ESO Hotel at Cerro Paranal (or Residencia) is the accommodation for Paranal Observatory in Chile since 2002. It is mainly used for the ESO (European Southern Observatory) scientists and engineers who work there on a roster system. It has been called a "boarding house on Mars", because the desert surroundings are Mars-like, and an "Oasis for astronomers". It is not a commercial hotel, and the public cannot book rooms.
The total area is 10 000 m², with an L-shape of 176 m x 53 m. It has 4 levels, 1,000 m² of gardens, 108 rooms, and 18 offices. It includes a restaurant, music room, library, swimming pool, and sauna. Its inauguration was in February 2002.
The hotel is located at 2,400 meters (7,900 ft) above sea level on Cerro Paranal. The people there work in extreme climatic conditions including intense sunlight, dryness, high wind speeds and great fluctuations in temperature. To protect against these an artificial oasis has been built where people can relax between shifts.
The Hotel complex, comprising four levels, fits snugly into an existing depression in the ground. There are spectacular views out across the desert to the Pacific Ocean from each of the 120 rooms and also from the dining room veranda. Also visible is a slightly raised dome comprising a steel skeleton that measures 35 meters (115 ft) in diameter.
The architect was Auer+Weber of Germany and the constructor was Vial y Vives Ltda. of Chile. It won the Cityscape Architectural Review Awards in 2005. In 2004 it won the new and overall Leaf-Awards.
- 2003 "Auer+Weber+Architekten Arbeiten 1980-2003 Works", Birkhäuser Publishers, Basel
- "Building the Paranal Residencia — From Turbulence to Tranquility". ESO Picture of the Week. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- ESO Residencia Inside
- ESO Hotel, Cerro Paranal, Chile
- "An Oasis for Astronomers — ESO’s Paranal Residencia Then and Now". ESO Picture of the Week. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- Hotel on Mars
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