It was a full on photo session at Kale Konak. The owner, Abdullah, thought my outfit was extremely beautiful and he took me to all the nooks and crannies of his cave hotel…
I stayed at this unbelievably whimsical cave hotel (or should I say guest house) in Cappadocia and it was partly sponsored. Kale Konak (pronounced Kah-Lay Co-nack) located in Uchsiar, sits beautifully on the Uchsiar Hill with a view to die for. They say Cappadocia has one of the best landscapes on earth. This is not an exaggeration! It does.
My stay here was short, albeit memorable.
Nomad Tip: Be sure to spend an extra night i.e two nights at Kale Konak so you can catch the famous Cappadocia balloon’s up in the air and have the perfect backdrop for your photos. Trust me, you need it! Besides the photos, the extra day is also necessary if your balloon flight gets cancelled due to the weather.
GETTING SPONSORED ACCOMMODATION
My stay at Kale Konak was partly sponsored and I’ll tell you how. I got a free night stay and my second night was highly discounted. How i got it? I simply asked. For over two years, I had been in the DM’s of Voyager Balloons, a hot air balloon company in Cappadocia. Halis Aydogan and his story is pretty inspiring. Check out our conversations from two years back.
When it was finally time for Cappadocia, I asked him for a nice cave hotel close to the balloon and he recommended three of them to me. After looking through the websites, I finally settled on Kale Konak. There was just something about their online presence I loved so much. It had all the vibes I was looking for. I explained the reason for my trip to Halis and asked him if the cave hotel could give me some form of discount.
I did not exactly offer anything in return. All I said was “I’m coming to document my entire experience in Turkey and the cave hotel will be documented too. It will be nice for Nigerians to see another side of Turkey that is not Istanbul or Ankara”. A couple of minutes later I got a message from Halis, “I spoke to the manager and he said he’ll give you one night free and the other at a huge discount”. And just like that, I got my (almost) free stay at Cappadocia!
Nomad tip: So next time you are headed to a new destination, do not be afraid to enter DM’s or send emails and ask for free night stays. Offer your services as a travel writer/ travel content creator and let them know your audience.The worse they’ll say is no. It’s also better when you approach hotels that tie to your brand and that way it will be easy to create content for them. You don’t have to lie about anything. For example, I had put out some content on social media and this was able to convince one nomad to stay at the cave hotel. She had a spectacular time there.
THE JOURNEY TO KALE KONAK
I had written a bit about my “bad” trip planning here and like I said earlier, give Cappadocia at least two clear nights i.e three days and try to land earlier than 9.45pm so you do not get to your hotel at 1.00am.
From my calculation, my landing at 9.45pm meant getting to my hotel at 10.45pm or at the latest 11.00pm. I had mapped out the entire journey. I had about one hour to get to Uchsiar from the Kayseri airport, so I thought. At departure, I squealed in excitement as I saw my name. The destination of my dreams was no longer a dream, it was my reality. I was ticking the top item off my bucket list, off everyone’s bucket list. “Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia”! GLOWWWWRAYYYY!
I was excited till I realized my pick up vehicle was a shuttle bus. Abdullah had innocently booked me on a shuttle to try to save costs. Cabs from Uchsiar to the airport costs about 45-50 euros. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about cost saving but not on a trip where I had spent little or nothing. All thanks to the Thermal Conference I attended a couple of days before. And not in a place like Cappadocia. I needed to be extremely comfortable and splurge. Comfort meant at the back seat of a cab! lol
I’ll be honest to say the shuttle was not bad at all. It was nice and comfortable. BUT I already knew I had to add two extra hours to my arrival time. These shuttles wait for all passengers to board and then drop them various hotels across the city. This seriously eats into your time.
As we drove to the city, I kept looking out the window to see if I could catch a glimpse of the Cappadocia landscape. I don’t know why I was thinking I’ll see anything in the dark. Excitement perhaps? Or maybe curiosity and fear that my hopes of this straight out of a fairly tale location might be dashed! (Sigh, the fear that a destination might have been too filtered). After about 10 various stops, we finally got to the Kale Konak and Abdullah was waiting at the entrance.
Abdullah: Welcome to Kale Konak. I’m so sorry about the transportation. It usually takes 1+ hours to get here from the airport. I’m surprised you got here so late. You should rest up, please let me take you to your room. I hope you are not too stressed out.
I was going to go on a rant but I held back. It was really not is fault, he was only trying to help me out. So my response was simple:
Me: Oh yes it was tiring and they even took me to the wrong hotel. I really just need to sleep right now
As we approached the room, Abdullah offered me tea or coffee but I was not interested. I just needed my bed. He informed me I needed to out of the cave at 5.00am in the morning. This meant waking up at 4.30am(I was going to have just barely three hours of sleep). My 12 hour journey from Denizli province left me exhausted. At this point, an extra night in Cappadocia wouldn’t have been a bad idea!
At 5.00am in the morning, the retro telephone at the side of my bed rang (this was the first time I noticed it) and it was reception telling me the driver was here to pick me up.Off I went on a two-hour hot air balloon ride with the most spectacular views on the planet!
REVIEW| ROOMS, SERVICES & EXPERIENCE
When I got back from the hot air balloon ride, I had a feast waiting for me. Abdullah had told me to keep my tummy empty because accommodation came with breakfast. I was not expecting the spread I saw! Cheeses, spread, fruits, tea, coffee, yogurt, desert, bread and a bunch of other strange things I’ve never seen or tried before. Everything in front of me looked good and tasted good too. Yup, I had a taste of everything my plate and it felt like home-made goodness.
Right after breakfast, we sat on the terrace and had a long chat about our various countries. People have lived in Uchsiar since about 2,000B.C and these caves had been in existence since then. Some of the caves, which were either homes or churches for the people of Uchsiar, have been converted to magnificent cave hotels that transport you back in time. Kale Konak was one of them.
Kale Konak Cave Hotel caters to those who seek an intimate getaway in a sophisticated atmosphere. The tastefully decorated rooms are comfortably furnished to make your stay as memorable as possible.
The hotel has 17 rooms, a Turkish bath, a few terraces and nice roof top restaurants. My room was dark with tons of beautiful antique pieces. It had a cave-y feel. I mean I was in an actual cave! I had a tour of some unoccupied rooms and the common spaces in the hotel. Antique-chic best describes the decor and general ambiance of the space and I had a good time
experiencing living in a bit of Cappadocia’s history.
Right after exploring town, I got back to my cave room and prepared for my last night at the hotel. I was offered complementary dinner because of the “stress” from the day before. I gladly accepted it. Dinner was just as “bad” as breakfast. It was another wide-spread way too much for my belly. I even mistook the appetizer for the main meal.
Tucked under a blanket underneath fairy lights, I sat at the terrace for a couple of hours conversing with a Brit on everything from, travel, photography, visa restrictions to Nigerian “princes”. He clearly had an opinion about Nigeria and Nigerians and I tried to correct that the few hours I had. 30 minutes later, I drifted off to sleep curled up on one of the fold-able chairs on the terrace. I later retired to my room because I had an early start the next day. I had an 8.00am flight to catch.
Kale Konak “Hotel du Charme” ‘the castle under the Rock’ lies inside the old walls of three typical Turkish houses.
My stay at Kale Konak was memorable and I’ll highly recommend this cave hotel to anyone seeking the full Cappadocia experience. Room rates start from 90 Euros and go up to 150 Euros per night. Kale Konak had everything I thought a cave hotel will have. Will I visit again? Oh yes I will!
*This hotel is rated 9.7 out of 10 on booking. This is quite exceptional! However, I must add Abdullah has a number of dogs and cats that live in the hotel. If you are not a pet lover or are allergic to pets, you might not like it here. I love animals so I had no issues with them. He took them in after he found them homeless 🙁 . Just shows you how massive his heart is!