Without a doubt, Cappadocia is best known for the hundreds of balloons that float above its dreamy sunrises nearly every morning of the year. A balloon ride here is one for the bucket lists.
A close second, however, are the famous cave hotels that have transitioned from housing the people of the Cappadocian valley to hosting visitors from around the world, seeking a taste of something truly unique.
Fortunately, cave hotels can be found in all price ranges, from hostels to luxury resorts. Far and away, the creme de la creme of cave hotels is the stunning Museum Hotel Uchsar. We splurged on not one but three nights to enjoy the incredible hospitality and grounds of this one of a kind hotel.
Unique Cave Rooms
Genuine Artifacts Throughout
Rooms with view OR wine taps
Impressive Breakfast Spread Included
Extremely attentive concierge service
Ability to book private, personalized tours
IDEAL BALLOON VIEWING
Not Wheelchair accessible
Hoards of Instagrammers posing for hours for the perfect “iconic shot”
While the concierge and house staff were impeccable, the wait staff was not. It once took us an hour and two reminders to get a bottle of house wine- when there were 3 other couples on the deck.
We arrived in the early afternoon and, promptly after check-in, were treated to a tour of the grounds, which included a stop at the patio for a refreshing glass of local juice and nuts as the concierge described the pool deck and bar hours. We continued through a maze of tunnels to the lower deck, where we were shown the garden, which is home to dozens of birds, including 2 peacocks. On the way back, we were shown the hotel’s temporary art exhibition- in fact, all of the artifacts that are scattered around the hotel are genuine and a part of the owner’s private collection.
Through the tortoise garden (yes! tortoise garden! There were 3 little baby tortoises as well, so we had to watch our step…) and through another tunnel, we were shown our spectacular cave room.
Every room at the Museum Hotel is unique and has been fashioned out of pre-existing rooms from more ancient dwellings. For example, our room was previously the kitchen, as evident by the shallow hearth that spilled forward from the walls in the bedroom. Rooms feature either a view of the valley OR in-room taps of local wine, free for the drinking. I mean….free wine from a spout OR a view?! It was impossible to pick.
Aside from the charming sitting room by the hearth, we also had an incredible bathroom with jacuzzi tub and double headed rain shower. Throw in some L’Occtaine toiletries and I am in spa heaven. I think I took at least 2 showers a day because it was just so amazing.
Every day at turn down, a small silver domed tray of Turkish Delight would appear in our sitting area along with fresh fruits from the property gardens. It became a sort of ritual to sit in our chairs and snack on our treats, in our robes, by our hearth. On our last night, we called the front desk to see if we were allowed to start a fire and they promptly sent someone over to set and start the fire for us.
Booking through Virtuoso, the daily breakfast spread was included with our room. Typically when we get this perk, Jimmy and I make a point of eating our weight in breakfast with the intention of skipping lunch. This allows us to enjoy nicer dinners while we travel. Sometimes we start to get a bit sick of the cured meats and sub-par pastries that most hotels offer. That is not the case at the Museum Hotel.
One of the hotel’s managers gave us a tour of the breakfast on our first morning and it just. kept. going.
Local fresh juices. Turkish Coffee. Turkish Tea. Fancy Coffee.
Salad spread: fresh arugula. fresh spinach. fresh marinated tomatoes. fresh olives. local olive oil and syrupy balsamic glaze. veggies. hummus. A full 6-foot table of it all.
Cheese table: small bites of local cheeses, each one slightly different than the other. spiral, stringy, cubed, braided. (Verdict: The stringy one was the best!)
Crepe Station with every topping you can imagine, including local honey and jams.
Pastries of every color and topping. Also a full basket of breads. Every carb you try not to eat, all in one spot.
Fresh local yogurts.
Egg station: you name it, they make it.
A sideboard of traditional savory pastries, called boreks, stewed veggies, fried potatoes.
And then the best part: A Turkish Flatbread station.
A smoky hearth burns below a metal disk, upon which the flaky, savory dough, stuffed with your choice of fillings is smoked and cooked to mouth-watering perfection. I asked the young woman manning the station which combination she liked best and stuck with it for the two subsequent mornings: cheese, spicy crushed tomato paste and crumbled local sausage.
Ok, I need to move on because this is killing me. I will say, however, that as incredible as the breakfast was, the most remarkable part is that you get to eat it slowly on the sprawling patio while you watch balloons float over the valley. If I can choose my afterlife, can it be this breakfast heaven? With endless flatbreads and fresh orange juice.
As well as daily breakfast, we ate dinner twice at the Museum Hotel restaurant, which provides a selection of hearty, yet refined traditional dishes. We started with a mezze spread both nights and both decided we could just eat five straight bowls of the tart, fluffy hummus. Between the two nights, we had both lamb dishes as well as Turkish manti dumplings and both would return for the manti. These little tortellini-sized dumplings are stuffed with meats and cheeses and tossed in savory sauces. The section of baklavas and poached pears for dessert were equally as noteworthy.
Despite the fact that we were only at the Museum Hotel for 3 days, we had plenty of time to explore the area and fully exploit the offerings at the property.
Every evening, we would snag a spot on the deck of the hotel in order to watch the valley change colors as the sunset. With a book each and a bottle of wine between us, we were perfectly content to sit and allow the soft noises of a Turkish evening surround us.
On the first afternoon, we sat in the heated pool with a glass of wine and watched a small display of balloons floating in the evening air.
Our final evening, we had our first couples massage at the in-house spa. This was a perk of booking with Virtuoso and a great way to close our holiday. I loved hearing the prayer call waft into the room as we were receiving our massages in a room warmly decorated with traditional rugs and pillows.
The impressive concierge staff was accommodating to all of our needs- laying fires, booking airport cars, making reservations, etc. They are even available for a few day-our options, depending on your price range and interest- you can even book a fully personalized tour with a private driver. Jimmy and I opted to explore the villages on our own- and were happy for it (more on that later!)- but it was really great to have the option.
If there is any way that you remain unconvinced that this is one of the most magical hotels in the world, let me offer you one final highlight:
The Museum Hotel Cappadocia is an incredible location to view the near-daily balloon flights from the valley on Goreme. While there are dozens of cave hotels within Goreme that offer closer views of the balloons, the perfect situation of the Museum Hotel in Uchisar gives a panorama of the entire valley.
We were able to pop up early in the morning and peak out to see if the balloons had started yet. After having spent our first morning in the sky on a balloon, we had the next two mornings for viewing the balloons from our perch. On the first of these mornings, we popped up early only to find that the balloons were not flying that day. Being just steps away from our room was ideal (and very welcome after our 4am wake-up call the morning before!) The second morning, we were able to wake up, throw on our hotel robes and take the best corner of the hotel for viewing.
The entire time of balloon flights was far longer than we had figured. We had time to take photos, record a timelapse, snuggle and enjoy the views without worrying about if we should be snapping photos, take a swim in the heated pool, shower and change and eat breakfast with balloons still in view. Staying at the Museum Hotel provides a magical experience for viewing balloons so if you only have a few mornings in the town, I cannot recommend it enough.
If you are on social media at all, you have seen scores of photos of this hotel. As we discovered during our stay, it is common for social media influencers to stay here for a night- or show up for breakfast only- in order to pose with an impressive breakfast spread in front of the sweeping view of hot air balloons over the valley.
Truly my only complaint of the hotel is that they should keep it closed off to paid guests only. As we were visiting on the shoulder season before tourism picks up, it wasn’t too difficult to snag the perfect breakfast spot, but it did get rather obnoxious to walk around these staged breakfasts or wait for a series of photos to finish being taken before you could sit in the chaise lounge in the corner overlooking the valley for your evening cocktail; I have to imagine it is terrible in the high season. While we, too, like to get the best photos possible, we never want to get in other people’s way, affect their experiences, and we do it in as quick a time as possible. If it doesn’t come naturally or easily in 5 quick snaps, it’s not worth it. And it’s not us.
Staying in a cave hotel should be on everybody’s bucket list. It is a cultural experience as unique as staying in an Ice Hotel in Lapland or camping in the Serengeti. However, the Museum Hotel was in a class of its own. For authenticity and a connection with the local land and community as well as extreme luxury and relaxation in one of the most breathtaking places in the world, there is no better place to stay when you visit Cappadocia!