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.
The Jacada team assembled their favorite stargazing destinations and hotels in the world. 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 travellers will see a sparkling tapestry of stars when looking 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.
The Torridon, Scotland
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 visitors 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, travellers 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.
Torfhús Retreat, Iceland
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 Jacada’s favourite luxury hotels for stargazing in the Middle East.
4. Hayat Rum – Jordan
In the vast valley 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 travellers have to do is step outside their 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.
Adrére Amellal, Egypt. Photo by Omar Hikal
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 travellers 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, making it possible 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.
Origins, Costa Rica
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 to 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. Travellers 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.
MV Sylvia Earle, Prospect Point, Antarctica. Photo by Richard I’Anson
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. Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent offer some of the most spectacular stargazing anywhere on earth, often complemented by pristine beaches and balmy temperatures. Here are Jacada’s 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. Travellers can also enjoy the stars during bespoke experiences like a ‘galaxy dinner’ on the sand or an astronomical dinner cruise.
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
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, travellers 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 Jacada’s favourite hotels for stargazing in Australasia.
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat, New Zealand
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.
Longitude 131º, Australia
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.
Tswalu – The Motse Camp, South Africa
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. Travellers can choose between staying 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 travellers are immersed in total silence and darkness, leaving nothing to contemplate, but the shimmering stars in peace.
Wilderness Little Kulala, Namibia
17. Wilderness Little Kulala – Namibia
Nambia has some of the most isolated and ethereal landscapes in Africa: most notably the undulating red dunes of Sossusvlei. This is where travellers will 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, a magical place to get lost in the stars.
Molori Lodge, South Africa
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 a private deck or pool and make use of the 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. Guests enjoy the view from the rooftop bar, their private terrace or even their star bed.