Did you know you could spend a night or two in actual cave hotels? And, it’s not as creepy as you may think it is.
When it comes to hotels, architecture and comfort go hand in hand. However, when you think about caves turned into hotels, they seem like a paradox, don’t they? That’s not always the case. Although cave hotels around the world are not that common, the existing ones offer a unique experience to their guests.
From the cave hotels in Turkey that date back centuries to those with scenic views of the Aegean in Greece, these hotels will definitely leave you with a memorable experience, amazing photos, and a travel story that’s hard to top.
Here’s a list of some unique cave hotels around the world that you can bookmark for your post-pandemic travel.
Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita (Italy)
Located in Matera, South of Italy, these Sassi quarters were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is the perfect place for travellers who also wish to experience the rich Italian culture and history.
Home to many inhabitants from the stone and bronze ages, these caves have also served as a residence for monastic communities during the Middle Ages. The position of the 18 spacious cave rooms hotel in Civita — the oldest part of Sassi — is such that it overlooks the Murgia National Park creating the most picturesque scenes.
For your stay, you can choose from a classic cave, superior cave, suite and executive suite. Though the rooms differ in size, you will find all basic amenities, along with beds with ergonomic mattresses, bathtubs or showers and a floor heating/cooling system among other things for your comfort.
You can also relax in the aromatic and soothing ambience of the spas, comprising Ayurvedic massages to relieve stress or have the most romantic candlelight dinner at the 13th century deconsecrated rock-cut church while relishing the chef’s best as well as the local cuisine.
Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita also offers leisure activities like wine tasting tours and cheese-making lessons or you can get an exclusive itinerary made as well. Not just that, you can even take a trip to the less discovered Basilicata, the Calanchi valley and Craco which is also known as the Ghost Town. It was abandoned in the ’60s and since then, has had a mysterious aura around it.
Gamirasu Cave Hotel (Turkey)
Turkey’s Cappadocia is home to many cave hotels, and Gamirasu is one of them. Located in Ayvali Village near Urgup, the luxury hotel with 35 restored cave rooms was the first rock hotel in the area and has been pampering its guests since 1999.
The chef prepares traditional and delicious organic Turkish food in a kitchen, which was once a part of the monastery of the Byzantine Orthodox church in the 11th century.
The cave hotel is an embodiment of luxury, comfort and serenity and influenced by a spiritual vibe which it gets from the surrounding area that was, up until a thousand years ago, used by Christian priests.
The luring open heated pool keeps you warm while you watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The rooms and bathrooms have heated flooring and beddings are handmade with the finest cotton while the bedspreads showcase Ottoman design.
There is a large selection of rooms to pick from. Feel like a king in their Byzantine or Roman King Suite or try the Eagle Nest Suite for some of the best views. If travelling with family, the Family Suite would be the best option.
One of the major tourist attractions here is the hot air balloon ride for an eagle-eye view of the beautiful city. They even have German partners on board who are doctors of alternative medicine and host yoga and massage therapy workshops. The hotel also serves as a perfect location for a wedding, and you can spend the night in one of their suites.
Les Hautes Roches (France)
Located on a tufa cliff overlooking the Loire River, the hotel’s serene cave rooms are carved into the rocks. The mesmerising view of the river accompanied by the deliciously fresh seafood makes for a truly unique troglodytic experience. Visitors of this 14-room hotel find the velvety texture of the walls and the lingering pleasant scent in the rooms soothing. All rooms, including the Deluxe Cave Room, the Classic Deluxe Room, Superior and Classic rooms, offer a view of the Loire.
The chef is known for his classical but creative Breton-inspired dishes, which beautifully complement the delicious local wines of Loire Valley in France. The luxurious hotel also has an 18-hole golf course, where you can spend the entire day or canoe down the river. You can choose to end your day relaxing in a hot water bath.
Iconic Santorini: A Boutique Cave Hotel (Greece)
Housed at the rim of Santorini’s volcanic cliffs, this authentic boutique cave hotel overlooks the blue waters of the Aegean. The Iconic Santorini Grotto Suites carved out of the wall of the Caldera, form the archetypal white and blue buildings, with verandahs for you to absorb the mesmerising view of the ocean and the nearby village of Imerovigli.
The five-level hotel has all sorts of modern amenities with private plunge pools in all the rooms, including Iconic suites, Cliff Suites, Cave Suites and Caldera Suites, draped in Greek design that blends with the Cycladic architecture of the caves.
Pamper yourself with high-end toiletries and comforting beddings. Not just that, they even have world-class gym equipment for their guests and the option to unwind with a soothing massage by professionals.
Yunak Evleri (Turkey)
Staying in this hotel is like stepping into the past while being surrounded by the comfort and luxury of modern time. There are rooms that have been in existence since the 5th and 6th centuries and a 19th century Greek Mansion. Along with 120 private cave rooms, this luxury hotel also has 10 cave houses if you plan to visit with your family.
Adding to the splendour of the building are its Emperador marble floors, handcrafted lace curtains, antique chests, traditional bed covers, old kilim carpets and antique lighting. While its spacious marble bathrooms are accessorised with pedestal Hilton basins, Italian armatures and ceramic Chartwell washbasins, each suite has its own hydromassage or steam bath.
The restaurant here serves local traditional dishes such as pottery kababs, grape leaves and tandori lamb along with other dishes like steaks and pizzas. One of the best ways to revitalise after a long day of activities is to relax at the Yunak Spa, where you will be taken care of by trained therapists and can also indulge in traditional Balinese and Thai massages.
Kokopelli’s Cave Bed & Breakfast (New Mexico, US)
This luxury bed and breakfast is built inside the towering cliffs of the Tertiary Ojo Alamo Sandstone. The highlight of this place is the magnificent view of the sunset over the La Plata River from the rooms along with the landscape of the four states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado of the Four Corners area.
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Although getting here is a bit of a task as it is situated 70 feet below the surface, once you reach the hotel, dip your feet in the jacuzzi or get a feel of bathing under a waterfall with the waterfall shower. These caves are manmade and were originally supposed to serve as an office for a geologist. However, it was later converted into a bed and breakfast.
Caves Beach Resort Hurghada (Egypt)
Remember the cartoon show The Flintstones? This 360-cave-room hotel will take you back in time the moment you step into its premises. The restaurants and bars here are named after the cartoon show and its characters. So, once you’ve feasted at the Flintstone or Dino’s Beach restaurant, you may later enjoy a cocktail at Barney’s or Betty’s Pool Bar.
The unique stone-rock-mountain hotel is famous for its serene views. Located in the Al Ahyaa district, it has everything to make your stay a memorable one. The cave hotel even has a private beach where you can work on your tan, spend time kite surfing, diving or playing volleyball. You also have the option of spending your time in any of the heated pools that are in the vicinity.
After an eventful day, you also have the option of unwinding at the spa. Visitors can pick from the Standard, Deluxe and Royal cave rooms with the option of the sea or the pool view. The rooms have high-end amenities with comfortable beddings and the interiors will surely make you feel like you are a part of the modern stone age.
After enjoying the delicious buffet at the restaurants, you also have the option of burning those calories in the world-class gym or by dancing your worries away at The Cave Disco. Those who want to visit must note that people under 16 years are not allowed here, so make the reservations carefully.
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Cuevas Helena (Spain)
This cave house is run by a couple who originally planned it to be their holiday home. They refurbished the entire area, which was an animal cave until 2016, and later opened it as a cave rental.
The contemporary yet stylish home is laden with all the modern amenities that one requires for a comfortable stay. One of the greatest features of this place is that no matter the season, the temperature in the rooms is always pleasant, somewhere around 18 degrees Celsius.
The cave house has three rooms that are perfect to fit six people. One of the rooms has actual trees in it, making its guests feel closer to nature. The house also consists of a pool, and the fact that it is situated atop a hill, in the gorgeous area of Andalucia, it has some of the best views that will last you a lifetime. This truly is modern-day cave living.
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve (South Africa)
This nature reserve has been called an ‘Oasis on the edge of time’, a perfect description of this once in a lifetime experience. If you are looking for a holiday where you want to lose yourself in the beauty of nature, immerse yourself in the culture and experience luxury, Kagga Kamma is the place to be. However, keep in mind, owing to the remote location, it is quite difficult to get cellphone reception and there are no telephones in the rooms either. Although, there is wifi at the main lodge.
The hotel’s speciality lies in the various types of rooms that cater to all sorts of travellers. You can choose from the selection of open-air suites, which are perfect for stargazing. There are also cave suites, hut suites and camping areas.
The famous cave suites have a breathtaking view of sunsets and the option to pick from standard, premium and honeymoon caves. The comfort of the guests and luxury are the priority of the hotel while keeping sustainability in mind and aiming for a cleaner future as the entire reserve runs on solar power. One of the greatest features of the hotel is the open-air restaurant and bar that serves delicious local cuisines while sitting in the most beautiful setting, under a starlit sky.
After an eventful day of nature drives, rock painting and gin tasting, you can end it on a relaxing note by indulging in an open-air spa. You also have the option of outdoor picnics and mini-golf to spend your day.
La Claustra (Switzerland)
Another unique cave hotel, La Claustra is situated 2,050 metres above sea level. It is a former army fortress that has been converted into a cave hotel.
The 17-room hotel, sprawling over 4,000 square metres, is all about comfort and calm along with some great views of the Swiss Alps, which surround the hotel. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind experience while enjoying some down time in the lap of nature, plan a stay at La Claustra.
It is also suitable for those looking to go on a digital detox. An ideal place to get together and discuss issues for the greater good, you will neither have a cellphone reception nor a television here.
Main and Feature Image: Courtesy Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok