It was pitch dark and the town of Goreme was blanketed in a layer of fog. Tired from our journey, we stood for a few minutes outside our hotel where the bus had dropped us off late in the evening. After our first few days in Istanbul, we were finally in Cappadocia, the land of fairytale chimneys and rock-cut churches, and I couldn’t wait to see what all the fuss was about. But, I would have to wait until the next morning because this was all I could see at night.
Even though I was cold, hungry and tired, I was still excited for what was to come next. I’ll be honest; the thought of sleeping in a cave hotel in Cappadocia was one of the reasons, among many, why I had decided to spend my birthday there. Cappadocia in Turkey’s central Anatolian region, truly is right out of a fairytale with a spectacular landscape of caves, fairy chimneys, pinnacles and unique soft rock formations as a result of volcanic activity and erosion. We’d chosen to base ourselves in the town of Goreme because accommodation here fit perfectly into our budget as compared to nearby Uchisar and we would be close to our areas of interest such as the Goreme Open Air Museum and hiking trails like the Love Valley.
The Kelebek Special Cave Hotel has great reviews on TripAdvisor and so we’d booked with them. As we looked around this unconventional hotel, we couldn’t help but be awe-struck at the architecture. We walked into our cave room, expecting to find a slightly damp, musty or dark room and were pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful and airy luxury cave, with a sitting area and a fully equipped bathroom.
The next morning, I walked out of our room and almost could not believe the otherworldly landscape. It was pretty incredible to think that just a day before, we had been cruising the Bosporus between Asia and Europe in Istanbul.
Breakfast at the Kelebek Special Hotel was a lovely affair with a wide spread of bread, cheese, cold cuts, salads, pastries, pancakes, eggs, fresh fruits, dried fruits and nuts, cereal and hot and cold beverages. Every morning, I was comforted by their amazing hot chocolate with a gorgeous view!
Ali, our host, was extremely warm and friendly and helped us plan our daily activities, advising us about interesting trails in the area such as Love Valley and Zemi Valley. He was very honest about the things we could do on our own and we found that his recommendations were great. He also booked the hot air balloon ride for us several times but, in the end, the weather did not cooperate and we left Cappadocia without having experienced that. The staff is wonderful and it’s nice to see that they help you book activities depending on your budget, interests and time and do not pressure you to go with a particular operator. On Ali’s recommendation, we booked a day trip with Turkish Heritage Travels to hike the Rose and Red Valleys, and visit the town of Avanos and the underground city of Kaymakli and found the tour was high quality and very enjoyable.
On our last day, we tried the couples’ hammam or Turkish bath, a super rejuvenating and relaxing traditional bath in the hotel’s luxurious spa. To be honest, I don’t think I’d ever felt so clean in my entire life!
The hotel is located on top of a hill, and the walk to the center of town takes about ten minutes. Seten Anatolian Cuisine Restaurant is right next door and I recommend everyone visiting Cappadocia to dine here at least once, simply because it was one of my favorite restaurants from the ones we’d been to in our entire trip. After having dined here on our first night, we fell so much in love with the food and the setting that we dined here almost every night.
Cappadocia is a special place and I recommend anyone visiting it to spend a few nights in a cave hotel because it really adds to the whole experience. Goreme has a number of cave hotels to choose from depending on your budget and we found that the Kelebek Special Cave was good value for money.
Plan your trip to Turkey
Planning a trip to Turkey? Visit my Turkey travel blog or check out one of these posts:
Bayou Villas Review: This Ultra All-Inclusive Antalya Resort Was Made for Do-Less Holidays
Pamukkale: Turkey’s Famed Cotton Castle
Lost in Kaymakli: Underground in Cappadocia
Ancient Ephesus: Of Roman Ruins & Feline Keepers
Reasons Why You Really Need To Go To Cappadocia
Sleeping in A Cave Hotel in Cappadocia
Inside the Aya Sofya: Awestruck by History in Istanbul
Dance of the Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul
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Sunday 8th of October 2017
Hi there Natasha:) I'll also celebrate my Birthday in Cappadocia on Nov.5 this year. I just wonder how to get there from Istanbul aside from plane? thank you very much.
Tuesday 10th of October 2017
I believe there is a train from Istanbul to Goreme in Cappadocia, check out details here: https://www.seat61.com/Turkey2.htm and Happy Birthday in advance!
Wednesday 4th of May 2016
Yes, Cappadocia is fabulous---so glad I have been there. For those who get close to this unique area, or can plan a trip there--- if you are interested in history, in geography, in art, and one of the most unique places on the planet, then hope you will go here. Stayed at great cave hotel, Taskonaklar, in Uchisar. Was fantastic. They offer meals there too if you want---excellent! We did have a guide for part of the time but not entire time. Went on balloon ride that was incredible---perfect weather and views were fantastic. I thought it might be a bit scary (and we did go very high) but it was like floating and was actually relaxing. Don't miss Goreme---first monastery and nunnery EVER and the open air museum with its churches and frescoes is a must-see. As is, one of the underground cities! We flew from Istanbul and then back to Istanbul (no way were we prepared for the size and modernity of Istanbul. Twice (or three times) the size of NYC, historic sections have been kept in pristine condition. We were there in 2010. Loved Turkey so much and I was bothered that I didn't learn any of the language ahead of time--- when I got back to the States, I found a Turkish tutor and started learning the language.
Wednesday 4th of May 2016
That is amazing that you took the initiative to learn the language after your trip- shows how much you loved it.
Wednesday 1st of July 2015
Hi there, may I know which Room did u stay in? Did u get to see hot air ballons from the room windows?
Wednesday 1st of July 2015
I stayed in the Junior suite and although I didn't have a view of the balloons, I'd see them if I looked up from the verandah outside the room.
On My Plate in Turkey | The Boho Chica
Monday 29th of June 2015
[…] The first meal of the day is serious business (as it should be) in Turkish cuisine. Breakfast usually consists of a selection of breads, cheese, fruits, dips, olives, salads, cold cuts, eggs, pastries, sausages, jam and honey. Fresh Mediterranean ingredients and the lavish spread meant that breakfast would almost always be a slow, indulgent and leisurely affair. This was especially true of my mornings at the Kelebek Special Cave Hotel in Cappadocia. […]
Thursday 16th of April 2015
Wow what an experience to have! Who knew caves could look so cosy ;-)
Friday 17th of April 2015
And comfortable! :)