Alto Atacama San Pedro de Atacama
Tucked between tangerine-coloured hills at the Catarpe Valley on the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama, an oasis city situated at 7,900feet above sea level. Alto Atacama is well-located for the region’s most well-known websites: the other-worldly Moon Valley; flamingo spotting at the Salar de Atacama salt flats; Alma Observatory, altiplanic lagoons, as well as the geysers in El Tatio.
The Atacama, with its humid air, lung-tickling elevation and lack of light pollution, is among the greatest places on Earth for stargazing: come nightfall, the darkened sky directly above the resort offer the ideal conditions for observing the Milky Way.
Style & personality
Component hide-out, part luxury escape. The low-slung, adobe-walled buildings which compose the resort are designed to sit sympathetically over the landscape. Veronica Poblete, a botanist and former lecturer at Stanford University in the USA, made the gardens round the Idea of an Andean Park. The end result is a calming oasis of centuries-old ceramics, modern-day geoglyphs, native plants, a saltwater pool along with hand-carved stone beds. Veronica, a vision in indigenous prints, feathered rings and waist-length plaits, continues to oversee both the gardens along with her impromptu tours offer you a fascinating insight to the challenging growing atmosphere.
Indoors, a soothing palette of earthy tones supplies a cool refuge from the sparkling desert landscapes. The roaring fire in the lounge bar – day temperatures average 22C through the entire year but evenings can be cold – creates a heating and convivial place in the day. A feeling of place is produced in the standard Inca artworks and wall-hangings.
Service & amenities
The cautious tone is put on arrival in the airport in Calamo (1hr 15m by street) with employees lined up to greet guests with a selection of refreshing juices. The service throughout is subsequently warm, thoughtful, friendly and refreshingly unstuffy. The participating staff also show an interest and love of the Atacama. The resort offers over 30 private excursions to neighboring sites of interest, such as those listed above (Location), as well as the manuals are especially knowledgeable.
Facilities include a relaxed spa with outdoor bathrooms heated by water from deep underground. Additionally, there are six dip pools scattered about the reasons, sun-loungers plus a llama enclosure. The Atacama is among the greatest places on Earth for stargazing and the resort is home to an astronomical telescope atop a nearby hill.
The 3 room classes vary in dimension and perspectives. Standard ‘Quitor’ rooms are nearest to the main building and overlook the gardens; people from the ‘Catarpe’ class are larger and have views of the valley; whereas the ‘Tilo’ suites are placed slightly apart from the remainder of the resort with views across the resort’s pond and also south-facing terraces to make the most of the best stargazing. All room classes have private terraces, relaxing colors, red-tiled flooring, mini-bar (but guests are provided a reusable flask on entrance and invited to top this up from dispensers in reception in a bid to conserve water), en shower area (no bathrooms) and spacious comfy beds.
Food & beverage
Top-notch gourmet cooking which adopts local produce like guanaco, socaire potatoes, native quinoa or chanar berries. Daily specials may include ostrich filet on a lentil stew drizzled in cranberry sauce. The lounge bar provides a variety of excellent Chilean wines, spirits and pisco sours created with leaves by the rica-rica plant which grows locally. Additionally, there are outside fire-pits for sipping post-dinner beverages under the stars. Fogon Atacameno, inside the resort grounds, is the setting for an alfresco BBQ on chosen times with traditional live music and a veritable feast of sandwiches and meats. Standards are kept in breakfast with a variety of exceptional buffet and cooked choices. The amount of comfort, cuisine and service available in such a difficult environment is really exceptional.
Value for cash
Quitor rooms from US$650 (#535); Catarpe from US$730 (#600) and Tilo from US$850 (#700) per night. Costs include all meals, carbonated beverages and guided tours. Australian guests paying in US$ are exempt from local VAT.
Accessibility for guests with disabilities?
Guests need to have the ability to negotiate uneven surfaces.
Yes. There is no kids’ club however, the feeling of adventure the place offers will interest kids aged eight decades and over. Interconnecting rooms available.
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