Where is it? San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

What’s it like? The Tierra Atacama, on the edge of the tourist town of San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile, is a modern hotel designed with stone, glass and dark wood. The interior is decorated with funky 1950s-style furnishings, aided by local touches.

The main open-plan area houses the bar, restaurant, lounge and TV area. It is flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the views of the Licanbur volcano beyond the terraced area, where fire pits are lit after dark. The hotel’s 32 rooms, each with their own terrace, are housed in two rows of buildings, flanked by small garden plots.

The food is good, and the menu varies frequently (no buffets here), and the friendly staff are happy to arrange meals outside normal dining times to accommodate hungry guests returning from excursions.

The focus here is on adults rather than families, and a major difference from traditional all-inclusive properties is that guests are encouraged to venture off the property, with about 30 free excursions taking in the stunning landscape of the surrounding Atacama desert. There is little to do other than relax in the lounge or the hot tub, or do a few lengths in the small pool, for those who choose to stay at the hotel.

We liked: Staff are friendly and helpful, and the choice – and quality – of the excursions is good. I loved the stone-tiled showers in the rooms that are open to the elements, enabling you to stargaze at the incredibly clear desert skies as you lather up.

We didn’t like: The pool and the spa facilities are small and basic, and the entertainment options are limited.

Verdict: This is a great design hotel that is made better by the friendly, helpful attitude of the staff.

Sell it to: Older clients who like modern design hotels and are looking for basic luxury without simpering service, and are interested in exploring the local area.

Sample product: Audley Travel offers an itinerary including two nights in Santiago, four nights in the Chilean Lake District, and four nights’ all-inclusive (including excursions) at Tierra Atacama, with economy-class international and domestic flights and taxes, starting from £3,300 per person, twin-share. The price is valid until September 30. audleytravel.com, 01993 838 640