Awasi Atacama is an intimate luxury-in-the-desert hotel that ranks with South America's best retreats.
This boutique hotel promises true luxury and mixes local construction - stone, adobe and wood - with a chic bar, wide, comfortable outdoor lounges, fine dining and is limited to only a few generous suites in order to ensure the privacy and comfort of the guests.
The different rooms are spacious and have their own private yard with solarium, outdoor shower and reading armchair. There is a swimming pool with comfortable chaise longue for relaxing and enjoyment. The in-house Chef has designed a varied menu, using ingredients that are exclusive to this zone (such as purple potatoes, patasca, quinoa or chañar), which have been enjoyed for thousands of years by the indigenous people and subsequently allows you to discover and enjoy new aromas and flavours.
Despite its seeming remoteness, the hotel is just a five minute walk from San Pedro's central plaza with its bars and restaurants. Described as an absolute 'must' visit, San Pedro's Paleolithic culture has produced impressive rock fortresses on the steep mountains, contrasting beautifully with the Atacama Salt Lake, a former inland sea formed millions of years ago. This unique experience; viewing the vast plains of salt crust with its octagonal- shaped crystals and admiring the lagoons reflecting the towering volcanoes is simply breathtaking and awe-inspiringly beautiful.
Why We Love It
A unique experience; viewing the vast plains of salt crust with its octagonal- shaped crystals and admiring the lagoons which reflect the towering volcanoes is simply breathtaking and awe-inspiringly beautiful.
From the same sophisticated stable as Tierra Chiloe, Tierra Atacama is an immaculate boutique hotel in the Atacama Desert.
With the emphasis firmly on the use of local materials, Tierra Atacama is a sleek vision of wooden decking and furnishings, and clean lined stone walls. All the rooms have private terraces and views of the Licancabur volcano (except the family rooms, which look on to a garden) and the internal design is pared back but supremely elegant.
The restaurant focuses on Chilean and Andean produce and specialities, from quinoa and local lamb to fresh seafood from Chile's enviably long Pacific coastline, all complimented, naturally, by a fine selection of Chilean wines. Try a bottle from a winemaker who grows carmenere - a grape variety now extinct in France but which makes excellent high altitude Chilean wines.
The Tierra Atacama bar offers a full range of cocktails from throughout Latin America, such as caipirinha and mojitos and Chilean favourite the pisco sour, plus artisanal beers from local breweries.
Guests can work off the almost inevitable over-indulgence by making the most of the impressive array of activities on offer from the hotel, from trekking trails and mountain bike routes to volcano scrambles and horse riding. 4x4 excursions in to the Atacama Desert proper and to local destinations such as rock art sites are also available.
Back in the immense comfort of the hotel, guests can enjoy pampering treatments in the Uma Spa, which also has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a steam room and a Jacuzzi. Outside, guests can wander the gardens, designed by Teresa Moller, a renowned Chilean landscape artist, and complete with fire pits and spectacular views of Licancabur volcano at almost every turn.
Why We Love It
The hotel is built in the spot where cattle drivers from Argentina on route to the port of Antofagasta used to spend the night. The ancient adobe walls have been cleverly incorporated into the entrance.
Located about 10 minutes drive from San Pedro, Alto Atacama is ideal for those who prefer to be away from town (even if San Pedro is dictionary definition one-horse) and fully immerse themselves in the stunning desert surroundings.
Surrounded by a towering terracotta-coloured ridge, the hotel has been built to resemble a traditional adobe settlement. Native crops are grown in the vegetable gardens, the low lying buildings blend seamlessly into the surroundings and you will even find llamas and alpacas roaming around the enclosure.
The 42 rooms and suites are minimalist in style with neutral decor so as not to take anything away from the beautiful Catarpe Mountain views, and the private terraces are perfect for a bit of night-time stargazing.
Dining is a casual affair where you can enjoy lots of delicious home-grown fare. At lunch time, sit outside in the sunshine on the terrace or near the pools, and in the cold evenings the cosy dining room and bar make the perfect place to swap stories of your day's adventure over a glass of Chilean wine or two.
With six pools in total, there's no danger of missing out on a sun lounger, and each is surrounded by a stone wall for extra peace and privacy. Next to the pools, the spa, considered one of the best in Latin America, is the perfect place to relax and revitalise after a day exploring the surroundings.
But we all know the real reason you are coming to the Atacama is to explore, and Alto Atacama's extensive programme of excursions doesn't disappoint. Regardless of fitness level or whether you prefer to go by car, foot or bike, there are plenty of opportunities to discover the amazing landscapes.
Why We Love It
This spot to the north of San Pedro is Alto Atacama's little secret - no one else is going to come by these stunning views on an excursions and that little extra distance from the (not so) bright lights of San Pedro mean the stargazing here is out of this world.
In sweeping private grounds on the outskirts of the oasis town of San Pedro, the Atacama property “Hotel de Larache”, from the portfolio of renowned Chilean hotel group explora, is the best hotel in this region.
As is typical of explora, the architecture is stylishly modern, with ethnic touches and a strong environmental emphasis, and while guests are truly pampered in the hotel, the priority for their stay is the exploration of the surrounding area with explora's expert guides.
The Hotel de Larache has four outdoor swimming pools and saunas, a private stable with over 20 horses, and beautifully designed communal areas.
The bedrooms are luxuriously comfortable, combining mod cons with local textiles and wood and tiling, each with Jacuzzis and only really varying in size and view according to room type and price.
In the explora style, stays here are all inclusive, with excellent dining options ranging from formal international cuisine in the restaurant to al fresco Chilean ranch-style grills, and a good list of Chilean wines.
Why We Love It
For those intrepid explorers at heart- the hotel has a fantastic 'exploration room' full of maps and guidebooks, to read to your hearts content.