What We Love
- Unique accommodations — seven domes with the perfect layout for stargazing
- Nighttime horseback rides, astronomy lectures and amateur telescopes provide outstanding opportunities for viewing the starry skies
- Ideal for families with the wide range of activities, swimming pool and the fun of sleeping in a dome
- Friendly, helpful staff
- Short walk to the Los Nichos pisco distillery
- Year-round warm and sunny weather
What To Know
- Domes can get stuffy and hot during the day and chilly at night; however, there’s an electric heater and a warm duvet
- Guests must carry their own luggage up a steep pitch of dirt stairs to their dome
- Domes are very close to one another, so there isn’t much privacy
- WiFi and cell service is spotty, but most visitors are happy to be released from urban distractions
- The property is located two miles from town, and taxis are available, but most visitors prefer the freedom of rental vehicles
- It is best to visit three to four days before or after a new moon for a better view of the stars
- The pool is closed in the winter
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Everything about the Elqui Domos is configured to bring you closer to the stars (the ones in the sky, not on TV). And for good reason: The hotel is located in the heart of the Elqui Valley, in Chile’s “Norte Chico” region, known for its crystal-clear skies. It’s two miles from the nearest village, so there’s almost no light pollution to keep you from the nightly sparkling show above.
You’ll see the sky from the glass-enclosed restaurant, the enormous domed lounge, the swimming pool and the seven identical white geodesic domes on platforms that descend a steep, wooded slope. There is also a full range of starry activities, from evening horseback rides and astronomy lectures to lessons in the amateur observatory with a variety of high-quality telescopes.
The split-level domes are spacious, with semi-sunken living areas and loft beds, and can sleep up to four people. Be sure to call dibs on the upper loft bed, where you can unzip and detach the roof and cuddle under your marshmallowy duvet while watching the twinkling lights above.
City slickers take note: Elqui Domos definitely falls closer to glamping than a relaxing stay in a luxury hotel. The function-over-form decor consists of simple wood furniture, muted colors and small throw rugs. But for outdoors fanatics who want their creature comforts, it’s a perfect fit. And the Elqui Valley’s Zenlike aura adds a healing element to your stay. Consider booking a meditation or Reiki session. Then sit back, relax and take in the heavens.
How to Get There
This may have been nice years ago but it has not been maintained. We stayed in a Dome. It was the least clean place we stayed in Chile. Not terribly dirty but not clean either. The front staff would not rent us our preferred Dome despite it being empty and later let another group change Domes to the Dome we asked for. The deck of the Dome we stayed in hardly had a view because of the overgrown trees. The roof of the Dome would not stay open because the hydraulic was so old and worn out. Staff was not helpful at all. It looked like there were other places to stay in the area and I was we had chosen a different place.
We were really looking forward to our stay here but it was a total disappointment. It’s a great concept & was, maybe, really good once but it’s now run-down, very poorly maintained & managed, dirty, etc. As we have now found there are much better options in the same price range.
Unwelcoming reception staff.
Steep hill from parking & no assistance.
Dimes are very poorly maintained.
Room service. (It appears that they basically change towels & make beds. They don’t remove previous guests garbage or food, even when asked to!)
Breakfast buffet is very slowly restocked - expect to be waiting for everything from coffee to milk to juice to be refilled after the first few guests.
Management/ownership appear to be resting on their laurels - issues such as previous guests’ garbage & bird droppings all over the patio furniture were totally ignored even when they were politely told & asked to have remedies whilst we were out.
“The telescope is being repaired”!!!
Terrible Pisco sours!!! Really, in the home of Chilean Pisco!
Nice little pool area
Breakfast is good (despite needing to be restocked more quickly).
We hope to return to Pisco Elqui but won’t be back here.
We loved Pisco Elqui. But this was despite Elqui Domos not because. The telescope being out of order was just so typical of this place - where star gazing is the top attraction for many. Thankfully we had a great evening of stargazing with a local tour company & enjoyed great Pisco spurs in the area.
The hotel consists of a number of domes and lodges, all positioned to maximise the potential for ‘ star gazing’ given the area is renowned for its clear skies at night.
Well, there were some good parts and some poor parts, the latter I think outweighing the good.
OK, the good bits. The reception, dining room and the communal ( access to Wi-Fi here) areas were fine as was the outdoor pool area. The hotel also has two small observatories of its own for stargazing, be it with the naked eye or with a telescope, something we made use of with the services of a guide, that made our star gazing session excellent.
Outside of that, we were very disappointed. As we were staying in one of the lodges, the comments on the accommodation refers solely to that and not the domes. Access to the lodges is by a fairly steep path which for us was not an issue but the path itself was quite uneven and basically needs repairing.
The concept of the lodges is great being spread over 3 floors. The lower floor is a sitting area with very basic furniture but no table, the second, the bedroom ( with a very comfortable bed) had a large picture window again for star gazing and the third, a terrace. However, both the outside and inside were very tired and needed painting while the interior walls had no wall decoration at all and it was dirty and outside of the bed,not very comfortable at all. To be honest, it is a shame as it has the potential to be great if some money was spent on it. A decent sofa and a couple of comfortable chairs and coffee table in the sitting area would be a major plus, blinds for the picture window would make it more comfortable for those who need total darkness to sleep ( though not an issue for us) and a set of comfortable chairs and table on the terrace to replace the basic set which was there. Given these changes, they would be a great place to stay.
However, as they are, they are a bit of a disappointment and not ones we would look to visit again. Shame given the stargazing potential.
I wanted this place to be amazing - I looked forward to it for so long but how disappointing... Our first encounter when we arrived was with a man (can't recall his name) who was so friendly and spoke decent English (the last of which we heard during our stay) ...unfortunately we never saw him again and was stuck dealing with Anes (sp?) who was so miserable it ruined my mood every time I interacted with her. We speak enough Spanish to get by but she was very rude when we tried. And when I mentioned her rudeness to the manager he just said "yeah we are aware". We had to lug our bags up the hill with no assistance from her or anyone else (we had quite a lot from a month long trip). The cabin was fine - no wifi or hot water though (maybe that's what makes it an eco lodge?) but nothing special. The skylight needed a proper cleaning but was nice. There is a nice rooftop deck but there is a cover so you can't see the stars (why they would do - this I have no idea). We didn't eat here because apparently the chef doesn't show up some nights? Be warned that restaurants in this town in general regularly just close when they feel like it so finding food can be a challenge. Also the hotel provides no water or beverages of any kind (outside of breakfast/dinner if you are lucky) so come prepared. The saving grace was the maintenance gentleman who let me use another shower so I didn't have to take an ice bath (thank you!).
The Astro tour was nice - the guide is definitely not a professional astrologist but he was knowledgeable and showed us some great sites. For this much per night, you can stay at nicer places in the area... this was marketed as a more luxury experience but was anything but.
This hotel is on the outskirts of town and in a great area for viewing the night sky. We stayed in a cabin (there are domes also) with a glass roof for all night star gazing. The cabin was well designed, though it needed some "freshening up". Our hosts arranged Rekki and a session at the on-sight observatory, both of which we enjoyed immensely. The steps to walk up the hillside to our cabin were quite steep. Not recommended for anyone with hip or knee problems.