Although deserts are largely uninhabitable for life, but this does not prevent hotels from building their structure in the sand.
In reality, deserts account for almost one-third of the planet’s geographical area and are some of its most biologically varied regions. Many tourists place spending time in the desert high on their list of must-do activities, and when visiting a desert location, they can engage in activities like mountain biking, stargazing, and dune walking.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of the world’s 10 most amazing desert hotels & resorts in the world from Chile to Namibia and the USA to Australia. In some of the most breathtaking wilderness locations on earth, these remote hotels provide a welcome heaven.
10 Most Amazing Desert Hotels In The World
10. LONGITUDE 131°, AUSTRALIA
Located in Australia’s arid Red Centre facing Uluru — Australia’s most impressive natural landmark — Longitude 131 is a hotel experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
It consists of 16 large, luxury tented pavilions draped in flowing white fabrics and beautifully decorated with indigenous artwork and memorabilia. Each pavilion boasts a sprawling private balcony outfitted with a fireplace and day bed, so you can sleep under the stars, if you wish.
This is the only place you can admire Uluru without lifting your head from your pillow.
9. EXPLORA ATACAMA, CHILE
In harmony with the surroundings and local traditions, Explora Atacama offers the discovery of the essence of nature and a philosophy of traveling that seeks to satisfy the desire of adventure in an intact universe. The 17-hectare (42-acre) hotel grounds comprise 20 indigenous parcels, some with timeworn pathways and buildings that Explora is committed to preserve out of a profound respect for the area’s original inhabitants. The 50 rooms of Explora Atacama are designed to take full advantage of the silence, privacy, and spaciousness of the surrounding landscape, ensuring deep rest after a long day of exploration. Set out with your guide into the surreal beauty on any of 40 explorations on foot, horseback, or bicycle. Nearby Termas de Puritama, with an exclusive hot-spring pool, is a relaxing place to spend an afternoon. At the restaurant, the cuisine stars local ingredients, such as quinoa and chañar.
8. QASR AL SARAB DESERT RESORT BY ANANTARA, UAE
Located in the legendary Liwa Desert, one of the largest uninterrupted sand deserts in the world, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara embraces the epic adventures of this evocative landscape by providing a luxury oasis for discerning travelers. Here, guests can recline by the plunge pool outside their own private villa, or stretch out on a sumptuous day bed surrounded by rich Middle Eastern fabrics and local artefacts. Every room, villa and suite is considered to be some of the finest abodes among luxury Abu Dhabi resorts and features desert views, blending our rich interiors with the landscape. Dine in the resort’s fine and intimate restaurants. Let the tension melt away as you embark on a rejuvenating journey at the Anantara Spa, or venture out to explore the desert with a variety of innovative activities – try dune bashing, camel trekking, or sand boarding.
7. THE RITZ-CARLTON RAS AL KHAIMAH, AL WADI DESERT, UAE
An oasis of peace awaits guests at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. The property offers an unforgettable experience inside a dedicated nature reserve (populated by Arabian gazelles, camels and oryxes). A jewel amidst the endless sandscape, the resort is set against the waters of the Arabian Gulf and magnificent Al Hajjar Mountains, providing a surreal aura of desert romance. Here, tented roofs in the style of traditional Bedouin nomadic dwelling, modern villa furnishings in classic Arab style and the thrill of a private pool in the middle of the desert make each journey a veritable grand adventure. The spa features an indoor hydrotherapy pool known as “The Rainforest” and a fitness center. The resort’s Experience Concierge can arrange a desert trek on camel- or horseback, a private archery lesson or an evening of stargazing.
6. ZANNIER HOTELS SONOP, NAMIBIA
The opulence and finesse of Zannier Hotels Sonop, set in Namibia’s southwest corner, immediately recalls the 1920’s era of British explorers. Constructed on top of granite boulders, the tented camp enjoys a remote and unspoilt setting in 13,800 acres (5,600 hectares) of untouched wilderness. Every object and antique in the lodge’s ten spacious tents are carefully selected – binoculars and maps, travelers’ tales, telescopes, antique desks and handmade stationary – to ensure that every moment turns into a unique experience. The lodge captures the restorative essence of the desert landscape with a spectacular open-air infinity pool, spa, fitness center and daily yoga. Guided excursions include horse-riding from our own stables, private dining atop of the sand dunes, electric fat-bike or walking trails, and private sunset safaris. The magic continues after dark with a nightly gala-style dinner, open-air cinema and stargazing under the endless African skies.
5. TIERRA ATACAMA, CHILE
The adobe walls of an ancient cattle corral blend into Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, a tribute to the indigenous people who once inhabited this surreal landscape. That sense of place is evident everywhere in this glass-walled, 32-room marvel, from the artisan-crafted furnishings to the native medicinal plants in the gardens. The hotel’s architecture, interior design and gardens were designed by some of Chile’s leading creative talent, using furniture and accessories handmade with local materials. Explore the area’s salt pans, volcanoes, and geyser fields on hikes, horseback rides, and more, then return to get an activity-focused spa treatment, relax in a basket swing, or lounge by the pool. When night falls, you can take in the brilliant stars, bask in the peace and wonder that is the Atacama Desert. The vibe is totally casual; the locally sourced cuisine and wines, simply divine.
4. AL MAHA DESERT RESORT, UAE
Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa lies nestled within a green and verdant oasis amongst some of Arabia’s most impressive dune and desert landscapes. Resembling a luxurious Bedouin encampment, the resort is just 45 minutes away from Dubai. This secluded hideaway resort offers personal and seductive experiences with great hospitality, privacy, and absolute comfort. Al Maha’s 42 Bedouin-inspired luxurious suites offer tranquility while adopting the vision of responsible tourism. The suites blend gently into the desert and offer unsurpassed luxury. Beautifully furnished with a unique collection of authentic Arabian artifacts and antiquities, all suites boast private pools and offer spectacular views of the Dubai Desert Reserve and its wildlife (gazelles & Arabian oryx).
3. ANDBEYOND SOSSUSVLEI DESERT LODGE, NAMIBIA
Set amidst an ocean of towering dunes, rocky outcrops and endless gravel plains, Andbeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is one of Africa’s most exclusive hotels. 10 beautifully appointed stone & glass suites, spread out along the curve of the escarpment, open onto ever-changing outlooks. Each suite offers a secluded, shaded veranda complete with private plunge pool, a living room with a fireplace, a large retractable skylight above the bed, and an ensuite bathroom with a glass-encased rain shower offering 180º desert views. The main split-level guest area (which houses the public areas) is an inspired masterpiece of glass, rock and steel, with large glass panels folding away to reveal unobstructed desert vistas. To ensure you get the most out of your desert adventure, the Andbeyond team will assist you in planning a range of exciting, specialist-guided experiences for the duration of your stay.
2. AMANGIRI, UTAH, USA
Amangiri – which translates to peaceful mountain – is located on 600 acres in Canyon Point, Southern Utah. The resort – by far the best luxury hotel in the USA – is tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views towards the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. Built around a central swimming pool with spectacular views, the stunningly beautiful resort blends into its dramatic surrounds where deep canyons and towering plateaus create a raw landscape of immense power. Amangiri also features a high-end ‘glamping’ site – called Camp Sarika – which is linked to the main resort. Amangiri’s trail system and unrivalled backcountry access allow guests to explore the region’s striking desert scenery on foot. Amangiri is operated by Aman resorts, one of the world’s most exclusive ultra-luxury hotel brand.
1. HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP BY WILDERNESS SAFARIS, NAMIBIA
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is located in Namibia’s ancient Namib Desert’s famed Kaokoveld, an otherworldly and remote landscape hewn over the ages into immense dunes and rocky mountains. While the lodge might not be as uber-luxurious as some of the places described above, it gets the number one spot on my list because it offers incredible wildlife viewing and a coastal experience in addition to its fabulous desert setting.
The lodge’s eight luxury tented suites peak like whitecaps on an ocean of sand. Highlights include a spectacular dry-and-fly excursion to the Skeleton Coast and dining under impossibly starry skies, perhaps at the firepit as a jackal cries or a lion roars, punctuating the stillness of the inky night. The property also doubles as a center for research and conservation of the desert-adapted predators of this harsh region: the desert-adapted lion and brown hyaena.