The World’s Most Spectacular Underground Lodgings
Do you ever feel the need to turn off the devices and virtually hibernate inside a cave? Well, what if that cave is actually equipped with plush accommodations boasting modern amenities; exclusive interior designs; and natural, architectural bones that blend both the ancient and the new? Take the Desert Cave Hotel situated in Australia’s outback, for example, where you can dine and sleep luxuriously some several hundred feet below the hot earth. Or how about the Hotel Marhala in Tunisia, a structure that was dug up from a town once populated by the Berbers? Whether you're looking to cozy up in your very own cave near the Buffalo River Valley or soak up staggering views of crystal-clear waters in Greece, these seven impressive cave dwellings offer a place to be one with and surrounded by nature.
Kokopelli's Cave (Farmington, New Mexico)
Inside a man-made cave-dwelling 70 feet below in the vertical cliffs of Tertiary Ojo Alamo sandstone lies Kokopelli’s Cave Bed and Breakfast. Watch your step as you hike down a pathway cut into the sandstone to the underground dwelling. Emerging from a cliff face, the property overlooks the La Plata River, approximately 300 feet below, and offers relaxing views of New Mexico sunsets. You can also decompress inside the property’s Native American kiva, Jacuzzi tub, and waterfall shower. kokoscave.com
Santorini Boutique Cave Hotel (Santorini, Greece)
Perched a thousand feet above the Mediterranean on the rim of a volcanic caldera, the Santorini Boutique Cave Hotel is re-created from functioning homes and shops in one of Santorini’s typical white-cube villages, Imerovigli. The task of converting the village into a hotel was that of the architectural firm A&T Kontodimas, which restores classic public buildings throughout the Greek Isles. All 22 rooms and suites reflect the island’s unique style of white vaulted caves. Headboards are fashioned from the branches of native trees; cisterns the homeowners used to collect rainwater have become indoor grottolike pools; and the village baker’s stone oven takes on a new life as the fireplace in the Iconic Suite.
Hotel Marhala (Matmatat-Al-Qadimal, Tunisia)
Matmatat-Al-Qadimal, Tunisia, has remnants of a fourth-century underground town built by the Berbers, and visitors can channel the ancient energy with a stay at the underground Hotel Marhala, located in the center of Matmata. One can stay in circular, dome-shaped rooms, painted white. The troglodytic hotel features rooms that were all dug into the ground, providing naturally cool temperatures. Not only is the property a unique place to retreat after a night on the Tunisian town, it draws a plethora of Star Wars fans, being the setting for scenes from several of the films. hotelmarhala.tn
The Desert Cave Hotel (Coober Pedy, Australia)
Located deep in the red-dirt outback, Coober Pedy is often referred to as the “opal capital of the world.” Quiet, cool, dark, and airy, Coober Pedy is situated 260 feet below land. Due to the extremely high temperatures experienced in this otherworldly region, the majority of the residents live underground. Almost all the building materials had to be transported from Adelaide, some 528 miles south, while the local rock was gathered from the Moon Plain, 15 miles north, used for the feature stonework on the front of the buildings. desertcave.com.au/
Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita (Matera, Italy)
Located in an UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its unique cavelike homes, Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita was designed by architect David Chipperfield. The restoration works involved the most ancient part of the Sassi, the Civita, almost exclusively characterized by caves restored through a careful and conservative process. See the area’s nearby Churches of St. Nicholas of the Greeks and Madonna of the Virtues, and to unwind after a day of exploration, book a masseuse for an in-room treatment. legrottedellacivita.sextantio
Beckham Creek Cave Lodge (Parthenon, Arkansas)
Imagine sleeping within a bluff overlooking the picturesque Buffalo River Valley nested in a natural cavern in Arkansas’ Ozarks. The Beckham Creek Cave combines the architecture of natural formations with modern accommodations. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom cave-style home is set within a private 260-acre resort. If the nature-based settings weren’t enough, the lodge has a natural waterfall in the center of the main room. Wake up your adventurous side with local hiking, canoeing, fishing, helicopter rides, and horseback riding. beckhamcave.com/
Museum Hotel (Cappadocia, Turkey)
Equipped with the boutique flair of 30 rooms and suites, the Museum Hotel is a perfect retreat to take in those famous hot air balloons floating over the Cappadocian desert landscape. Not so much into heights? The Relais & Châteaux property offers panoramic views that you can see from your window of the major districts of the region: Avanos, Göreme, Love Valley, Pigeon Valley, Red Valley, and Mt. Erciyes. Walk the grounds and take in history—the houses in the area were populated for thousands of years by the Hittites, Persians, and early Christian Romans. museumhotel.com.tr