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November 2014

For hundreds and hundreds of years the night skies have been of interest to not only astronomers, but the greater public, as bright stars beckon even the most untrained eyes upwards. Wondering what secrets the atmosphere contains is only a natural reaction. Many of the properties in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio have literally aligned themselves with the stars offering guests views, experiences and even telescopes to better appreciate the natural magnificence. 

Star gazing is all about planning ahead. In 2015, Grand Hotel Parker’s in Naples, Italy is planning a themed package for guests called ‘ …e accendiamo le stelle’, which translates to ‘ turn the stars on’, where all electrical lights will be turned off as of midnight so patrons can experience the starry vault on Naples Bay with provided telescopes. According to the Astronomical Falling Stars chart, guests will experience a flurry of shooting stars called ‘Nessun Dorma’ (none shall sleep).

Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali takes a non-traditional approach to the skies and offers a once in a life time innovative experience where guests lie weightlessly on a floating platform. Guests take in the enormity of the universe above whilst listening to a specially selected soundtrack designed to soothe the soul. The tranquil experience, called Starlight Gazing, is a perfect blend of nature's simplicity with the hi-tech fusion of ultra-meditation music and is the ideal way to end the night. Alternatively Gaya Island Resort offers a Bajau Laut Beach BBQ on the magnificent Malohom Bay where visitors can dine on a feast highlighting the bounty of the land and sea, grilled to perfection on skewers over hot coals. Tableside telescopes allow guests to wander the night sky in wonderment.

Rosapetra Spa Resort in the Dolomites, allows visitors to touch the sky with their fingertips via The Helmut Ullrich Astronomical Observatory on Col Druscie which organizes guided tours lasting 90 minutes, where guests can gaze at the most spectacular objects in the sky including the moon, planets, double stars, nebulae and galaxies. The observatory offers an unforgettable experience under a “natural cupola” which is 1780 metres from the foot of the Tofane Mountains.

Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia, Canada is the most dedicated stargazer in the SLH collection. Not only have they offered guided star gazing for the past three years by their resident astronomers, but they have recently launched new facilities for astronomical observation, including a new observation platform and new telescopes. The Lodge is located in the heart of a distinct dark zone with almost no light pollution and the new wooden star gazing platform is located in a riverside meadow well away from the surrounding forest, and at a height of about 12 meters, allowing for nearly unobstructed 360-degree views of the sky. The facility was christened by renowned astrophysicist Professor Antonia Varela Perez of the Canaries Astrophysics Institute, an expert in site location for observatories. Trout Point Lodge also has a variety of telescopes, binoculars, a Sky Quality Meter, and laser pointers available for guests. This includes a Coronado 60 mm solar telescope (for day time viewing of solar activity and the sun), a 10" Meade telescope, and more portable Celestron 130 mm computerized telescopes and astronomical binoculars.

Hotels that magnify:
Couple a spectacular hotel stay with sneaking a moment away to appreciate the night sky. Many SLH properties are well equipped with telescopes to allow for just that. The Maldives, with the low light pollution should top the chart for the keenest of star gazers. Kandolhu Island, Male has a high powered Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope for guest use – where they can appreciate an especially good view of the Milky Way. L’AND Vineyard in Portugal has created Sky View Suites - allowing guests to literally sleep under the stars of Alentejo's unspoiled skies with opening roofs in the bedroom suites, taking star gazing to a whole new level of luxury.
Other hotels that offer telescope sky viewing include: Entre Cielos, in Mendoza, Argentina, TomTom Suites in Istanbul, Turkey, and Las Alamandas Resort in Costalegre, Mexico.

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