On my quest for Local Hideaways in Turkey I came across Taş Otel in Alaçati. Its owner, Zeynep Öziş, is considered a trendsetter in this town. By establishing the first boutique hotel she played an important part in the development of Alaçati, now one of the most beautiful towns in Turkey. I had to find more about it!

My plane lands at Izmir airport and it takes me just under an hour to drive the rental car to my destination: Alaçati, on the peninsula west of Izmir. It doesn’t take me long to find the beautifully restored old building – a stately Greek mansion 120 years old –  Taş Otel…such a charming place! The staff greets me warmly with Turkish tea and home-made cake, after which I am  taken to my room at the back of the garden, with plenty of privacy. The room is light and airy and romantic, with thick white stuccoed walls, a beautiful bed and bedlinen, a white wood floor and high white wood ceiling. A spacious bathroom in light marble with a large walk-in shower and lovely bath amenities, made from the hotel’s own olive oil, completes the picture. On the bed, a small welcoming gift awaits me: a lovely recipe book containing the recipes for all the various cakes and pies prepared and served in this hotel, to be enjoyed with a lovely cup of Turkish Tea in the late afternoon, what a lovely gesture.

The following morning, a wonderful breakfast is served in the lush garden. What a treat this is! An excellent buffet with a variety of local delicacies and fresh eggs for those who want them. After breakfast, I decide to go and discover Alaçati, which is a great town, so quaint and with many beautiful restored buildings, nice little shops, lovely terraces and inviting restaurants…..great Bohemian vibes! And, surprisingly, I don’t encounter a single foreign tourist, only several (very affluent) Turkish tourists. By the way, I am told the summer months are very crowded here, so be sure to visit in the early or late season!

In the afternoon, I meet the owner, Zeynep Öziş, an impressive and powerful lady. She tells me all about how she ended up here over 15 years ago, when she was looking for a quiet house in the country, an escape from her hectic life as Marketing Director of Henkel. Finally, at a crossroads in her life, she decided to settle here permanently, and to open the first boutique hotel in this as yet dilapidated town. It has eight different rooms, seven of which are located in the mansion. The eighth room is in the large garden, where you will also find  a swimming pool. Two adjacent separate guest houses were added later, available for larger groups or families. Everything is decorated with a wonderful eye for detail and sense of style, local charm and soul. But Zeynep had even bigger plans, and by surrounding herself with like-minded people and having endless meetings with the local governments, she finally succeeded in getting about the complete restoration of Alaçati, turning it into the beautiful town it now is.

Taş Otel is a fabulous place indeed. The garden, with its swimming pool and deck chairs, is an oasis of quietude. On chillier days, you can warm yourself at the lovely fireplace in the living room. And Taş  Otel is also remarkable for its friendly and helpful staff, many of whom have been working here for several years now. They really make the difference and add to the warm and homey atmosphere of the hotel. And what’s more, one of Turkey’s loveliest places is right on the doorstep, offering a lovely change from the relaxed atmosphere of the hotel. Don’t forget to ask the staff for their favourite restaurants! And there is always the azure blue sea…..it’s less than two miles away!

Back home, I’m reminiscing about my time at Taş Otel, and I get out my recipe book and start cooking….which immediately  takes me back to my favourite hotel in Alaçati!

More about Turkey can be read in my blog ‘Turkish Delight, Local Hideaways style!’

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