And there are reason why underground hotels continue to fascinate people from across the globe, inviting them for their rendezvouses with solace, style, luxury, and peace. So, you have the ultimate French luxury in the Le Haute Roche, as well as the sparse Cumberland Caverns or the Sala mines. Here is a list of 10 of the best underground hotels which have been a favorite among visitors for quite some time.
1. Sala Silvergruva, Sala, Sweden [ book here ]
The Sala Silver mine went in and out of use for more than 400 years, from the 15th century to 1908. It was also used intermittently in the 20th century. The mine has been owned by the municipality of Sala since 1988. Today, it mostly functions as a mining museum, though it has a suite available for rent 155 meters below the ground level. It takes a unique taste to appreciate this eerie twisting setting, the blackened alleys and the dark glittering lakes. The temperature also remains two degrees throughout the year. In March 2008, the mine was visited by Victoria, the crown princess of Sweden, and she left her signature down in the mine, just like her father, Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden, had once done.
2. Grand Canyon Caverns, Arizona, USA [ book here ]
This began as a bomb shelter large enough to accommodate 2,000 people in the event of a possible attack during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was sanctioned by the then-President John F. Kennedy. Today, the Grand Canyon Caverns Suite is supposedly ’the world’s largest, deepest, darkest motel room’. Located 220 feet below the ground, the caves are 65-million years old at least! Is there a better way to remember our dark past?
This Cavern Suite is among 48 rooms that give a unique twist to living the sparse life. The cave is of limestone. The motel has been raised on a chiseled platform and includes beds, bathrooms and a few living quarters. It is deep enough to almost be moisture free. In fact, it is regarded as the largest dry cavern in USA.
3. White Cliffs Underground Motel, Australia [ book here ]
Opening in 1989, over the years it has become pretty famous. It can now include up to a 100 people. It is a man-made hotel but is one of the earliest underground ones to be in existence. It covers the area of a football field at present. The hotel has been dug into ‘Poor Man’s Hill’, the name earned by Smith Hill after the opal discovered there in the early 1900s ran out. In the 1980s, the area was turned into a family home which became so popular due to its innovative concept that it was turned into a motel in 1989. There are 30 underground rooms called ‘dugouts’. Each can accommodate up to 5 people.
4. Les Hautes Roches, France [ book here ]
Once grottos used by Christian monks leading a life of renunciation, today the troglodyte caves of the Les Hautes Roches serve as a luxury underground hotel overlooking the Loire River. They were abandoned for fifteen years. The twelve rooms sculpted into the rock along with the 17th century connecting pavilion opened in 1989. It has 2 additional rooms on the first floor of the manor house. Each of the rooms has its unique design and has been carved out of the rocks. Didier Edon, the resident chef since 1989, was awarded a star in the Michelin guide in 1990. And his classic but experimental Breton-inspired dishes are simply lip smacking. Also, the hotel has been recently listed as a UNSECO World Heritage site.
5. The Caves Hotel & Spa, Negril, Jamaica [ book here ]
The Caves Hotel & Spa is located in Negril in the parish of Westmoreland, which is 80 minutes outside the Montego Bay on the northern Jamaican coast. They have been designed to include all the natural glamour and comfort offered by Jamaican sea-sides. It features 12 luxurious cottages chiseled into Negril’s honeycomb coastal cliffs. There is also a grand villa, 2 dining gazebos, private caves, and the signature Blackwell Rum Bar. The jewel in the crown is the Spa which has jaw-dropping views of the sea. The hotel is located just minutes from the beautiful beach with white sand stretching over 7 miles. This is supposed to be Naomi Campbells’ favorite hotel. It is just 7 minutes’ walk away from the famous Rick’s café.
6. Cumberland Caverns Tennessee, USA
Like the Sala Silver mine, this isnot your average luxury hotel. Rather, it is like one of those grottoes out of Wonder Woman. The stay would be more of an overnight camping experience instead of an average hotel stay. Featuring stalagmites, beautiful specimens of fossilized corals, and cave pearls, this is among the longest caves in the USA. It is also a national natural landmark. A portion of the infamous Trail of Tears passes through this property. It was opened to the public in 1956 and has been functioning as a commercial space ever since.
7. Gamisaru Cave Hotel, Turkey [ book here ]
Even from a distance, this hotel carved out among the rocks look like something from a forgotten fairy tale. The first rock hotel in the region of Cappadocia, it lies near Urgup, the heart of the Ayvali village. It was opened in 1999 and has up to 35 restored or newly designed cave rooms. What gives it an edge over the other similar hotels to crop up in the region is that it was a monastic retreat way back in the Byzantine Era. It is the only hotel in the region to have a Byzantine Church dating back to the 11th century! Some of its parts were used by Christian priests till a thousand years back. A kitchen and the original dining hall of this hotel were once a part of the monastery! The rates of the beautifully renovated Byzantine suite are on an average $1,000 per couple.
8. Kokopelli Cave, New Mexico
Located in Native American heartland, it is not surprising that one of the rooms is a replica of a Native American kiva. It is a privately-owned super luxury cliff accommodation north of Farmington, New Mexico near the Mesa Verda National Monument. In addition to the amazing experience of living among the rocks, the caves and cliff tops offer unmatched views of the beautiful southwestern sunsets at the Four Corners area. That is the only place in the United States where four state borders meet. While the place does not serve meals, it has the best restaurants in the area right next to it. The refrigerators and cabinets are well stocked. And dinner meals can be catered for special occasions.
9. Locanda di San Martino Hotel, Matera, Italy [ book here ]
This has been inspired by the famed baths of the Romans. Initially, it was a religious home for the Franciscan monks, with one of the rooms being used as a carpentry workshop. It is among the most sought-after spa complexes, and it comes with 28 bedrooms and a bar. There are 32 single guestrooms at 4 levels. It also comes with a conference room. It has been carved out of limestone rocks thousands of years old. The rooms are a mix of grottos, caves and other stone structures. The hotel has perfectly recreated the royal pool experience of the exquisite Roman baths of yore. These are dedicated to the myth of the Medusa. However, minors are not allowed in the bath, and it is best if you go after reservation.
10. Cuevas Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, Spain [ book here ]
Translated, it means the Caves of Father Anthony of Alarcon. Those have been transformed from pre-historic cave dwellings into apartments that feature the best of the amenities that may be available in a hotel. Located in Granada in Spain, these have been carved out of the clayey hillside. The rooms overlook the Sierra Nevada mountains. Each of the caves has been made to represent a rural household, in sync with its origins. The cave features red clay and whitewashed walls, along with a fireplace. The temperature is pretty mild throughout the year. Considering the location and the style of the household, a lot of adventure sports like hiking, mountain climbing, cycling and other water and snow sports are on offer to the guests of the caves.
Living in caverns and grottoes has to be one of the most surreal experiences. Some of these hotels are natural and lay claim to a spiritual experience in the past, while others are manmade. There is a reason why in the olden days the monks used to retreat to underground chambers. If you have not given this a try, find out the one nearest to your location and budget, and book a stay for an unforgettable experience.