Blending seamlessly with the burnt red rock face that forms its backdrop, Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is burrowed at the foot of the ruins of Pukara de Quitor and appears to melt in to the encompassing rocky landscape. Thoughtfully built in the style of the centuries old villages of the densely-cultural Altiplano, the property was designed with both authenticity and practicality in mind, so there are few luxurious touches with the exceptions of an aromatherapy spa and dazzling collection of six outdoor swimming pools. An al fresco restaurant utilises local produce, an exceptional spot is dedicated to observing the night sky, and guests are accommodated on an all-inclusive basis that contains expert guided excursions.
In these extensive and dry altiplanic regions where the Andes are at their widest, stone is the not only the simplest material to procure, but the one that makes the least visual impact on the landscape. In keeping with this external aesthetic, the property’s 42 rooms are dark and neutral toned to allow the eyes to rest from the strong sun light. Their simple interior styling is offset by plush bathrooms, and each boast a private terrace with views to either the gardens, lagoon or Catarpe Valley.
Why we like Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa
Being one with the desert is the ultimate goal of this architectural marvel, the grounds of which were designed by a landscape architect who is explores the spiritual meaning in every bud, every stone, every shadow and every pool of water. Veronica is fascinating to talk to, and spends part of the year at the property, so guests may have the chance to speak with her about her insights and ideologies.
Guests are encouraged to foster a feeling of solidarity with nature, be it through indulging in an invigorating spa treatment that utilises glacial water, spending an evening tranquilly star-gazing, or sinking in to the ground in a decadent Turkish bath.
Outside of the property, the expertly guided excursions take guests to otherworldly valleys, world-renowned geysers, high-altitude salt flats and great turquoise lagoons.
- Expertly guided excursions
- Unique gardens
- Six pools
- Spa with outdoor Turkish baths, hot tubs and sauna
- Restaurant and authentic barbeque
Veronica, the landscape architect behind the grounds of Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa,
is on a personal mission to climb the surrounding mountains and volcanoes solitarily in search of ancient seeds that might have been used by the original inhabitants of this area, who settled 20,000 years ago.
With great success, she has cultivated crops of Andean corn, blue potatoes and giant lima beans, all yielded from old seeds found in the mountains or obtained in dealings with the locals. The crops are irrigated through a process of flooding the dry soil with the guests’ discarded wastewater after it has been treated in a nearby biological plant. No chemicals are used to facilitate the fruitful growing of crops here – instead, llama dung is the fertiliser.
Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is located just ten minutes away from the centre of the high-altitude market town of San Pedro de Atacama, yet relishing in the solitude of the arid desert.