level garden room (with adjoining private courtyard).
From £178 per night.

Pod

An uber-hip 17-room boutique hotel near Camps Bay’s beachfront. This glass-walled, clean-lined, contemporary structure is warmed with natural wood, raw slate and ironic plans, the kind of look that’s popular with glossy design-savvy magazines such as Wallpaper*. The public area comprises a dining room and bar-lounge that opens onto elevated decks overlooking the lap pool with partial sea views. The facilities are limited: breakfast only (excellent), but takeaways are plated and brought to your room, and staff will set up a great beach spot and deliver drinks.
From £362 per night

Dock House Boutique Hotel & Spa

This exclusive six-room boutique hotel, located in the 19th-century harbour master’s house, combines brilliant proximity to the number one tourist destination – a one-minute descent through your private gate and you’re in the Waterfront’s bustling heart. Given that you are in the densely developed harbour, the lawned garden with pool and bar area is a real luxury. There is also a top-notch spa, and a gym. The five spacious rooms have high ceilings and enormous bathrooms; the suite has a private garden. Breakfast features a few interesting choices such as ostrich egg Benedict.
From £236 per night

The Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel

Aside from its location in the rather dull suburb of Claremont, The Andros Boutique Hotel is a stellar offering: a heritage home with 15 well-appointed rooms set in sprawling grounds, elegant drawing rooms, a great little bar, popular spa, excellent in-house chef and fabulous rates. Who needs more? A spirit of generosity permeates the guest house: several jars filled with treats in all the public spaces, cake in the lounge and complimentary sherry, port and brandy selection in the drawing room. The Classic rooms are perhaps the best value in the city.

Best Hotels in Croatian Island

An insider’s guide to the best hotels for Croatian Island holidays, including the top resorts, boutique and budget hotels on Brač, Hvar, Korčula and Krk.

BRAČ

One of the closest islands to Split on the central Dalmatian coast, Brač is home to Croatia’s most famous beach, the Zlatni rat (‘golden cape’) – a finger of fine sand and shingle protruding off the coast from the small town of Bol, its shape ever changing with the surrounding currents. Other highlights of Brač include the remote Pustinja Blaca monastery, agrotourism in the island’s rural interior and some great places to eat, together with excellent windsurfing, and good hiking and biking trails.

Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa

This big modern hotel, next to the stunning Zlatni Rat beach on Brač island, is ideal for an active family holiday. Here you have windsurfing and scuba diving facilities, plus hiking and cycling routes, and bikes for rent. There’s a wellness centre with several pools, and a tennis school.

Zlatni Bol Apartments

On Brač’s south coast, close to the glorious Zlatni Rat beach, these modern self-catering apartments offer everything you need for a relaxing holiday. With excellent adventure sports facilities nearby (windsurfing, diving and cycling, plus tennis), it’s a perfect base for active couples or families.

HVAR

Second only to Dubrovnik in popularity, sun-drenched Hvar is a long, slender island just 40km (25 miles) from Split, famed for its lavendar fields and as Croatia’s coolest clubbing destination. The island’s Stari Grad Plain is a Unesco World Heritage Site, where the cultivation pattern of olive trees as laid out by early Greek colonists has been perfectly preserved for some two and a half thousand years. Some of Croatia’s best red wines are produced on Hvar, in particular around Sveta Nedelja on the steep west coast of the island, from the Plavac grape.

Hotel Adriana

In a beautifully refurbished 1970s building, overlooking the fishing harbour in trendy Hvar Town, this hotel is stylish, fun and unpretentious. It has 59 light and airy rooms and suites, a waterside restaurant, upper-floor cocktail bar affording panoramic views and an impressive spa with a rooftop pool.

Little Green Bay

This boutique hotel in a secluded bay on Hvar is all about understated luxury. Chic contemporary design is forefront, with 15 rooms and a slick bar-restaurant in raw natural materials — stone, wood, linen and polished concrete. There’s a pebble beach, mini-spa and private speedboat.

KORČULA

The island of Korčula lies towards the southern end of the Dalmatian coast, less than 100km (62 miles) from Dubrovnik. Korčula town itself is an amazing walled medieval town rising straight up out of the clear blue waters of the Adriatic, with a herringbone pattern of narrow streets and alleys, something like a miniature Dubrovnik with fewer crowds. Highlights include the Moreška sword dance, inscribed on the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the beaches at Lumbarda. Korčula produces some good wines, in particular Grk and Pošip, and one of Croatia’s best red wine producing areas, Dingač, lies on the nearby Pelješac peninsula.

Lesic Dimitri Palace

A former 18th-century bishop’s palace, with five luxury standalone apartments, including an Oriental-inspired China suite and a white-tent-ceilinged Arabia suite, some with sea views. There’s a small spa and a great waterside terrace restaurant that serves up seafood.

Hotel Liburna

A modern waterside hotel, with views of Korčula’s fortified Old Town across the bay. It has 112 rooms, a buffet restaurant with an ample terrace, a pebble-and-rock beach front and an outdoor pool. It makes an ideal holiday base for families or couples.

KRK

The island of Krk boasts one of Croatia’s most popular beaches, the huge and mostly sandy Velika Plaža (literally ‘big beach’) at the small town of Baška. There’s also some good wine on the island, made with the local Žlahtina grape, and great hiking in the rocky lunar landscape of the hills above Baška. Krk is the most easily accessible island to the Croatian mainland, connected by road bridge as well as the usual ferries, and Rijeka airport is actually on Krk.

Heritage Hotel Forza

When Heritage Hotel Forza opened, it instantly became the most stylish place to stay in Baška. It’s small, intimate and family run, with comfortable, tastefully decorated rooms, and makes a luxurious base to explore the hiking trails, historic churches and vineyards this island has to offer.

The Best Amalfi Coast Honeymoon Hotels

An insider’s guide to the best honeymoon hotels on the Amalfi Coast, including the top places to stay for infinity pools, direct beach access, Michelin-starred restaurants, sumptuous spas and romantic views, in locations including Ravello, Positano and Conca dei Marini.

Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi

This historic early 13th-century monastery, slung across cliffs above Amalfi’s harbour, first became a hotel in 1885. Reached by lift (or a path that zigzags up the cliff face), it’s a lofty world of its own, including church, cloister, lemon groves and pool. Alighting from the lift, it feels as if one has been transported to a castle ­– or in this case Capuchin monastery ­– in the sky, with exhilarating sea and harbour views. The 53 rooms are small in size (the legacy of a converted monastery), and decorated in cool, contemporary style: elegant, simple, linear and white. Many rooms have a balcony or terrace with breathtaking views over the coast and Monks’ Walk below. Best is the Eremite Suite, on its own at the top of steep steps, with panoramic views and outdoor hot.

Villa Maria Hotel

An understandably popular spot in Ravello whose ravishing dining terrace with dreamy views (a favourite for marriage proposals) takes centre stage, but whose quiet hotel, little changed for decades, makes one of the most pleasant and authentic places to stay in the town. It feels as if it has changed little since it first opened, a charming medley of potted palms, busts, piano, inlaid furniture and silver arranged on wooden shelves that lends the old villa a distinctly Edwardian feel. All rooms have a sea view (or partial sea view), but no. 3 is a cut above the rest, with its huge terrace, five sets of French windows and handsome secretaire. Sit in the sunshine at one of the tables in the Villa Maria’s lovely garden restaurant, Orsola’s, sip chilled white wine, eat perfectly cooked pasta and enjoy the glorious view.

Hotel Santa Caterina

A mix of familial warmth, glamour and professionalism makes HotelSanta Caterina stand out from the competition. Now run by the fourth generation of the family that opened it as a hotel in 1904, it’s the sort of homely yet sophisticated place that you long to return to. Family antiques pepper the cool, white interiors, which are splashed with Mediterranean colour on patterned tiles and fabrics. The airy dining room has a stunning blue Brazilian-marble floor and a lovely terrace overlooking gardens and sea. The big surprise is the glass lift that whooshes down the cliff where the pool, bar, beach-shack restaurant (dancing to live music on Tuesdays), sea and boats await. As well as the Beach Club, there is a small but hard-working spa and a boutique.

Hotel Villa Cimbrone

Occupying one of the most romantic spots in the world, Villa Cimbrone comprises beautiful gardens, open to the public during the day, and rooms full of antiques, paintings and frescoes. Ernest William Beckett, 2nd Lord Grimthorpe, who found solace here after the death of his beloved wife in childbirth in the late 19th century, acquired the noble Villa after visiting on his Grand Tour. He created the romantic English gardens that culminate in the Terrace of Infinity, described by Gore Vidal as ‘the most beautiful view in the world’. The 19 bedrooms are all different, with antique furnishings and wonderful views, original Vietri majolica floors and stone or majolica fireplaces. There are two stand-out suites: romantic Greta Garbo and Camelia, both with superb frescoed ceiling.

Le Sirenuse

Built into the steep southwest-facing side of Positano, the hotel’s oxblood-coloured facade is high enough to command excellent sea views, while being within a 10-minute walk (down lots of steps) to the resort’s dark-sand beach. An eclectic collection of antique furniture and art helps the hotel retain its atmosphere of the private home it originally was, though over time it has conjoined with neighbouring houses to become a warren of rooms and public areas. Bright, white walls setting off the shiny terracotta-tiled floors and glossy potted plants create fresh, light interiors enhanced by large French windows opening onto broad terraces. A compact pool terrace has outdoor loungers and is shaded by lemon trees. The Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant is about as romantic as a dining room can possibly be. Entirely lit by 400 candles, it has creeper-clad walls, stiff white tablecloths and grandstand views.

Il San Pietro di Positano

Often included in ‘World’s Best’ lists and frequented by such stars as George Clooney and Julia Roberts, the legendary San Pietro lives up to its reputation. But the luxuriousness and spectacular setting belie what is, at the heart, a family operation. The terraces and some of the bedrooms overlook the village; all around there is the deep, blue sea. People come here for peace and quiet, but if you are feeling sociable, Positano’s bars and restaurants are within a short hop in the hotel’s free shuttle bus. Just about anything you could possibly wish for is on site, and for a zip up the coast, one of the hotel’s private boats will pick you up from the jetty. There is a bar with a spectacular terrace, a Michelin-starred restaurant, fabulous terraced gardens and, on sea level, a private ‘beach’, a tennis court, spa and a casual-chic restaurant. The rooms tumble down the cliff-side in a series of flower-bedecked terraces, all with extraordinary sea vistas.

Belmond Hotel Caruso

This sprawling edifice, perched high above the hilltop town of Ravello overlooking the Bay of Salerno, is one of Amalfi’s most romantic boltholes. Occupying a splendid, rambling palazzo originating in the 11th century, the Caruso is a hotel in grand style with marble hallways, sweeping arches and vaulted ceilings, weathered old floors, frescoes and chandeliers. There are facilities and services galore here, starting with the celebrated infinity pool that is often listed among the best hotel pools in the world. Then there are several restaurants and bars, a spa, boat trips along the coast and a shuttle service down to the coast. All but a handful of the 50 bedrooms and suites have sea views and all have some kind of private outside space ranging from compact terraces to vast gardens.

Monastero Santa Rosa

From its perch atop a sheer, rocky outcrop, just outside the quiet the village of Conca dei Marini and aloof from the day-trippers down on the coast, the Santa Rosa enjoys a magnificent location with incredible views in all directions. One of the most exclusive of all the hotels in this most-exclusive chunk of Italy, the Santa Rosa’s creation is down to one woman, American Bianca Sharma, who bought the vast, clifftop building after spying it from a boat. She spared no expense in transforming the 17th-century monastery into a stylish and cocooning hotel, while fully respecting the building’s origins. There are fabulous terraced gardens with a heated infinity pool that seems suspended over the water; a huge spa; excellent food; and shuttle bus service to Amalfi. The dining terrace – suspended high over the sea – is a supremely romantic spot for dinner.

Palazzo Murat

Palazzo Murat enjoys a prime position just off Positano’s main drag down to the beach, yet is shielded from the worst of the crowds by its lush, exotic garden (with a small pool). A short stroll down the hill, past boutiques, art galleries and souvenir shops, leads you to the main beach. This 18th century, L-shaped palazzo was once home to Joachim Murat, king of Naples and brother-in-law to Napoleon, and there is an air of grandeur (but not pomposity) about the place, especially in the vaulted public rooms with their antiques and fine paintings. A trip along the coast in the hotel’s own boat is complimentary to all guests. The large rooms in the original part of the palazzo, furnished with four-posters, antiques and opulent fabrics, are quite grand and have tall French windows opening onto creeper-draped balconies.

La Conca Azzurra

If an affordable price is a requirement, but you are looking for all the attributes of a classic Amalfi Coast hotel including direct access to the sea (which few can boast), then this compact, spectacularly sited address will provide the answer. The hotel descends in stages towards the sea, beginning at its roadside ceramics shop and roof terrace bar, past rooms and reception and on to restaurant, garden and steps to the sea-bathing platform at the bottom. You can arrive by boat: the hotel shares a private boat/Amalfi ferry dock with the Grotta dello Smeralda (Emerald Grotto), open to the public every day and well worth a tour. There is a lush garden with hot tub and vegetable patch, plus a long winding path and steps leads to the bathing platform with small restaurant in summer. All 20 bedrooms are spectacularly sea facing, with either balcony or terrace.