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Il San Pietro di Positano, Positano

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Amalfi Coast, Italy, Europe: San Pietro di Positano, on Italy's Amalfi Coast, hugs the side of a cliff overlooking
2 Via Laurito
Italy 84017
Tel: 39 089 875 455's insider take:

The most striking thing about the San Pietro is its invisibility. No magic rings here: It's just that the hotel seems to merge with the vertiginous cliffs to which it clings. From the sea, this engineering feat is further disguised by the verdant screen of bougainvillea, hibiscus, and grapevines that seem to cascade from terrace to terrace. The 1971 creation of one man, the late Carlo Cinque, the 62-room tumble is now run by his niece, Virginia Attanasio Cinque, and her two sons. About a mile outside Positano on the Amalfi Drive, the hotel is so secluded that it's easy to drive straight past. The only clue that it's there is a discreet sign by an ancient chapel, which turns out to conceal the elevator that whisks guests down to the lobby. A second elevator continues down to the stone sundeck, small private beach, tennis court, and the hotel's new excursion boat. Back "upstairs," there's a new spa and a small semicircular pool lined with Bisazza mosaic tiles, as well as a much-lauded restaurant where Belgian chef Alois Vanlangenaeker works his mojo. Book one of the "special" rooms if you can: They all have features that set them apart, whether it be the largest windows, the most sumptuous decor, or the most expansive bathroom.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 97.2
  • Design: 98.7
  • Food: 96.2
  • Location: 97.4
  • Rooms: 97.4
  • Service: 96.2
The Gold List's top-scoring property in Europe is an "extraordinary and secluded hotel with a labyrinth of rooms all tucked within the cliffs in a series of ledges" above the bay. The spectacular terrace has "incredible views," as do the unique guest rooms, most of which have "huge picture windows that allow you to feel as though you are part of the natural environment." Il San Pietro restaurant's traditional Mediterranean fare is "a culinary treat." Staff "wrote the book on charm."

(80 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Beach, Pool, Spa, Tennis

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.