19 Top Luxury Hotels Worldwide for Stargazing
Published on: October 23rd, 2017
Last modified: November 15th, 2023
Stargazing is one of the most mesmerising activities to enjoy in remote destinations around the world. The best luxury hotels and resorts turn this seemingly simple experience into something truly special, with panoramic skylights, star beds, observatories, expert guides and exclusive access to the top spots to see constellations, eclipses or the northern lights.
If you’re wondering where to find the best stargazing in the world, look no further. Chile’s Atacama Desert is generally considered the best of the best, but there are plenty of other places to observe the wonders of the night sky – whether through the lens of ancient cultures or modern technology. Just try to avoid nights with a full moon, when stars are less visible.
Best Hotels for Stargazing in Europe
Europe may have its fair share of bustling cities, but it’s also full of certified dark-sky areas. The more remote the destination, the more likely you are to see a sparkling tapestry of stars when you look skyward. Here are some of the best luxury hotels for stargazing in Europe, from the quieter corners of Scotland and Portugal to the isolated beauty of Iceland.
1. The Torridon – Scotland
This boutique resort in the Scottish Highlands boasts some of the world’s darkest skies. The Torridon offers a fantastic stargazing experience with dinner and a presentation by an expert astronomer, who will then take you out to see the Milky Way and more. This is offered from November to March, and conditions are ideal during the new moon or crescent moon phase.
2. São Lourenço do Barrocal – Portugal
In Portugal’s idyllic Alentejo region, São Lourenço do Barrocal is an old farming village transformed into an oasis of tranquil luxury. It’s set within the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, the world’s first Starlight Tourism Destination. Here you can learn directly from the reserve’s astronomers, use state-of-the-art telescopes and visit the two observatories nearby.
3. Torfhús Retreat – Iceland
The cosy cottages of Torfhús Retreat, near Iceland’s Golden Circle, are an ideal escape in the heart of the rugged wilderness. Much of Iceland offers epic stargazing thanks to low light pollution, but Torfhús is a particularly special place to enjoy the stars and even the northern lights. Just remember that summer isn’t ideal for stargazing, with nearly 24 hours of daylight.
Best Hotels for Stargazing in the Middle East
The Middle East is home to some of the world’s oldest civilisations, awe-inspiring landscapes and truly stunning stargazing. There’s nothing quite like the desert sky at night, and both Jordan and Egypt boast the sweeping dunes and brilliant stars that define the desert landscape. Here are our favourite luxury hotels for stargazing in the Middle East.
4. Hayat Rum – Jordan
In the vast valley of Wadi Rum you’ll find the sustainability-focused escape of Hayat Rum. This luxurious camp is set deep within the desert, making it a privileged location for some of the country’s best stargazing. All you have to do is step outside your tented suite and look up to get lost in the glorious sky – or enjoy a starlit dinner of authentic regional cuisine.
5. Adrére Amellal – Egypt
The Siwa Oasis is one of the most magical spots in the Egyptian Sahara, known for its natural pools and swaying palms. Adrere Amellal is its most authentic and sustainable hotel, operating without plastic or electricity. With only candles to illuminate the night, the stars shine especially bright here. Make sure to bring warm clothes, as desert nights can get chilly.
Best Hotels for Stargazing in Latin America
Latin America promises endless expanses of natural beauty, from the glittering glaciers of Patagonia to the lush forests of Costa Rica. Countries like Chile and Argentina are home to some of the planet’s best places to see the stars, and you can even witness the southern lights on an exciting Antarctica cruise. Here are the top hotels for stargazing in Latin America.
6. Origins – Costa Rica
Surrounded by the untouched beauty of Rio Celeste, this retreat really feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Each of Origins’ opulent lodges features a conical roof with a skylight for stargazing, allowing you to see the stars of both hemispheres at once. Its mountainside location means there are also incredible nighttime views from the balconies and infinity pool.
7. CasaMolle – Chile
It’s no secret that the Atacama Desert is a world-class spot for stargazing with the clearest night sky in the world, but the Elqui Valley at its southern edge is still largely undiscovered by tourists – and just as spectacular as the rest of it. This is where you’ll find CasaMolle, a gorgeous boutique resort that offers stargazing excursions with private guides and vehicles, including a visit to a nearby astronomical observatory.
8. Eolo – Argentina
In a privileged location between the Perito Moreno Glacier and El Calafate, this elegant hotel prioritises views of its surroundings – and the sky – from panoramic windows and decks. You can use the telescope in its library or outdoors to observe the stars, or book an exclusive astronomy tour. Eolo isn’t too close to the main town, so light pollution is especially low here.
9. Sylvia Earle – Falkland Islands & South Georgia
The Sylvia Earle is a cutting-edge ocean explorer built specifically for remote expeditions at sea. Embark on a voyage to Antarctica from the southern tip of South America, passing through the Falkland Islands and South Georgia on the way. These are some of the best places to see the majestic southern lights, or ‘aurora australis’, in the entire hemisphere.
Best Hotels for Stargazing in Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
Asia is the largest continent in the world, with an enormous variety of landscapes, climates and cultures to match. In Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent you’ll find some of the most spectacular stargazing anywhere on earth, often complemented by pristine beaches and balmy temperatures. Here are our best spots for stargazing in Asia.
10. Soneva Kiri – Thailand
Located on the fourth-largest island in Thailand, this is a sophisticated sanctuary amidst the secluded paradise of Koh Kood is one of the best places to stargaze in the world. Soneva Kiri is perfectly situated for stargazing, and even has its own observatory and resident astronomer. You can also enjoy the stars during bespoke experiences like a ‘galaxy dinner’ on the sand or an astronomical dinner cruise.
11. Soneva Fushi – The Maldives
The Maldives are a legendary destination for wellness and natural beauty, and Soneva Fushi is among the archipelago’s most luxurious places to stay. Here you can enjoy picture-perfect tropical beaches by day and unbelievably starry skies by night. Visit the observatory to use its state-of-the-art telescope, or simply stretch out on the velvety sand and gaze skyward.
Best Hotels for Stargazing in Australasia
Australasia encompasses Australia and New Zealand, both of which are known for their low population density and breathtaking scenery. These island countries offer plenty of places to explore during daylight hours – and when night falls the sky comes alive with constellations, planets and twinkling stars. Here are our favourite hotels for stargazing in Australasia.
12. Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat – New Zealand
As its name suggests, Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is set on the shores of a tranquil lake with privileged views of Aoraki Mount Cook: the highest mountain in New Zealand. It’s also within the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Enjoy world-class stargazing from the Pukaki Wine Cellar and Observatory, which has an advanced telescope and retractable roof.
13. Longitude 131º – Australia
Surrounded by the stark beauty of the Australian Outback, this exclusive desert lodge is an outstanding place to connect with the natural world. Don’t miss Longitude 131º’s signature dining experience: a private starlit dinner among the dunes, after which the lodge’s resident astronomer will explain the secrets of the stars and their roles in Aboriginal mythology.
Best Hotels for Stargazing in Africa
The immense continent of Africa holds a special place in our hearts. Its wealth of wildlife, cultural diversity and jaw-dropping natural wonders make it ideal for adventurous travellers, families and honeymooners alike. Each of its 54 countries has its own distinctive allure – but dazzling night skies are a common thread. Here are the best hotels for stargazing in Africa.
14. Saruni Samburu – Kenya
The Samburu National Reserve boasts some of the best wildlife viewing in Kenya, and Saruni Samburu is the perfect place to enjoy it. Situated high in the Kalama Mountains, this stylish lodge offers just six luxury villas, unequalled views of the surroundings and ideal conditions for stargazing: dry weather, clear skies, high altitude and hardly any light pollution.
15. Tswalu – South Africa
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is absolutely enormous and privately owned, making it one of the most exclusive safari destinations in South Africa. You can stay at Motse Camp or the Tarkuni private residence to enjoy the best of the Kalahari and its sublime night sky. Go on a nighttime game drive to learn all about the stars with the help of a highly advanced mobile telescope.
16. Jack’s Camp – Botswana
Located amidst the surreal landscapes of the Makgadikgadi Pans, this authentic tented camp has a nostalgic feel to it. Jack’s Camp is one of the more remote places to stay in Botswana, and the landscape itself really takes centre stage here. Once the sun sets you’ll be immersed in total silence and darkness, leaving you to contemplate the shimmering stars in peace.
17. Wilderness Little Kulala – Namibia
Namibia has some of the most isolated and ethereal landscapes in Africa: most notably the undulating red dunes of Sossusvlei. This is where you’ll find Wilderness Little Kulala, a boutique lodge with just 11 sumptuous suites – some boasting private rooftops for stargazing. With incredibly dark skies and no one else for miles around, it’s a magical place to lose yourself in the stars.
18. Molori – South Africa
The malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve is home to a wide variety of habitats and wildlife, as well as the outstanding Molori lodge. Its name means ‘to dream’ in the Setswana language, and its five ultra-luxurious suites are dreamy indeed. Privacy is a priority here; observe the stars in peace from your private deck or pool, and make use of your suite’s own telescope.
19. Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa – Zanzibar
The fascinating island of Zanzibar, located off the coast of Tanzania, is among the best destinations in Africa for a coastal escape. Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa promises pure beachside bliss and lavish private villas – not to mention idyllic stargazing. Enjoy the view from its rooftop bar, your own private terrace or even a star bed.
Where to stay
MoloriMolori’s five vast suites are distanced for more privacy and designed to the starry heights of infinite, open-sided African chic. At the hand of celebrated South African interiors master Stephen Falcke, the lodge’s perfectly attuned style is not too overboard to disconnect you from the surroundings. A well-balanced blend of international fittings and furnishings sit well next to more regional equivalents and art, a good example being the glass chandeliers that dangle from the steep thatch-roof ceilings. Each of the suites enjoys a pleasing amount of seclusion being well-spaced apart and with their own private decking, infinity plunge pools not to mention magnificent views of the Dwarsberg mountains and surrounding bush of the Madikwe. The two 600sqm presidential suites (Metsi and Molelo) are decorated to the zenith of luxury with Phillippe Starck bathtubs, Fendi loungers and Swahili tables – but again, the glitz is played down to make way for the breath-taking surrounds. The main lodge features a fantastic, world-class Spa to help you relax and really unwind in this wild setting, plus Molori usually places a celebrated chef in residence for some of the country’s best fine dining on safari.
EoloEolo sits on a 10,000-acre estancia in the Patagonian steppe between the town of El Calafate and the majestic Perioto Merino glacier. The hotel has been built to ensure that wherever you are, you can take in these incredible views. Eolo is centred around a courtyard garden, a nifty bit of architecture that means guests can enjoy the great outdoors whilst being protected from the wild Patagonian winds. There are 17 beautiful rooms characterised by pastel colours and simple lines. Nothing is overly complicated here, simplicity is key when your surroundings are so dramatic. There are no televisions in the rooms, instead guests are encouraged to curl up on one of the sofas that are placed in front of the large picture windows. Eolo was inspired by the historic estancias of the area and you’ll find antiques, maps, telescopes and lots of other traditional touches. The food at Eolo is a real highlight. Excellent local, seasonal produce is used to create a dynamic and exciting menu. The views that await from your dining table make the experience even sweeter. This is an area begging to be explored, and there are plenty of activites on offer. Hiking, horseriding, birdwatching and mountain biking are some of the experiences to keep you busy. At the hotel itself there is an area for relaxation with a small heated pool, dry sauna and massage room. All meals and non-alcoholic drinks are included during your stay at Eolo.
Torridon HotelSet within 58 acres of parkland at the foot a sea loch, Torridon Hotel enjoys a truly idyllic location that lets guests really appreciate the rugged beauty of the Highlands. 18 bedrooms feature bold prints and quirky accessories, many coming with freestanding bathtubs and views out across the loch and towards the Torridon Mountains. The 1887 Restaurant offers a daily changing three, four or seven-course menu using ingredients sourced from the kitchen garden. Apples, blackberries and raspberries help make the sweetest of pudding, and vegetables and herbs make their way onto the plate within hours of being picked. Highland cattle, chickens and Tamworth pigs are also reared on the estate. For a pre or post-dinner tipple, make your way to the whisky bar – with over 350 labels you’re certainly not going to go thirsty. With such a formidable landscape on your doorstep, you’ll want to check out the range of activities offered by the hotel. The adventurous may with to go mountaineering, gorge scrambling or coasteering; take to the loch in a kayak or canoe; or try your hand at archery or clay pigeon shooting. Of course, curling up in front of the fire or enjoying afternoon tea while looking out across the ever-changing landscape is as fine a way to spend your times as any.
Soneva KiriSituated on Thailand’s fourth largest island, Soneva Kiri offers guests a sanctuary of unspoilt exotic luxuries. The sophisticated private villas encompass all the modern amenities you could desire including Wi-Fi, a personal swimming pool and a sun deck. Ranging from one bedroom suites to vast five bed private beach reserves, there is something here that can fit everyone’s needs. The extensive choice of restaurants here provides traditional Thai food as well as Mediterranean favourites. For a truly unique experience take part in Soneva Kiri’s unusual Treepod Dining. Dine on delicious cuisine in a bamboo pod six metres up in the rainforest, enjoy the stunning sea and jungle views while an acrobatic waiter serves you. Other distinctive services available include The Den, a fun and safe children’s club, and the Cinema Paradiso where both classic and contemporary films are shown outside with American popcorn and hamburgers served alongside the movies. The joy of being at Soneva Kiri is not just in the destination and accommodation but also the journey. For a memorable entrance to Soneva Kiri, on arrival into Bangkok airport, guests have the option of being whisked to a private terminal where they will board the resorts seven-seater private plane to be rewarded with spectacular aerial views of the island and Gulf of Thailand.
Mt Cook Lakeside RetreatOn the doorstep of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the exclusive Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is set in a forest wilderness by the azure waters of Lake Pukaki, with spectacular, uninterrupted views towards the Southern Alps and Aoraki Mt Cook itself, New Zealand’s highest mountain. There is a range of accommodation options, from the private two-bedroom Ashley Mackenzie Villa and the Moraine Villas that overlook the magnificent Ben Ohau ranges, to the two-bedroom Pukaki Homestead, located just 350 metres from the villa. Breakfast provisions and a three-course evening meal are included. Visit the garden and choose your favourite vegetables for dinner. The garden is bursting with berries, herbs and vegetables – for everything else, pureness and authenticity are paramount when it comes to suppliers. The retreat is located in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. In the company of your hosts, enjoy a superb stargazing experience. Guests also have access to a tennis court, pétanque, croquet, and curling rink (winter).