Turkey Hotels

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  • wrldtrvlr3341 profile photo wrldtrvlr3341
  • Reviews: 23

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Istanbul's Legacy Ottoman: One of The Best Views In Town

I stayed at the Legacy Ottoman twice within 1 month on a Gate 1 tour. I got the same room both times,perhaps because we needed twin accommodations. At any rate, the room was in good repair and maintenance, food fresh, decent, ample, and service good and helpful. There were a few unexpected nice perks, e.g. robes and slippers provided with the room, and best of all, a great harbor view from the rooftop restaurant, and centrally located within walking distance of both Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.

Location, View, Turkish bath/spa.

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Related to: Spa and Resort, Museum Visits, Religious Travel
  • Written January 7, 2014
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View from Rooftop Restaurant at the Legacy Ottoman


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  • angiebabe profile photo angiebabe
  • Reviews: 1668

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Homeros Pension: Selcuk to visit Ephesus nearby

Absolutely loved this place - we arrived in the dark driving down from Bergama and it was recommended in the LP's new guidebook 'Discover Turkey' and marked on the small street map of central Selcuk it looked the easiest to find from off the main road....and it was signposted all the way which made it a breeze to find (some places have been really difficult, driving around and round to find somewhere where happy to stay).

Guy took us up to a stunning room - it was so awesomely decorated I thought we are going to really have to haggle or its going to cost too much and then we couldn't wifi which was a prerequisite - he told me only 60 dinar! he was so friendly and obliging that I wondered if he was just trying to be really slick...but we got to see that this is his general disposition, along with his lovely sister who is equally as friendly and they are a really kind family.
Took us across the road (narrow side road like a driveway) to the main part of the pension to another lovely room (not quite as nice as the first one but still stunning really, and great ensuite) but really good wifi.
The price included breakfast. A backpacker from Germany arrived back from his day out saying this was a great place to stay and that the breakfasts were the best hed had in Turkey on his travels so far...the next morning we discovered that to be the case.
Was able to make tea or coffee as well that night so along with good wifi I was very happy.

The next day Szuya took me up to check out the excellent views from the roof over the valley with the Temple of Artemis and the mosque and round to the fortress on the hill (closed for renovaton) and top of St Johns basilican. (a few minutes walk away)

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Historical Travel, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written January 3, 2014
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in a quiet side street

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  • kevin36 profile photo kevin36
  • Reviews: 282

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Flora Gradens Beach Hotel: Quite Location

We had a lovely relaxing stay here for two weeks.
First thing to mention is this an Adults Only Hotel.
The service was outstanding and a special mention should go to Betul who was there most mornings and knew exactly what we wanted for Breakfast. (Attention to Detail).
Most of the staff were very helpful and a credit to the Hotel, we had a couple of problems with the room but they dealt with straight away.
We spent most days on the beach area ,again the Beach Attendant was excellent and laid your towels out on your beds for you without asking and kept the area clean.
One of the main questions people ask is about the rooms and have been described as sheds,we booked a partial sea room and that's what we got very spacious with air conditioning.
There are several Restaurants some you pay extra for but you get at least one free for a 1week stay .
We ate most days at the main Restaurant and were very happy with the choice.
There is a Spa on site I personally would book the Turkish Bath trip through the rep at Managat.
there is free WiFi on site too.
Overall it was very pleasant stay ,however just a pointer ,It is in a remote Location but the is transport in the form of Dolmuses which we used regular.
I did not hire a car as in my opinion the driving is somewhat erratic to put it mildly.

If you like Turtles this is possibly the place to see them depending what time of the year you.
It is a Turtle protected beach,meaning. that areas are marked out where their eggs have been laid and dim lighting at night as not to scare the turtles.
The Hotel has its security Guards that patrol the area at night to keep you and the Turtles safe.
There are two pool areas ,the main Pool and the Relax pool, plenty of places to sunbath along with beach and pool bars.
The cocktails and beers we tried were good,no complaints there.
this is an adults only Hotel so there are no children and the location is right on the Private Beach.
If you are looking for somewhere to just chill out this is the place,if your looking for a lively resort this is not for you.
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  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Spa and Resort, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Beaches
  • Written December 5, 2013
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Flora Garden Beach Hotel / Fantastic sunsets

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  • LetGoLetFlow profile photo LetGoLetFlow
  • Reviews: 2

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Cordial House Hotel: A place to stay in Sultanahmet

I spent a couple of days and a night in Cordial. It was through PASIFIK agency. I was grateful for the service i received. The moment i arrived, i was warmly welcomed and guided into my room. I was all by myself but was given a room w/ a couple of bed and a bathroom. It was clean and perfect for budget travelers. They've got a wifi zone lobby, a couple of desktop for internet access, and very helpful staffs.

I really recommend this Hotel for its perfect location in the old town of Sultanahmet. walking distance to the historical places.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Historical Travel, Singles
  • Written February 26, 2013

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  • poppy6488 profile photo poppy6488
  • Reviews: 8

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Golden Day Hotel: Great Accommodation

I travelled solo to Turkey (2011) and opted for this hotel as it was far enough out of the centre without being remote. It had had a complete refurbishment done that winter and was faultless. I found the (predominantly male) staff to be extermely efficient and helpful, and alway friendly but never over familiar. I had been given a standard room, but after having a little problem with the power supply to my shower, the manager personally showed me to a triple room! I was very impressed. It was spacious and comfortable with a large balcony. It must have been very well insulated, as with the sliding doors closed I could not hear anything of the outdoor entertainment. Breakfast was fairly typical with the ususal choice of continental fayre. The pool was large and plenty of seating, shade and sunbeds were available. The raised terrace overlooking the area was useful if you didn't want to be too close to the poolside entertainment and splashing participants. There was spa/turkish baths facilities but I didn't avail of them, preferring to find an authentic one in the old town. I found the stroll of about 1km to be far enough during the heat of the day, and caught a dolmus back several times. I would be happy to rate it an extra star.

Wonderful sea views from all the rooms and the sight of the large cruise liners entering the harbour in the distance seemed very exotic.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Written February 10, 2013
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  • vpas profile photo vpas
  • Reviews: 728

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Various types to suit various budgets

Turkey has a variety of accommodations to suit your budget and tastes. There are high end hotels and small boutique style hotels, inns, guest houses, hostels and dorms. You can choose from any of these.
Be aware that in Istanbul room sizes tend to be small. However most of them are clean and comfortable.

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Written December 14, 2012

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  • Designerartgirl profile photo Designerartgirl
  • Reviews: 240

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Club Virgin Bodrum: Hotel with Best view of Bodrum

Bodrum Club Virgin is one of the most picturesque hotels i have ever stayed in. It is built on top and down the side of a large hill separating Bodrum and Gumbet, giving you the most stunning views of Bodrum Castle to one side, the greek island of Kos, on the other.

Although the accommodation was not up to scratch in terms of finish (room was made a bit quickly - bit too DIY in style) we had a beautiful ocean view room and the air con was working. something which you tend to pay extra for in most hotels. it had a fridge, was cleaned each day and had some english tv channels. And what else do you really need when you are on holiday with a loved one?

Staff there were all very very friendly, even if some of them lacked English but they made up for it with enthusiasm and an eagerness to please. Some particular ones to mention are Speedy. He lived up to his name in all ways possible.

Great Views
Great members of staff
good facilities - multiple bars, a disco most nights, canoeing, diving, snorkelling, sunbeds on both a beach and by pool
Very large buffet dinner
Contains a Spa although i did not use it so i cant comment on it.
Child Free - for all those couples out there wanting a romantic escape.
out of main town area - so very quiet but both Gumbet and Bodrum are easily reached walking (if you are reasonably fit) or a frequent bus

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Spa and Resort
  • Written June 28, 2012
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Bodrum Castle at night - View from Lobby

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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

2 star or 4 star?: What do those stars tell you?

Having recently travelled around Turkey - Istanbul, the Aegean coast and Eastern Anatolia - and stayed in a wide variety of hotels along the way, it's been an interesting exercise to look at the reviews others have written about some of these hotels. What is very noticeable is how often people question the star rating of the places they have stayed, the most common complaint being 4 star hotels that fail to live up to their expectations.

Photo: One of these has 4 stars

Four star to most people means very high standards of cleanliness, comfort and efficiency as well as decor, food and service. A good location is also part of the equation. It doesn't quite work that way in Turkey where hotel star ratings are based on the facilities and amenities provided. The more amenities a hotel provides, the higher the star rating. How they are delivered doesn't come into it - so a run-down place with shabby decor and surly staff that has a mini-bar and hair-dryer in every room, wifi (even if it doesn't work), airconditioning (maybe noisy and stuck on freezing), a swimming pool (full of leaves), fitness room (2 bent bycycles and an ancient weights machine) and a lift that fits 1 person and half a suitcase will get more stars than a spotlessly clean hotel run with smiling efficiency by a staff who will cheerfully carry your bags up the stairs for you and squeeze fresh orange juice every morning rather than set out dispensers of reconstituted powdered juice but can't give you a hairdryer or an provide overpriced can of Coke from a fridge in the corner.

So how do you choose? The website shows photos that look great, you've read the reviews on Trip Advisor, booking.com and perhaps a whole host of other booking sites. Can you believe them? Not always.

Word of mouth and recommendations from people you have a connection with is always best but if that's not possible, I'd check out guide books and VT first, then take a look at Trip Advisor and maybe a hotel booking site.

This is not critique of hotel prices per se but more a note about how the hotel rating system works in Turkey (and some other countries), just one example of how we shouldn't assume that what we take as the norm is going to be the norm in another country.

This review compares two Istabul hotels we stayed in during the first week of our Turkey tour. We booked ourselves into the 3* Sebnem and paid 90 euro a night for a standard double room for the days we spent in the city prior to the start of our tour.. Our stay at the 4* Arcadia was part of the organised tour and I have no doubt there was a discount for a group booking but had we booked ourselves the rate would have been 140 euro. Read the review and decide for yourself which hotel gave the best value and whether the star rating system is a reliable guide.

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Written February 11, 2012
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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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A private home in Orselli: No Trip Advisor or booking.com here

Photo:
1. Orselli night
2. Making new friends
3. Dinner's over
4. Orselli dawn
5. Breakfast

Hotels come in all styles and sizes, offering a whole range of experiences, but one thing never changes - the guest is always on one side of the reception desk, the staff are on the other. A real highlight of our Turkey trip was the chance to step around that desk and spend a night with a Turkish village family. The village was Orselli, way off the well beaten tourist track between Behramkale and Bergama (Hellenic Assos and Pergamon) in Western Anatolia, and we were there as guests of the village's carpet weavers of the DOBAG project.

Our tour was organized by the Australian representatives of the project, a great couple who have been travelling to Turkey for 15 years now, during which time they have become real friends with the Orselli weavers and time spent in this village (and others) is always an integral part of their annual tours.

We arrived in the late afternoon, with time for tea, to meet family and friends and take a stroll around the village before dinner which we ate sitting on the ground on a terrace spread with Dobag rugs. Dinner over, the dishes washed and put away, it was time for bed - village life means early to bed and early to rise. Where were we to sleep? The options were in the house, in the rug storage room or on the terrace, under the oak trees and the stars. We all chose the last option.

Bed rolls, sheets, pillows and blankets were brought up from the rug room and spread out on the rugs. One by one we made our way down the path to the little wash-house and then it was time to crawl in between the sheets and snuggle down for the night. We all slept the sleep of the dead, only waking as dawn began to break, filling the sky with a gorgeous peachy light. Much wriggling and twisting ensued as we dressed, staying under our bedding to do so to preserve the sensibilities of our hosts as much as our own modesty.

Bedding all put away, it was time for breakfast before setting off to meet more of the village women in their homes, watching and learning about their weaving as we went. A visit to the school and then it was time to move on.

Of course we're not the only people the village plays host to in this way, but everyone who comes does so through some contact with the DOBAG project. I know there's a Norwegian company that regularly arranges a tour that visits Orselli. There may of course be others in other countries.

Orselli is the centre of one of two DOBAG cooperatives, the other is in Avyacik. It is possible to contact both groups and arrange a visit though I don't know whether an overnight stay is an option in this case.

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Written February 7, 2012
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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Savon, Antakya (Hatay): Savvy Savon

Photos:
1. Pretty entrance
2. Standard rooms
3. Courtyard tables
4. Love those arches
5. Street frontage

Converting a 19th century soap factory near Hatay's souk into a smart and comfortable boutique hotel has created a great addition to the city's hotel scene. The rooms are on a par with 4* hotels anywhere (and about as distinctive) but the public areas of the foyer and lounges are lovely- big, stone vaulted spaces furnished with plush seating and elegant antiques, creating a sophistcated, stylish look that is matched by the efficient service and the quality stock in the small gift shop. Most of the usual 4* amenities are available, though if, like us, you're only there for a night, the only ones you're likely to be interested in are the internet (free Wifi), television (some English language channels), airconditioning and heating (we needed neither in September so I can't say) and breakfast (room service available but we chose the courtyard).

For once we didn't eat dinner in the hotel but the bougainvillea-bedecked courtyard was a great place to take breakfast, chosen from the buffet laid out in the restaurant. No surprises in the breakfast but everything was very fresh - yoghurt, breads, fruit, cheese, tomatoes, etc with eggs cooked to order.

Our room had a window overlooking the courtyard, others in our group scored a room with only a skylight - such are the hazards of converting old buildings.

Our stay at the Savon was a Sunday, and it was blissfully quiet inside the courtyard walls. I think I would be wary of staying there on a Saturday night - something tells me this place is a favourite wedding venue - and, in Turkey that means loud and long. If you're on an itinerary that brings you to Antakya on a Saturday night - pack some earplugs.

The hotel is located in a quite interesting part of the old town, near the souk, but a fair walk from other places of interest such as the museum and the Habib-i-Neccar mosque. St Peter's church is a taxi or bus ride away.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written February 7, 2012
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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Zeus Hotel, Kahta: As near as it gets

Photos:
1.Zeus Hotel's garden setting
2. Good sized rooms
3. Anyone for a dip?
4. Can't miss that sign
5. King Antiochus and Zeus

Spectacular, unique - and very remote - the pantheon of extraordinary statues of gods and an obscure 1st century BC Anatolian king lined up on two terraces high on a mountain top (Nemrut Dag) make any journey, detour or backtracking needed to see them worth every bit of the effort. And if you want to stay as close to the mountain as possible, then Kahta is where you should head for, and the Zeus Hotel may well be where you end up.

The hotel is well geared towards the needs of visitors planning to reach the terraces at either sunset or sunrise. As ours was to be a sunset visit, we arrived at midday, stayed one night and left early next morning. During that time, the hotel provided us with a light lunch, somewhere to relax for a couple of hours before setting off for the mountain, an ample and well-cooked buffet dinner on our return, satisfactory bed- and bathrooms for a quiet night's rest and a breakfast sufficient to our needs before we went on our way. The staff were both friendly and helpful and we came away quite satisfied with the service and facilities provided.

Most people who come to Kahta come to see Mt Nemrut, they stay one night and they move on. The Zeus Hotel, with its sixty-six large, simply furnished rooms, free internet, green gardens, well-kept swimming pool, covered terrace and friendly staff, caters very well for such visitors. Needless to say, it is popular with groups and must, at times, get quite busy. Our visit, late in September 2011, was right towards the end of the season, and there was only one other small group staying there. They arrived late in the afternoon and were planning an sunrise trek up to the statues - in late September that would probably mean a 4.00am departure from the hotel ... I'm happy to say I was sound asleep at that time, some of the hotel staff wouldn't have been so lucky.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written February 7, 2012
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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Dedeman Hotel, Sanliurfa: Ancient city, modern hotel

Photos
1. Spacious room
2. Decent shower
3 & 4. Views from the 7th floor
5. Don't miss the museum

Sanliurfa's Dedeman Hotel was exactly what we expected from this Turkish chain. Big, modern, clean, efficient, comfortable .... and rather bland ... but after a couple of nights in, albeit wonderfully atmospheric, hotels fitted into the great stone walls, small rooms and idiosynchratic plumbing of mediaeval caravanserai conversions, even bland was an acceptable tradeoff for the comforts of a kingsize bed and a decent shower.

In just a two night stay, with such a lot to see and during the day, we didn't take advantage of the gym, the swimming pool, the sauna, the hammam, the barber or the babysitting service, but the wifi worked, the laundry came back on time, our room provided the wherewithal to make tea and coffee, the TV had a good range of English language channels and if there was any noise from the hospital over the road we certainly didn't hear it once our heads hit the pillows.

The hotel's location, a fair way from the city's old heart, and the tour arrangement of evening meals being taken in the hotel, meant that, yet again, once we had returned to the hotel for the evening, we stayed there. Hotel dining wasn't anything wonderful but our Sanliurfa lunches were more than satisfactory, so that was OK but anyone looking for a livelier night-time scene (other than the hotel's own nightclub) might well prefer to stay somewhere more central.

Would I stay in this hotel again, or recommend it to others? Probably not, not because there was anything wrong with it, and I have no idea of what other hotels Sanliurfa has to offer, but I'm sure anyone travelling independently would prefer to stay in a more interesting part of the city. If you're on a tour, unless you're the organiser, you're not going to have any choice anyhow.

If this hotel has one thing to recommend it over any other in Sanliurfa, it's its proximity to the city's museum, just 5 minute's walk down the hill. Nicely laid out, and with a charming garden lapidarium, it's not a huge museum, and variations of most of its artifacts can be seen in provincial museums all over the country but it holds one of the most extraordinary finds that have been made in all Turkey. We chanced upon it while taking a late afternoon stroll around the neighborhood; had we stayed in a more central hotel, I'm quite sure we would have missed it - everybody else on our tour did, and I would think that's the case with most tour groups.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip, Archeology
  • Written February 6, 2012
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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Otel Artuklu Kervanserayi, Mardin: What a wonderful building!

Photos:
1. Restored and refurbished
2. A bed fit for a King
3. Somewhere to sit
4. Some rooms are small
5. Ancient stones

800 years old in parts, built of golden stone carved and decorated with the skill that has made Mardin's stonecarvers famous all over Turkey - an absolute maze of bedrooms, sitting rooms, passageways, winding stairs, sheltered balconies and terraces - you could easily get lost in this fantastic building. Anything less like a modern hotel with scores, if not hundreds of identical rooms leading off long straight corridors would be hard to imagine.

So what if our room was small, the bathroom even smaller, the bedroom decor looked like something dreamed up by a dotty maiden aunt with designer delusions. The bed was comfortable, the sheets crisp and clean, the bathroom produced enough hot water for a shower and a decent towel to dry off with - for a single night, that was all we needed.

The half-board arrangement of our tour booking included a multi-course dinner of lots of the old favourites we'd encountered pretty well all the way around Turkey and the by-now-standard breakfast buffet, both served in the cavernous vaulted dining room. A large , well-furnished balcony was the ideal spot for after-dinner tea and chat on a balmy evening.

As is so often the case with conversions of buildings such as this, the constraints of hugely thick stone walls and mediaeval building techniques mean the finished hotel is most unlikely to rival modern, purpose-built hotels in comfort and convenience. The newly-opened Hilton on the outskirts of Mardin will probably suit some travellers far more than the idiosynchratic Kervanserai but if I should ever return to Mardin, it's the Kervanserai that would get my booking.

The hotel's location, next to a Shi'ite shrine, means no alcohol may be served in the public areas of the hotel but one of our group was celebrating a significant birthday the night we were in Mardin, and we wanted to celebrate with him. On hearing of this, the hotel moved him and his wife into one of their best rooms - known as the King's Room in honour of a visit the Prince of Wales paid to Mardin in 2004. It's a lovely room - quite grand, very spacious, furnished with antiques and with a large Turkish-style seating alcove (like a very big day bed) - just the place for a party. They also produced a spectacular birthday cake to round the evening off.

Mardin is a small, provincial city in the far south-eastern reaches of the country. Tourists are only recently beginning to return to the area after many years of terrorist activity turned this part of Turkey into a no-go zone and some tourist facilities here and throughout Eastern Anatolia may lag behind the standards on offer elsewhere in Turkey as a result. This will change but for now, visitors may find some aspects of their tour through the region not as polished as they might have expected. By my reckoning, any such niggles are more than compensated for by the fabulous sites and sights the region has to offer and anyone travelling there now, with all the pleasures unspoilt and uncrowded places have to offer, can count themselves very fortunate.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written February 4, 2012
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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

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Kervanseray Hotel, Diyarbakir: Not quite a han from home

Photo:
1. Welcome to the Grand Kervanseray
2. Some rooms are small ...
3. ...some are quite big
4. Somewhere to sit and relax
5. Coming down for breakfast?

The huge wooden doors in the humbug-striped portal of Diyarbakir's Buyuk (Grand) Kervanseray Hotel first opened for business way back in 1572. Back then, the travellers passing through were pilgrims on the Haj and Silk and Spice Road traders arriving via camel train. These days the old caravanserai's guests are mostly tourists and oil field workers come to town for a bit of R&R. The more modern hotels in Diyarbakir may offer bigger and more comfortable rooms but, if history and local colour count for you when choosing a hotel, then the Kervanseray should be your choice.

The rooms open off a large greenery-filled courtyard that serves as gathering place, restaurant and breakfast terrace. Low doorways open into mostly small and fairly spartan rooms, those along the long arms of the court made smaller by the necessity of fitting in en suite bathrooms with modern plumbing. Corner rooms are larger - independent travellers may prefer to pay the extra money and book one of these, those on a tour will have to cross their fingers and hope they'll be the lucky ones when rooms are allocated and the keys handed out. Alcoves along the long arched galleries overlooking the courtyard are furnished with chairs and sofas to provide seating space outside each room.

The hotel 's position, a 10-15 minute walk from the city centre, and a warning that the streets outside the walls are not particularly safe places at night will probably influence most guests choice of spending the evening within the compound - the courtyard and the gallery alcoves are a comfortable enough alternative to staying in your room to read or watch Turkish television, you'll need to come outside to connect to the hotel's wi-fi though - ancient stone walls and modern telecommunications aren't the best of matches.

Once again, there are no real surprises at dinner, a typical Turkish meal of soup, salads, vegetable dishes, grilled meat and fruit. Breakfast was the usual plentiful spread of breads, yoghurt, cheeses, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, eggs, etc served in the fresh air of the morning-scrubbed courtyard - a nice way to start the day.

Known for centuries as the Deliller Han (delil means guest), the largest han in Diyarbakir and one of the largest in Turkey, when it was first built the complex included a mosque, a medresse, private rooms for important guests (servants slept in the open galleries), storehouses for the silks, spices and other goods they were carrying, shops and stabling for 800 camels. When trucks replaced camels and one or two men could move the goods that had once need a whole entourage, the han became more and more a bazaar with large areas in a ruinous state until, in 1988, it was restored, refurbished and given new life as a hotel.

It is also a popular venue for big local weddings and celebrations. The wedding taking place around the swimming pool in the inner courtyard the night we were there finished fairly early and didn't keep us awake but MrL's geophysicist friend working in the area tells us they can be both longer and louder. Just a bit more local colour.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written February 4, 2012
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  • TheWanderingCamel profile photo TheWanderingCamel
  • Reviews: 2572

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Merit Sahmaran Hotel, Van: Time for a sundowner anyone?

Photos:
1. Perfect end to a pretty good day
2. Hotel entrance
3. A rather brown bedroom...
4. ...but a great view
5. Pass the kayma, please

Another town, another hotel - that's the way of touring holidays - some are really good; not many are really bad (as long as the organizers have done their homework). Hopefully, there'll be a good number that have an extra little something about them - a setting on the edge of Lake Van put the Hotel Sahmaran, some 12 kilometres outside Van itself, into that category.

Our lakeside room was rather brown but it was spacious enough, clean and comfortable, with an acceptable bathroom. What it lacked in contemporary style and charm, it more than made up for with the view from the window - red umbrellas on the hotel terrace marking the line between the blues of the pool and lake and a hammock-edged jetty leading out to an alfresco bar set up with white wicker chairs and sofas under a flotilla of white sails - the perfect place for a sundowner. Five minutes to put our bags down and we were sitting those wicker chairs with an ice cold gin and tonic for me, a long, cooling ayran for MrL and a big bowl of fresh pistachios.

We had it all to ourselves - other guests were swimming in the soapy waters of the lake but as the sun started to set they pulled themselves out and pattered off to their rooms to dress for dinner. We stayed out there until the last rays of the blazing sunset were no more than a fiery glow behind the hills surrounding the lake and then we too went off to see what was for dinner.

Staying a second night at the hotel meant the exercise could be repeated.

It was certainly the lakeside setting that gave this hotel its edge. Evening drinks under the sails, morning breakfast on the terrace between the pool and the lake - the light was beautiful at whatever time of day it was and the view of the lake and the surrounding hills was lovely.

We gave swimming in the lake a miss - the water has a high sodium carbonate content and apparently it's a bit like swimming in a soapy bath - and a dredging operation right by the hotel combined with the busy highway out the front discouraged us from taking a walk anywhere but out along the little jetty. Neither did we go back in to Van once we had finished sightseeing for the day, but the evenings passed pleasantly enough, eating in two of the hotel's three restaurants - a buffet one nighttas set meal the next - both very enjoyable with some interesting local variations of typical Turkish dishes.

Breakfast gave us a chance to try another local speciality - a traditional Van breakfast -, the essential parts of which are otlu penir (a firm cheese made with local herbs) and a plate of flat bread served with kayma( rich, clotted cream), local honey and chopped walnuts.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written February 3, 2012
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