Luxury holiday in Atacama Desert, Chile
“I’ll just bring you a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc to the Jacuzzi, sir.”
The sun was stubbing itself into in an orangey cinder after a day of baking Chile’s Atacama desert.
I was recently checked-in at the five star Alto Atacama hotel, thirsty and a bit dusty after an arrival then private tour to the Valley of the Moon. I’d casually mentioned to a member of staff that I was heading for a soak when the drink was proffered.
With freshly washed white towels and gowns everywhere, I simply slipped into the warm waters with mountain views, accepted the glass and snacks that came, and acquiesced when I was asked if I would like another.
This was my welcome to luxury travel, the Alto Atacama way.
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“My goodness, I’ve never seen such a big bed,” was my partner’s reaction once we made it from pool to our suite.
Six souls could sleep in that bed without touching another person, an enormous rectangle replete with comfy cushions, soft linen and a view to the gardens.
The outdoor, private shower had stars for a ceiling, the terrace overlooked beautiful scenery and this was all within the flowing design of the hotel Alto Atacama.
Staff drift around effortlessly, making sure your every whim is or will be catered for, with excellent chefs serving up a plethora or stunning dishes from morning to night.
You can get top class massages, swim, cycle into town or just read and snooze in the many peaceful corners of the hotel.
And don’t worry if you ever feel hungry, thirsty or active – staff seem to tune in to your moods and know when to appear and offer an aperitif!
It’s very easy to drift into a slow routine, and an essential part to staying in top range hotels is to do exactly that.
The private 4x4 vehicles and range of tours to enjoy from Alto Atacama are also breath taking.
There is not enough time to do them all so talking to the staff is an ideal way to get a grip of the must-sees for you, as well as how much energy you wish to expend.
After the beauty of the Valley of the Moon, we enjoyed a lovely walk through the Quebrada de los Cardones – a huge cacti that grow 1cm a year. The walk through the valley with the small, fast flowing river, was a real treat.
Of course the Salt Lakes are popular, with its flamingos and other worldly feel, and a top tip is to visit for sunset, when not many folk are around
The Tatio geysers are a big draw, and we felt very smug after bathing in the hot thermals when we were presented with a buffet breakfast fit for Kings and Queens – at 4,300m!
Atacama is a once-in-a-lifetime destination, and the Alto Atacama was the same as a hotel to stay in, in this incredible part of the world.
When I look back to my 5 days there, there is nothing I would do differently at all, nothing the staff or the hotel itself could have provided that I could have wanted.
My favourite memory is on the last night, they lit us a private fire as we sat sipping a lovely gin and tonic, blankets on our knees, staring out at a sky awash with stars.
Life cannot always be like this, but it can be, and when it is, the memories never leave you.
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