The 7 Best Desert Hotels Around the World, From Luxe Lodges to Remote Camps

Luxe Travel Insider Guides Epic Stays
by Dayana Aleksandrova Mar 11, 2020

From minimalist resorts to forest gateways, there are plenty of creative ways to retreat into nature and enjoy an escape from your ordinary surroundings for a few days. And while many of us may find peace in a local park, surrounded by trees, you may find that something a little different is the way to go if you need to get away from work for a few days.

And there’s no better place than the desert to find true peace and quiet — and appreciate how small one person is against a vast sky full of stars. Fortunately, you need not rough it in the sand dunes (unless you want to) to get away from it all. Instead, just book a room (or tent, or dome) at one of these desert hotels, ranging from luxe lodges loved by celebrities to locally owned tented camps in remote deserts. At these seven desert hotels, you can replace your morning email checking with a hot air balloon ride or sunrise yoga session, both of which may be more productive ways to charge your battery for the coming day.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Emeraude Desert Camp


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Émeraude Luxury Camp (@emeraudecamp) • Instagram photos and videos

  • Closest city: Marrakech, Morocco
  • Starting rate: $214/night

The perfect peaceful escape from the hectic and bustling Marrakech medina is Emeraude Luxury Camp, one of the best desert hotels in Morocco near the dry-rock desert of Agafay. It’s a convenient alternative to the country’s far-flung desert hotels to the east in the Sahara, which require an extra eight or nine hours of driving from Fes or Morocco to reach. Agafay, conveniently, is only about 45 minutes from Marrakech.

Also different from the Sahara camps is the list of activities available at Emeraude, which is less about soaking up the remoteness of the desert and more about providing a high-end visitor experience. Upon arrival, you’ll be able to relax with a glass of Berber tea before checking into your Bedouin-style luxury tent, furnished with a private bathrooms with shower, a fireplace, and designer furniture made by local artisans — and outside is a stylish outdoor terrace.

The furnished outdoor space is particularly nice for sunbathing, sunrise meditation, and occasionally catching a glimpse of herds of goats passing by. All domes have access to the same stunning desert views, especially when sunset lights up the sand in pink and orange against the backdrop of the beautiful Atlas Mountains.

The camp offers a hot-air balloon ride through Ciel d’Afrique, the oldest tour company in Morocco. And the hotel can arrange any number of other activities, such as walks with camels, traditional pottery classes, or even transportation to the airport. But in the summer, you’ll probably want to spend most of your time at the outdoor pool.

Staying at this desert hotel includes all meals, most of which are traditional recipes, such as beef tagine with almonds and prunes, vegetarian hors d’oeuvre, and homemade bread. And every evening, there’s a campfire (and sometimes live Moroccan music and dancing), creating the perfect environment for snuggling with your travel partner, chatting with your fellow guests, or diving into a good book with a glass of merlot. The crisp air and starlit sky create the perfect atmosphere for a night of deep rest away from all screens.

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And Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

  • Closest city: Windhoek, Namibia
  • Starting rate: $662 per person, per night

If you’re going to stay in one of the top desert hotels, why not stay in the oldest dessert in the world, too?

Consider treating yourself to a high-end stay at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, set 57 miles into the world’s oldest desert — the Namib. The lodge was designed with sustainability at the forefront and is made entirely of glass and stone and fits naturally into the curve of the dessert. And thanks to sliding glass walls that blur the lines between inside and out — and enormous floor-to-ceiling windows that offer views in nearly all directions — it feels like you’re sitting in the middle of the desert, even when you’re tucked into one of the resorts sand-colored swing chairs inside the hotel’s lounge spaces.

Each cabin has an open veranda, a private plunge pool, a retractable skylight above the bed, and a fireplace for extra comfort. The shared spaces are highly focused on wellness and include a sunrise-view gym, a rim-flow pool, and an interactive kitchen. Truly secluded, the lodge can be accessed by plane via a private airstrip or in a 4×4 vehicle, both of which the hotel can arrange. The list of available activities and excursions is quite long, and guests can choose from guided desert hikes, stargazing, remote picnics, geology classes, private dinners, helicopter tours and more.

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Amangiri (@amangiri) • Instagram photos and videos

  • Closest city: St. George, Utah
  • Starting rate: $2,800 per night (double occupancy, includes all meals)

Amangiri is 600 acres of undisturbed tranquility and luxury in the desert of southern Utah. The desert hotel is in the state’s Canyon Country, surrounded by unique and stunning rock formations on all sides. It’s also extremely close to stunning parks on each side, including the — Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Escalante National Monument, and Zion National Park.

The property is about as remote as it gets, and it’s also about as five-star as it gets, which means stays here are certainly not inexpensive. But once you’re there, you’ll want for nothing. It’s one of the best desert hotels for travelers who want to stay busy, offering hiking of various difficulty levels, slot canyon tours, private helicopter rides, national park tours, cultural experiences, and just about anything else you could want.

Your time spent on property can be filled with yoga and meditation sessions, massages, and spa treatments focused on healing using Navajo techniques.  In the dining room, expect traditional Southwest cuisine with a side of dramatic views thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel works with the local community by sourcing all of the ingredients for its menu from a local Native American co-op. Accommodations range from “standard” desert-view suites to sprawling two-bedrooms with private pools and outdoor terraces with firepits.

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Wadi Rum Luxury Camp

Wadi Rum is one of the best desert hotels that won't break the bank. Shown here are 20 of the desert tents at sunset

Photo: Rum Luxury Camp

  • Closest city: Petra, Jordan
  • Starting rate: $144/night

Inspired by the local lifestyle and tradition, Wadi Rum Luxury Camp wants to show its guests the essence of Bedouin culture and teach them what it’s like to live nomadically amid the Jordan desert. Only a short drive away from the famous historical site of Petra, the camp has 25 tents, each of which comes with a king-size bed. Guests can also opt for one of 11 bubble rooms with transparent roofs crafted specifically for stargazing. The evening experience here includes an elaborate selection of traditional tabbouleh, hummus, and local snacks, after which guests gather by the fire to hear Bedouin stories and music and play games. The camp is a great opportunity to see the local lifestyle first-hand, as the population of Wadi Rum still consists of only a few hundred Bedouin families.

Wadi Rum Luxury Camp is proof that the best desert hotels don’t have to be the most expensive. While this property is certainly not on the same level as Amangiri, it’s equally unique and unusual, especially given the stunning red-rock surrounds. Staying here feels a bit like staying in valley on Mars in the absolute best way possible.

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Bab Al Shams Resort


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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort (@babalshamshotel) • Instagram photos and videos

  • Closest city: Dubai, UAE
  • Starting rate: $245/night

A quick 45-minute ride from the Abu Dhabi airport is Bab Al Shams, a true desert oasis. Guests can escape the mundane and treat themselves to lavish meals at the Al Hadheerah Restaurant, go for an archery lesson, and see a falconry exhibition. Those passionate about wildlife can even go on a desert tour and observe gazelles and Arabian Oryx in their native habitat; a dedicated guide helps guests explore the dunes for critters and provide recommendations on the most scenic spots to take in the stunning landscape and watch the sunset.

This is one of the best desert hotels for travelers who want desert views but not necessarily a fully tented experience. The resort has enough bars and restaurants (seven) to keep you happy for at least a week, especially as each focuses on a distinct element of the local cuisine. Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge serves Middle Eastern mezze in a romantic candlelit atmosphere, while Masala focuses on northern Indian flavors in an elegant dining room setting.

One of the downright coolest things about Bab Al Shams is how customized each stay is. If there’s something you want to do that isn’t on its menu of experiences, no problem. Just let them know what you want to do and the resort will make it happen. And since it’s near Dubai, there’s very little in the way of over-the-top experiences the resort can’t make happen.

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Desert Nights Camp, Oman


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Desert Nights Camp (@officialdesertnightscamp) • Instagram photos and videos

  • Closest city: Muscat, Oman
  • Starting rate: $204/night

Staying at Desert Nights Camp in Oman offers the chance to feel like you could craft your own  Scheherezade-esque tale for the next edition of 1001 Arabian Nights. Guests can spend their days exploring the Arabian desert on camelback and nights gathering by a large campfire to listen to local myths and legends.

The resort covers 10 desert acres offers both hotel rooms and tented suites. It has a slightly different feel from some of the luxury desert hotels above below with more of a “desert modern” decor, and rooms feature details like carved wooden headboards, thatched window covers, and built-in couches with colorful cushions.

A pool and room outside Oman's desert nights camp

Photo: Nights Camp

In addition to the usual activities offered at desert hotels, guests of Desert Nights Camp can add on a few more unique activities, like guided souk shopping visiting a Bedouin home, or hanging at an actual desert oasis. There is Wifi, but guests are invited to play board games, watch classics on DVD, and borrow from the on-site library instead of mindlessly scrolling through their phones — at least for a night (if you can).

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Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama


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Hoteles Cumbres (@hotelescumbres) • Instagram photos and videos

  • Closest city: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
  • Starting rate: $311/night

Secluded in the Atacama desert of Chile, Hotel Cumbres Atacama is one of the best desert hotels in South America. While staying at the property, guests can explore lagoons, saltpans, and geysers, or start their mornings with a little sunrise desert yoga. All of the hotel’s guides are members of Indigenous communities, and the hotel produces its own electricity and recycles water to irrigate the nearby gardens.

This is one of the best desert hotels for visitors who like to hike as it sits near some of the country’s best trails. Visitors can join guided hikes to the Valley of the Moon, the Altiplano lagoons, and the Rainbow Valley. And they’re not even pricey, with guided activities starting at just $35 per person. Mountain biking is also available, as are soaks in hot springs and trips to ancient ruins. It offers quite a lot more than you’d expect from the average middle-of-nowhere desert hotel.

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