Empty, endless expanses of sand, sky, and stars—deserts are some of the last remaining places to experience true wilderness on earth. Their profound spiritual beauty comes from that which also makes them so formidable: The stark severity and engulfing emptiness are enough to challenge even the bravest of adventurers. But a trip to the desert doesn’t always have to be so demanding. A crop of new design-forward hotels is blooming in deserts around the world, not fighting against the harsh environment but instead embracing it.
Namibia has shot straight to the top of the bucket list for many intrepid travelers, and there is no shortage of high-design hotels to choose from in the surreal and striking Namib Desert. Recently renovated in a full rebuild, the minimalist interiors of andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge are neatly dressed in natural materials, and decorated with desert minerals and gems like agate and quartz. As the lodge is set in a certified Dark Sky Reserve, glass is another prominent design feature, ensuring the night skies—which are some of the darkest on earth—are on full display. Also on-site, guests will find a state-of-the-art observatory managed by the resident astronomer.
A study in soothing, sun-blasted neutrals and landscaped with native cacti and desert blooms, the 58-room Six Senses Shaharut, slated to open in spring 2020, has been designed to blend in with the desert topography of Negev Desert’s Arava Valley. Amenities will include camel stables, an open-air amphitheater cinema cut from preexisting contours in the terrain, and a Bedouin-tented dining area complete with firepit.
Architectural Digest is an American monthly magazine founded in 1920. Its principal subject is interior design, rather than architecture more generally. The magazine is published by Condé Nast, which also publishes international editions of Architectural Digest in China, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Mexico, and Latin America.