TURKEY: Selçuk’s Ayasoluk Hotel and Restaurant
The grounds of Ayasoluk Hotel look as if they have always been there. The wooden gate entrance built into the stone wall opens up to a small courtyard with old sewing desks transformed into a sitting area. The arching vines draped over the path as it curves around the first building, housing 8 rooms and the reception office, opens up to a large terrace complete with a pool, bar and restaurant, and an outdoor sitting area with a view overlooking the historic landmarks of Isabey Mosque, the Basilica of St. John, and the Temple of Artemis.
You would never guess that these homes weren’t here 100 years ago. The detail of design and choices of woodwork and masonry makes the home look extremely well renovated at best. But that is far from the truth. The owner started this mix of a modern and antique hotel from the foundation and worked slowly over four years to create his lifelong dream.
Since 5 years of age, the owner of Ayasoluk, Aydin Can, has been in the business of selling carpets through his father’s shop in eastern Turkey. After leaving to attend school in Istanbul, he later wanted to continue his father’s carpet business in Selçuk near the Aegean coast and in 1999 started Black Sheep Carpets selling quality rugs to people all over the world. His specialty is working with clients to find the right rugs for their space and home.
Our group, another couple and us, planned to attend the annual ballet at the 2,000-year-old antique theater in Ephesus. Having only made day trips to Ephesus, we decided to make a weekend of it and booked two rooms at the Ayasoluk hotel in the nearby city of Selçuk. After work on Friday, we drove an hour and a half hour down the hotel to drop off our belongings, enjoy dinner, and head to the ballet just five minutes away.
Before arriving at the hotel, Aydin’s wife, Sarah, who is also from the USA, was friendly and quick to respond to my emails. The staff is like their family and they consider any guests like family as well. I loved hearing Sarah’s story about how she met Aydin at his carpet shop on a field-study trip four years ago. She has been here through the last year of construction and first 3 years of the hotel. Now you can find her or one of the staff entertaining their newest family member, Aydin’s and Sarah’s joyful 6-month-old son. Their hard work and vision have paid off. The Ayasoluk family has a knack for making any guest feel at home in their well-loved and laid-back atmosphere.
Our deluxe queen rooms were a mix of modern with details of an older Greek style. The owner used stone throughout the hotel design including the outer wall of our room. Inset to the wall is a small arch design with custom painting, but it feels like it could have been used for candles to light the room in the evenings long ago. Even the self-regulated air-conditioner/heater is indiscrete and flows with the room design so you never even notice it.
The tinted windows and doors to our room opened up straight to the pool and outdoor sitting area allowing us to enjoy the serene waters and views without losing any privacy. Not normally said about a hotel, the best part about the room was our bed. Each room has a custom-made mattress, and we slept through the night like we were at home. Even though we didn’t use them, the flat screen TV, a desk, and safe are available for those who want to relax or work in their rooms.
The hotel is larger than it seems with 17 rooms total, each created with its own flare and individual design. Some rooms are customized for families with children. The Cumbali, or Bay Window, Room has a perfect reading nook that also doubles as a child’s bed. Perhaps you don’t have children, but just want a little extra room, this would be your choice to book as it has more living area.
The mini fridge comes with 2 complimentary bottles of water and the bathrooms are stocked with toiletries. Free Wi-Fi access and parking are available for all guests. Additional services can be found throughout the hotel such as a private guided tours of Ephesus and a private airport shuttle. If you are looking for a weekend retreat, the hotel provides a complimentary breakfast from 7:30 am to 10:30 am in their Ayasoluk Restaurant which also is available for dinner from 5 pm to 11:30 pm.
Due to limited time, we were so thankful to have a restaurant at the hotel. With the sunset view and the cozy atmosphere, it was an easy choice to make. Our group decided to order family style and share from the traditionally styled Turkish menu. The mixed meze, or appetizer, a plate with bread and french fries was followed by a grilled chicken kebab and grilled lamb kebab plate, each served with grilled veggies and Turkish rice. The restaurant prides themselves on using only fresh and local produce. Local wines and other alcoholic beverages are available to accompany the meal as well. After enjoying our delicious meal, the customary offering of Turkish tea, or herbal tea for those who don’t drink caffeine at night, was enjoyed by all.
Our late night out at the ballet was rewarded with the soft, comfortable bed in a quiet neighborhood. We fell straight to sleep and enjoyed sleeping in the next morning thanks to the blackout curtains. The only downside was a lack of blankets for the size of the bed, but this was the first cool night of the season where one would have actually needed a blanket. Had we not been so tired, we may have called for more blankets, and they would have happily provided them.
The next morning, our group enjoyed a buffet of Turkish style breakfast. Boiled eggs, borek (a savory pastry), tomatoes, cucumber, an arrangement of cheese and olives, bread and jams, all greeted us ready to be self-served. I was delighted to find my favorite, sigora boreği, a fried savory pastry stuffed with cheese. While Turkish çay is the choice of drink for breakfast, our American choice of coffee was happily satisfied with fresh filtered coffee.
After breakfast, we toured the rug company, Black Sheep Carpet. The marble stairs led us down to the well-lit, high ceilings, and beautifully designed basement room displaying the diverse assortment of colors and types of rugs. Even now, after having graduated with two degrees in engineering, he continues his beloved rug business in his family operated hotel and restaurant. While we didn’t buy any rugs, I saw first hand how Aydin’s two businesses “combine his great taste in carpets with a great heart for hospitality.”
We were sad to see our morning come to an end when we said farewell to the staff. The hotel is a perfect location for exploring the town and we did just that. The rest of the day was spent exploring the open air museum of Ephesus by day, Mary’s house, Grotto and the Seven Sleepers, and St. John’s Church… which was much more work than any of our time at the hotel!
To make a reservation, book via their website, email for questions about the rooms, or call the numbers below.
+90 232 892 33 34
+90 541 565 35 45
- Sokak No: 12 Selçuk, Türkiye 35920
Continue exploring more in Turkey:
Listen in to a podcast interview with the owner of Castle Inn in Cappadocia.
Spend a weekend exploring Bodrum, Turkey.
Save for your travels later! Pin the photo below!
[DISCLAIMER: I was not paid for this post. However, I did receive a media rate from the hotel as a travel writer. After our stay, I trust the owners, Aydin and Sarah, and am happy to recommend this hotel. One of the purposes of our website is to highlight Turkey, the local people, and try to help their businesses. At the same time we take the trust we have with our readers very seriously and will not recommend businesses/activities we do not think our readers will enjoy regardless of the friendship we create along the way.]