Some forms of paradise are so unique, it’s almost impossible to find the words to describe them. If I begin by saying that this particular haven is built from thousand-year-old restored caves, you might get the picture.
Welcome to the Museum Hotel, Cappadocia. Located in the central Anatolia region of Turkey, this astounding hotel sits below the grand Uçhisar castle, the highest geographical point in Cappadocia, which is one of Turkey’s world heritage sites.
The Museum Hotel was the first luxury hotel established in the area after owner Ömer Tosun commenced an extensive restoration program 17 years ago that involved the dedicated restoration of thousand-year-old ruins (10 dwellings and 60 caves in total). The entire hotel was constructed by hand using the finest authentic materials and brought back to its original state.
This is by no means your typical hotel stay – so be prepared for the experience of a lifetime. Each room, a former cave, has been given a name that signifies its own distinct feature. I stayed in Tafana, meaning Tandoor room. As its name enticingly suggests, this room used to be a kitchen – the underground Tandoor oven and chimney have been preserved, and even the blackened ceiling, caused by the oven’s extensive use, remains a feature. That oven is now covered with a decorative item from Tosun’s collection of artefacts and antiques, which have been lovingly scattered throughout the property.
Perched high on the Cappadocian slopes, all rooms feature spectacular views of the region, and the hot-air balloons that float by in the early morning hours are a fantastic sight to wake to.
There are a number of remarkable aspects to this hotel setting – from being able to witness both sunset and sunrise thanks to the hotel’s vantage point to strolling through the luscious rose garden, where you’ll catch a glimpse of the beautiful peacocks and turtles roaming the grounds.
If the water feature, flowers and view have relaxed you enough that you’re ready to venture further, the Museum hotel offers many tours. The standout ones are the morning walking tour with Tosun and the vineyard tour in the valley (Cappadocia is known for its great wines). The visit from a traditional Turkish barber who cuts and shaves onsite while customers enjoy the view is a highlight.
In this most unique of cities, I cannot think of a more suitably special place to stay than the Musem Hotel, Cappadocia.
My travel tips: Ensure you wake up early one morning to watch approximately 100 hot-air balloons fly by and, if you’re lucky with the winds, very close to the hotel. To experience the magic first-hand, book your own hot-air balloon experience in advance (try to get one with fewer people in the basket – 14-16 so that you are comfortable). This was one of the greatest experiences I had. Not to be missed.
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