Cevahir Konukevi, Urfa
Restored Mansion. Doubles from £90 B&B
A nineteenth-century courtyard mansion rich in columned arches, lintels and other details carved from the warm, bare stone characteristic of Urfa architecture. This grand establishment, restored in 2005, is celebrated for its restaurant and for the traditional live music often heard here. The courtyard has been fitted with a discreet retractable roof, Wimbledon-style, to allow its year-round use as a dining area. The preference is a table on the roof terrace, as much for the views over the citadel, or for reclining a la turk in one of the private rooms where bolsters and cushions are strewn around low tables. The Konukevi’s foodie reputation is amply justified, especially at breakfast, when the array of home-made jams, yoghurts, creams and freshly baked flatbreads is a joy.
Many guests remember their time here precisely for the inclusive and joyful evening entertainments which the locals know as sıra gecesi; others, who prioritise privacy and quiet, may regret a layout which leaves roof-top diners and musicians seated just feet from the windows of some bedrooms. The answer may just be to join them beneath a night sky stuck stars and minarets, and to savour Urfa’s oriental exoticism.