10 Incredible Desert Hideaways that Melt into the Landscape

No longer just billowing tents exposed to the elements, today's desert camps are reimagining the landscape. Amangiri was the trailblazer, almost vanishing into the otherworldly Utah terrain, and paving the way for a crop of boundary-pushing hideouts. It's all about working with the environment - not against it. These next-level designs are blending into their natural surroundings: curving around rock formations, disappearing behind cliff faces, folding into foothills and rising from salt flats. The environments may be harsh, but the hotels soften the blow. These are 10 of the best.

These desert hotels are out of this world

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Amangiri

Canyon Point, United States

Amangiri is the poster child for desert hideaways. Its exact location is a well-kept secret, but we do know it’s disguised among the stark stretches of Canyon Point. The extraordinary retreat is almost completely camouflaged among the lunar landscape of Southern Utah. Backed by towering mesas, Amangiri weaves around a craggy sandstone escarpment; the huge hulk of ancient stone rising from the outdoor pool a natural design feature. A 25,000sq ft spa overlooks the ever-shifting spectacle beyond, with a lantern-lit outdoor pool sunken beneath the Earth’s moon-like surface.

Address

1 Kayenta Road, Canyon Point, Utah, 84741, USA

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Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Cradled in the belly of Catarpe Valley, this marmalade-coloured wilderness lodge occupies the world's highest and driest desert. The arid surroundings may be unforgiving, but Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is a haven from the relentless heat - six plunge pools are peppered throughout the grounds. Further outdoor baths, filled with water from underground springs, are part of the tranquil spa (home to geothermal treatments, no less). Elsewhere, there's a llama enclosure and a hilltop astronomical telescope for stargazing across the clear skies.

Address

Camino Pukará Suchor Ayllú de Quitor San Pedro de Atacama Chile

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Adrère Amellal Desert Ecolodge

Siwa, Egypt

Adrère Amellal could be straight out of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s certainly for intrepid types: the remote lodge is located in the Siwa Oasis on the fringes on the Great Sand Sea. At the foot of a looming cliff, the kershef-stone complex practically disappears into the rock face. The cluster of labyrinthine buildings and corridors is designed to look like Shali, an ancient village with hilltop fortress ruins nearby. There is no electricity here; beeswax candles illuminate rooms, perfect for that digital detox. There’s a spring-water pool, or you can swim in Siwa’s saltwater lakes.

Address

The White Mountain Ga'afar Siwa Matruh Egypt

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Al Faya Retreat

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Al Faya Lodge is the latest head-turner on the hotel scene. A pair of abandoned 60s buildings – a grocery shop and clinic – has been transformed into a five-bedroom boutique hotel in the Sharjah Desert. The latte-hued stone, combined with rust-red weathered steel, melts into the ochre sands at the foot of Mount Alvaah. You can stargaze from the comfort of your bed through vast skylights, while the new saltwater spa’s open-air pool overlooks the sun-baked landscapes for a swim with a view.

Address

Al Batayeh Al Faya Road Al Modam Road Sharjah United Arab Emirates

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Enchantment Resort

Sedona, United States

The fiery desert landscapes of Sedona’s Red Rock Country look like a scene from a Georgia O’Keeffe painting. Scattered throughout the forested grounds like boulders, the terracotta-toned villas of Enchantment Resort could almost be huge fragments chipped off the canyon walls. Guest rooms nod to traditional adobe casitas and have private terraces overlooking Boynton Canyon, while the adults-only Mii Amo Spa is influenced by Native American traditions.

Address

525 Boynton Canyon Road Sedona Arizona 86336 USA

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Six Senses Shaharut

Negev Desert, Israel

The long-awaited Six Senses Shaharut is due to open in late 2019, south of the Negev Desert. Here, carved into Israel’s ancient physical landscape, the luxury hotel overlooks the Arava Valley. Using local pale russet stone for the walls and roofs, the cluster of buildings slips easily into the surroundings. Outdoor lights are positioned carefully and sparingly so as to not disturb the dark skies – a stargazer’s mecca. The 58 rooms and suites will sit alongside a restaurant, spa and swimming pool. Opens December 2019.

Address

Six Senses Shaharut Arava Valley Negev Desert Israel

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Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Qasr Al Sarab is hidden among the caramel dunes near Liwa Oasis. Almost invisible from afar – twinkling lanterns the only giveaway – the fortress-like complex materialises like a mirage. The magical vibe continues as you cross a lantern-lit bridge before entering a shady oasis of palm-lined courtyards dotted with water fountains. It’s all about the views here: an infinity-edge pool and rooftop restaurant look out over the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert – it’s flame-like at sunset. With such a dramatic setting, you can see why Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed here.

Address

Liwa Desert Qasr Al Sarab Road 1 Jurayrah United Arab Emirates

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Mihir Garh

Khandi, India

When you see the Mihir Garh draped in light at golden hour, it’s easy to understand the inspiration behind its name, meaning “Fort of the Sun”. An hour’s drive from Jodhpur, the stillness of the Thar Desert is only disturbed by Marwari horses galloping past in a cloud of dust. In all its isolated splendour, the formidable fortress rises from the vanilla dunes like a giant sandcastle. The complex nods to local architecture, while inside there are just nine fire-warmed suites; some with plunge pools, others with hot tubs. The tranquil Vilasa Spa draws on local desert ingredients in its treatments.

Address

Khandi Rajasthan 306421 India

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Kokopelli’s Cave

Farmington, United States

The sheer Ojo Alamo cliff face conceals this unconventional hideout. Perched above La Plata River Valley, Kokopelli’s Cave was originally built as an office for owner, geologist Bruce Black, but is now an overnight rental. Like something out of The Flintstones, the 1,700sq ft rock-hewn space makes room for an en-suite bedroom, lounge, kitchen and kiva (a traditional ceremonial room). There’s no WiFi, but you won’t need Instagram with the terrace views – the iconic Four Corners: Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

Address

87 Road 1980 Farmington New Mexico 87401 USA

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Palacio de Sal

Colchani, Bolivia

This is a desert hideaway with a difference: the desert’s made of salt – and so is the hotel. The remote Palacio de Sal rises from the banks of the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni, in southwest Bolivia. Rooted in its surroundings, everything from the ceilings to the furniture and sculptures is made from salt. There’s even a sign saying guests can’t lick the walls, to avoid damaging the structure. You’ll hunker down on a bed made from salt in an igloo-style room, and can use the spa with saltwater pool and (salt) sauna.

Address

Orillas Salar de Uyuni 0000 Colchani Bolivia

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