Hotels can end up being the most memorable part of your stay if the place has interesting quirks, such as its architecture and amenities. However, some hotels around the world are memorable because they’re built inside caves! We tell you more. By Nishtha Grover
When it comes to hotels, architecture and comfort go hand in hand. However, caves turned into hotels seems like a paradox, doesn’t it? That’s not the case. Although cave hotels are not common, the existing ones offer unique experiences. From the centuries-old cave hotels in Turkey to those with scenic views of the Aegean in Greece, these hotels will leave you with a memorable experience.
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 want to experience the rich Italian culture and history. Home to many since the stone age, these caves have served as home for monastic communities during the Middle Ages. The 18 spacious cave rooms is such that it overlooks the Murgia National Park creating the most picturesque scenes.
You can choose from a classic cave, superior cave, suite and an executive suite. Though the rooms differ in size, you’ll find all basic amenities, along with beds with ergonomic mattresses, bathtubs or showers and a floor heating or cooling system among other things for your comfort.
You can also relax in the soothing spas that have Ayurvedic massages to relieve stress or opt for a candlelight dinner at the 13th century deconsecrated rock-cut church. The place offers leisure activities such as wine tasting tours and cheese-making lessons. You can even take a trip to the less discovered Basilicata, the Calanchi valley and Craco which is also known as the Ghost Town.
Gamirasu Cave Hotel, Turkey
Turkey’s Cappadocia is home to many cave hotels, and Gamirasu is one of them. Opened in 1999, the hotel is located in Ayvali Village near Urgup. The luxury hotel, with 35 restored cave rooms, was the first rock hotel in the area.
The chef prepares traditional organic Turkish food in a kitchen that was a part of the monastery of the Byzantine Orthodox church in the 11th century. The cave hotel is influenced by a spiritual vibe that it gets from the surrounding area that was, up until 1,000 years ago, used by Christian priests.
The open heated pool keeps you warm while you watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The rooms and bathrooms have heated flooring and the cotton beddings are handmade, while the bedspreads showcase Ottoman design. You can choose from their Byzantine or Roman King Suite, or opt for the Eagle Nest Suite for some of the best views. If travelling with family, the Family Suite will be the best option.
One of the major tourist attractions is the hot air balloon ride for an eagle-eye view of the city. Their German partners on board practice alternative medicine and host yoga and massage therapy workshops. The hotel also serves as a perfect wedding venue.
Les Hautes Roches, France
Located on a tufa cliff overlooking the Loire River, the hotel’s cave rooms are carved into rocks. The mesmerising view of the river accompanied by the deliciously fresh seafood makes for a unique experience. Visitors of this 14-room hotel find the velvety texture of the walls and the lingering scent in the rooms soothing. All rooms offer a view of the Loire.
The chef is known for his classic but creative Breton-inspired dishes, which complement the delicious local wines of Loire Valley in France. The luxurious hotel also has an 18-hole golf course.
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 to absorb the views of the ocean and the nearby village of Imerovigli.
The five-level hotel has modern amenities with private plunge pools in all its rooms, draped in Greek design that blends with the Cycladic architecture of the caves. 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 times. 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 are its Emperador marble floors, handcrafted lace curtains, antique chests, traditional bed covers, old kilim carpets and antique lighting, and spacious marble bathrooms, while each suite has its own hydromassage or steam bath.
The restaurant serves traditional dishes such as pottery kababs, grape leaves and tandoori lamb along with steaks and pizzas. One of the best ways to revitalise after a long day is to relax at the Yunak Spa, and you can also indulge in traditional Balinese and Thai massages.
Kokopelli’s Cave Bed & Breakfast, New Mexico, USA
This luxury bed and breakfast is built inside the towering cliffs of the Tertiary Ojo Alamo Sandstone. The highlight here is the magnificent view of the sunset over the La Plata River, along with the landscape of the four states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado of the Four Corners area.
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Situated 70 feet below the surface, these caves are man-made and were originally supposed to serve as a Geologist’s office. Once here, you can dip your feet in the jacuzzi or get a feel of bathing under a waterfall with the waterfall shower.
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 can enjoy a cocktail at Barney’s or Betty’s Pool Bar. Located in the Al Ahyaa district, the cave hotel even has a private beach!
Visitors can pick from the Standard, Deluxe and Royal cave rooms, choosing between sea or pool views. The rooms have high-end amenities with comfortable bedding. After enjoying the buffet at the restaurants, you can burn those calories at the gym here or by dancing away at The Cave Disco. Note that people under 16 years are not allowed here, so make your reservations carefully.
Cuevas Helena, Spain
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This cave house is run by a couple who originally planned it to be their holiday home. They refurbished the entire area and later opened it as a cave rental. The contemporary yet stylish home is laden with modern amenities. One of the greatest features here is that the temperature inside the rooms is always pleasant.
The cave house has three rooms. One room has actual trees in it, making its guests feel closer to nature. The house also has a pool inside it for guests to unwind.
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. Owing to the remote location, it is tough to get cellphone reception, and there are no telephones in the rooms either.
The hotel offers open-air suites, perfect for stargazing. There are also cave suites, hut suites and camping areas. Among the cave suites, you can pick from standard, premium and honeymoon caves. Sustainability is important here as the place runs on solar power.
After an eventful day of nature drives, rock painting and gin tasting, you can end it on a relaxing note at their open-air spa. You also have the option of outdoor picnics and mini-golf to spend your day.
La Claustra, Switzerland
La Claustra, situated 2,050 metres above sea level, is spread over 4,000 square metres. It is a former army fortress that has been converted into a cave hotel. The 17-room hotel offers great views of the Swiss Alps.