For those who’ve adapted to being burrowed away over recent months during the coronavirus pandemic, these wacky and wonderful cave hotels might appeal.
Tucked away from the outside world, these underground complexes are the ultimate spots when it comes to a secluded sojourn. With everything from rough-textured natural walls and torches in case of power cuts, these gilded grottoes promise to take your accommodation experience to new depths.
Beckham Creek Lodge, USA
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Not of any relation to footballer David, Beckham Creek Lodge in Ozark, Arkansas, caters to cave dwellers with luxury tastes. The swanky lair was originally hollowed out in the early 1980s as a nuclear bomb shelter when the USA and USSR were at heads. Following several renovations, the 5,572 sq ft cave is now a holiday rental with stays coming in at £991 ($1,200) per night. Features of the four-bedroom, four-bathroom abode include geothermal heating, stunning stalactites and chandeliers hanging from rippling ceilings. Venturing outside, there are 257 acres of private land to play with, with activities including hiking, canoeing, fishing, helicopter rides and horseback riding to pick from.
Carved within a limestone cliff overlooking the meandering Loire River, Les Hautes Roches in Rochecorbon, central France was recently listed by Unesco as a World Heritage site. The elegant 18th-century main property is attached to the rock with some guest rooms burrowed into the cliff. The elegantly-appointed cave bedrooms feature exposed limestone walls with rates starting from £209 ($253) per night. There is a one-Michelin-star restaurant on the site with head chef Didier Edon rustling up surf and turf dishes using locally sourced ingredients matched with wines from the Loire Valley. Les Hautes Roches is part of the Relais & Châteaux portfolio of luxury hotels and restaurants.
Set 90 minutes outside of Melbourne, Mira Mira Fantasy Accommodation transports travellers to another world with its themed rental apartments. There are four properties in total, and for guests wanting to channel their inner Batman or Batwoman, the Cave House might fit the bill. The two-bedroom pad is entered via a winding staircase. The living area features natural walls and the owners added the sound of water to “truly enhance the feel of living underground”. The hollowed out dwelling is described as being “cool in summer and yet warm in winter”. Continuing on the rock theme, the property has a spa menu with a hot stone massage on offer. Rates start from £264 ($320) for a two-night stay.
Far away from the city lights, Kagga Kamma is a nature reserve nestled in the scenic Cederberg Mountains 300km north of Cape Town. There is a mix of accommodation at the resort including 10 “cave suites”. The bedrooms were constructed to integrate with the dramatic sandstone formations surrounding the site. The facades of the cave suites are man-made, while some of the interior walls are natural sandstone. Each of these simply furnished rooms has a small terrace with views over the sprawling rock-strewn wilderness. Rates start from £60 ($73) per night on a bed-and-breakfast basis. There is a restaurant and bar on the property serving up South African cuisine and wines from the nearby Cape Winelands. Other facilities include a spa, two swimming pools and a mini-golf course.
Le Grotte della Civita is situated in the oldest part of the Sassi, a stunning and well-preserved example of an ancient village where hundreds of caves were turned into dwellings, churches and palaces centuries ago. The magical area has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1993. Le Grotte della Civita features 18 bedrooms and an ancient church, the Cripta della Civita, which is now used as a common area. The cave complex was carefully restored to retain original features such as hand-carved bricks and sculpted alcoves. Candle-lit massages can be arranged along with private dining experiences inside the eighth-century church. Rates start from £223 ($270) for a classic cave room.
La Claustra in Switzerland could be mistaken for being a James Bond villain’s lair, hidden as it is under a rocky mountain slope. The former army fortress, which is almost impossible to see during the snowy winter months, prides itself on being cut off from the outside world with no television or mobile phone service. The underground hotel is a network of corridors leading on to 17 simply-styled guest rooms with shared bathroom facilities. Other amenities include a sauna, a seasonal outdoor pool and restaurant where six-course dinners are served every evening. Because of the changeable mountain weather, the hotel is open from May through October and bookings must be made direct and in advance.
Tucked away in southern Tunisia, Sidi Driss is described as being perfect for those seeking an “unforgettable intergalactic stay”. The underground dwelling served as the setting for George Lucas’s Star Wars film in 1976, 1997, 2000 and 2003. Fans of the sci-fi series will no doubt recognise the property as the childhood home of Luke Skywalker on the planet of Tatooine. The hotel is located in the village of Matmata where locals have been digging their homes out of the ground for thousands of years to avoid the intense heat and desert winds, and it was pretty unknown on the travel map before its movie debut. Today Sidi Driss serves as a hotel complex with 20 cave rooms decked out with simple furnishings. The kitchen serves up typical dishes of the region with recipes including lamb tagine, pea stew, couscous and chorba soup. Head to the bar for a mint tea or local beer. Travellers must book directly through the hotel.
Journey 22 storeys down to the world’s deepest hotel suite at the Grand Canyon Caverns and Inn in northern Arizona. The cavernous room, located 220ft (67m) below the earth’s surface, measures 200ft wide, 400ft long and with a 70ft-tall ceiling. The buried abode includes two double beds and a living room with a queen fold-out sofa so it can sleep six people in total. Other furnishings include a library of vintage books including a National Geographic magazine collection dating back to 1917. Guests can check in with the last cave tour of the day at 4pm with check-out shortly after the first tour begins the next day at 10am. The water supply for the bathroom is carried down by staff and there is an employee stationed on the ground level around the clock in case guests need assistance. Rates start from £784 ($950) per night.
You’re tipped to have a “yabba-dabba-doo time” at the quirky Caves Beach Resort Hurghada in Egypt, with its prehistoric-style decor. The all-inclusive hotel was designed to blend in with its rocky coastal surroundings. There are 383 rooms in total with cave-style interiors, exposed stone walls, animal-print bed linens and natural wood furnishings. Playing on the Flintstones theme, there are two restaurants and six bars named after the fictional Stone Age characters. The hotel, only for guests aged 16 and over, also boasts a water sports centre, gym, tennis court, swimming pool and mini football pitch. Rates start from £65 ($79) per night.
Residents of Turkey’s Cappadocia region have been living in underground complexes for centuries to keep sheltered from trouble, and today many of these historic subterranean dwellings have been converted into fairytale-like hotels. Putting a good dose of chic into cave life, the Museum Hotel was renovated from ruined caves and houses to become the area’s first luxury property. Today there are 30 rooms and suites to explore. One of the cave rooms is accessible through a long, natural tunnel while another abode features one of the area’s biggest and oldest dovecotes. Traditional antique furnishings including handmade rugs and original kerosene lamps add to the boutique hotel’s charm. The Lil’a à la carte restaurant welcomes all diners for lunch and dinner with artfully presented Turkish cuisine on offer. Other amenities include a massage service and a heated outdoor pool. Rates start from £165 ($199) per night.