Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

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.

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

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.  

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

 

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.

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey\Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

 

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.

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

 

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

 

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

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!

 

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey

To make a reservation, book via their website, email for questions about the rooms, or call the numbers below.  

Hotel Reservation:

+90 232 892 33 34

+90 541 565 35 45

Address:

  1. Sokak No: 12 Selçuk, Türkiye 35920

 

Continue exploring more in Turkey: 

Read more reviews of other hotels we have stayed at 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!

 

Catie FunkTravels Ayasoluk Selcuk Izmir Turkey Pinterest

 

 

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[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.]

 

 

 

Lale Magazine Catie Funk FunkTravels Travel Writing Turkey Expat

WRITING: Reminiscing Romantic Romania in Lale Magazine

Like all travel writers out there, seeing your article and photos in print give me such pride! Some of my photos were published in a passed issue of Lale Magazine, but this month features my first full article with photos for this magazine titled Reminiscing Romantic Romania.

Lale Magazine is an expat magazine produced by the IWI, International Women of Istanbul. The bi-monthly magazine is shipped to over 600 private home, as well as all advertisers and sponsors. The readers are comprised mostly of Turkish nationals married to foreigners, but also foreigners living in Istanbul. It is full of helpful information about local schools, exhibits for art and workshops, and experiences with IWI groups. There aren’t a lot of English print magazines in Turkey, so this is a fun magazine to have available!

 

Here is the start of the article:

Bucharest, once known as the little Paris of Romania, set an example for its outlying villages, like Braşov. Following suit, they look like small Parisian villages with their crepe stands and cafes making a boulevard down main street. Often overlooked on the regular European tourist trail, Romania remains an eminently worthy travel destination in its own right. Romania is a great country for those who’ve seen all the major European cities and want to get away from the overcrowded tourists hot spots. I found that Romania offers plenty of tourist attractions without the craziness of tourist groups, lines, and prices.

In June, my husband and I met up with some of our expat friends, Ben and Marie, in Romania for a 5-day reunion. Our traveling group consisted of 4 adults and 2 babies. Our friends, coming from Dubai, wanted to escape the boiling, brown desert for cooler green, lush forests. We just wanted to enjoy some European foods not readily available in Izmir and more reasonably priced than Paris or London, for example. And we both hoped to escape our towering apartments for a few hours via a roadtrip through the mountainous central area of the Romania.

Romania’s 20 million people are spread over 240,000 square kilometers, perfect for a road trip meets city type adventure.

…..

Continue reading here.

Lale Magazine Catie Funk FunkTravels Travel Writing Turkey Expat

Lale Magazine Catie Funk FunkTravels Travel Writing Turkey Expat

Lale Magazine Catie Funk FunkTravels Travel Writing Turkey Expat

 

Thank you Lale Magazine for the feature. I am honored to be working with you as a writer.

Did you enjoy the article?

What was something new you learned?

2017 FunkTravels CatieFunk House Minimalism

EXPAT: Interview with ExpatFocus

Websites like ExpatFocus.com help others gain knowledge about the community, cost of living, and even neighbourhoods. Some of the best advice is from first hand experience. This website also has articles about expat living as well.

While most of our answers tend to be the same, we continue to learn more and more about ourselves through our expat living. We enjoy sharing that knowledge with others via our website, podcast, and expat websites.

Recently, our website was feature on ExpatFocus via an interview. Through this interview we are able to help other understand more about the country they are moving to, either by choice or through work. Continue reading about here…

FunkTravels ExpatFocus Interview Turkey

 

FunkTravels ExpatFocus Interview Turkey

Further down in the interview.

FunkTravels ExpatFocus Interview Turkey

 

If you have more specific questions about our expat lives, our FunkTravels Podcast Episode032 and Episode033 answers most of them!

What did you like?

Did you learn anything new?

Turkey Izmir Doganbey Costume Museum

WRITING: Fun in the Historic Aegean Sea Published in Lela Magazine

The IWAI, International Women’s Association of Izmir, has been mentioned a few times on this website (Christmas Bazaar for one) and has been a great outlet for me to meet other expats! There are regular coffee meetings and outings for lunch, pottery making, and day trips to visit other nearby cities.

Well, IWA Izmir is a branch off of the women’s group, IWI in Istanbul, Turkey.  IWI has a bi-monthly magazine they release in print! It is full of helpful information about schools, exhibits for art and workshops, and experiences with IWI groups. There aren’t a lot of English print magazines in Turkey, so this is a fun magazine to have available!

My friends from IWAI, Ann and Lisa, and I teamed up to provide photos and an article featured in IWI’s magazine, Lela, titled Fun in the Historic Aegean Sea. Ann wrote the article and Lisa and I provided the photos. Ann did a fabulous job writing the article! And it is so fun to see our photos in print!

Here is the start of the article:

What do you get when you mix a group of women from all over the world with perfect Aegean springtime weather, a dash of history and a lovely lunch by the sea? Pure fun!

On Thursday, April 27, friends and soon-to-be friends from the International Women’s Association Izmir took a trip outside of Izmir. 24 women rode the bus from Izmir (6 others joined by car) to Eski Doğanbey, a lovely village located on the south side of the Dilek Peninsula National Park, near Kuşadaşı. When the ladies arrived, they took in the beautiful surroundings of the tranquil, stone-homed hamlet, over-looking the delta of the Büyük Menderes (Great Meander) River. …..

See the photos featured below!

 

For more pictures and my personal opinions and posts about this day trip, read more about it here:

TURKEY: Day trip out to Doğanbey and the Ottoman Costume Museum

TURKEY: The ancient city of Priene

FunkTravels

WRITING: 7 Louisiana State Parks on Matador Network

Before moving to Turkey the first time, living in Afghanistan, getting married to an Iowan, living in Iowa, and moving to Turkey the 2nd time…. Before all of the other things that hold an identity with me now…

I am a born and raised Louisiana gal!

I graduated high school and continued at Louisiana Tech University there – Go Dawgs! I love crawfish boils, petafors, and a good front porch.

And this little Louisiana family use to go camping for vacations in their little pop-up camper. My favourite parks had kid programs or summer camps where we spent the days making arts and crafts, playing games with other camper kids, and learning about wildlife and plant life. Additionally, my parents are now living their retirement dream of traveling the country via their RV. So I have a special love for parks, camping and nature.

I wrote an article featured on Matador Network titled 7 state parks you have to check out in LouisianaMy favorite and most frequented park would be Lake Claiborne State Park, but check out what other state parks made the cut!

Here is the start of the article:

Louisiana holds so much beauty: bald cypress moss, dense forest, abundant bayous, hidden lakes, and white pelicans. Here are my favorite state parks in Louisiana.

Fontainebleau State Park

This plantation, a large sugar mill in 1829, is located near Mandeville and has become a popular location for bird watching and kayaking. An old railway was converted into the 27-mile-long Tammany trail, for hiking and biking. New waterfront cabins have a perfect view of the sunset. Swamp tours are offered in nearby bayous.

Continue reading about the other 6 parks here..

 

 

Author profile listed with the Matador Network.

 

Questions for our readers:

I would love to hear if you would travel to any of these parks!

Or what other parks would you recommend?