Five Best: Volcano hotels
Experience the thrill of living on the edge – or just enjoy the dramatic views
Saturday 18 August 2007
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
The largest unbroken volcano crater in the world is the dramatic setting for Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, on the edge of the Serengeti. Now a Unesco World Heritage Site, the crater is the result of an explosion three million years ago. Stretching 19km wide, with a 600m-high rim, it's a haven for wildlife, from zebras, hippos, lions and elephants to flamingos. The Masai herd their livestock there. The lodge has 30 circular suites, inspired by Masai huts, but with decks, silk curtains and beaded chandeliers – a luxurious base from which to explore.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Crater Reserve, Tanzania (00 27 11 809 4441; www.cc africa.com). Doubles from US$1,080 (£540) full board, with safari activities
Hacienda de San Antonio, Mexico
With its neat conical shape and trailing wisp of white smoke, Volcá* de Fuego is a postcard-perfect volcano and dominates the view from the Hacienda de San Antonio, a 19th-century country estate near Colima, in western Mexico. The working ranch spans 5,000 acres of nature reserve, complete with meadows, lakes and tropical forest. High, vaulted brick ceilings, honey-hued walls, tiled fireplaces and tall French windows set an elegant tone in the hacienda's 26 suites. For a touch of drama, check into the Volcan suite, a vast and stylish space filled with restored antiques, Mexican artwork – and, of course, stunning views of the Volcá* de Fuego. Dinner is served in an elegant vaulted dining room, complete with a striking black volcanic-rock fireplace.
Hacienda de San Antonio, Municipio de Comala, Colima, Mexico (00 52 312 316 0300; www.haciendadesanantonio.com). Doubles from US$512 (£256), room only
Uma Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Surrounded by verdant coconut palms and banyan trees, Uma Ubud is situated on the fertile slopes of Mount Batur, an active volcano. The last major eruption, in the 1960s, created a 10km crater, and Mount Batur rises out of the charred remains of the original caldera. The hotel is a network of light-filled spaces, plunge pools and terraces overlooking the misty valley. Early birds will enjoy the dawn hike, climbing the 700m-high volcanic cone of Mount Batur by torchlight.
Uma Ubud, Jalan raya Sanggingan, Banjur Lungsiakan, Kedewatan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia (00 62 361 972 448; www.uma.como.bz). Doubles from US$266 (£133), including breakfast
On The Rocks, Santorini, Greece
The serene indigo-blue waters surrounding Santorini's caldera hijack every view from On The Rocks. Set in the village of Imerovigli, On The Rocks clings to the volcano's rim, 200m above the basin. The hotel comprises a tranquil, white, minimalist complex of apartments, and perfectly complements the dramatic volcanic ridges and still blue waters. The 17 rooms are a mix of sky-blue walls, white curved arches, local artwork and modern design. There may not have been an eruption at Santorini for over 50 years, but a sense of drama prevails thanks to the striking views. You can sit on the terrace and enjoy a crisp white Santorini wine as the sun dips into the Aegean Sea.
On The Rocks, Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece (00 30 22860 23889; www.onrocks.net). Doubles from €€215 (£154), including breakfast
Stranded among the salt flats and turquoise lagoons of Chile's vast northern desert, San Pedro de Atacama town is surrounded by some of the many volcanoes that pepper this stretch of the Andes – from the active Lascar to the Licancabur, only 30km away. And one of the best places to relax between volcano exploring trips is Awasi, an intimate walled retreat. Eight thatched cottages, mostly circular, with walls of adobe and smooth San Pedro river stone, provide chic respite from the harsh desert. The interiors feature woven fabrics, dark wood furnishings and lampshades fashioned from twigs. Pumice stones from Lascar are provided in the bathrooms, as are cups of acclimatising chachacoma tea.
Awasi, Tocopilla 4, San Pedro de Atacama, Il Regió*, Chile (00 56 22 33 9641; www.awasi.cl) Doubles from US$390 (£195), including airport transfers and breakfast
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