Hubbie raised his eyebrows sceptically as I told him we were going to be staying in a cave. Two in fact. He was less than impressed – apparently we have perfectly good caves here in the Lake District, and why on earth would we want to pay money to sleep in one? I explained that many of the old troglodyte dwellings in the Cappadocia area of Turkey have been turned into hotels and wouldn’t it be cool to stay in one? He wasn’t convinced but the lure of buffet breakfasts with rave reviews convinced him to at least give it a go.
Kelebek Cave Hotel, Goreme
Our first stop was the Kelebek Cave Hotel in Goreme (pronounced Gor -rem -ay). It wasn’t a difficult decision to stay here since they pretty much top all review sites and travel blogs. Often I like to ignore the top-cats and give the under-dogs of the hotel world a try, but Kelebek’s website drew me in, and I just love the fact you can choose your own room from all the pictures they have on there. That’s a huge winner in my book and not something you come across every day!
Kelebek (which means ‘Butterfly’) has a delightful vantage point perched up on the hillside overlooking Goreme and seemed to have the best views of all the town. It’s a family owned and run hotel, with a relaxed and friendly vibe and lots of cool little personal touches.
So we’d decided on the hotel, now we just had to decide which of the 36 unique caves would be our home for a few days. After MUCH deliberation and mind-changing, we opted for spacious yet ambient and cosy-looking Suite 103, the Stable Room. Good choice if I do say so myself!
We shared a private patio entrance with suites 101 and 102.
A major plus was it had central heating, and since we’d been expecting snow (it was February after all) there was a slight worry the caves might be kinda chilly. We’d arrived late at night and were glad of our duvet jackets and gloves. However…after the delightful Tuna had welcomed us and shown us to our suite hubbie spent the next few minutes frantically searching for our dictionary to work out what ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ were in Turkish. We needed to turn off the heating or we’d wake up like toast in the morning. It was boiling! I tell you, heating is NOT a problem in cave hotels. Eventually we worked it out, and after stripping to our undies to stop sweating we gradually got the temperature under control.
TIP: ‘Sikak’ means hot, and ‘soguk’ means cold. You have been warned!
The room couldn’t have been more romantic. The bedroom was in the cave part, with rough hewn walls and tiny alcoves for mood lighting and trinkets.
The adjoining lounge area had comfy armchairs, a TV and Turkish delight…all you need for relaxing after a hard days sightseeing.
The bathroom was a pleasant surprise too…I never expect much from bathrooms unless the hotel is 5* luxury or Moroccan (they are the sultans of bathrooms!), but this one did the job perfectly.
It was tastefully done in polished stone, with an enormous shower (much better than a bath, you can actually have a proper wash!) and personalised Kelebek toiletries (and yes, it passed the conditioner test!). Coconut flavour, mmmmm. There was even a heated towel rail and fluffy bath sheets. Bliss.
To hubbie’s delight the breakfast buffet was one of the best we’ve ever come across…I’ve honestly never seen such a spread, and it really didn’t matter that we hadn’t a clue what half of it actually was. Amongst some of the morsels we could identify were cereals, breads, meats, cheeses, pancakes, salads, chillies, nuts, all manner of dried fruits, Baclava and even Turkish delight (slightly wrong at 7.30am but it had to be done!).
The restaurant is a great space for meals as well as just chilling out with a tipple or three in the evening, especially with the roaring log burning stove that kept us toasty.
At night it was surprisingly quiet, with just the 5am call to prayer and the obligatory barking dogs to creep uninvited into your slumbers. Add the fact that you’re in a cave with only small windows cut deep into the rock, and you have the perfect recipe for a decent nights kip.
The staff are lovely too, and you really do get the family feel here. Matt in particular always had a huge smile and nothing was too much trouble. Communication prior to our visit was spot on (something which cannot be said about all Cappadocia establishments) and we arrived with the utmost confidence our stay would be a good one.
We were not disappointed.
The suites around the rose garden seemed like the quietest spot in the property. Our suite 103 was next to 101 and 102, all tucked away on a lower level and with no passing noise at all. The only down side to these rooms is that there isn’t a great view from the windows. But how long are you going to be in there anyway? Many of the other rooms were by the main walkway, reception, or restaurant so are less tranquil. The fairy chimney rooms are opposite the restaurant and have no central heating so I wouldn’t advise staying in these during winter.
If you’re planning a trip to Goreme, by all means spend hours doing your research like I did and narrow down your hotel options. I guarantee the Kelebek will still come out at the top of the pile and that it will embody all that you would want from a cave hotel experience.
TIP: Kelebek does winter discounts for rooms, and also discounts for paying in cash. They are also affiliated to Butterfly Balloons (read about our trip with them here) and Turkish Heritage Travel (who showed us a great time on their Cappadocia Undiscovered Tour).