World’s Top 12 Hotels for Stargazing

By Masha Vapnitchnaia

Some hotels have great swimming pools, some have incredible mini-bars. These have light-year-distant views into the cosmos.

1. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, Hawaii, United States

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Beach day, sky night.

After sunset guests head to the roof of this award-winning Maui hotel for the Tour of the Stars.

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The tour explains the planets, nebulas and other heavenly objects with the help of the hotel's director of astronomy, a pair of binoculars and telescope.

If you're looking for sparks closer to the ground, the Romance Tour for two comes with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Lahaina, Hawaii, USA; +1 808 661 1234;

2. Elqui Domos, Chile

Stars over the pool at Hotel Astronomico, Elqui Domos

There's almost no light pollution in the Elqui Valley.

Surrounded by peaks of the Andes, the arid Elqui Valley is the perfect setting for vineyards and also one of the best places for stargazing south of the equator.

Elqui Domos rooms include bi-level domes with terraces, a telescope poised at the window on the lower level and a retractable roof above the bed upstairs.

A star-lit, two-hour guided horseback ride through the valley includes a tutorial on reading the skies, while a more in-depth astronomy tour includes a visit to the on-site observatory.

Elqui Domos, Camino Publico Pisco Elqui a Horcon, kilometer 3.5, Pisco Elqui, Chile; +569 7709 2879;

3. 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, Switzerland

3100 Kulmhotel Gornergat

Stars above the Matterhorn.

Sitting 3,100 meters above sea level, 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat overlooks the snow-dusted, rocky peaks of the Swiss Alps, including the fang-like Matterhorn.

All the hotel's simple, airy rooms are named for one of the peaks in the area — some have views onto their namesakes.

Although skiing is the most popular area activity, the Kulmhotel is a favorite with amateur astronomers. At the top of two stone towers, observatories are equipped with everything a studious astronomer might need, but which, with a little guidance, even newbies can use.

The Starlight Dinner package includes a buffet dinner in the hotel's restaurant.

3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, 3920 Zermatt; +41 27 966 64 00;

4. Kirroughtree House Hotel, Scotland

Loch Lomond

There's an upside to Scotland's perpetual chill.

A converted 16th-century family mansion, this luxurious country hotel sits in Galloway Forest Park beneath some of the darkest night skies in Europe.  

The hotel's décor echoes the rich history of the house, with dark wood paneling, four-poster beds and fireplaces throughout rooms and suites.

The hotel offers several sky-watching packages, including Weekend Stargazers Breaks, which include two nights' accommodations with dinner at the hotel's award-winning restaurant, an in-depth talk with astronomer Steve Owens and a trip deep into the park, with complimentary cocoa.

Kirroughtree House Hotel, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway, DG8 6AN; +44 (0) 1671 402 141;

5. Sanctuary Baines' Camp, Botswana

Sky bath at Sanctuary Baines' Camp, Botswana

Most idyllic bathroom ever?

This intimate camp has five secluded suites overlooking the Boro River on the edge of the Moremi Game Reserve. 

The Okavango Delta is home to hippo, zebra and leopard, which you can observe from a jeep, canoe or even a helicopter.

A day of walking with elephants and watching lions on a game drive can be followed by an open-air bubble bath for two.

Once the sun goes down guests can count their stars, literally, from a four-poster "sky bed" wheeled onto a private deck.

Sanctuary Baines Camp, Boro River, Botswana; +27 (0) 11 438 4650;

6. Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort & Spa, Canary Islands

Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort & Spa, Canary Islands

Stars worth staying up for after a hard day by the pool.

The Gran Hotel Resort rules the southern beaches of Tenerife, with five pools (including one saltwater), 40 villas, 300 rooms and 10 restaurants.

A mixture of 19th-century colonial styles — brick-toned walls, rounded arches, thatched roofs — make the resort cozy.

The Gran Hotel even found room to build its own observatory. Some 300 kilometers off the coast of Africa, the island offers clear views after dark.

Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort & Spa, Avenida de Bruselas S/N, Costa Adeje; +34 922 74 69 00;

7. Ayers Rock Resort — Sails in the Desert Hotel, Australia

Ayers Rock Resort- Sails in the Desert Hotel, Australia

Not so deserted when you count the stars.

Set in the heart of the Australian Outback, this opulent hotel provides a stark contrast to the copper-red earth surroundings.

The popular Sounds of Silence open-air barbecue includes three courses of Australian and Aboriginal fare, such as barramundi and crocodile paired with local wines and followed by a tour of the southern desert sky.

The resort's Astro Tour uses iPads, telescopes and binoculars to let guests marvel at the Southern Cross and re-learn the basics of cosmology, such as how a star is born and why it emits light.

Ayers Rock Resort – Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara, Northern Territory 0872; +61 2 8296 8010;

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