Five Best: Turkish boutique hotels
Stylish living - from caves, to eyries to penthouses
By Danielle Demetriou
Published: 08 October 2005
Villa Mahal, Kalkan Bay
This bright, white hotel cascades down a rocky hill on the south-west coast. Overlooking the turquoise bay of Kalkan, Mahal is the place to escape after partying in Istanbul. The dramatic location contrasts with the simplicity of the 13 rooms. Walls are white, furnishings minimalist and windows large, so sea views take centre stage. The cocktail terrace and infinity pool are perfect for stargazing by night.
Yunak Evleri, Cappadocia
Beneath a volcanic landscape dotted with "fairy chimneys" lies a haven destined to take cave chic to new heights. Yunak Evleri is a labyrinth of 27 cave rooms dating back to the fifth century, alongside a 19th-century Greek mansion. The individually designed rooms may once have been home to neolithic cavemen, but today, whitewashed walls, mother-of-pearl mirrors, kilims and wooden floors give an Ottoman feel, while Jacuzzis and private terraces add a touch of luxury.
Hillside Su, Antalya
The glittery row of giant disco balls in the futuristic lobby sets the tone at Hillside Su, one of Turkey's most playfully stylish hotels. Proving that big can be as cool as small, the hotel boldly exceeds boutique dimensions with its 294 rooms. Multicoloured blocks of lighting, mirrored surfaces, and a pristine white backdrop give the decor a fresh, modern edge. From lounging on daybeds while watching a film on a giant screen, to sampling a string of in-house restaurants and bars, the hotel is designed to please its party-loving guests. A Balinese spa, Turkish hammam and private beach complete the package.
Bentley Hotel, Istanbul
The interior of the Bentley Hotel is the antithesis of the colourful, chaotic bustle of Istanbul's bazaars. A sense of light, space and calm fills this sleek modern hotel, providing a cool sanctuary at the heart of an ever-moving city. A neutral palette of coffee, beige and dark wood is used in the 40 bedrooms and 10 suites, complemented by large windows, parquet floors, and panoramic private terraces in the two penthouses. The Bentley Restaurant buzzes nightly with a stylish crowd drawn to its cuisine that is international with a Turkish kick. And Istanbul's sophisticates perfect the art of lounging languidly as they sip cocktails well into the early hours in the Bentley's lobby bar.
The azure of the Aegean contrasts dramatically with the stark, white lines of this hip hilltop retreat. Created by the Turkish architect Eren Talu, the recently opened Ev aims to break down the conventional barriers between home and hotel, in the most stylish manner possible. The hotel's 48 rooms are light and white, broken only by a vase of red flowers or a row of fuchsia candles. Plasma-screen televisions and Smeg appliances in the fully equipped kitchens provide the fantasy home feel, while a 24-hour butler service caters for those in need of hotel-style pampering. Even the indignity of fighting for sunbeds is an unknown concept at Ev - its eight swimming pools ensure a feeling of exclusivity at all times.