There are many unique hotels all over the world. From the ones built on water, to those built high on the mountains. There are also a few built into the wall of mountains in the Swiss Alps and some built in form of tree houses in Norway. However, none is as unique or as extreme as the one built entirely from salt.
If you have ever wanted to spend the night in a ‘seasoned’ hotel, this is exactly what you will get if you visit Palacio de Sal in Bolivia. Strategically located at the edge of the world’s largest salt mine, this commercial hotel is constructed entirely from blocks of salt is completely seasoned in every sense of the word.
Read on to find out more about this unique hotel and whether it is worth paying a visit.
Necessity, they say is the mother of invention and this holds true for Palacio de Sal, located in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Originally built in 1998 as an extreme initiative by Juan Quesada Valda, who pioneered the establishment of salt hotels worldwide, Palacio de Sal is a hotel like no other. With its unique architecture and exotic ambience, the hotel creates a balance between the surrounding nature and an unforgettable stay.
Due to scarcity of building materials in the area where the hotel is located, Palacio de Sal is built entirely out of salt. The floor, ceiling and even a large chunk of the furniture is built from salt blocks. Visitors to this hotel can enjoy the complete hotel experience with more than a dash of salt. However, it may not be a very good idea to taste the furniture or lick the walls. In fact, Palacio de Sal enforces a strict to licking rule for guests in the hotel.
The original hotel built in 1998 while a success was difficult to manage as a result of problems with waste management. The hard ground of the area made it difficult for the hotel to create proper waste management systems and this made the premises to get overwhelmed with unsanitary conditions. The hotel was closed down in 2002. The current Palacio de Sal was constructed in 2007 and its current location moved closer to civilization. Learning from the previous mistake, the new structure was built with better plumbing and modern amenities while still maintaining the original architectural system of building from salt blocks. In fact, Palacio de Sal was built using more than one million 14-inch solid salt blocks. Now made up of 30 rooms, the hotel is more upscale than the first and entirely more comfortable.
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia where Palacio de Sal is located is the world’s largest salt mine. Salar de Uyuni is spread out in over 4000 miles of barren hot land where virtually nothing can grow. This area is extremely rich in minerals and is said to contain about 60% of the world’s total Lithium. Extracting and transporting this valuable natural resource was once a big business in this area. In fact, if you are in the mood for a long walk, you will come across the skeleton of old trains abandoned on the remains of the railway constructed by the British in the 1800s. All that is left are relics of a once thriving business enterprise. Visiting the graveyard of the mines and seeing the abandoned trains will be a poignant experience worth the trip to Salar de Uyuni.
Some people say that Salar de Uyuni is actually the dried up remains of a prehistoric lake but if you willing to pay credence to local legend, it is actually a lake of dried tears by a grieving mother.
Seen from space Salar de Uyuni looks like a very massive snow glacier but back here on earth, during the rainy season, a combination of sun and rain can make the whole land appear like a very massive mirror of sorts.
Despite this extremely barren and unfriendly climate, Salar de Uyuni has always been a tourist attraction and now it has the perfect hotel for visitors to stay.
Built like a palace, Palacio de Sal was constructed with comfort in mind. The hotel is no different from any high quality hotel you will find in many major cities of the world, except the saltiness.
- Rooms – Palacio de Sal boasts a total of 30 rooms, 21 of which are twin rooms and 9 double rooms. Apart from the distinct feature of being built entirely from blocks of salt, the rooms at this unique hotel are exceptional for their igloo like shapes with domed roofs. Each of the 30 rooms in Palacio de Sal has its own private bathroom, hot and cold water, electric or central heating.
- Standard Rooms – The 21 standard rooms at Palacio de Sal are of a different sort entirely. These rooms are big and comfortable enough to relax in and the entire furniture is made of salt. Tables, chairs, beds, walls, everything is made from blocks of salt.
- VIP Room – The VIP rooms in Palacio de Sal are even more unique than other rooms. They are also built in the igloo shape with dome roof made of salt. VIP rooms are built to compete with the standard of VIP hotels elsewhere in the world and carries all the usual features you will expect from a room of that class.
- Suite – Palacio de Sal suites are designed in such a way that you can enjoy a unique view of the wide expanse of salt land surrounding the hotel from the comfort of your bedroom or living area. The suites sport the same unique igloo shaped roofs seen all over the hotel and boasts a lot of modern amenities you will expect to find in a hotel suite.
Palacio de Sal also boasts a fully functional spa which features a steam room, a dry sauna, whirlpool bath and a saltwater pool. The hotel also has a unique hard salt surface 9-hole golf course that is opened from May to November every year, but you may need to book one month ahead in order to use it. Don’t forget the bar and restaurant that carries a wide range of drinks and delicacies plus the in house special – salted chicken.
if you are tired of staying in regular hotels and need something that is drastically different from the rest, you need to spend some time in Palacio de Sal. Only remember, licking is not allowed.