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April 05, 2012

The World's Most Interesting Underground Hotels



By BootsnAll
04/05/2012

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Minesuite_bed
Sala Silvermine Hotel in Sala, Sweden

One of the amenities most of us like to find when checking into a hotel is a room with a view. Opening the blinds to reveal a picture-postcard scene of a famous landmark or waves crashing on a pristine beach just makes the whole thing seem more vacation-y somehow—especially when the alternative is something like a view overlooking the neighboring building's rooftop heating and cooling system.

But what if your hotel room didn't have a view of anything, let alone a window?

Underground and cave hotels can be seen as a gimmick in some places, but in others they're part of the natural landscape. No matter the circumstances, these hotels are sometimes extreme, sometimes beautiful, and should always carry a warning for claustrophobes.

Looking for an adventure vacation? Here are some of the most interesting underground hotels in the world.

Sala Silvermine Hotel
Sala, Sweden

Turning a former mine into a hotel means you don't have to do any additional excavation to create underground rooms—although in this case, the Sala Silvermine Hotel only has one underground room. The Mine Suite is a whopping 508 feet underground (the world's deepest hotel room, the hoteliers claim) in a part of the former mine. Most of the mine is now a museum, and if you'd rather stay in a more well-lit room and just tour the underground caverns you can do that, too. The majority of the Sala Silvermine Hotel's rooms are above-ground, and even include budget accommodation in the form of the mine's hostel facility.

Away.com's Top Sweden Vacation Spots

White Cliffs Underground Motel
White Cliffs, Australia

Another mine-turned-hotel is in White Cliffs, where a former opal mine has been turned into the Underground Motel. Far from a gimmick, living underground in this part of Australia is actually quite normal—because the summer sun is so intense, many of the residents of White Cliffs have underground homes where the temperature is a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to hotel rooms, the Underground Motel also features an underground bar, restaurant, and meeting spaces. For a more luxurious underground hotel experience in Australia, head for Coober Pedy (another town where many of the residents live underground) to another former opal mine turned into the four-star Desert Cave Hotel.

Away.com's Top Australia Vacation Spots

La Claustra
Airolo, Switzerland

For anyone who gets jittery in enclosed spaces, the name "La Claustra" may seem frighteningly appropriate for a cave hotel. This particular hotel, high in the Swiss Alps inside Mount St. Gotthard, occupies a former secret Swiss military bunker. This four-star property lies roughly midway between Zurich and Milan, and offers high-end organic meals in its in-house restaurant, an in-house spa, as well as space for meetings and conferences. There are 17 hotel rooms, all of which are deep within the mountain.

Away.com's Top Switzerland Vacation Spots

Kokopelli's Cave B&B
Farmington, New Mexico

If you've been to the American Southwest, you may have visited the sites of Anasazi cliff dwellings like those in Mesa Verde—but what if you could actually stay in a modern-day cliff dwelling? At Kokopelli's Cave B&B, you can. The rooms of the B&B were blasted out of the mountain, although from the outside you'd barely know it was there. It's a one-bedroom private home which you can rent in its entirety (it sleeps up to four people), and although all of the living space is inside the mountain, there are spectacular views from the entrance.

Away.com's Travel Guide to Farmington, New Mexico

Gamirasu Cave Hotel
Ayvali Village, Turkey

Rather than occupying a former mine, the Gamirasu Cave Hotel in Cappadocia is in a former monastic retreat that dates back 1,000 years. It's been lovingly restored by a man who grew up in the town, and now offers 18 rooms—some of which are former monk "cells," and a few of which are underground caves. The hotel's restaurant is also inside a cave, and guests can enjoy breakfast and dinner on-site.

Away.com's Top Turkey Vacation Spots

Beckham Creek Cave Lodge
Parthenon, Arkansas

In the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas you'll find Beckham Creek Cave Lodge, a luxury vacation rental property built into the mountains—literally. Much of the lodge is underground, with caves for rooms and hallways, but you're never far from daylight—the rooms have windows in the wall that faces outside. This property has five bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom, along with a 2,000-square-foot "great room" for hanging out and a completely modern kitchen.

Solotvyno Salt Mine
Solotvyno, Ukraine

You'd be forgiven for assuming that long-term stays in a former salt mine might be hazardous to your respiratory health, but you'd be wrong—at least according to the thousands of people who book multi-week stays at the former Solotvyno Salt Mine in Ukraine each year. Salt therapy, called "speleotherapy," is said to aid those suffering from things like asthma and allergies. While this isn't exactly a traditional hotel, guests do sleep (dormitory-style) underground as part of their therapy, which also includes visits to the on-site (and above-ground) doctor offices.


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