There’s almost no corner of Turkey that isn’t culturally, scenically and archaeologically arresting. But several key destinations and regions are so appealing that tourism has nurtured a sparkling array of fine hotels and sensuous resorts, all bookable with Culture Trip.
In the centre, Cappadocia’s extraordinary troglodyte dwellings and once-hidden 4th-century churches lie among ethereally eroded tufa landscapes. Along the south-west coast between Çeşme and Alanya, the Turkish Riviera, or ‘Turquoise Coast’, boasts gorgeous Aegean landscapes and limpid seas. Here’s our pick of the best stays, from its countryside to its dazzling coast…
Mithra Cave Hotel, Cappadocia
Hotel, Boutique Hotel
Courtesy of Mithra Cave Hotel, Cappadocia / Expedia
Göreme village and its confection of rock “chimneys” sits within the Cappadocia region. Here, you’ll find Mithra’s terraced cluster of houses and cave accommodation, boasting superb views across town and the surreal landscape beyond. Although each of its 39 rooms is unique (and some much more cave-like than others), all bear a similar style, with unadorned pale masonry walls, archways and vaulted ceilings – many with millennia-old chisel marks from when they were first hewn – along with nooks and recesses for candles and lamps. Rugs, chandeliers, tiled floors, vintage furniture and bed canopies lend an upscale rustic atmosphere.
With its spacious gazebo- and awning-covered terrace, small swimming pool and garden, cave-sited spa and extravagant Göreme village views, Kelebek has a special edge. An extraordinary range of rooms and suites honeycomb its courtyards, with the surrounding rocky outcrops, cones and pinnacles adding drama and wonder to an extraordinary place. Kilim rugs, handmade furniture, plus Turkish handicrafts and embroidery help lift the polished rustic atmosphere, and some suites up the ante further with fireplaces, private terraces and outdoor jacuzzis.
The Akra’s white-balconied building overlooks a glittering stretch of cobalt-blue Aegean in the coastal city of Antalya. Four pools (including an adults-only infinity, plus a heated indoor outpost) and as many restaurants (one fine-dining) plus activities from tennis to bowling and laser tag reinforce the come-one, come-all resort atmosphere – families included – while its gardens and seabathing platform help everyone embrace nature. You can embrace your body, too, in the spa which offers high-tech Robolex contouring and pressotherapy treatments.
Filled with vintage furniture and curios, stripped floors, bulbous Ottoman lamps and decorative timber ceilings, the White Garden is a beautifully restored three-storey townhouse in Kaleiçi, Antalya’s historic old quarter. Just a few minutes’ walk from the small but pretty harbour, alongside which the town grew, its heritage-style rooms are arranged around an irregular flagstone courtyard lined with potted plants and shrubbery. The kidney-shaped pool and garden restaurant help make it as much a spot to linger as a place to stay.
On the edge of Göreme village, the Artemis’s 28 “stone rooms” and cave suites stand among a fetching backdrop of rocky pinnacles and cones. Almost every inch of flat rooftop on its clustered buildings features cushioned divans, low tables and awnings, their facades and gullies lined with alleys, bridges and steps softened with potted plants. Room décor is fairly uniform, with marble floors, kilim rugs, lamps and retro-styled furniture; occasionally beds are eased into shallow-arched alcoves and benches are carved into stone walls.
Inspired by new-age environmentalism, Gaia’s upcycling and recycling ethos distils a boho-chic vibe to the southern reaches of Alaçati – a gorgeous Greek-style town near Izmir, whose cobbled streets are lined with shuttered stone houses, atmospherically overhung by blooms and tangled vines. Here on the Çeşme Peninsula, the hotel’s rooms have a notably sensuous textured feel – from coarsely-plastered walls to textile wall hangings, woven lampshades and trays for toiletries to basket stools. Most, if not all, the furniture comes from recycled wood and bed mattresses rest on solid plinths.
The Stay’s industrial main brick building is pierced by a glazed wall, lending light and warehouse-chic to its cavernous lobby, lined with picnic benches and tables. The result is a cucumber-cool Alacati addition where the atmosphere is affable, almost hipsterish. All-suite, big-window rooms face a pretty garden and terrace dotted with long tables and lounging platforms, while hefty loungers meticulously line its slender pool. Suites feature an elegant pared-down Scandi-style minimalism and have either French balconies or garden terraces.
Overlooking the Bay of Kalkan on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, Villa Mahal’s idyllic location on a steeply terraced pine- and olive-clad cliffside lends jaw-dropping Aegean views from each of its rooms, suites and tiered terraces. Arranged rather like a postcard-perfect village, with stepped paths snaking down the slopes, accommodation varies from so-called ‘moonlight’ rooms to a ‘sunset’ suite with a huge mosaic bathtub. All have sea-facing terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows; two suites have private pools. For everyone else, there’s an infinity pool, plus waterside dining at the terraced Beach Club – a belly flop from the Aegean.
Angular lines and a rarefied minimalist aesthetic govern the Six Senses look at this bordering Bodrum base – the kind of place guests typically arrive at by yacht or helicopter transfer. Separated by a small headland, its twin cove beaches offer idyllic lolling in the Turquoise Coast’s limpid waters. Yet this supremely well-heeled resort is oriented more around a vast flagship spa, embracing nutrition, movement and mindfulness. Hydrothermal rooms, hammams, a Watsu pool and meditation cave, plus state-of-the-art fitness facilities, may well reach parts of your body you barely knew existed.
Tucked into the Turkish coastline between Dalaman and Fethiye, Göcek’s marina-lined, hill-framed harbour lures yachties. Just a stone’s throw from its main marina, D-Resort’s bright rooms and suites tap that nautical vibe with its sleek white-and-navy décor and furniture which, together with pendant lamps and skylights, hint at the swanky cabins of a tycoon’s cruiser. You can exert yourself in two pools or with complimentary bicycles, but full-on pampering seems more likely here in a huge spa that includes hammams, wood saunas and an ice fountain.
Secluded and almost remote, D Maris colonises a deep multi-scalloped bay on the Datça Peninsula near Marmaris. A rugged hilly hinterland enhances the hotel’s sublime isolation and its atmosphere can be summed up as beautiful-people resort meets exclusive estate. Accommodation is commodious, elegant and sophisticated. Scattered restaurants include a show-cooking steakhouse and a gourmet Greek-style taverna. There’s a splendid pool, of course, plus a quintet of powder-sand beaches, of varying moods and vibes, perhaps never more indulgent than the one featuring a daybed suspended over azure seas from a jetty.
Nişanyan Hotel’s founder Müjde Tönbekici discovered the small village of Şirince in the 1990s and took on the project of restoring its historic Greek homes. Years later, the project evolved into the Nişanyan Hotel, a collection of three houses and seven cottages all spread out over a beautiful estate. Overlooking the historic Şirince village, Nişanyan is a perfect escape, with amazing food (most ingredients grown in the hotel’s garden) and even cooking classes with Tönbekici herself.
A secret boutique hotel right in the middle of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu neighborhood, Heirloom is down-to-earth in every sense of the word. Located within a historic home, the details of which were preserved during renovation, the boutique hotel is all about ecofriendliness and sustainability, as well as the preservation of Turkish handicrafts. You’ll find ecofriendly wallpaper, handmade carpets, all-natural linens, and furniture made from walnut and chestnut trees.
Certainly Bodrum’s best boutique hotel, Maçakızı’s modern architecture somehow blends perfectly with its natural surroundings, especially the bold bougainvillea flowers. The beautiful private suites overlook the hotel’s private beach, while the winding stairs all around the estate direct guests down through a spa, gym, restaurant, and bar. The hotel has also become quite famous for its excellent cuisine and perfectly mixed cocktails.
Located inside a historic stone house with colourful shutters and trees all around, Otel Sobe thoroughly reflects Cunda Island’s idyllic vibe in every detail. There are just five individually decorated rooms, a beautiful garden where you can enjoy your breakfast (composed of local ingredients), and a private beach where the colours of the sea and the potted plants sway in the wind.
A quiet and peaceful retreat in Ulupelit village (about a 45-minute drive from Istanbul), Casa Lavanda’s 14 suites are all sheltered under the shade of oak, pine and beech trees. With Swiss chalet-inspired décor, a lush garden (where you’ll always find a sun chair overlooking the beautiful landscape), a large outdoor pool, professional spa, and restaurant with top-notch cuisine, this is a romantic and inspiring place.
One of Alaçatı’s most sought-after boutique hotels, Alavya’s six individually designed and restored stone houses (with 25 rooms) overlook its orchard of mulberry, olive, and mastic trees. Apart from the large outdoor pool, the hotel’s cuisine is also a standout, with Mitu café, and Agrillia and Kapha restaurants.
A boutique hotel with one of the best views in Istanbul, Sumahan is located right by the Bosphorus on the city’s Asian side, in the wealthy Çengelköy neighborhood. Formerly a distillery, Sumahan has renovated and transformed the space into an ultra-modern yet cozy environment, with amazing sunsets and sunrises to be seen from its rooms and waterfront restaurant.
With its green valleys, mountains, and flowing streams, Çamlıhemşin is one of the Black Sea region’s most beautiful locations. Puli Mini Hotel is located in a historic house made from chestnut wood and stone. The hotel’s decoration is inspired by its natural surroundings. There are six rooms, amazing food made with strictly organic produce, and views of the Fırtına River.