updated 1/14/2008 8:55:57 AM ET 2008-01-14T13:55:57

Book by: ASAP
Travel by:Various through 2008

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The deal
Want to treat yourself to a heartstoppingly beautiful view from your window? We’ve selected top-ranked properties around the world where the vistas make the splurge worth it. Book a room with a view at one of these deluxe hotels and you’ll peering through unforgettable panoramas — from dazzling Big Sur coastline and Italy’s scenic Amalfi Coast to the glistening Buddhist temples of Laos and the awesome mountains of South Africa’s Cape Town.

Post Ranch Inn, California
For dramatic vistas of the Big Sur coastline, book a night at top-rated Post Ranch Inn. This rustic sanctuary overlooking the Pacific Ocean offers the ultimate in low-key luxury — wood-and-glass guest cottages with fireplaces and Jacuzzis, a fantastic spa, and the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant. The organic architecture of this property is one of its best aspects. As Frommer’s claims, “The Post Ranch doesn't attempt to beat its stunning natural surroundings, but to join them.” Forest and mountain-view rooms start at $550/night, with breakfast; ocean-view units start at $1,060/night.

Hotel Caruso, Italy
Largely regarded as one of Europe’s most spectacular shorelines, Italy’s Amalfi Coast features a string of picturesque hill-towns clinging on limestone cliffs that plunge into the endless blue of the Mediterranean Sea. The high-end Hotel Caruso offers an unparalleled view of this splendor from most of its rooms. Condé Nast Traveler writes, “The frescoes burst with color, the gardens are a sensory bonanza, and the extraordinary infinity pool makes it seem as if you could float out to the turquoise sea a thousand feet below.” B&B rates for sea-view rooms start at €800 ($1,180)/night.

La Résidence Phou Vao, Laos
With its lush mountain setting, Buddhist temples and excellent French-Lao eateries, Luang Prabang in Laos is among Asia’s most scenic destinations. For a matchless view of this World Heritage town, book a sojourn at La Résidence Phou Vao. The New York Times writes, “Since the hotel sits on a hill covered with frangipani and palms, you hear little but the occasional morning chanting of monks and see only glittering temples in the distance, hazy in the mist.” A gorgeous infinity pool is a definite highlight at this stylish spot. B&B rates start at $193/night.

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, South Africa
You’ll find this many-an-award-winner poised above the Atlantic and flanked by the spectacular Table Mountain and her Twelve Apostles range in South Africa’s Cape Town. In addition to its dramatic backdrop, this five-star property comes with two astounding pool gardens perched above the ocean, the glorious Azure Restaurant, and the top-rated Sanctuary Spa where you can indulge treatments as exotic as massages with South African crystals. At this absolute stunner, breakfast-inclusive nightly rates start at $469/night; ocean-view units start at $566.

More hotels with a view
Longitude 131°, Australia
Explora Hotel Salto Chico, Chile
Amangani, Wyoming
Strawberry Hill, Jamaica
Copacabana Palace, Brazil

The dollars
See nightly rates above, based on double occupancy.

The catch
These spectacular views come at a hefty cost.

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