If you’re longing to gaze at star-strewn skies, you’re not alone. The past few years have seen a rise in astro-tourism, with travelers seeking out destinations where the clearest, darkest skies in the world provide the perfect canvas for celestial sights.
Booking.com, which offers more great places to stay in the world than any other travel brand, has looked at some of the most popular accommodations in destinations for stargazing ― so be prepared to be completely starstruck.
One of the best places to view the stars happens to bear an odd resemblance to Mars, as some parts of the Atacama haven’t seen rain in 400 years.
Popular among travelers who endorsed San Pedro de Atacama for stargazing is the boutique Hotel Pascual Andino, which features cozy, elegant rooms. Enjoy a soak in the jacuzzi under the clear sky or, if you want some privacy, you can admire the starry night from your own private terrace.
The Saharan dunes of Merzouga reach over 1,000 feet in height. A camel ride here with the welcoming Berber population is a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. But it’s dusk when the show really begins. The stunning desert sunset is only a prelude to a night sky spectacle that will leave you starstruck at the beauty of the universe.
Kasbah Azalay Merzouga is beautiful stay, a short journey from the center of Merzouga and only a quick walk away from the golden Erg Chebbi Sand Dunes. The concierge can organize camel riding and sand duning to make the most of your desert escape. When you’re not exploring the desert, you can soak up the Moroccan sun relaxing by the poolside.
3. Sedona, USA
Though it can get pretty chilly out in the Arizona desert, it’s worth it to get away and see the beautiful night sky revealed. In Sedona you can discover cosmic wonders like the Andromeda galaxy, but it’s best to grab a tour with a telescope so you can marvel in the sight of binary stars, the Orion nebula and a whole lot more.
Located along Oak Creek and offering beautiful views of the Red Rocks is the Amara Resort and Spa. The spa here is award winning and the hotel offers stylish and modern rooms with balconies where you can enjoy stunning desert views. Take advantage of the free morning yoga classes and enjoy sun salutations under the Arizona sun. Afterwards you can cool off in the stunning infinity pool or enjoy a cocktail out on the sun terrace.
Mt John Observatory ticks all the boxes ― it’s located in the world’s largest dark sky reserve, its home to New Zealand’s largest telescope, and it also has gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
Lake Tekapo Holiday Homes are scattered around the outskirts of the stunning Lake Tekapo Village and are only a short drive to Lake Pukaki. The vacation homes have great features, including balconies overlooking the stunning mountains and private BBQ facilities to cozy up next to.
While Wadi Rum is also known as The Valley of the Moon, it’s the stars that steal the show when night falls on the desert. For a transcendent experience, head out with a Bedouin guide and spend the night under a canopy of stars.
The Kempinski Hotel Aqaba is a short walk from Aqaba city and is perfect for those seeking tranquility. The rooms are bright and offer views overlooking the gorgeous red sea. The pool borders white sandy beaches and a lounge area under bamboo trees. Try out the water sports such as jet-skiing, banana boat riding, parasailing and scuba diving.
Best Accommodation: Kempinski Hotel Aqaba
The Observatorio del Teide in Vilaflor, Spain is one of the best places in the northern hemisphere to stargaze. Scientists from all over the world come here to study. As a visitor, you can have a free tour and add your name to the list of those who’ve looked through the mammoth telescopes.
Hotel Rural San Miguel is far removed from downtown and situated among beautiful gardens. Made up of two 17th-century country houses, the hotel has rooms which still have old-century décor but with all the comforts of modern living. For those looking for a peaceful hotel, you’ll find a sauna, hot tub and even a hot spring bath. You’ll unwind in no time.