Anadolu Evleri

Anadolu Evleri, Gaziantep

Atmospheric Old Town Boutique Hotel. Doubles from £50 B&B

The metal-studded doors lining the alleyways of Antep’s atmospheric medina – the Arabic word feels right this close to Syria – are set with little arch-shaped portals which residents open to assess prospective guests; those who pass inspection at Anadolu Evleri proceed into a spacious secluded courtyard set with almond trees, a fountain pool, tables and lazy chairs. High nineteenth-century facades of a soft beige stone enclose the courtyard. External stairways with filigree iron railings lead to tımbered belvederes; there are windows topped by Arabesque arches, iron-work lanterns, and pot plants galore.

Anadolu Evleri, which means Anatolian Houses, was a cluster of dilapidated dwellings when owner Tim(ur) Schindel set about restoring them to create his uniquely charming boutique hotel. The place revolves around the courtyard (or hayat – life) because for most of the time this is where life goes on; it’s a great spot for breakfasting, for evening drinks, or just lazing over a book while the city’s celebrated pigeons swoop overhead.

The hotel’s other outstanding virtue is the manner in which the restoration has preserved the original patina of the interiors; the bare stone walls and hearths, the ornate painted ceilings, the antique lamps, the old tiled floors and the wood panelling in authentic café au lait paint tones. Period bric-a-brac – radiogrammes, bedside Bakelite phones, high-backed chairs, framed French-language announcements of Stamboul train services – all add to the pervasive impression that T.E. Lawrence might be among the guests.  Thankfully, however, the recently upgraded bathrooms and beds are not of the same vintage. 

Just yards from Antep’s celebrated Imam Çağdaş, a cavernous diner specialising in superior kebabs and baklava, this brilliantly located hotel is a place of boundless charm and character.