Five hotels for stargazers
Whether it's from a geodesic dome in the desert or a Himalayan spa retreat, the view will be stellar.
Saturday 14 March 2009
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia
Set in the world's oldest desert, the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge not only offers impressive wildlife viewing on nature drives, but also some of the best stargazing in southern Africa, with resident astronomers and an observatory. The villas' large windows, verandas, outdoor showers and skylights make the most of the setting.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namib Desert, Namibia (00 27 11 809 4300; and beyondafrica.com). Doubles from N$5,300 (£360), full board with activities
Ananda in the Himalayas, India
This award-winning spa in the Himalayan foothills focuses on Ayurvedic and yogic practices. The setting is spectacular, with views of a maharaja's palace, a forested valley, the holy city of Rishikesh and the Ganges. And once the sun sets? There are stellar views with the aid of a telescope and astronomer.
Ananda in the Himalayas, Narendra Nagar, Tehri-Garhwal, Uttaranchal, India (00 91 13 7822 7500; anandaspa.com). Doubles from $332 (£237), including breakfast, transfers and activities
King Aretas IV Camp, Jordan
This camp opened just outside Petra a year ago. Its 50 tents are simply furnished, with dining area, lounge and coffee shop in communal Bedouin tents. On a clear night, meteors and the North Star can both be spotted.
King Aretas IV Luxury Camp, Baida, Petra, Jordan (00 962 6 463 1435; kingaretascamp jordan.com). Tents from $110 (£79), half-board
Elqui Domos, Chile
Each of these seven stylish geodesic domes in the Atacama Desert is arranged on two levels, with detachable roofs so that guest can marvel at the night sky from under the covers. Astronomical tours and night-time horse rides are also on offer.
Elqui Domos, Camino Publico Pisco Elqui Horcon km3.5, Sector Los Nichos, Paihuano, Coquimbo, Chile (00 56 709 28 79; elquidomos.cl). Doubles from $101 (£72), with breakfast
Tiritiri Lodge, New Zealand
Floor-to-ceiling windows look on to Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps at this striking, modernist lodge. Le Corbusier recliners and one-off artworks set the tone inside the luxurious guest rooms, while an open-air lounge with sunken fireplace and Japanese Garden add to the appeal outside. However, the real focus is a high-powered telescope, available for guests to view the clear, southern skies at night.
Tiritiri Lodge, 8 Minaret Ridge, Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand (00 64 3443 2433; tiritirilodge.com). Doubles start at NZ$575 (£205), including breakfast
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