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Modern architectural building set in the Australian desert

Hot hotels: desert escapes

Expand your horizons by dwelling decadently among the dunes. Elizabeth Winding has the lowdown on seven unforgettable stays for stargazing, sandboarding, spa pampering and more

Modern architectural building set in the Australian desert

Longitude 131, Uluru, Australia

Seen from the air, this wilderness camp is a tiny speck in the Outback. Set against a vast expanse of rust-red dunes, it’s surrounded by Aboriginal land, with front-row views of Uluru – aka Ayers Rock. The scale makes it even more special, with just 15 stilted pavilions and a single two-bedroom villa, whose circular plunge pool comes with serious bragging rights. Every element of the camp feels attuned to its surrounds, from the use of wood throughout to the spa, which showcases bush botanicals (book in for a knot-easing massage, with irmangka irmangka balm). Floor-to-ceiling windows and dreamy terraces keep the focus firmly on Uluru, whose name pleasingly translates as ‘the great pebble’. Its colours shift throughout the day, but sunrise – seen from the comfort of your bed – is not to be missed. Jet lag or no, set an alarm for a life-affirming start to the day. Come the evening, memorable dinners are served under desert skies. Claim a table on the dune-top deck and watch the constellations emerge.

Get close to Uluru with one of the camp’s daily activities, from dawn walks to sunset drinks (and fancy canapés) with a view.

Stargazers will appreciate the terrace turndown service. Come back from dinner to find the outdoor fire flickering, the daybed cocooned in blankets and a choice of digestifs on hand.

Cowboy boot-clad staff can arrange all kinds of activities, from desert tours on Harley Davidsons to Aboriginal dot-painting classes, or dusk viewings of Bruce Munro’s Field of Light – a hypnotic, large-scale light installation.

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