For the first time, the light-pollution foes at DarkSky International have added a category for "DarkSky Approved Lodging" to their register of places where the nighttime environment is exceptionally preserved.
The lodging section is a short one: As of now, there's only one resort on the list.
The nonprofit, formerly known as the International Dark-Sky Association, has certified scores of Dark Sky Places across 22 countries, helping to keep stars and other celestial bodies visible in parks and communities at a time when artificial light conceals Cassiopeia et al. for an estimated 80% of the world's population.
While there are of course plenty of campsites and lodges at the national parks, wilderness sanctuaries, and remote towns previously recognized by DarkSky, the organization has never before singled out a specific accommodation for stargazing kudos.
In a joint announcement, DarkSky and Under Canvas explain that the resort earned the distinction by employing "on-site dark-sky approved lighting" and by committing to "protecting and preserving the nighttime environment through conscientious design, operations, and guest education."
According to DarkSky, all approved locations on its lists "go through a rigorous review and certification process, including regular reporting and periodic recertification."
The Utah retreat, one of 11 operated by Under Canvas (though only the site west of Lake Powell currently has DarkSky approval), sits in a region rich in natural attractions, with the red rocks and mesas of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Colorado River's photogenic Horseshoe Bend meander, and Lake Powell marinas all nearby.
In addition to staying in luxury tents outfitted with king-size beds and private bathrooms, Under Canvas guests have access to amenities such as an onsite restaurant, a fire pit for s'more construction (and consumption), hiking trails to the property's own slot canyon, and complimentary activities including yoga, children's programming, and, at night, astro-walks under the Milky Way.
There are even some Stargazer tents with windows above the bed for viewing the night sky while you're comfortably supine.
(Stargazer tent at Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase in Utah | Credit: @Baileymade_)
Nightly rates at Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase start at $379. Go to UnderCanvas.com to make a reservation.
And for more ideas on travel destinations without light pollution, see our roundup of great Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. and Europe.