Who said cave life is a thing of the past? These four troglodytic hotels offer a rock-solid option for travelers in search of something different.
Italy: Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita
A ravine-side warren of prehistoric cave dwellings, the Sassi district of Matera was once among Italy’s poorest communities. Not anymore. Since achieving World Heritage status in 1993, the area has emerged as a thriving tourist destination, its once dank grottoes converted into galleries, cafés, and hotels. The best of the latter is Le Grotte Della Civita, where 18 spare but romantic cave rooms feature walls of unadorned stone set aglow by candlelight (doubles from US$178).
France: Les Hautes Roches
France’s most luxurious troglodyte hotel inhabits a series of tuffeau caves that once served as cells for monks from nearby Marmoutier Abbey. A dozen richly decorated rooms are carved into a chalky cliff on the banks of the Loire River just east of Tours; another two are located above a Michelin-starred restaurant in an adjacent 18th-century manor house (doubles from US$268).
Sweden: Sala Silvermine Mine Suite
A 155-meter descent down a mine shaft in Västmanland brings guests to the world’s deepest hotel room. Excavated by silver miners in the 1700s, the cavern is now done up with silver-toned furnishings and cozy bedding, and a night’s stay includes a mine tour as well as a basket of cheeses, chocolate, and sparkling wine. What you won’t get is cell reception—the only contact with the world above is via intercom to the 24-hour concierge service (doubles from US$617).
Turkey: Gamirasu Cave Suite
Sculpted into a hillside of volcanic stone in the Cappadocian village of Ayvali, this onetime retreat for Byzantine monks is anything but monastic. Rooms come with modern trappings such as hot tubs and Wi-Fi, while activities include yoga sessions and Turkish cooking classes (doubles from US$173).
This article originally appeared in the February/March print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Set in Stone”)