Mehmet Ali Ağa Hotel, Reşadiye, Datça Peninsula
Ottoman-Era Mansion. Doubles from £160 B&B
Earthquakes, wars and unchecked development have left coastal Turkey decidedly short of period domestic architecture on the stately scale, which is what makes the heroic – and no doubt beggaring – restoration of this nineteenth-century lord’s konak, or country mansion, so exceptional. The Turkish owners, the Pir family, have overseen the painstaking restoration of much of the house’s period detail – the window shutters, the sleeping platforms, the intricately moulded walnut ceilings, the frescoes in the grander rooms – without stinting on modern bathrooms, wonderful furnishings and idyllic grounds. For all the heritage on show, there’s nothing the least po-faced about this immensely comfortable hotel.
At first sight the setting in the sleepy village of Reşadiye may seem nondescript, but a merest glimpse of the extensive grounds beyond the high walls should kick-start the rhapsodising: rose gardens, shaded kiosks, hammocks and a pool, and a grand dining terrace backed by cloistered arches beneath a spectacular first-floor loggia which leads to five guest rooms. 13 more rooms are found in the stone houses which edge the grounds. Although the service is willing, this hotel can be under-staffed, and the hotel’s Elaki Restaurant, at best imaginative and eclectic, also has its off moments. These are eccentricities, however, that I for one would forgive because this enchanted place is like nowhere else in Turkey.