argos in Cappadocia

Uchisar, Cappadocia, Turkey Book from

Reviewed by Sarah Gilbert
A picturesque jumble of ancient stone houses, caves and underground tunnels turned beautiful boutique hotel
Argos has been through several incarnations over the last 2,000 years: by turns a monastery, a lodging house for Silk Road caravans, a linseed oil factory and now a hip hotel. Set on the eastern slope of Uchisar - the highest and one of the oldest villages in Cappadocia - this multi-level complex of 51 rooms in 6 separate buildings and caves has been a labour of love, 18 years in the making. During the restoration, almost 3.5 miles of underground tunnel were uncovered, along with the Bezirhane - 2 enormous underground rooms with superb acoustics that now host classical, jazz and Sufi music recitals.

The interconnected, flower-filled gardens and sun-soaked terraces are perfect for drinking in the views over Pigeon Valley and the snow-capped cone of Mount Erciyes, while enjoying one of the local wines from the hotel’s impressive cellar. When it gets cooler, settle in front of the log fire in the cosy lounge, where piles of books and magazines await. This place is all about the big relax.

Highs

  • Lovely Uchisar, one of Cappadocia's highlights. It's an ideal base for hiking, adventure sports and visiting Goreme Open Air Museum
  • The rooms are stunning, spread between houses and caves, and a mix of ancient and modern with chimneas and breathtaking views. The Splendid Suites with private plunge pools are out of this world
  • Young and friendly staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome
  • Dining under the stars on delicious local dishes
  • Lots of space for everyone, so popular with couples and families alike

Lows

  • Those lacking a sense of direction could find themselves getting lost in the warren of buildings
  • Some rooms have been added since our visit, so we haven't personally viewed them yet
  • You might be woken by the early morning call to prayer from the neighbouring mosque
  • No pool - though Splendid Suites have in-room plunge pools

Best time to go

You can travel to Cappadocia all year round but winters are cold and summers are hot - April to June and September to November are the best months to visit. That said, the snow-covered landscapes of winter are beautiful, and chimneas in the cave rooms keep things cosy and romantic. Urgup's annual International Wine and Grape Festival is held in October.

Our top tips

  • Coincide your stay with one of the regular jazz, classical and Sufi music concerts in The Bezirhane
  • Watch the Dervishes whirl at a Sema ceremony at Saruhan, a former Silk Road Caravanserai; reception can arrange tickets
  • Great for...

    Eco
    Family
    Great Outdoors
    Honeymoon
    Wedding
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 51
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    Room: Suite

    Rooms

    The guest rooms are spread between 6 different mansions (Monastery, Tunnel, Vasil, Gemil, Tiraz and the White House) and caves that once sheltered holy men. They are a mix of Stone Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Suites and Splendid Suites. No 2 are the same size and shape but each has been decorated in muted tones that complement the exposed stone walls.

    Our spacious Deluxe Room was a subtle mix of ancient and modern. An enormous bed was a delight to sink into; we also loved the antique Turkish carpets, wardrobes with intricately carved wooden doors, and the traditional fireplace (some rooms have a chimnea instead). The all-stone bathrooms have a walk-in shower and soft Turkish cotton bathrobes.

    Stone Rooms have access to a communal terrace or corner from which to soak up the sun and the views; the larger rooms have private terraces, too. The Suites have a separate living area and some open onto a private terrace, balcony or secluded courtyard.

    The amazing Splendid Suites are all different, and vary in size and price; some are spread over 2 floors. Their private heated plunge pools weave in and out of pillars and archways like ancient Roman baths. You can wake up in the morning and jump right in.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Central heating
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Espresso machines in Suites and Splendid Suites
    • Extra beds
    • Fan
    • Fireplace
    • Hairdryer
    • Internet access
    • Ipod dock
    • Iron
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Terrace
    • Turndown service
    • WiFi

    Eating

    Breakfast is served in the hotel’s light and airy restaurant, Seki, also open for lunch and dinner. The large windows meant we could watch hot-air balloons drift over the valley while we tucked into a selection of cold meats and cheeses, olives, freshly baked bread, sweet pastries, jams, and omelettes to order.

    In the evening, you dine under the stars or under stone arches, on a mixture of international and local dishes with a contemporary twist. Think mushroom lamb wrapped in cabbage leaves and chicken with molasses and baked pumpkin. We plumped for a perfectly cooked steak washed down with Kalecik Karasi, a fruity red from the hotel’s own vineyard.

    For a change of scene, we liked sophisticated Elai, which sits in the shadow of Uchisar's fortress. We started with a glass of local wine in front of the Ottoman-style fireplace, before an assortment of meze, followed by tandir (oven-roasted lamb) and a delicious Turkish crème brulée.

    Locals also recommend the unpretentious Center Café and Restaurant on the square for its straightforward, tasty Turkish fare: chicken shish, shepherd’s salad and lamb and aubergine stew.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Coffee tea making
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Organic produce
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    • Vegetarian menu
    Eating: Seki Restaurant
    Activity: Uchisar

    Activities

    • Marvel at the jaw-dropping landscape from above on a sunrise hot-air balloon flight

    • Climb to the top of Uchisar’s natural rock citadel for spectacular panoramic views - it’s the tallest point in Cappadocia and can be seen from miles around

    • Hike along stunning Pigeon Valley to Goreme (see below) or further afield in the Ilhara Valley. Ride a horse along canyons, go quad biking across dunes and try your hand at cross-country golf; adventure sports of all kinds make the most of the incredible landscape

    • Don't miss Goreme Open Air Museum, a Unesco World Heritage site. Its rock-hewn monasteries and churches covered in exquisite Byzantine frescoes are quite incredible

    • Explore the labyrinthine passageways and rooms of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, ancient subterranean cities

    • Go shopping! Haggle for jewellery, carpets, kilims, gemstones and textiles in Uchisar’s small marketplace, and in Urgup and Goreme’s many shops. The local ladies on Uchisar’s main square sell traditional Anatolian headscarfs edged with beautiful hand-woven embroidery, which make great gifts

    • Try the local wines at the Turasan and Kocabag wineries in Urgup - wine has been produced in Cappadocia since 3,000 BC. The hotel has an impressive cellar, too

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Hot air ballooning
    • Mountain biking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Private guided tours
    • Quad biking
    • Shopping / markets
    • Traditional cultures
    • Wine tasting

    Kids

    Children of any age are welcome and under-12s stay free of charge if sharing their parent’s bed. Note all rooms have shower-only bathrooms.

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Most rooms can fit 1 rollaway bed or 1 baby cot. The Splendid Suites have a bedroom and a living area with 2 sofas, which can be made up as single beds for children.

    Kid Friendly: Splendid Suite

    Our guests' ratings...

    10/
    Rooms
    8/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    10/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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    Rates for argos in Cappadocia