Image: Natura Vive
Image: Natura Vive
Suspended from a cliff face in the Peruvian Andes at a height where the only neighbors are condors, one of the world’s most unusual hotels offers its guests an experience like no other – and it’s fair to say that the fainthearted probably shouldn’t check in.
After all, those awaking refreshed after a good night’s sleep will likely find their sense of calm short-lived as they leap out of bed. That’s when they’ll come face to face with both the hotel’s see-through floor and a stomach-churning drop – stretching nearly 400 feet to the plains below.
The terrifying establishment in question is Skylodge near Cuzco in southeastern Peru, one of the latest editions to the global catalog of extreme accommodation. These are places to spend the night that not only offer a rush of pure adrenaline but also provide all the mod cons that one would expect from a 21st-century hotel.
The lodge is comprised of three transparent capsules hanging precariously from a cliff face high above the beautiful Sacred Valley, all of them offering adventurous travelers the chance to spend the night in a bed among the stars.
However, if you want to be among the few lucky guests to spend the night at Skylodge, you’ll have to be prepared to get there first, and reaching the stunning location requires a wee bit of dedication.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, reaching the capsules is a little trickier than simply pressing the highest number on an elevator or taking the stairs.
In fact, prospective visitors must first conquer over 1,300 feet of via ferrata, navigating in the process the almost-sheer cliffs that soar up from the valley floor.
A via ferrata – “iron road” in English – is a climbing aid consisting of a series of metal cables and ladders and which allow climbers to traverse difficult terrain. First used by soldiers carrying supplies across the Alps during World War I, such routes are now an attraction for thrill-seekers around the world looking to go that extra mile.
Most via ferrate around the world reward plucky adventurers with staggering views as well as the nerve-racking prospect of planning their descent. However, Skylodge has something a little more luxurious to offer those brave enough to reach its doors.
At the end of this particular death-defying trek, there are a surprisingly comfortable trio of capsules designed to provide one of the most unique accommodation experiences in the world.
The Skylodge Adventure Suites – to give them their full name – were unveiled in 2013 and are sturdily constructed in part from aerospace aluminium. Moreover, they offer up to a total of eight people the chance to enjoy a night that they’ll never forget.
Thanks to their transparent polycarbonate exteriors, the capsules boast an amazing 300-degree view of the mountains and valley around them.
However, should the circling condors prove an intrusion – or, indeed, the vertigo-inducing views get a little too much – guests can choose to instead draw the curtains and relax in the comfort of their private suite.
And each capsule is equipped with everything that one might see in a more typical hotel; as well as four beds, for example, there’s also an en-suite bathroom and a dining space to be found inside.
A typical night’s stay at Skylodge involves a perilous arrival, either by the via ferrata or by way of a zipline. Guests are also treated to a gourmet dinner served with wine, perhaps to steady those lingering nerves before they turn in for the night.
And for those concerned about the standard of accommodation in an area where birds are the most frequent guests, there’s no need to worry. Each suite comes with a cleverly designed ecological bathroom, solar-powered lighting, and down quilts and pillows to ensure a cozy night’s sleep.
The next day, guests will get the opportunity to enjoy breakfast in their capsule before making their descent – that is, if the prospect of rappelling down a nearly 400-foot drop leaves them with any appetite to speak of.
With such an amazing experience on offer, it’s no surprise that Skylodge has been attracting visitors from all corners of the world. Happily, though, all of them have lived to tell a very enthusiastic tale.
The accommodation is ranked on TripAdvisor as the number one thing to do in the area, with commenters have variously praised its “unobstructed view in all directions” and the “blood pumping, jaw dropping” experience of ascending to – and descending from – the lodge.
For those interested in checking out the thrill of Skylodge for themselves, all-inclusive prices start at around $300 per person per night. However, as has been noted by some particularly observant reviewers, it’s not a getaway recommended for those with a fear of heights.