Holidays in Greece, especially the Greek Islands, have always been high on my happy list. Until this year, it had been a good few years since I’d given Greece the love it deserves but I put that right recently with a week in Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands. Rethymno was the location for a blissful week of June sunshine, relaxation and Greek food indulgence. So, where to stay in Rethymno? Our home for the week was Villa Rethymno Beach IV. At the time this was a James Villas property but is no longer advertised with them. The rustic villa is just a short walk from Rethymno town and the perfect beachside spot for soaking up the sun as well as the town’s history and Grecian charm.
Goreme, a town of troglodytes, cave hotels and fairy chimneys was the first stop on our mini-tour of Turkey. Located in Cappadocia, Central Anatolia, it sits slap bang in the middle of the country and is home to rock-cut churches adorned with ancient Christian frescoes, underground cities and unique volcanic rock formations.
After getting up at ouch o’clock, two flights and a dusty bus drive later, we were more than happy to arrive at our Cappadocia hotel, The Kelebek Special Cave Hotel (kelebek means butterfly in Turkish). We’d booked late but managed to bag three nights in this gorgeous boutique cave hotel; we’d have to change rooms after the first night, but this wasn’t a problem; in fact it turned out to be a bonus. Hassan welcomed us and, as we checked-in, he dropped into the conversation that we’d been upgraded to a fairy chimney for the first night. Result! But wait, the website said the two fairy chimney rooms had shared bathroom facilities – this would be a major problem for Mr Jones. There was no need for concern, though, we’d been upgraded to the Presidential Fairy Chimney suite, the mother of all Fairy Chimneys. With en suite. Excited? Me? You bet!
What is a Fairy Chimney?
You’re probably wondering by now what a fairy chimney is, so here goes with the topography. Cappadocia and the area around it is made up of valleys, canyons and large areas of volcanic rock. Over time the soft lava covering, known as tuff, has been eroded by strong winds, weather and flood-waters to create bizarrely shaped peaks known as fairy chimneys. These come in various shapes; cone, pointy, capped, pinnacled and in some cases remarkably phallic. The rock is soft, like pumice stone, and has been hollowed out for centuries to form these unusual dwellings.
The door on the right leads to our room, which was originally the wine-press – somewhat proper we thought! The Fairy Chimney was much more spacious inside than we’d imagined; it housed a seated fireplace area, balcony, en suite, entrance area and bedroom. I just loved the quirkiness of it all.
There were some lovely decorative touches to the room; locally made Turkish rugs and artefacts, a pair of traditional leather boots hanging on the wall and hand-carved wooden furniture. We were absolutely delighted with our unexpected stay in a Fairy Chimney – and the reason for our upgrade? The previous occupants didn’t like that there was no television in the room…
I can’t recommend The Kelebek Special Cave Hotel enough, the hotel itself is totally charming with a lovely restaurant and bar offering stunning views over Goreme town which is about 5 minutes walk away. There are 31 rooms including cave rooms, arch rooms, suites and fairy chimneys and prices vary per night and include breakfast. There is a small outdoor pool with sunbeds, a quiet garden and Turkish bath with various treatments available. The service at the Kelebek was excellent, food superb and attention to detail second to none. The staff was incredibly helpful recommending which tours would make sure we got the most from our visit. Staying at The Kelebek was one of the highlights of our trip to Turkey and is a Goreme cave hotel that I’d definitely recommend.
Check rates and availability for the Kelebek Special Cave Hotel
There are many types of accommodation available in Goreme from boutique cave hotels, rooms and backpacker hostels; something to suit every budget. The bus station in the centre of town provides extensive transport links to many areas of Turkey and Kayseri airport is just over an hour’s drive from the town. Many accommodations offer a free one-way airport transfer with the purchase of tours and balloon flights. Although Goreme is a small town there is no shortage of restaurants, cafes and bars and we ate some excellent food during our visit. More posts to come covering our stay in Goreme include our dawn balloon flight, exploring Derinkuyu underground city and the perfect Turkish breakfast.