Extraordinary is the word for this luxurious oasis set on a cliff high over the sea. Favored by reclusive types such as George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman, and Princess Caroline of Monaco, the San Pietro is several leagues out of town (a shuttle bus whisks you back and forth), far from the crowds and the paparazzi. The hotel itself, though, is more than camera-ready with its own chapel for weddings and seven levels of gardened terraces. The place's frilly, pretty decor mixes
modern (the hotel was built in the early 1970s) with magnificent (great antiques, elegant Vietri tilework). Who can resist idling away hours on the majolica benches of the grand terrace? Before you is a god's view of Positano and its bay, magnificently framed by gigantic urns of flowers. Most of the elegantly furnished rooms come with terraces (most look out to the sea, not toward Positano) and plate-glass views; room decors mix chic and charming in best country-style manner. The pool on an upper level is not large, so most guests opt to take an elevator fit for James Bond through hundreds of feet of mountainside to the private beach and bar. The proprietors organize boating excursions for those who want to roam farther afield. Don't leave without trying the hotel's incredibly delicious signature drink, called Elephant's Milk, a mix of almond milk, mineral water, and lemon juice. The bartenders here also make a mean Bellini.