Serinn House

Urgup, Cappadocia, Turkey Book from US$80

Reviewed by Sarah Gilbert
Ancient cave living meets minimalist chic at this design hotel in Urgup, the heart of Cappadocia
Made up of 3 small buildings, created from blocks of local stone, Serinn House almost blends into the steep sandy cliffs that rise behind it in Urgup’s peaceful hilltop neighbourhood, Esbelli. Once a family home, it was beautifully restored in 2006, and set a new hotel trend in the region: the first European-style design hotel to be transferred to a cave in Cappadocia. It was a bold move, but it totally works.

There are just 6 rooms set around a courtyard enclosed by a high wall, and the views of the town and surrounding mountains from the top terrace are stunning. Friendly owner Eren is always on hand, with her pet dogs in tow, to book the best local guides to help you explore the region, or suggest great restaurants. Ask her to show you the incredible before-and-after photographs of Serinn's restoration. Like most Cappadocian towns, Urgup tumbles down the walls of a valley, and many of its fine old carved-stone buildings now house shops, cafés and restaurants. Central to the action, it makes a great base to explore the region's extraordinary landscape of fairy rock chimneys and cave churches.

Highs

  • Stylish design touches give a modern take on cave dwelling: a turquoise Vitra chair in one room, sleek anglepoise lamps and a Moooi chandelier in another
  • Urgup itself: a lively town in the heart of Cappadocia, with easy access to Rose Valley, Goreme Open Air Museum and the pretty village of Uchisar
  • Delicious breakfasts, served with the view: homemade fruit pies and traditional cheese borek, plus creamy yoghurt and local cherries and apricots
  • Serinn's diminutive size (just 6 rooms) adds to the relaxed, unpretentious feel
  • Comfy sofas in the courtyard and seating on the terrace are perfect for a post-sightseeing drink

Lows

  • The rooms don’t have TVs but you might consider this a bonus, and there's a shared lounge with a telly
  • No restaurant. It’s an easy 10-minute walk downhill into town for eateries, but a longer walk back uphill

Best time to go

The hotel is open from the beginning of April to the end of October. Weather-wise, May, June, September and October are the best months to visit Cappadocia, as it gets very hot in July and August. Urgup's annual International Wine and Grape Festival is held in October.

Our top tips

  • The owner of Ziggy’s Café is a designer and jewellery maker - check out her shop underneath the restaurant for some original gifts
  • Be sure to visit the fascinating museum of antique carpets, kilims and textiles above Le Bazaar D’Orient
  • Great for...

    City Style
    Foodie
    Great Outdoors
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 6
    • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
    • All ages welcome
    • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 31 Mar 2016
    • Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    • Bicycle hire
    Room:

    Rooms

    Each of the 6 guest rooms is unique, created by Turkish designer Rifat Ergor with the aim of reflecting the beauty of the natural caves while maintaining a contemporary feel. He succeeded. In Room 1, a black chandelier hangs over a black four-poster bed and a sculptural vivid-red Ron Arad chair. In another, a brightly coloured geometric-patterned rug sits on the bare stone floor, while trendy lights sit in the natural nooks of the cave walls. Our room (Room 6) was modern and understated: a white sofa, lots of blonde wood, sheepskin rugs and sleek anglepoise lamps. In all rooms, orthopaedic mattresses and high-thread-count linens are just the thing for a good night’s sleep.

    Ensuite bathrooms are covered in sandy stone tiles that match the cave walls, with glass-walled walk-in showers, fluffy towels and custom-made toiletries.

    Rooms all look out over the central courtyard, which gives them plenty of light. The more expensive rooms are larger and brighter, but they all have a sitting area.

    Features include:

    • Central heating
    • Cots Available
    • Extra beds
    • Hairdryer
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet

    Eating

    The delicious buffet breakfast - served until a leisurely 11am - includes French pastries, fruit pies and traditional cheese borek, all freshly baked by Eren. It's served under a parasol on the sunny terrace or in the light-filled breakfast room. You can also tuck into creamy Turkish yoghurt, local cherry compote, dried apricots, various cheeses, olives and cereals. If that doesn't fill you up, the cook can prepare eggs any style.

    There's no restaurant at Serinn House, but Urgup has no shortage of places to eat and drink, from traditional tea houses to contemporary cafés. In the centre, Han Ciragan, set in a 250-year-old caravanserai, is ideal for a relaxed lunch under a vine-covered trellis.

    Dimrit, a short walk from the hotel, makes good use of its cave architecture and hilltop views. Try the Testi kebab, an Anatolian speciality, which consists of lamb stewed in a sealed clay pot for 4 hours - you break open the lid of the pot when it’s served. Wonderful.

    Along the same road, the atmospheric Ziggy's Café spans 3 levels of an old building. Dine alfresco on the terrace if it’s warm, or in front of a log fire among the eclectic furnishings in cooler months. We loved the delicious meze, which included smoked aubergine dip and dolma, pastirma (sun-dried spiced beef) and steak with pumpkin seed sauce and bulgar. It’s one of the most popular restaurants in town, so make sure you book in advance.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Breakfast
    • Restaurants nearby
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Be scrubbed, soaped and massaged at Urgup’s 18th-century hammam

    • Haggle for pottery, textiles, carpets, kilims, silver jewellery and semi-precious stones in the town's shops and bazaar

    • Take a sunrise hot-air balloon flight over the fantastical landscape, dropping in and out of valleys and drifting over fairy chimneys; this is the best way to see Cappadocia and Eren can book for you

    • Goreme's Open Air Museum is amazing, a Unesco World Heritage site. Admire beautifully preserved Byzantine frescoes, and incredible cave monasteries and churches

    • The labyrinthine ancient subterranean cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are well worth a visit

    • Hike, horse ride and cycle through splendid rose-tinted valleys and canyons. Or go quad biking and try cross-country golf. Eren can give you maps and suggested routes, and help with bike hire

    • Catch a tour and tasting at Turasan and Kocabag in Urgup, 2 of the region’s most famous wine producers

    • Watch a fascinating Whirling Dervish ceremony; Eren can arrange tickets

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Hot air ballooning
    • Mountain biking
    • Quad biking
    • Shopping / markets
    • Traditional cultures
    • Well being
    • Wine tasting

    Kids

    Children of any age are welcome and the hotel can supply baby cots and extra beds.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Room 2 is recommended. This is a Deluxe Room with a sofa which can be made up as a single bed plus there's space for a baby cot. Alternatively Room 5 has a sofa which can be made up as a single bed

    Families Should Know:

    The steps leading to the terrace aren’t safe for unsupervised small children.

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    9/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    10/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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