4/08/2013 11:06:00 AM

Checking In: Elqui Domos, Chile

Welcome to "Checking In," our weekly highlight of some of the most unique, interesting and out-of-the-way places to visit across the globe.  

About 360 miles north of the bustle of Santiago you'll find Chile's Elqui Valley, home to the boutique Elqui Domos hotel. This eight-year-old property is well worth the trek, particularly for astronomy fans who want to experience the legendary night skies of the region. Rooms here were designed with star-gazing in mind. "Domes" are made from metal piping covered by a PVC tent, with the bed at the highest point and a retractable roof right above, while "Observatory" rooms feature three levels including a roof deck and bedrooms with oversized windows angled in such a way that guests can lie in bed and watch the stars.

Reception in the main dome 
Poolside at Elqui Domos
The hotel's main dome includes a restaurant and a lounge, and there's also a small pool (checkout the timelapse video of the night sky around it below).

ZAGAT TIP: See the stars two ways with the hotel's excursions. The astronomic tour includes time on the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes in their observatory ($30 per room), while the two-hour horseback ride takes guests on a tour of the valley at night ($26 per person).

Rates from $125 per night during low season, $150 during high season 

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