Vacation Underground at These 5 Epic Cave Hotels

Vacation Underground at These 5 Epic Cave Hotels

Flee prying eyes deep undercover.

By Karen Gardiner

From underwater, shark-infested, rooms to former prisons, we're always on the lookout for unique and charming hotels with a bit of character. Now we've got a few more additions to our bucket lists: Check out these gorgeous cave hotels that offer the chance to explore deeper than ever — not to mention flee the paps or other prying eyes while you're way under cover.

1. Iconic Santorini, Greece

Carved into the cliffside and perched 1,000 feet above Santorini’s caldera and sparkling Aegean, Iconic Santorini is recreated from the former homes and shops of one of the island’s typical white-cube villages, Imerovigli. The boutique cave hotel opens for a new season on May 1 through September 30 and will be unveiling a brand new Cave Suite as well as a full renovation of its Cliff Suite with jetted indoor grotto pool — the sixth Sexiest Bedroom in the World according to hotel group Mr. & Mrs. Smith. High rollers will probably opt for the two-pools of top-tier Iconic Suite, which occupies the village’s former bakery and holds on to its original bread oven — should you feel like making yourself useful. All 22 rooms and suites mirror Santorini’s traditional style of vaulted, whitewashed caves, and other pampering perks include a cliffside infinity pool and a traditional Greek taverna with a pergola-shaded terrace.

2. Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa, Turkey

Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa is far from the only cave hotel in the surreal setting of Cappadocia, known for its lunar landscape of 30 million year-old volcanic rock cones (known as “fairy chimneys”), ancient underground churches, eerie caves, and stone cliffs, but it is one of the best. Carved into the rocks in the village of Uchisar, the hotel sits high on a hill, offering spectacular views from private terraces across the magical surroundings. The hotel blends grotto-like design with luxurious features including the world’s first cave spa, with traditional Turkish hammam and two outdoor pools. This place really earns the descriptor “otherworldly.”

3. Museum Hotel, Turkey

Another gorgeous option in Cappadocia is Museum Hotel. Part of the posh Relais & Chateaux hotel collection, the hotel was famously used as a backdrop to the 2009 Sports Illustrated calendar shoot — whether the models or property were more breathtaking is for you to decide. The hotel’s 30 rooms have been restored to versions of the cave homes of Cappadocia’s famous underground cities. Each room is unique — some are reached by tunnel — but all are decorated with antiques and feature stunning views of Cappadocia. True to its name, Museum Hotel houses an impressive collection of Turkish artworks, tapestries and other curios from the Roman and Ottoman eras.

4. Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, Italy

Located in a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the arch of Italy’s "boot," Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita has resurrected the abandoned ancient caves of the village of Matera. The hotel’s designers have preserved the caves’ original architecture — that means low lighting and uneven floors — and incorporated local design elements and handicrafts such as handmade bedspreads woven on traditional looms. There’s 18 romantic, boutique rooms all together, as well as a low-key, candle-lit and local produce-focused restaurant, The Tasting Room, which is set in an ancient church carved into the rock.

5. Sala Silvermine, Sweden

Let's be clear, Sala Silvermine will probably not pass muster with luxury travelers, and it certainly is not recommended for the faint of heart (nor the claustrophobic). The hotel lays claim to the dubious distinction of the world's deepest hotel room, the Mine Suite, over 500 feet below ground and 35 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Nevertheless, if you are the kind of traveler that likes to get away from it all (or if you need to flee the paparazzi like Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna) this might be the place — you can't even get a cell phone signal down here. Otherwise, you can take a quick tour of the well-preserved silver mine and check into the rustic, above-ground bed and breakfast, originally built as a rooming house for unmarried men around 1920.

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