San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
An outpost of stunning design and luxury amid surreal environs of stark lava and salt-crusted sand, this boutique ecolodge is the premier base for exploring the Atacama Desert. Set atop a windswept plateau, Tierra Atacama is the masterpiece of some of Chile's most renowned architects, with a regional sensibility, sustainable practices and exceptional comfort at the fore. Every element surveys the desertscape: through immense windows, from private terraces, even in the infinity pool overlooking Licancabur Volcano. Guest rooms meld with the landscape, incorporating clean lines, serene earth tones and natural fibers, including handwoven throws and cowhide rugs. Outdoor bathrooms offer the rare chance to shower under a night sky glittering with stars. The dining room, with its raw stone walls and floor-to-high-ceiling glass, likewise creates a feeling of being one with the desert beyond. Tierra Atacama's expert chefs craft northern Chilean dishes that pay homage to local traditions with fresh, colorful salads, Peruvian corn, quinoa and a range of varied main courses. The focus is on using innovative techniques while staying true to regional recipes and seasonal ingredients.
No stay at Tierra Atacama would be complete without experiencing the Uma Spa—"uma" meaning water in the native Aymara language. Start your day with yoga, take a midday break in the pool, or unwind after your desert adventures in the steam room or al fresco hot tub under the stars. Try a treatment using natural ingredients from the region, such as sheep’s milk, honey and clay. The light, airy space is designed to bring the essence of the desert in, creating a peaceful setting in which to restore mind, body and soul. During your visit, learn about the hotel's environmental leadership in solar energy, water conservation and providing local education in sustainable agricultural techniques. Tierra Atacama has been recognized by National Geographic in its Unique Lodges of the World collection.