Even the tables and chairs.

By Melissa Locker
August 31, 2015
Hotel Palacio de Sal
Credit: Courtesy of Palacio de Sal

If your travel plans need a little flavor, just add salt.

Bolivia’s Hotel Palacio Del Sal—the Salt Palace—lives up to its name. The 30-room hotel is formed almost entirely out of salt—from the walls to the ceiling to the tables and staircases. (The amount of salt needed to construct it? 10,500 tons.)

The hotel sits on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, Southwest Bolivia’s stunning salt desert, where it provides thematically appropriate accommodations to travelers visiting the world’s largest salt flat (which spans 4,633 square miles and is visible from space!).

The hotel’s “rooms” are more like igloos formed entirely out of salt blocks that have been carved and stacked into spacious domes held together by salt mortar. All of the rooms are outfitted with plush beds, sleek bathrooms, heating, and even wi-fi.

There’s an onsite restaurant featuring local fare (including their signature “salt chicken” or—for the truly adventurous eater—llama) and giant picture windows that capture the sunsets over the glowing white desert. If you’re lucky, a rainstorm will come through and transform the two meter–deep salt crust into a giant mirror, which makes for dazzling photographs (March and April are safe bets).

The hotel will also help organize 4x4 tours across the salt desert, which is believed to have been created when a prehistoric lake dried up (or, as Andean legend has it, a heartbroken new mother cried a lake of tears). Tours include stops at the flamingo-filled Laguna Colorada, the color-shifting Laguna Verde, Fish Island (a bank of petrified coral studded with cacti), and many more of the desert’s secrets.

The trip requires some advance planning, including a panoply of planes, trains, and automobiles to get to the far-flung hotel, but the result is an incomparable experience—with no spicing up required.