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Castle on the Cliff, Plettenberg Bay 

Plettenberg Bay
South Africa
Tel: 27 11 807 1800
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Built in the 1960s using stones carried by hand from the base of this astounding cliff, the original castle was for years the holiday retreat of the present owners. With the help of a visionary architect and a team of stonemasons, it was recently rebuilt and embellished before opening as a fully staffed villa. Nothing can prepare you for its jaw-dropping location overlooking the Indian Ocean, and once in residence you'll never want to stay in a traditional hotel again. There are four spacious bedrooms, all with vertiginous, in-your-face ocean views and luxurious bathrooms. A fifth, smaller bedroom, halfway up the stone staircase that leads to the Tower Suite, is perfect for children. No detail has been overlooked: Lights can be dimmed to match your mood, fireplaces await only a match, and there is a choice of terraces so that you can eat outdoors regardless of the prevailing winds.—2005 Hot List

When to go: Summer (Nov.–March), for lazy days at the pool.

Which room to book: The Tower Suite (rental for entire house, $1,295, sleeps 8)

Amenities: Beach, Pool

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