Perched on a hillside overlooking the gorge in Matera this 'blink and you miss it' hotel is so well blended into the town that the english couple we overheard being 'talked in' by the hotel receptionist on a road trip from Rome would never have found it - indeed it was past 11 o'clock at night before they finally made it over two hours late.
In fact that is part of the problem - Matera - stunning and photogenic in the old centre is notorious for it's convoluted one way systems strangulated by the three prongs of the gorge is a difficult place to negotiate your way into by car - hence our great friends, with whom we shared the experience of this wonderful hotel had, on a previous occasion, encountered the scooter guides who offer to lead you to your hotel, but actually take you to a dead end street and demand for more money.
The receptionist was so concerned to get his charges safely in to the hotel he at one point charged up the road a good half mile with his desk phone together with it's base unit chattering away to the driver to the amusement of locals and tourists looking for the telephone cable (it was a hotel desk mobile phone we found out later)
The rooms have been restored with great sympathy, underfloor heating and lights are unobtrusive but you are left in no doubt you are staying in a cave - it is a very romantic setting with candles and atmospheric gloominess together with WiFi, Air Conditioning massive baths and old wooden byres hiding radiators. The huge medieval dining room which was a monastery is used for breakfast and dining which is equally atmospheric.
To stay here is to step back safely and comfortably in time and wake up in the huge bed thinking you are in a medieval setting. A great experience - it would be great to go back in the winter and have roaring fires to complete the scene but with underfloor heating I wonder if that would happen…
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita in the Sassi di Matera - UNESCO World Heritage Site in Basilicata region - is the most extreme expression of a Historical Minor Heritage. A heritage, which represents the almost paradigmatic expression of this Minor History, marked by rocky caves, inhabited until the first years of the fifties. The sassi (stone settlement) have been turned into 18 romantic boutique bedrooms, simply furnished, candlelit and calming. Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is a cultural project born to bring hospitality experience outside the schematics, not classifiable as "stars" and far from any traditional concept of luxury, so much so that the New York Times deemed it one of “the most extraordinary destinations in the world”, the Times “one of the ten most beautiful hotels on the international scene” and the Tatler guide of Condé Nast has included among “the one hundred most beautiful hotels on the planet”. They talk about the luxury of emotions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sextantio Civita Caves Hotel Matera