Bolivia's Palacio de Sal is the world's most "seasoned" hotel - because it's literally built out of salt blocks! Located in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, the largest salt flat in the world, the Salt Palace has become a tourist destination in itself. As materials are scarce in the region, salt blocks were used as a practical and natural building material for the floors, walls, ceilings and even the furniture. Visitors to the salt flats can enjoy this palatial hotel along with the salty landscape.
The Palacio de Sal was built in 2007 to accommodate travelers to the Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes. The hotel is organized as a palace with large common rooms, a bar, a restaurant and spa, and 16 private rooms with bathrooms that resemble igloos with domed roofs. The spa features a dry sauna and a steam room, a saltwater pool and whirlpool baths, but unfortunately the spa is undergoing renovations during 2012. The 9-hole golf course is open from May to November and is a unique course with a hard surface of salt.
Materials are hard to come by out in the salt flats and rather than import concrete to built the hotel, the novel approach was to build it from the only local resource – salt. The walls, floors, ceilings and even the furniture (beds, chairs, tables, and even couches) are constructed out of 1 million 35-cm (14-inch) salt blocks, which are easily visible in the pictures. Previous to the Palacio de Sal, another salt hotel was built back in the mid 90s, but succumbed to sanitation problems as it was difficult to manage waste in the middle of the desert. The new Palacio de Sal has sought to overcome those issues and now has a sanitary system that complies with government regulations. In order to maintain the integrity of the hotel’s structure, it is strictly forbidden to lick the walls.
Images ©Palacio de Sal