Thursday, July 22, 2010

Muhlisbey Hotel Istanbul

Here is another one in my series about charming and affordable boutique hotels in many parts of the world, which are particularly suitable for single woman travelers. The Muhlisbey Hotel is located in the heart of Istanbul's historical Sultanahmed district. It's a converted wooden house with only a few rooms, but what rooms!! Given the nature of the building, they are small but what they may lack in size they sure make up in comfort. The rooms have recently been remodelled and combine cozy with stark-chic! You even find slippers and a robe, the bathroom features a rain shower and - important for us women travelers - a hairdryer which actually works. Breakfast is on the roof terrace where you have an unobstructed view of the Blue Mosque on one side and the Hagia Sofia on the other. Both are so close you seem to be able to touch them. Across the road is the Four Seasons Hotel and the groundfloor houses a beautiful small shop which sells antique Ottoman clothes, bedspreads, pillow covers and other precious handcrafted trinkets which you will be hard pressed to find anywhere in Istanbul in such quality.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Medusahouse Hotel/Didim

Here is another gem in my collection of extraordinary hotels. Medusahouse Hotel is located in Didim on the Turkish Aegean coast right next to the important ancient site of the Apollo Oracle and temple. It's a restored wonderful stone house with only a few rooms but a garden and terraces full of flowers, trees and plants and when you wake up in the morning and look out of your bedroom window you can watch the sun come up over the majestic columns of the temple which are still standing. Mustafa, the charming owner not only runs the hotel but is also an accomplished photographer who has had exhibitions in Germany and the United States and an avid supporter of Greek/Turkish friendship of which the hotel is a center. There is hardly a more peaceful place to be found, only a few miles from the twin tourist towns of Didim and Altinkum and the dolmus to Söke with connections to Selcuk/Ephesus or Kusadasi stop right at the entrance.

Nileguide - new additon to Istanbul

I'm currently applying to Nileguide with a view of becoming their guide to Beirut. I have jsu added a new item the the Istanbul destination about the wonderful Pierre Loti Cafe up on Eyüp Hill overlooking the Golden Horn. Take a look.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sweet dreams in Marrakesh

If ever there was a pleasant travel surprise, I got it when I entered my little hotel in Marrakesh, the Riad Altair. I had arrived in the middle of the night at Marrakesh airport and got somewhat concerned when my taxi driver, after entering through one of the gates in the wall surrounding the Medina, came to an upruptt stop and explained that we would have to walk the rest of the way to the hotel bececause the car couldn't enter. Small, dark alleys opened up but I had no choice than to trust him and follow. He stopped in front of a wooden door and banged the brass knocker. The door opened and I thought I had walked right into a movie set. The Altair, one of several converted riads scattered throughout Marrakesh's medina has only 6 rooms, but what rooms they are. They are arranged around an inner courtyard on two floors, spacious, airy and equipped with anything one could possibly wish for, starting with fresh roses, beautiful furniture, silver bottles filled with creams and gel and a silver hammered sink in the bathroom. Service is also impeccable, it was no problem to get a freshly squeezed orange juice and a (silver) pot of coffee at nearly 4 am. Breakfast is either served in the patio or on the roof terrace and it is copious, with a different egg dish every day. Pillow covered divans are placed in niches around the patio,and there is even a tiny pool where you can dip into or just cool your feet. An ideal place for honeymooners or travelers who want to experience Moroccan atmosphere and hospitality at its best and at a very reasonable price too.