8 Best Hotels for Stargazing
From tricked-out observatories to in-room skylights, these hotels are designed to bring you closer to the stars.
Elqui Domos, Chile
Northern Chile’s Elqui Valley, where the cloud-blocking Andes meets the arid Atacama Desert, is famous for its crystal-clear skies and collection of local observatories—though we suggest skipping the tours and pairing your star-filled hours with some serious perks at Elqui Domos. Two miles from the nearest village, the property’s glass-enclosed restaurant, domed lounge, and swimming pool enjoy views free of light pollution. As for your digs, guest rooms are split between observation cabins and bi-level geodesic domes, whose zip-away skylight panels make guests feel like their platform beds are actually floating among the stars. Tired of taking in the heavens horizontally? Sign up for a guided evening horseback ride or visit the on-site observatory.
Ayers Rock Resort, Australia
Nothing can truly prepare you for the scope of Australia’s desolate Northern Territory, referred to as its “Red Centre” owing to the copper-red earth that covers the landscape. A trip to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is worth it alone to see the monolith formerly known as Ayers Rock, but nightfall makes everything even more magical when clear views of the Milky Way stretch out over the sky. Take it all in during a luxurious Sounds of Silence open-air dinner courtesy of Ayers Rock Resort, where guests can dig into modernized Aboriginal specialties like crocodile and barramundi while an astronomer points out distant planets and the distinctive Southern Cross. Visiting in October? Don’t miss the resort’s annual Astronomy Weekend, when discussions, family activities, and exclusive dinners are hosted by astronomy experts.
andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia
Like Namibia itself, southern Africa’s largest private nature reserve is vast and remote, with skies so dark and clear it earned its place as Africa’s first and only Dark Sky Reserve. Long distances are most easily covered by ATVs, which roll over red sand dunes and salt pans as visitors hunt for glimpses of resident oryx and mountain zebra. Some 87 miles from the nearest town, andBeyond’s Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is right at home in this stark desert oasis, with 10 stone villas whose over-the-bed skylights let guests stargaze from dusk till dawn If you're new to astronomy, head to the lodge's own observatory for a stargazing safari with resident astronomers, who can point out constellations like Scorpius and Sagittarius exclusive to the Southern Hemisphere.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland
Is there anything more suitable for taking in winter’s wonders than from the confines of your own igloo? Rest assured it's not as cold as it sounds. The glass igloos at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finnish Lapland are fully heated and as cozy as they come, with plush beds, en-suite bathrooms, private lounge areas, and thermal glass ceilings that don’t fog up as you stare out into the dark, snowy abyss. When night turns to day, go on reindeer-drawn sleigh rides or a husky sledge safari or soak in the sauna at the main log cabin. If you time your visit right (i.e. between August and April), you'll increase your odds at spotting the Northern Lights (and get a chance, if you so choose, to sleep in one of their authentic snow igloos).
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L’AND Vineyards Resort, Portugal
It’s not just about the wine at this family-owned vineyard in Portugal’s Alentejo region, which features one of the darkest skies in Europe. Ten of the hotel’s 22 rooms are Sky Suites, all wood and stone and outfitted with retractable skylights positioned above beds that let guests snooze under the stars. The black stone bathtubs, private plunge pools, and double patios make for worthy in-room distractions, but the courtyard pool is your best bet if you want to socialize while keeping the sky within view.
Gangtey Lodge, Bhutan
Bhutan’s isolated Phobjikha Valley, sheltered by the eastern Himalayas, is a magical place to take in views of both land and sky. Gangtey Lodge, a rustic, remote escape in the heart of the valley, stuns with a double-height lobby and stone terrace that both afford sweeping views of the verdant valley and distant 17th-century Gangtey monastery. After dropping your bags in your room (which comes complete with a freestanding bathtub and wood-burning fireplace), it’s off on a “360-degree” hike. You’ll trek through rhododendron forests and sloping mountain ridges to the top of Gangtey, where a picnic lunch is served with the snow-capped Himalayas as your backdrop. Return and refuel with dinner—spring for authentic Bhutanese dishes like chili-and-yak-cheese stew—then head out to the wraparound deck overlooking the valley and watch the stars come out.
3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, Switzerland
Switzerland’s 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat was built with world-class sky-gazing in mind. The hotel's perch 10,000+ feet above sea level (or 3,100 meters, hence the name) in the Pennine Alps affords spectacular views: 29 mountain peaks including the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa Massif are all within sight, while distant planets and the glow of the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye. If that's not enough, there’s also two observatories crowning two stone towers equipped with telescopes, so guests can get a closer look at their favorite celestial objects.
Null Stern Hotel, Switzerland
There’s a reason why this game-changing “hotel” is only open in the spring and fall. Not a single ceiling, window, or wall separates its open-air room, comprised of a queen bed, two nightstands, table lamps, and nothing else. Instead, guests are surrounded on all sides by the mountains of Graubünden, Switzerland, and the starry skies above. While you won't be completely roughing it (a butler delivers you coffee and breakfast in bed), the nearest bathroom is a 10-minute walk away—not that that’s deterred would-be guests. The room has been booked solid since its inception.
Women’s Stargazing Outfit
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