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After an easy 45-minute flight on Pegasus Air from Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) to Nevşehir (NAV) — for $46 per person all-in, plus a $7 upgrade to get seat 1A in the bulkhead — we landed on time and took the half-hour drive to our hotel for the night: Argos in Cappadocia.
The caves of Cappadocia (also known as Kapadokya) are in the Anatolia region of Turkey. Mother Nature and sheer human will created a complex underground city around the 4th century, which includes homes, chapels, storage and stables carved into the volcanic terrain. Erosion was one of the factors in the area’s successful habitation, and it is now a major threat to its future; Turkey is working hard to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are many different cave hotels in the area, but Argos in Cappadocia is one of the top options, with 51 rooms, suites and Splendid Suites spread throughout six mansions perched on a hillside cliff. Rates start at €215 ($242) per night for a Stone Room, and it should be noted that this is the name of the room, and not a euphemism for a cave room. All room types have cave options. To reserve a cave room, simply request one at time of booking. They’re actually the same price; it’s just based on availability. All rates include taxes and breakfast.
I originally had a regular (non-cave) Deluxe room, which was fine, but nothing really amazing. It’s still in the cave complex, so even walking to the room was interesting, but the room itself was not built into a cave, and I finally ended up in a Deluxe cave room (€225 / $253). They wanted to upgrade me to a suite when I asked for a cave room, but as we arrived on the late side and had to wake up at 4:30am to go hot air ballooning, I didn’t need to splurge on a huge suite for what amounted to a few hours of rest.
Argos Cave Suite
Although I didn’t wind up taking the suite, it was lovely and I was able to grab a few shots.
There’s no air conditioning in most of the rooms — just ceiling fans — and in my room there was also a floor fan aimed at the bed. It’s a bit hot during the day, but gets cool at night, so in the regular rooms you can just open up the windows for a cool breeze, because the eerie stone terrain is utterly silent.
I saw at least three separate rooms in the hotel, and in my opinion they’re not the most glamorous or luxurious accommodations. That being said, my Deluxe cave was a pretty big room, with a comfortable living space. There are no windows — obviously, because you’re in a cave.
Being tall, I only suffered a minor concussion hitting my head on the ceiling of the cave. But it was cool to sleep in the room, even though I hardly slept at all — I was like a kid at Christmas, waiting for my hot air balloon ride the next morning.
My room had an equally big bathroom, with Molton Brown products and robes that were hilariously short on me. There was also a tiny window in the shower area.
The only down side was that the sheets were kind of basic, scratchy and low-quality for what you’re paying. And the Wi-Fi was nearly unusable — because, once again, you’re in a cave!
But overall, it was a cool experience. The resort itself and the outdoor areas are much nicer than the rooms.
We arrived early enough for dinner at Argos’s on-site SEKI restaurant, which was fabulous. We dined al fresco on a balcony with views of the caves.
The food was absolutely spectacular. From my perfectly done steak to the delectable desserts, we were all delighted with our meals.
There’s also the SEKI Lounge for lighter fare and drinks, and the historic SEKI Cellar, which has fermented wines for millennia, and now serves as the well-stocked cellar for the resort. Turkish wines abound, and they’re happy to walk you through your choices.
After check-out at a time I didn’t even know existed, we did hot air ballooning at sunrise, toured with a driver and guide all afternoon and then flew out that night to Mykonos — so it was a whirlwind trip. That being said, I think two nights in the area would be a sufficient stay; this would leave plenty of time for hot air ballooning and at least one tour of the area to learn about the caves’ impressive history.
There are a couple of other cave hotels in the area, but I have nothing but good things to say about Argos – the food and the staff, especially. I also recommend it because it’s cheaper than other nearby options, and for a quick stay, it’s a completely solid choice. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.