You must be crazy to build a hotel out of salt! And that, dear readers, is precisely what Juan Quesada Valda did. His innovative idea of building a hotel entirely constructed with salt as the core raw material is how the hotel Palacio de Sal materialized. The creation of the hotel in the Salar de Uyuni region of Bolivia was in the year 1998 which, at that time, was thought to be a nonsensical idea that eventually paved the way for hundreds of similar “salt hotels” in the region and around the world.
The hotel is located on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the worlds largest salt flat. The grandeur of Salar de Uyuni has fed to the fascination of tourists across the world who often failed to find accommodation in this region. The reason being the scarcity of construction materials required to build any. But like it is said, in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
Palacio de Sal covers 4500 square meters with refined rooms that come with all the comforts of a modern hotel, such as free wifi, private bathrooms, hot and cold water, central heating and electricity among others. From windows that frame the salt flat lying at a vast expanse to the majestic lobby that stands tall to invite its curious guests, this hotel is truly an inspiration. The building was constructed with about 1 million 35-cm (14-inch) salt blocks, which are used for the floor, walls, ceiling and furniture, including beds, tables, chairs and sculptures. It is no surprise that the hotel’s management incorporated a rule prohibiting its inquisitive guests from licking the walls. The sanitary system has been restructured to comply with the government regulations. The rooms are unfussy featuring furniture and detailed domes made of salt. The hotel has a dry sauna and a steam room, a saltwater pool, whirlpool baths, bar and a games room. A staircase made of salt arises in the lobby to lead you to a viewpoint in the hotel that promise to leave you in awe of the immensity of the hotel’s location whether it is under the starry nights that exalt the spirit or during the sunsets when changes of colour manifest on the salt flat. Palacio de Sal is a baffling example of creating architectural magic from the mundane.