The Witt Istanbul will let you get in touch with your funky side. This minimalist, retro design hotel is set between two of Istanbul’s coolest neighbourhoods of Beyoglu and Taksim, minutes from Istanbul’s premier shopping street, hip cafes and restaurants and the Museum of Modern Art. For history and Ottoman opulence, it’s only a 30 minute walk (or short tram ride) across Galata Bridge to Sultanahmet’s main Old Town sights.
The hotel design fits into the neighbourhood. Funky jazz tunes permeate the lobby and library area. Upstairs, the 18 rooms are large and resemble studio apartments rather than a hotel. They are furnished with organic wooden furniture, hard wooden floors and soft rugs in the bedroom and living areas. You can definitely make yourself at home here, hang your clothes in the full size wardrobe, chill out to watch TV on your sofa or rocking chair, hook your tunes up to the Bluetooth radio system and make yourself a Nespresso coffee. Wi-Fi with some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen in Turkey will keep business travellers happy and stress free.
We also loved the wonderful views of Istanbul’s skyline from Room 32. Stepping out on the French balcony bought me closer to the sights and smells of Istanbul but double glazing kept the noise out at night. The roof terrace garden area also offers spectacular views across the Goldern Horn. You can clearly make out Galata Tower, various Mosques and Topkapi Palace. All that’s missing is a rooftop bar.
There’s a 1:1 employee to room ratio which means things seem to happen almost before you ask. The reception staff have an excellent blend of giving just enough information without being pushy or overwhelming.
Organic and sustainability seems to be important. Herbs and vegetables grow among the flowers on the roof top and the breakfast is made up of organic and chemically free ingredients. There’s plenty of choice, but one of the best things about breakfast is having it served in your room.
The Witt Istanbul doesn’t see many families but couples and friends will love the service, location and space.
The old saying of arrive a guest, leave a friend is true of Ayasoluk Hotel. The friendly and chatty Kurdish management staff and the smiling young girls who cater to your every need do their best to make you feel part of the family. They go out of their way to help everyone who crosses their path. I was even offered free reign in the kitchen, should I desire a midnight snack or some such.
Ayasoluk is a fresh face on the Selcuk hotel scene, opening mid-2014. It’s a lovely family run boutique, designed and built by the Turkish and American owners. The hotel sits on Ayasoluk hill, amidst quiet village backstreets, an area steeped in history. Within a minutes walking of the centre of Selcuk, Ayasoluk provides a pleasant oasis from the world, allowing you to relax in the lovely courtyard and take in the views.
From the deep blue swimming pool, and from most of the rooms, you can see all the sights the area has to offer – the Virgin Mary’s Chruch, Artemis Temple, St John’s Cathedral and the old Castle, Isa Bei Mosque and the Seven Sleepers hill are all within view, and most within walking distance. The ruins of Ephesus are hidden only by the hill.
The rooms are cosy and well designed. The 17 rooms each have their own unique features, some with fireplaces, French balconies overlooking the village or comfortable window seats, perfect for whiling away a few hours reading. Light switches are within easy reach of the comfortable bed and there’s a superfast USB charging point to save you from all those adapters. There’s air conditioning and heating but I also like the touch of a ceiling fan.
The décor is colourfully Turkish inspired, with handmade Turkish carpets covering the hard floors. If you see something you like – ask to take it home. Carpet selling has been in the family for generations and they own a carpet shop in town (though there’s no pressure to buy).
The breakfast spread is varied and tasty and in the summer time the restaurant provides lunch and dinner service which is also popular with outside customers. I joined the staff for family lunches and can attest to the good work of the chef.
Cella Hotel & Spa is the newest member to the Selcuk hotel scene (the hotel opened late 2014) and is set to be the area’s premier luxury hotel. The Turkish and French owners, along with their management staff, are passionate about making Cella the first choice for guests demanding service, attention and luxury.
The newly built hotel is inspired by nearby Ephesus and Greco-Roman statues grace the niches between the windows. Inside, antique meets modern – the interior décor is inspired by French, Italian and Mediterranean styles. Marble statues sit alongside quirky 1950’s barber tools.
The rooms are opulent, many with gold plated bathroom fittings. The 17 rooms are uniquely decorated but share common features such an enormous king size bed (much bigger than my arm span – I don’t think I touched the same place twice during the night), flat screen TV, great Wi-Fi, minibar, tea/coffee facilities, safe and delicious smelling Bulgari toiletries. My dry skin was grateful for the creamy body lotion. VIP room come with either a private sauna, Turkish hamam or bedside Jacuzzi.
For those of us not favored with a VIP choice, you can pamper yourselves in the downstairs spa area where the sauna and hamam are open for all guests. A better option is to employ the services of Tulay – her calm presence will soothe you before she even begins to work out the muscles in your shoulders.
The organic breakfast is cooked fresh and served all day (perfect for late sleepers) and I recommend the fried eggs with cheese and pastrami. Naturally, with so much good choice (there are variations every morning), I over indulged and had more than enough energy to take one of the free bikes for a pedal in the nearby hills.
The hotel is popular in the summer time, particularly with couples and friends travelling. I recommend travelling here in a pair – this is an experience you’ll want to share. I was treated incredibly well during my stay, you will be too.
We loved our stay at Fresco Caves Suites. The combination of spacious, luxurious and warm cave suites and the hospitality of the staff and owners of the hotel meant a perfect stay in Cappadocia.
Fresco is up a short hill, in the picturesque old city centre of Urgup, with stunning views over the town and across to the Erciyes Mountain. The hotel is a combination of three historical mansions and offers accommodation in 11 cave rooms and 6 mansion rooms, some even with original wall frescos of 19th Century Ottoman era.
We stayed in two different cave rooms and can highly recommend them. The novelty of living in a cave never wore off. The caves are elegantly decorated, each with its own special features. We really liked the wooden wardrobe doors, hand carved from reclaimed wood, and the Turkish style metal pots, basins and jars which adorn the rooms. The décor and tasteful lighting allow the natural features of the stone to shine (I loved the swirly patterns on the walls).
A short tunnel led to the spacious cave bathroom, with a bathtub big enough for two (we were also lucky enough to have a Jacuzzi bath). The great water pressure meant I didn’t have to wait long for the tub to fill to enjoy my soak after a day of exploring. A separate shower stall with two shower heads (rainwater and normal) provided excellent water pressure and piping hot water.
The caves in Cappadocia have a natural temperature of about 18 degrees Celsius. At Fresco Caves, with a few radiators for good measure, our winter visit was warm and cosy. AC will keep you cool in the summer time. All rooms come with tea/coffee/water, minibar, Wi-Fi (there’s a Wi-Fi router in most rooms, cleverly disguised behind the art), satellite TV, handwoven robes and slippers (I actually use these!)
Fresco Caves is a well-run, family owned hotel. All the staff feel part of the family and everyone works to make your stay better, from the reception staff who see to your every need with a warm smile to the owner who appears at every breakfast to make sure your stay is perfect. We could not have been treated better during our stay.
The hotel receives guests from all over the world and Turkey and caters for couples, families and small groups. We think the ambiance is especially suited for romantic getaways. We would love to return one day.