Photo: Radiokafka/Shutterstock

15 Monastery Stays Around the World

Austria Australia Italy Romania California Jerusalem Kathmandu Nice Cusco Insider Guides Epic Stays
by Kristin Conard Nov 11, 2010
9. Hotel Monasterio, Cusco, Peru

Built in 1598, this luxury hotel was originally a Jesuit seminary. It now features extravagant baroque architecture and rich furnishings. For an extra $50/night, enjoy oxygen enrichment to help counter altitude sickness.

Cost: Double rooms from $528.

10. Sveti Naum, near Ohrid, Macedonia

I walked across the border between Albania and Macedonia near Lake Ohrid, and I could hear the mournful call of the peacocks that live at the 9th-century monastery before I finally reached it. Along with the peacocks, there is a hotel/spa on the grounds. It’s a peaceful place, and I was impressed at how well the architecture and feel of the hotel blended with the monastery.

Cost: Doubles start at €39.

11. Dragormina Monastery, Bucovina, Romania

Dragormina is actually a fortress — walls surround the two Gothic churches and monastery buildings. The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the main church in the complex, is over 120 feet tall and is decorated with elaborate frescoes.

Tourists and pilgrims are welcomed as guests at the “Arhondaric” building in the complex between May and October every year. It’s miles from any towns — silence reigns.

Cost: Rooms from 50 RON.

12. Art Monastery, Labro, Italy

According to their website, the Art Monastery Project is transforming an old Italian monastery into an international arts production house. Artists and volunteers can stay here as long as they help restore the grounds or produce work. Christopher Fülling, the co-founder, discusses why this type of artistic community is so important:

It’s ironic but true that today’s artistic avant garde is less and less concerned with self-expression and ‘breaking the rules’–which have all been broken–and more inspired by the discipline and collaboration of intentional living and the efficacy of the art such lifestyles can produce.

Cost: Contact for a quote.

13. Casa Santo Domingo, Antigua, Guatemala

On the site of the ruins of the Santo Domingo monastery, Casa Santo Domingo opened in 1989 with 129 rooms decorated in traditional warm tones. Fountains and elaborate gardens can be found in and around the buildings, and spa services are available. It’s also more than just a hotel — it has a museum with exhibits from the colonial era along with pre-Columbian art.

Cost: Doubles from $174.

14. Hotel Schloss Mondsee, Salzkammergut, Austria

The hills are alive with the sound of music. The Hotel Schloss Mondsee is a monastery-turned-20-room hotel next to the Mondsee Cathedral, where Captain Von Trapp and Maria got married in the iconic film. If singing isn’t your style, relax in the aroma grotto or take a swim in a pool with vaulted ceilings. Layers of history abound; it was built as a monastery in the 730s and then designated a palace by Napoleon in 1810.

Cost: Singles start at €108.

15. Bodhgaya, India

Under a bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, the Buddha achieved enlightenment. There are temples and monasteries nearly everywhere you look here, and most have guesthouses for visitors.

One option is the Daijokyo Buddhist House. Learn to meditate, practice yoga, and study Buddhism in one of the 100 guest rooms of the Japanese temple. Nearby is the Great Buddha Statue, an 80-foot figure blessed by the Dalai Lama.

Cost: Daijokyo Guesthouse runs Rs 600. Other temples and monasteries have rooms for Rs 200.


For more on the monastic life, check out Photo Essay: Daily Life Around Monasteries in Burma.

And if you’re looking for more unique places to stay, there’s Sleep Like A King: 25 European Castles You Can Sleep In.

Have you ever stayed the night in a monastery? Which ones would you recommend? Share in the comments below. 

Discover Matador