Ah, the desert. A place of simplistic beauty, peace and oh yeah, wild adventures, safaris, amazing spas and seriously good food and wine.
Although the deserts of the world have remained largely the same for centuries, the accommodations available within them have come a long way. But whether you’re looking for the good old fashion serenity that can only be found in these barren landscapes or something a little more refined, these five incredible desert getaways spanning five continents have got you covered.
1) Amangiri (Utah, United States)
Have you ever wanted to feel far away? Really, really far away. But the thing is, you don’t have time to fly to the other side of the world this week. Good news: there’s a place called Amangiri and it’s an other worldly oasis in the desert of southern Utah.
Meaning peaceful mountain, Amangiri is a member of the ultra-luxurious Aman Resorts family and one of only two Aman outposts in the United States. The seductive resort which is built around a pool that hugs a natural rock formation, effortlessly blends into the stark yet beautiful setting. A visit to Amangiri should be comprised of nothing but relaxing by the pool, eating, and trips to the spa for some flotation therapy (I’m not exactly sure what that is but it sounds awesome).
2) Explora Atacama (Chile)
If you’re looking to conquer the deserts of South America, well you’re too late, Spaniard Diego de Almagro already did that a few hundred years ago. But to fully understand, appreciate, and explore Northern Chile’s incredible Atacama Desert in a style that would make de Almagro proud, you’ll need to head for Explora Atacama’s Hotel de Larache.
Luxury and authenticity are balanced at this low-lying and rugged 50-room hotel with views of the Atacama and its volcanic mountains. But simply staring out at the view won’t do, so head over to the stables and choose from one of the hotel’s 26 horses which have been specifically trained to handle the local terrain. As you sip South American wine and night begins to fall, you’ll notice that the Atacama is home to some of the clearest skies in the world. Good thing Explora Atacama has outfitted the property with its very own observatory. Enjoy.
3) The Fort (Namibia)
If you prefer your deserts with more lions, leopards, and elephants, then The Fort in Namibia’s Onguma Private Game Reserve is for you. With 84,000 private acres of Namibian wilderness at your disposal, you’ll spend your days stalking (or being stalked by) the local wildlife. Morning game drives are followed by sunset game drives which are followed by night game drives, all of which are punctuated with fine meals and time spent staring out at the captivating dry plains and camel thorn trees that surround you.
The African, Moroccan and Indian inspired compound is comprised of 12 private, free standing suites, each with an indoor, and most importantly, outdoor shower. It’s time to become one with nature.
4) Banyan Tree Al Wadi (United Arab Emirates)
Lets say you’re in Dubai with a few buddies, one of whom happens to be a member of the royal family (and damn does that dude know how to have a good time). After a few days in the city, you’re now looking for less skyscrapers and more sand, so you head an hour northwest to Banyan Tree Al Wadi.
While you’re here, you and your compadres can relax by a pool, take advantage of the spa, or ride camels. OR you could hone your falconry skills with the Middle East’s first and only falconry course, then perfect your aim over at the archery range. Yeah, that sounds good.
5) Longitude 131 (Australia)
Ah the Outback, blooming onions, steak and shrimp, Australia’s red and wild interior. Home to fascinating Aboriginal culture, the famous Ayers Rock, a variety of strange animals that can probably kill you and one luxury resort: Longitude 131.
If you’re looking to take your mate on a romantic escape and the typical beachside resort won’t cut it this time, Longitude 131′s 15 eco-sensitive “tents” might just be what the love doctor ordered. During the day you’ll spend hours discovering the local flora and fauna with expert guides, and at night you’ll be left to enjoy three course meals and fine Australian wine under a blanket of stars. After that, it’s off to the real blankets.
Photo Credits: 1) Amangiri - Courtesy of Amanresorts. 2) Explora Atacama – Courtesy of Explora. 3) The Fort – Courtesy of Onguma. 4) Banyan Tree Al Wadi – Courtesy of Banyan Tree. 5) Longitude 131 – Courtesy of Voyages Longitude 131