Eye-popping places to stay in with a spot of history and heritage
Fancy a native stay in a hotel with a cascading waterfall, or in a suite in the caves of Cappadocia without compromising on your down feather mattress and power showers? These new luxe hotels beautifully blend the traditional living styles of a place with sheer indulgence. Mythical and surreal elements come together to offer quirky charm and character in these boutique and five-star hotels with a difference.
Gamirasu Cave Suite
Gamirasu is an exquisitely restored 18-room cave house in the heart of Cappadocia, Turkey. This ancient monastery is steeped in history and is ideal for a luxurious cave accommodation in a traditional Cappadocian village. Comprising six restored and integrated cave houses, each room is restored to resemble a Byzantine monastic retreat — in fact a portion of the hotel was, until recently, still used by the 12th century Byzantine Christian monks. And while you’re here, you could learn a bit about Turkish cuisine from the friendly chefs before experiencing the local life by joining the townsfolk in drying apricots, harvesting apples, tomatoes, mulberries and making wine.
Rs. 1.6 lakh upwards. Details: zgamirasu.com
Galapagos Safari Camp
Smack in the centre of the Galapagos National Park in the Santa Cruz Island’s “transition zone”, this luxury camp is perfect for some wildlife and luxe living. Close to the tortoise reserve, the 55-hectare farm is on a ridge with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. The main lodge is perched on a hill with the nine luxury tents erected on wooden platforms with a three-layer finish to protect them from rain and sun. Evening cocktails are usually in the company of warblers, mockingbirds, Galapagos doves and sometimes giant tortoises too. So don’t miss out on opulence, tents with sun decks, contact with nature and WiFi!
Rs. 18,000 upwards per person. Details: galapagossafaricamp.com
The Ice Hotel
The world’s first ice hotel, obviously called ICEHOTEL, is in Jukkasjärvi, a small village in Northern Sweden. Crafted out of the ice harvested from the Torne river, the architecture is courtesy designers from across the globe who pitch in ideas and talent to leave you living in snow. Yes, even the beds are made of ice! But upping the luxury ante, MINI, the car company has teamed up with the hotel to make a special suite that is themed around the BMW subsidiary. Since February this year, the ICEHOTEL has been offering bespoke suites. And the bonus is the sight of the Northern Lights – spectacular whichever way you look at it.
Rs. 15,000 upwards. Details: icehotel.com
Castell Son Claret
This restored 17th Century castle with just 38 rooms and suites, is set beautifully at the foot of the Tramuntana Mountains, Spain. The vast grounds comprises the castle, two restaurants including the Michelin star Zaranda headed by chef Fernando Perez Arellano, one bar, a bakery and a spa. Lounge by the delightfully large pool that has the picturesque hills looming around or stroll through the olive trees that dot the courtyards. Although the rooms are modern, they have retained the traditional theme in their décor with natural oak-wood flooring and walls stained with oak or pastel beige.
Rs. 90,000. Details: castellsonclaret.com
Voted by Lonely Planet as the world’s most extraordinary hotel, Mihir Garh in Jodhpur, gives you the opportunity to live locally but like a king. The elegant structure is inspired by rural architecture of Rajasthan with tall mud walls, rounded corners, myriad alcoves
and fire places. Nine suites are on offer, each boasting a private plunge pool or Jacuzzis on your private terrace. Each room has a fireplace, crafted by the women of the region, giving you an exact replica of neighbouring homes but with a coat of luxury.
Rs. 15,000 upwards. Details: mihirgarh.com