From renovated cliffside cave dwellings to underground dugouts-turned habitable digs, these 7 unique hotels are putting a modern, stylish and unforgettable spin on centuries-old troglodyte accommodations. (We know Betty & Wilma would approve.)
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Le Grotte della Civita, Matera, Italy
Restored from abandoned, ancient cave dwellings in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Matera in southern Italy, this luxury retreat seamlessly blends old-world aesthetics with the convenience of contemporary living. 18 minimalist, stone-walled rooms feature rustic furnishings alongside modern-day amenities including A/C and wi-fi, and in some – a panoramic terrace overlooking the majestic Murgia National Park.
Desert Cave Hotel: Coober Pedy, Australia
Talk about going down under – experience dugout living in the opal mining town of Coober Pedy in the South Australian Outback, where much of the town lives, and works, underground in order to stave off the scorching desert heat. 19 of 50 suites in the Desert Cave Hotel are completely underground, offering quiet, cool and spacious sandstone accommodations complete with A/C and wi-fi. In addition to the suites, the hotel also features a subterranean bar, game room, opal souvenir shop and chapel.
Traveller’s Cave Hotel: Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
Located on a hilltop in Göreme, a town in historical, fairytale-like Cappadocia, Traveller’s Cave Hotel is carved into the UNESCO-registered site’s volcanic rockside with sweeping views of the Göreme valley. Cozy cave rooms feature contemporary amenities including wi-fi, A/C and central heating, some with a fireplace, jacuzzi or terrace for gazing out at the hot air balloons floating over Cappadocia’s magical landscape at sunrise.
Sala Silvermine: Sweden
Laying claim to the title as the world’s deepest hotel room (relative to ground level, not sea level), the Mine Suite in Sweden’s Sala Silvermine sits a whopping 155 meters (509 feet) below ground. Above, visitors can tour the once-bustling silver mine, a hub of economic activity for over 800 years and formerly considered to be among the world’s top 5 largest silver deposits. For those adventurous enough to say the night, you’ll be led through a maze of dark, winding passageways, vast caverns and magical subterranean lakes before arriving to your room, where your guide will leave you with dinner and a walkie-talkie in case of emergency. Get ready for ultimate seclusion – you won’t find wi-fi, TV or cell service here. In the morning you’ll be greeted with breakfast before being guided back to the surface, and sunlight.
Alexander’s Boutique Hotel: Santorini, Greece
Almost all of the rooms at Alexander’s Boutique Hotel in breathtaking Oía, Santorini feature cave-style dwellings, carved into the picturesque white-washed cliffside facing the Aegean Sea. Luxury cave houses, villas and suites feature elegant, Cycladic decor alongside wi-fi, A/C and balconies boasting jaw-dropping views of the Caldera.
Beckham Creek Cave Lodge: Arkansas, United States
Set in the magnificent Buffalo River Valley in the Ozark countryside, this 5 bedroom, 5 bath subterranean cave is situated on a 270 acre estate further featuring waterfalls, ponds, a helipad (for stylish entry and exit, natch) and miles of – you guessed it, more caves. The lodge boasts quite a fascinating history, originally built as a bomb shelter before being turned into a nightclub (yes, really), then a resort before settling on its present status as a lodge/private vacation home. Expect full hotel-style amenities including wi-fi, A/C, heating, TV, even a washer and dryer.
Les Hautes Roches: France
12 of 14 rooms at this luxury hotel are sculpted into a limestone cliffside overlooking the Loire River, formerly inhabited by monks of the nearby Marmoutier Abbey. The property, also featuring an 18th-century manor housing the final 2 rooms, was renovated over the course of 18 months to become the first troglodyte hotel in France. All impeccably appointed cave rooms feature modern furnishings alongside amenities such as wi-fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars.
*All photos above courtesy of the respective hotel.