Although there are many hotels in the area, there is only one Cappadocia Cave Suites.
As the world was caught up in the knee-jerk reaction to 9/11/01, Bora Özkök , owner of the hotel and Cultural Folk Tours, Inc., reaffirmed his optimism in the future of international travel by undertaking to create a world class hotel from three "fairy chimneys" in Cappadocia. He purchased the first chimney in 1998, and waited until the ones on each side were available. Each belonged to several owners, but were abandoned, and real estate acquisition in Turkey is no easy matter. When all three could be consolidated, restoration work began. An architect with an appreciation for the daunting task was engaged to remake into a hotel these caves that had been used for over 100 years as stables, cooking rooms, a chapel, and living quarters. Ten truckloads of debris were hauled away, and the caves were excavated down to a dry and hard layer of stone, called ʻtuff.ʻ, defined as a thick layer of consolidated volcanic ash covered by thin layer of basalt or other volcanic rock. The caves also had to be excavated to achieve enough height for comfortable habitation, made possible because the stone is light and can be cut with simple tools.
The government-sponsored Historic Preservation Society in Goreme dictated that the exteriors of the ʻfairy chimneysʼ could not be altered, and with this in mind the work was completed on the first 18 units in time to open to travelers in the Fall of 2001, with a staff of 12. Five years later the Hotel had expanded to 21 units, and by 2010 it boasted 36 units, mostly suites, and the original rooms were renovated.
When Bora was asked, "What made you think of doing this?", his answer was, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." "It was a unique project, and with my training as an architect, it was a challenge I embraced." "Then to do the best possible job was an even greater challenge."
These conical "fairy chimneys" that dot the landscape are protected by UNESCO, and are no longer allowed to be made into hotels. So visitors to Cappadocia Cave Suites are fortunate to sleep in these caves, redolent of history, both geological and human, nestled among the towering rock formations.
On the tours of Turkey that Bora has led each year for over 30 years, he has collected many examples of the arts and crafts of the area, and these one-of-a-kind items serve to make each room different.. The furnishings are rustic, and appropriate for the area. Most suites are equipped with Spa tubs, sitting rooms, and all the conveniences of up- to-date hotels. With enormous attention to detail, each room has a different character, including the one that was a chapel, and if you are traveling with a group you might want to take a peek at the rooms of some of your fellow travelers.
In 2010, when the last rooms were completed, and the first ones refurbished, a new and very modern kitchen was added. The staff here turns out bountiful meals of typical Turkish cuisine, and if you are lucky, you may be staying at the Cave Suites when a cooking demonstration is underway. Or perhaps a woman will be showing guests how to make typical Turkish dolls, or a lesson in folk-dancing might be going on. There are many interesting things to do in the area, and the staff at the hotel can arrange for you a guide, with or without a driver, who is multi-lingual, and incredibly knowledgeable.
The entire staff is dedicated, attentive, helpful, and eager to please. The landscaping is attractive, and changes with the seasons.
Whether youʼre staying for a day or a week, if the weather is nice, take your breakfast on the dining room terrace, watch the balloons that drift over the Goreme Valley when the winds are propitious, enjoy the varied rock formations, and at the right moment, listen to the call to prayer from the local muezzin as it drift across the valley and echoes from the rocks.
So enjoy your stay, and come back often. There is always something new to enjoy, both here at the Cave Suites, and in Capadoccia.