Photo: Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland
Here are some hotels offering the most exquisite subterranean experiences.
The stupendous Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland proudly holds the title of the first underground luxury hotel. Sitting within a decommissioned quarry and surrounded by vast nature, it incorporates its rustic environment in its warm and wooden furnishings throughout the premises. Escape to this modern wonderland without giving up on comfort and indulgence.
Photo: La Dimora di Metello
In the heart of Italy’s Sassi di Matera, known for its ancient cave dwellings, lies the regal, minimalistic elegance of La Dimora di Metello. Carved out of limestone cliffs, the craggy, cream rock walls blend seamlessly with the neutral hues of modern oak furniture and mellow fabrics. An ample terrace affords a sweeping panorama of Sasso Barisano – a truly magical Italian landscape.
Photo: La Claustra
Aboveground, its entrance is marked simply with a Swiss flag and a nondescript red door fitted into a stone facade. Underground, the slate grey of the Swiss Alps frames La Claustra, a rejuvenated former underground Swiss army bunker rife with rich history. The cavernous 5000m2 space it occupies features a restaurant, library, spa, swimming pool as well as switchboard rooms, old military generators and an ammunition storage.
Photo: Les Hautes Roches
France’s leading luxury Troglodytic hotel rises over the Loire Valley and the meandering royal river. Sculpted into the tufa cliff face is a labyrinth of living spaces, each uniquely curated with light, velvety shades tastefully juxtaposed with vivid splashes of colour. The surrounding Châteaux de la Loire and the nearby Vouvray vineyards unfold right outside, for a richly rewarding trip down culture lane.
Photo: Iconic Santorini Hotel
Sleep in style within the heart of a volcano. The depths of Santorini’s volcanic cliffs play host to these enigmatic, new cave suites of the Iconic Santorini Hotel. Its dedicated terrace features outdoor loungers and a caldera-facing plunge pool offering a splendid vista of the vast Aegean sea right below. This is the pinnacle of luxurious serenity, warm Hellenic hospitality and truly unmatched local cuisine.
Photo: Ibis Styles
‘Mind the gap!’ screams at you from the carpet, now your very own Tube platform. Here is a quirky aboveground rendition of London’s subway system, splashed with oranges, yellows and blues distinctively redolent of the colourful Tube map. A stylish tribute to the metropolis’ iconic underground, its decor also takes a page from the book of the sixties – plush velvet seats in the lobby, arched windows and prints bearing the names of famous stations.
Photo: Cappadocia Cave Suites
It isn’t Turkey without the underground. The picturesque city of Goreme brings you Cappadocia Cave Suites, a lush subterranean experience within its storied fairy chimneys. Indulge in the way rich luxury melds with the authentic style of Hittite, Roman and Byzantine Periods. From the private balcony, watch the iconic Turkish hot air balloons rise against the distant sunset.
Photo: Desert Cave Hotel
Hidden within the vast Australian Outback is the famed opal mining town of Coober Pedy, the unique setting of Desert Cave Hotel. While there are aboveground rooms as well, the more daring can live underground. The cozy, stone-walled rooms beneath are fitted with native rocks and furnishings, reflecting the unique culture of the Australian Outback.
Photo: Kokopelli’s Cave
United States of America
Fashioned out of sheer Ojo Alamo sandstone cliffs overlooking the stunning La Plata river valley and sloping sandstone pathways, enter the quaint charm of Flintstone- esque Kokopelli’s Cave. Eclectic home design, rugged, textured rock walls and the warm tones of aspen furniture coalesce into a homely space for the perfect stay, complete with a stone hot tub jacuzzi, small patio and Native American kiva.