In Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, the scorching desert world of Arrakis is both an incessant terror and an excruciating crutch for survival. Relied on for spice—its most precious and rare commodity—it is inhabitable to most apart from the Fremen, who are suggested to have physiologically adapted to the drastic living conditions. Whilst this is no doubt a justified depiction of Earth’s real-life deserts, perhaps the advent of modern day life has since transformed even the most uninhabitable places on our globe into the most beautiful of locales, for an expanding breadth of boutique hotels to unveil themselves. Where marvellous architecture, avant-garde technology and contemporary design conjoin in one—only to be set against the tremendous sandscapes it now commands as its backdrop.
How so, you might ask? The trick of the trade undeniably seems to be in embracing its intense terrain, uncharted contours and all. For some, like the Amangiri in Utah, blending in with the rocky-red expanse of its canyons and majestic rock formations is utterly essential to its spanning property. Whilst Six Senses Shaharut just might be the luxury group’s best-kept secret—boasting astounding views of the remote desert and the endless sky, all from its naturally-lit rooms.
But for those in the know, the fiery, extraterrestrial sandworm-breeding desert of Dune is but one magnificent landscape of Herbert’s imagination. Should Denis Villeneuve’s latest adaptation of Dune be anything to go by, the planet of Caladan—where Paul Atriedes (played by Hollywood’s golden boy Timothée Chalamet) originally calls home—also made for a sublime cinematic capture. Coincidentally, the cold, cutthroat world of Caladan was most faithfully depicted amidst the natural landscapes of Norway, where in today’s context, has given breath to the most design-forward of luxury hotels.
Below, we’ve taken the liberty to amass a property wishlist for the Dune-inclined—whether you’re one of Herbert’s die-hard enthusiasts or simply awaiting the release of the film’s second iteration later this year. Fulfil your wanderlust and head into your next adventure with the most resplendent of luxury hotels easily imagined in Dune, be it the fearsome sandscapes of Arrakis or the desolate cold of Caladan.
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Six Senses Shaharut in Negev Desert, Israel
The endless landscape of the Negev desert is home to the Six Senses Shaharut—a luxury property that embraces the quiet, slow life afforded to it by its surrounding sand dunes and stupendous expanse. Of course, without the fear of a mammoth-like sandworm blasting through your very own private pool. Despite its remoteness, there is no compromise on its luxe quality; its restful, minimalist rooms well-provisioned with everything one might need, whilst boasting supreme views of nature’s best just outside. On the activities front, expect no less than unexpected hikes out into the unknown and an unparalleled stargazing experience come night time.
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Homa Vagia in Serifos Island, Greece
On Serifos Island in Greece, Homa Vagia presents itself as a humble destination property, housing a handful of exclusive villas, ideal for a nomadic escapade. Overlooking the village of Vagia, the property is a divine piece of architecture—built in harmony with the uneven plot of land surrounding it. Like the very lessons Herbert’s Dune wishes to impart to its readers, its inner pathways, quaint rooms and social spaces are an ever-present reminder of the natural elements it is carved from.
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Hotel Karpaty in Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine
The architectural behemoth that is Hotel Karpaty needs no words for why it belongs in Herbert’s world. At first glance, its magnificence is gleaned. Its powerful structure poised like a direct resemblance to those spaceships one could picture gliding through the skylines of Arrakis. Amidst the Carpathian Mountains, the extravagant property brims with a futuristic feel—a vessel of design with a mountain-like roof that provides the illusion of its unmistakeable belonging to its towering surroundings.
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Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah
A celebrity-favoured spot—think the likes of Drew Barrymore and Hailey Bieber—Amangiri perfectly melds into the panoramic lines that surround its property. Camouflaging into the sunset-reds and desert-browns of the ridges and canyons that fill its expanse, the luxury property makes for a spectacular capture on its own—with its effortlessly spacious lounges, clean, elegant lines and raw, natural materials used in design. Between spectacular views and the ultimate comfort of privacy, this hotel just might be the epitome of desert royalty. Who knows? Zendaya herself might show up next.
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Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in the Empty Quarter, Abu Dhabi
Much like the desert on Arrakis, the Empty Quarter is a mysterious, grand expanse—and understandably so, considering its status as the world’s largest sand desert. So not only does that make the Anantara property a secluded oasis with uninterrupted views of the sand and sky before it, its elaborate design touchpoints are Arabian-inspired and offer a welcome capture of the desert’s culture. Nature lovers will love to bathe in the selection of activities that involve racing out into the dunes or the mesmerising walks in the evening.
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The Bolder Lodges in Lysefjorden, Norway
The House of Atriedes might have lost its home on Caladan, but perhaps there is still much to be lived out high above the Lysefjord, one of Norway’s most enchanting fjords. Encapsulating the thrilling treachery that sits on the cusp of water and mountain, the Bolder Lodges is a picture of sharp, angular lines made of sleek metals and a sturdy structure of wood, hanging over the tranquil water beneath. With its vertical form, it is very much akin to a compact home—but amidst its spectacular locale, this locus of design might very well stand as the pinnacle of private luxury.