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
We checked out of the Elqui Domos hotel after one night as we found it not up to standard, and frankly dangerous.
The bed area is accessed via steep wooden stairs with no handrail. We had to keep the light on at night as we were afraid one of us would step out of bed, be unsure of the beginning of the stairs & fall when going down to the bathroom. Also one of the screws on the wooden post supporting this area had come loose.
The legs on the veranda chairs could fall through the gaps in the veranda floor. This happened when I sat down, and I fell off the chair.
The hotel is in the middle of nowhere which would be ok if it had a proper restaurant and bar. However, no-one was on reception in the evening. We knocked at the kitchen to ask for a drink & the cook searched the fridge to find 2 warm bottles of beer, the only ones in the hotel. We asked to have dinner, and were given no menu. Instead a set meal was brought out to us indifferently cooked. Luckily we are not vegetarian.
When we arrived we had to lug our suitcases up a lot of steep haphazard steps, including wooden steps with no handrail up to the dome itself.
We made a complaint to the manager on leaving, who seemed unsurprised.
After reading recent negative reviews we arrived with some trepidation but our experience could not have been more positive. The domes are comfortable and stylish and a complete pleasure to be in. Such a unique experience being able to open the roof and see the stars. The staff were all very friendly and really helpful; Jose was very attentive and Innes drove us to town and back one evening when we could not get a taxi. The position is beautiful - we felt so chilled and relaxed there. The icing on the cake was the night sky guided tour with Claudio. His patience and astronomic expertise was second to none; a mind blowing experience. We really loved it there. Maybe previous reviewers were looking for a more familiar international experience but we loved the laid back Chilean experience.
Really looked forward visiting the Elqui Valley for some stargazing. The stars were amazing, the accommodation we booked not at all. After a long drive we arrived in Mi Lodge, had to wait for at least 15 minutes for someone to show up. The employee was not friendly, could not speak a word English, or did not try, was more interested in her phone. After a quick tour, without mentioning the facilities we arrived in our cabin which was really out of date, broken furniture, not clean, even the glass rooftop was dirty, so the sight on the stars was limited. No coffee or tea facilities. Nothing. We payed almost 250 euro per night for an out of date accommodation, minimal service and facilities. The only positive thing I can mention was the way the male employee acted when we did our complaints. He offered us a discount, but it’s still overpriced.
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.