South American businessman Pedro Ibañez built this lodge a decade ago on the edge of one of the world's highest, driest deserts (in some parts it hasn't rained for more than a century). In 2008, Explora Atacama re-modelled and re-named the then Hotel Larache and began picking up awards for the minimalist style and luxury they offered in the middle of this rugged, arid land. The 50-plus rooms line long low buildings, built around courtyards and pools. Inside, the rooms have rustic furniture, crisp Spanish linen, checked Alpaca blankets and splashes of bright, South American colour. There are also private whirlpool tubs. Once you have recovered from the altitude you can take guided excursions to hot springs and boiling geysers, desert horse rides or visit the vibrant blue waters of the salt flats, a popular spot for flamingos. Alternatively, you could simply sit on the terraces and marvel at the magnificence of the six souring snow-capped volcanoes that surround the hotel.