Taking the one-of-a-kind elevator to the sea by way of the nearby cliff, you’d think you are in fact walking in James Bond’s shoes. Once arrived at the very bottom, the rock pool, deckchairs and small pier propel you in the middle of a Slim Aarons photo shoot. All that’s missing is the gurgling of a Riva basking in the sun to complete the picture. Everything about this hotel (which is about to reopen) is a cinematographic experience. This is the doing of the Gambardella family, who have presided over the establishment since 1880. It was one Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite places to stay at. The Kaiser used to praise the incomparable patina of the terrace’s terracotta floor tiles, as well as the staff’s old-fashioned livery. As for the cuisine, it can only be described as criminally good, so the gardens might just be where you make amends: there, the fragrances of the sprawling lemon trees merge with a prolific jasmine. You’re in heaven. And don’t mistake the garden’s rattan furniture for a “trendy thing”; it’s been here for years. You’ve stepped foot in a temple where time has no hold, just like the nearby village, which can be reached on foot through one of the countless tunnels along this steep coast. If traveling on a winding road surrounded by the flamboyant Mediterranean sea might hold you back, you won’t ever regret taking the trip. What awaits you is a romantic adventure even the most cynical among us will give in to.