Cave havens - Food and Travel Issue 178

Naturally cool and often with fantastic views, cave hotels are an ideal refuge during summer. This luxury travel round-up looks at six of the best cave hotels. I aim to draw readers in with idiosyncratic introductions that give a sense of the area, before picking out very specific details from each to ensure that they all sound unique.  Read the full feature here or get a sense of it from the excerpts below.

'Famed for picturesque villages, staggering sunsets and dramatic cliffs plunging 1,000 feet to the inky caldera, Santorini is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Oia was once a humble village clinging to the highest point of the island but its views have resulted in its transformation into a high-end destination for fine dining and exclusive hideaways.'
'Oia has maintained much of its traditional charm, with winding pedestrian streets leading to olive-shaded squares and blue-domed churches. Hail a donkey (the islanders’ transport of choice) to carry you down the cobbled steps to Ammoudi Bay. There are several low-key tavernas where you can tuck into creamy fava beans laced with lemon juice and capers, fresh squid or the iced coffee which is so beloved of local fishermen.'
'Sextantio le Grotte has been painstakingly restored and offers a strain of luxury that is truly unique. The walls and floors of its 18 rooms are bare stone and the furniture consists of beautifully chosen relics found in abandoned caves; the bed linen is an ancient wedding trousseau, the dressing table a milking stool. Electricity is minimal and in the evenings each room is filled with candles and scented with aromatic herbs.'
'A great Ndebele king named Mzilikazi fondly dubbed this swathe of his kingdom Matobo, meaning ‘bald heads’ – and with thousands of granite domes rising dramatically above the forests it’s easy to see why.'
'The Caves is one of the only hotels in the world where you can dive from your balcony into the ocean. While away the days with snorkelling expeditions to sea caverns, massages in the cave spa or snacking on Caribbean favourites like succulent jerk shrimp.'

Banner photo: C.Drazos