Awasi, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
The stark Atacama Desert is home to a new intimate hideaway perfect for the adventure-minded.
Location: The endlessly varied Atacama desert, with its steaming geysers, salt lagoons, wind-sculpted valleys, volcanoes, and oases, rivals Patagonia as a wilderness destination.
Pedigree: First-time hoteliers, Chilean architect Francisco Rencoret and his wife, interior decorator Paula Domínguez, have built their dream getaway in one of their favorite places. More Awasis are in the works.
Style Design: The eight roomy bungalows are made of adobe and stone, topped with thatch, and tucked among winding paths. Inside, hardwood and marble floors and custom-made lamps and chaise longues are set off by Bolivian wool wall hangings and rugs.
Service Amenities: An open-air restaurant serving sophisticated Andean fare (quinoa tabbouleh, empanadas, and chupe de mariscos, or seafood stew) is a highlight, as are thoughtful extras like lip balm, complimentary cleaning of hiking boots and sandals, and a welcome pot of chachacoma tea--a local remedy to ease altitude adjustment. Guides (and 4 x 4's) are on hand to take guests on excursions such as a llama caravan to the Tulor archaeological site or a picturesque hike crisscrossing the Vilamar River.
Rooms to Book: The five round rooms (Nos. 1-5) have the most personality, with arched doorways, lofty domed ceilings, and prime positioning--either near the bonfire or tucked discretely behind the pool. In-the-know travelers request Room 1, which has two private patios, as opposed to the standard one.
56-2/233-9641; www.awasi.cl; doubles from $900, based on two nights, all-inclusive.