Room Service: Argos in Cappadocia, Turkey

Live like a modern caveman in style

The Argos has been through several incarnations over the past two millennia: by turns a monastery, a Silk Road caravanserai, a linseed-oil factory, and now a boutique hotel where you can live like a Troglodyte in style. Argos is Latin for "shimmering", and refers to Mount Erciyes's snow-capped cone. It is set on the eastern slope of Uchisar, the highest – and one of the oldest – villages in Cappadocia. The lunar-like landscape in this part of central Turkey is the result of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

Numerous civilisations have left their mark. The region is home to valleys of extraordinary rock formations, ancient cave dwellings, stone-carved churches, fortresses perched atop rocky outcrops and labyrinthine underground cities built in the third and fourth centuries to shelter Christians from persecution.

This hotel – a multi-level complex of 42 rooms in five separate buildings – has been 15 years in the making. Caves that once sheltered holy men are now suites. The interconnected, bloom-filled gardens and sun-soaked terraces are perfect for drinking in the views over terraced vineyards, Mount Erciyes, and the fairy chimneys (conical rock formations) of Pigeon Valley.

The buildings sit above a network of even older underground tunnels uncovered during the restoration, along with the Bezirhane (linseed press). You can still see where traders used to park camels for the night and the two huge underground rooms with incredible acoustics now host classical, jazz and Sufi music concerts.

Breakfast is served under the stone arches of the hotel's light and airy restaurant, Seki. From here I watched hot-air balloons drift over the valley while I tucked into a selection of Turkish cheese, plump olives, fresh-baked bread, sweet pastries and eggs-to-order.

In the evening, I dined on the terrace under the stars on chicken with molasses and baked pumpkin, accompanied by Kalecik Karasi, a fruity red wine from the hotel's own vineyard. Grapes have been grown in this fertile volcanic soil since Ottoman times and several small wineries carry on the tradition, producing increasingly commendable wines.

Location

The hotel is in the pretty village of Uchisar, which is a 30-minute drive from Nevsehir airport. Uchisar makes a good base to discover the extraordinary region of Cappadocia. After haggling for jewellery, pottery or kilim rugs in the small market, climb to the top of its fairytale fortress. This was not built by man but hewn out of the soft rock by the wind and the rain – it's the tallest point in the region and can be seen from miles around. Or marvel at the jaw-dropping landscape from a sunrise hot-air balloon flight (00 90 384 271 33 00; royalballoon.com; €175pp for a one-hour flight). Back on terra firma, you could explore Pigeon Valley in an hour-long hike, marvel at the Byzantine frescos in the cave-churches at Goreme Open Air Museum, a World Heritage Site, or traverse the tunnels of the subterranean city of Kaymakli, just 30 minutes away.

Comfort

The rooms are spread over five buildings: Monastery, Tunnel, Vasil, Gemil and the White House. No two are the same but each has been decorated in soothing muted tones to complement the stone walls and wooden floors. My spacious "Deluxe" room was a subtle mix of ancient and modern: antique kilims, an iPod dock, wardrobes with intricately carved doors, a contemporary sofa in front of a traditional open fire, and an all-stone bathroom with a walk-in shower.

Every room has access to communal terrace or corner from which to soak up the sun and the views. The suites have a separate living area and open on to a private terrace, balcony or courtyard. The stunning one and two-bed "Splendid" suites – some split on two levels – have their own pools so you can wake up and jump right in.

Travel essentials

Argos in Cappadocia, Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey (00 90 384 219 31 30; argosincappadocia.com).

Room ****
Value ***
Service ****

Double rooms start at €160, including breakfast.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power