There are some places that are hard to interpret to their full glory in photographs. Chile’s Atacama Desert is one of these places.

The images you see of these valleys often compared to the moon and mars are impressive, but when you step foot off the plane in Northern Chile and begin to see these landscapes for yourself it’s a whole other level.

“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul” – Kandinsky

Usually, the issue is the colours. It is difficult to transmit the colours of the desert on camera.

Very few manage it, but among this select number is photographer Anthony Van Stratum who recently stayed at our Relais & Chateaux lodge and photographed his experience. 

Colours of the desert 

The warmth, depth and contours seen in these photographs show the unique landscapes of the Atacama Desert.

 Below, you can see how we have brought these same colours into the interiors of Awasi Atacama, our 12-room desert lodge.

Authenticity and sense of place are both central in the design at all three Awasi lodges.

Shaped by local hands

Age-old Andean techniques have been used in the construction of Awasi Atacama. 

Local artisans spent two years fashioning the adobe bricks used to construct the iconic round rooms at Awasi Atacama. These techniques have remained largely unchanged in the region for thousands of years. The bricks were moulded by hand on site, slowly baking in the sun behind the hotel.

Time and space as the greatest privileges 

“Awasi Atacama is at least a 10-star hotel,” writes a guest from Santa Monica who stayed with us in June 2022. “In a category of its own, Awasi’s food, villas, service, and experiences are unmatched by any other hotel in the area. Every villa comes with its own guide and a 4×4 vehicle to take you to any excursion you wish to do. Completely private. Completely taylor-made. To me, that luxury of privacy on your own time is worth every penny. The staff have become our friends, and we cannot wait to see them again soon!”

Photo of Vallecito by Antony van Stratum

If these photographs inspire you to start planning your own trip to Awasi Atacama, just send us an email ( and we will happily talk through options and dates. 

Awasi Atacama is the only Relais & Chateaux lodge in Northern Chile. The experience is personalised and unique from the moment you arrive. Awasi Atacama is a luxury lodge with the best accommodation, gastronomy and excursions.