Palacio de Sal (meaning Salt Palace) is a hotel and spa in Bolivia where the walls and furniture are made entirely of salt. The hotel is located on the edge of the Great Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats, which spans across 10,582 sq. km (4,086 sq. miles). Guests are apparently politely asked to refrain from “licking the walls.”
Since the hotel's location is sparse on local wood materials and abundant in salt, the building was constructed using close to one million blocks of salt. Its walls, floors, ceilings, and even some of the furnishings, such as chairs, tables, beds and sculptures are all made of the stuff.
The current hotel was constructed in 2007, after the original salt hotel (which was built between 1993-1995) was shut down due to sanitary problems. The new hotel was built on an entirely new site and it’s good to know that the previous sanitary system problems have all been resolved. The hotel is home to 16 rooms, a dry sauna, steam room, salt water bathing, salt beds, whirlpool, massage room and a nine hole golf course that is open from May through to November.
Isla Incahuasi, Salar de Uyuni (Photo: Martin St-Amant)
Positioned at an altitude of 3,650 meters (12,000 ft) above sea level, the hotel is in a great spot to enjoy some remarkable sunsets and expansive starry skies. The hotel is surrounded by what seems to be endless stretches of salt flats and a backdrop of mountain ranges, giving travelers the sensation of being in the middle of nowhere. Guests can take a day trip to the Isla Incahuasi, a rocky island formation located in the center of the Salar de Uyuni.
The unusual island is the remains of an ancient volcano, which approximately 40,000 years ago was submerged by an enormous inland sea. The island is now home to gigantic cacti, fragile coral-like rocks, fossils and other natural artifacts dating back in time.
A night at Palacio de Sal will set you back around US $100 per night per person. And guests planning a visit to the salt hotel should be informed that the spa and treatment rooms are currently closed for remodeling and should reopen in 2013.