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“Architecture and nature in perfect harmony...what an incredible hostelery”

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Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita
Ranked #1 of 32 Hotels in Matera
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 April 2014

There are places on this planet that remain rocky,defiant and hang in a universe that time has almost forgotten. Matera is a place where its difficult to discern where rock ends and town begins. Stone fuses with stone to form a glacier-grey light that shimmers when the sun shines.
While visiting one of the oldest towns in the world, my travel agent sent me an offer to stay at Sextantio ,which we hummed and hawed about, but nevertheless decided to check it out. One look at this hotel of simplicity,authentically restored and incorporating a surreal beauty,a state of grace, a remarkable state of suspension between the past and the present.
The interior is rock,solid rock as ancient as it gets. Its theatrical,where you feel sometimes an actor on a film set,with solid wooden furniture of the region,your vision constantly updated by the magic light pouring in through the windows. The rooms are real caves each with mod- cons. Candles add the alchemy of illumination and an exotic excitement.
Breakfast is served in an old church with the staples coming from the town itself. The honey and jam as well as the butter are addictive.Matera offers plenty of dining opportunities.
By the way,if you are travelling out of a suitcase as we were,its no big deal not having anywhere to put your stuff. Great place to act out your monkish role.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Eli B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 April 2014

My wife surprised me on my birthday with a stay in this hotel, I mean really surprised me, like woke up, said pack your bags and bring your passport kinda surprise. That night we arrived in Matera in the rain. Still I'll never forget that first glimpse of the magical sassi.

Sextantio is very low key, there are no flashing neon signs. In the middle of the night, in the rain, it's not easy to find. For some time we stumbled around the 'breakfast cave' until we ventured back outside for another soaking before we found the reception area. No bother, despite it being gone 10 the staff could not have been more welcoming and helpful. IN fact we could have done with them being a bit less welcoming as we were tired and hungry! Still, Marco kindly called around and found that they would still serve us at the fabulous La Botteghe (see other review) once we'd put our stuff in our room.

So to the hotel itself. Like all of the historical centre of Matera, it started its life as a series of caves, which over centuries if not millenia became more and more refined and domesticated. Unlike many other hotels you find in the city though this really retains the feel of a cave, though with none of the cold and damp you might expect, and with a lot of the creature comforts of modern life. For us it was almost the perfect balance.

We were there for three nights and were upgraded to a suite for the first two nights of our stay. The only real practical difference of the suite against the standard room (at least the ones we had) was a shower (tucked in the nook of a cave - quite surreal) and being slightly larger. The rooms are quite spartan and minimally furnished, and occasionally it might have been nice to have somewhere slightly more comfortable to sit and have a drink - it was either lie on the (rather lovely) bed, or sit in a really very rickety chair. I felt there could have been slightly more in the way of soft-ish furnishings without spoiling the feel of the place.

Similarly, there was basically nowhere to put your clothes, save a rail with three coathangers you could easily use to kill a man. So the entire stay we were living out of suitcases. This was OK for a few days but if we'd been there a week would have been annoying. The balance needs to swing slightly in favour of practical than authentic.

That said, it is a truly unique and magical place, the owners of which clearly have a vision of exactly what they want it to be and are unwavering in that view - which is to be admired.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank sssamcz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2014

My husband and I just came back from Matera. We spent 3 nights in Sextantio, in room n.19. What to say...it was an absolutelely great and unique experience! We spent unforgettable time. Just a few things to be improved...

But let's start from what we liked.
We LOVED the picturesque place where the hotel is situated and it's breathtaking view.
We liked the unique design of Sextantio and magic atmosphere created there: candles, music, natural aromas spread all around - all chosen with an impeccable taste!
We enjoyed an amazing abundant breakfast in the old church and the tea with biscuits served in our room in the afternoon.
The staff was nice, helpful and fast to react on our requests.
The beds were super-comfortable, bath and shower were very well done – it was a pleasure to use it.
We appreciated controllable temperature in the room: it was warm there and we slept very well.
We were happy to receive a little present from the hotel in the end of our stay – a bottle of nice local wine.
One more pleasant bonus was a free parking next to the hotel - not so easy to find in Italy!

What we didn't like (could be improved!)
We didn't like that for almost 500 euro per night (we took the Suite) we didn't find much facilities in the room: no bathrobe, no slippers and other toileteries,– only a little soap, shampoo in a big bottle (although smelling good doesn't wash your hair) and a bath-foam identical to the shampoo.
No telephone to call on the reception.
We didn't like the fact that the Internet connection was extremely slow. We understand, that Matera is not the place for Internet and other gadgets: here you better relax and enjoy the nature...but, it's better then not to specify at all the Internet as a cervice offered, than to give an empty hope to the guests. We expected to answer a couple of important emails from Matera, but it was almost impossible. It took hours to download every single page, so we waste a lot of time. And moreover, the wi-fi router was placed in our room, so we really didn't understand what was the problem.
Finally, from our point of view, the price is exaggerated. The people from Sextantio didn't even invest to buy the property: the Italian government gave it for free to them for 99 years; they just did a renovation. That fact doesn't correlate very vell with their mission.

Anyway, we had a fabulous time and we will recommend Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita to our friends!

Room Tip: My husband and I just came back from Matera. We spent 3 nights in Sextantio, in room n.19. What to s...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Monica R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2014

This hotel and location will genuinely be nothing like you have ever experienced before. It was so quiet, peaceful, romantic and just 'other worldly'. One of the most relaxing breaks I have had (excluding the drive from Bari airport and back). The views are spectacular, the comfort incredible and I just can't say enough for this place. It has to be somewhere you try even for a night. There is a little bar at the top of the street in an old church with even more amazing views and proper Italian nibbles. There are loads of restaurants dotted around close by which come to life about 9pm. Exploring the cobbled streets into the cliff side will reward you with breathtaking views from every angle and some surprise turns. Great place and the hotel was the best part. The staff were so helpful and friendly and would go out of their way for you. The bath is so comfortable and relaxing with a glass of bubbly, you won't want to get out. The underfloor heating kept our cave warm and cosy, the candles kept it romantic and relaxing. Best place to stay in Matera.

Room Tip: Not suitable for wheelchair users or if you difficulty with stairs as they can be uneven.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Scott M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2014

We stayed at Le Grotte della Civita for 5 nights at the beginning of April. This place is amazing. It would be difficult to find a more relaxing location. There are no telephones or tvs in the room (woo!), which means that it's easy to read a book, take a nice bath in the large tub, and just calm down after a nice day of wandering Matera. The setting is also gorgeous, with beautiful views of the Gravina River and gorge in the nature park. We had wine in the evenings and enjoyed the view. In the mornings, the breakfast is full of tasty, freshly baked cakes and local cheeses.

Topping the cake are the staff. Everyone who works here is warm, friendly and helpful. They really made the place special. Thank you for a great stay!

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank lbromley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2014 via mobile

This is an extraordinary place and just one of the visionary projects from this company and it's founder.

The first impression is one of landing in Middle Earth - with the town of Matera clinging to the side of the gorge. What appear to be stone constructed buildings are facades built over the entrances to a labyrinth of caves and this hotel is the supreme example. Cavernous rooms each occupy an ancient caves, with underfloor heating beneath the stone floors (stones all lifted, numbered and replaced in a marathon task of preservation) provide a complete retreat from the known world.

An extraordinary experience.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled solo
Thank Adrian G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2014

I had the good fortune of traveling to Jordan and staying at a very special resort hotel (Taibet Zamaan) that was originally a Bedouin village. The entire village were relocated and the village was purchased and transformed into a unique setting for a luxury stay, stone walls and alcoves, irregular paths, rustic and striking. All this and more can be found in Matera, Italy, where people and their animals shared hundreds, in thousands, of caves since the Stone Age. I believe there were people still inhabiting these caves until the 1950's in terrible squalor. Since then there has been a great effort to rehabilitate this timeless jewel of a city, caves hewn in the stone mountain and enhanced with stone similar to Jerusalem stone (some movies have been shot here to mimic being in Jerusalem). Sextantio is one of many hotels and a gem in its own way. We were, again, fortunate to stay here and, being upgraded, stayed in the grand suite which used to be a small church. It was an enormous cavernous set of several rooms with stone floor. There was a beautiful large bed (and second smaller one), separate toilet area, open shower with rainfall shower head, large Fred Flintstone stone sink, and a completely separate large room with deep bath. All mostly candlelit with some electric lighting. The staff are eager to please and knowledgeable and the breakfast sumptuous. Definitely an experience worth going out of your way (about a 3 hour easy drive from Naples).

Room Tip: We stayed in the grand suite, but I believe all the rooms are special.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank rweissred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MicheleCentonze, Direttore vendite at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2014

Dear Guest,

We are so glade to read your detailed review full of enthusiasm.

As you seem interested in historical places and experiences, I can highly recommend our second property in the Abruzzo region: Sextantio Albergo Diffuso in Santo Stefano di Sessanio.

Hoping to see you again in the future and we thank you for supporting our mission of rehabilitating abandoned settlements like the Sassi di Matera and other villages in southern Italy.

Best wishes.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita

Address: Via Civita 28, 75100, Matera, Italy
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Basilicata > Province of Matera > Matera
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Matera
#1 Romantic Hotel in Matera
#9 Business Hotel in Matera
Price Range: £151 - £726 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita 4*
Number of rooms: 18
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

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