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The Coolest Hotel You'll Probably Never Stay At

A Cool Hotel You Can't Get Into.........(esohotel.jpg)

On a mountain called Paranal in Chile, there stands a telescope, a Very Large Telescope (or VLT) to be precise. It's the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory, and is run by ESO, the European Southern Observatory. In order to accommodate workers in the largely inhospitable terrain of the Atacama Desert, ESO created the Paranal Residencia, also known as the ESO Hotel.

A Cool Hotel You Can't Get Into.........(esohotel4.jpg)

Construction of the VLT began in 1991, and for 11 years workers stayed in cramped containers at the base camp. In 1998, work started on the new residence in an existing depression in the landscape, facing the Pacific Ocean 12km below.

A Cool Hotel You Can't Get Into.........(esoparanal5.jpg)

It was designed (in collaboration with German architects Auer and Weber Freie Architekten) to blend into the environment, so much of the residence is built beneath ground level.

A Cool Hotel You Can't Get Into.........(esohotel3.jpg)

Light streams in through a huge glass dome, a courtyard roof and skylights. Inside are gardens and a swimming pool – an oasis for workers, in an otherwise unforgiving environment.

A Cool Hotel You Can't Get Into.........(esoparanal6.jpg)

The workers moved in in 2002, and visiting astronomers can also camp out here. The building houses 108 bedrooms and 22 offices, as well as a restaurant, library, fitness center, and cinema. Enough to keep residents occupied – and out of the dry, windy terrain surrounding them.

A Cool Hotel You Can't Get Into.........(esoparanal8.jpg)

Looking at the dramatic pictures, it may not come as a surprise to learn that the otherworldly structure (more like a space station on Mars than a Holiday Inn) has featured in a Bond movie – 2008's Quantum of Solace. Said ESO director-general Tim De Zeeuw, 'Many of the guests, when they walk into the hotel, exclaim, “Hey, this looks just like a James Bond set”, so we were very pleased when a letter arrived from the Bond company asking if they could film here.' RM

A Cool Hotel You Can't Get Into.........(esoparanal3.jpg)

Images: ESO/M.Tarenghi

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  • Brayden

    March 6, 2015

    Yes it is

  • strochem

    April 8, 2010


  • Tirupati

    March 9, 2010

    Nice Post. Really it will help lot of people.

  • oktay

    March 3, 2010

    isnt this the hotel from the last james bond movie in the ending??

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