Tas Otel

Alacati, Aegean Coast, Turkey Book from Book from £50 per night

Romantic, rustic-chic guesthouse and family-friendly villas that put Alacati, the best-preserved town on Turkey’s Aegean coast, on the map
Alacati was a sleepy backwater until the gusty bays nearby were discovered by windsurfers in the 1990s. Now, it’s one of Turkey’s best-preserved towns - largely thanks to the charismatic Zeynep Ozis, who abandoned a high-flying marketing career to convert a century-old mansion into a bijou guesthouse. “My ex-husband told me I’d be better off becoming a Formula One driver than running a hotel,” Zeynep laughs. How wrong he was. Tas - the first hotel in Alacati when it opened in 2001 - has spawned dozens of copycats, but still remains the most popular.

No wonder. Everything feels effortless, from the gracious welcome to the 7 antique-chic bedrooms (located in the main guesthouse) with their floral quilts, embroidered linens and whitewashed walls. There’s a pool garden for lazy summer afternoons, and a fireplace for curling up beside on winter afternoons. For those seeking a little more independence, there are 2 gorgeous stone private villas next door with basic kitchens and secluded gardens. And come evening, it's a joy to venture out to the chi-chi boutiques and gourmet restaurants up the road. “A British reviewer once called our hotel 'unpretentious',” says Zeynep. “I didn’t know the word, but when I looked it up I thought: yes, that’s the secret of our success!”

Highs

  • The intimate, easygoing atmosphere - you’ll feel more like a house guest than a customer
  • Lovely local staff who are eager to share their insider tips
  • Fabulous breakfast feasts on the vine-shaded patio, plus complimentary afternoon teas with homemade cakes
  • The tranquil walled garden with a pool and hammock (both the guesthouse rooms and private villas come with one) - you’ll feel secluded from the holiday crowds and high winds even in peak season
  • Beautiful sandy beaches 2km away, great watersports centres for windsurfing and diving, and Alacati itself - cobbled and charming with alfresco classical concerts in summer

Lows

  • The nightlife in Alacati is lively during the summer season and music can be heard until the early hours of the morning
  • Antique wooden floors means in the main guesthouse you might hear your neighbours coming and going
  • The Economic Room is small and only one Blue Room room has a tiny balcony, but the lovely communal garden makes up for that
  • The private villas face each other across their shared garden and pool, so perhaps not for those who want complete privacy
  • No children under 12 in the main guesthouse, except by special request - a high for some. All ages welcome in the private villas

Best time to go

For gentle coastal walks, go in April and May. To enjoy the beaches without the crowds, go in June or September. Avoid July and August, when the region is overrun with Turkish holidaymakers and the nightlife is noisy; after August 30 - a national holiday - the hordes disperse. Guests can join in the olive harvest in late October. Rates drop in winter, but many restaurants and shops are closed, except on weekends.

Our top tips

  • Time your stay to include the wonderful Saturday antique market
  • A long weekend is enough to get to know Alacati, but a week would allow time to explore the region’s many beaches and historic sights
  • Pack some dressy clothes for evenings in Alacati’s fancy restaurants - Turkish tourists definitely like to dress up for dinner
  • Leave enough room in your luggage to stash souvenirs: olive oil, lavender, ceramics and linens
  • Great for...

    Beach
    Cheap & Chic
    Honeymoon
    • Boutique B&B
    • 7 rooms + 2 cottages
    • Breakfast only (+ walk to off-site restaurants)
    • All ages welcome (restrictions apply)
    • Open all year
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Daily Maid Service
    • Towels & Bedlinen
    • Concierge Service
    Room: Large Room 3

    Rooms

    These rooms are made for romance. There are 5 doubles and 2 twin rooms in the main guesthouse, which vary in size Blue Rooms, Large Rooms or the Economic Room), in keeping with the original layout of the house. Some overlook the garden, others the lane. All are on the first floor, except one of the Large Rooms, which is in a stone cottage guarded by a pair of palm trees - ideal for courting couples. If you plan to stay more than a couple of nights, opt for a Large Room.

    The décor is rustic luxe: lace-trim curtains, polished pinewood floors, beamed ceilings and antique dressers with vanity mirrors. Inviting beds are draped with mosquito nets, pretty patchwork quilts and crisp linens. Whitewashed walls are offset with vibrant kilims and baby blue woodwork - Zeynep tried 13 shades of blue before she was satisfied, an indication of the extraordinary attention to detail throughout the hotel. Original built-in cupboards provide ample storage space.

    Bathrooms are small but spotless, with walk-in power showers, fluffy bathrobes, and olive oil soap, shampoo and shower gel.

    All rooms have air con, though stone walls and high ceilings provide natural cool. There’s WiFi throughout, but no TVs, phones or minibars. Instead, browse the library of books and jazz CDs in the cosy living room.

    We’re yet to see the 2 private villas next to the main guesthouse, but they come in 2 sizes - small or large - and the décor appears to be very similar to that of the guesthouse rooms. The Small Private Villa has a twin bedroom, and perhaps looks a little dark, while the 2-bedroom Large Private Villa seems brighter> It has a master bedroom, a bathroom with tub, a fireplace and a terrace in the garden. Both villas have a living area and a kitchen area, plus they both overlook, and share, a pool in a gorgeous garden full of bougainvillea. All ages are welcome in the private villas, and guests have access to all the facilities at the main guesthouse.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Extra beds
    • Hairdryer
    • Mosquito net
    • Safe box
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi

    Eating

    Breakfast, served on the terrace in the main guesthouse until noon, is a traditional Turkish spread with knobs on: simit (sesame bagels) and warm rolls baked by the neighbour Mrs Ferhunde, home-grown olives, boiled eggs, kasar, tulum and feta cheeses, spicy ricotta and walnut spread, tomatoes, cucumbers, pine honey, home-made fig, quince and watermelon jams, fresh orange juice and seasonal fruit.

    Throughout the day, the tempting aroma of carrot cake or lemon tart wafts through the lobby from the gorgeous country kitchen. Most guests rush back from the beach by 6pm so they don’t miss this complimentary afternoon tea. Those who can’t tear themselves away from the pool full stop are refreshed with minted lemonade, or gin and tonics flavoured with fresh basil.

    Those staying in the private villas can self-cater, though they do have breakfast included in their rates (eaten in the main guesthouse). The Large Private Villa has a full kitchen (cooker and fridge/freezer) while the Small Private Villa has a simpler kitchenette.

    Alacati has plenty of classy (and pricey) restaurants. Agrilia, an atmospheric Italian in an old tobacco warehouse, serves fabulous artichoke and pistachio papardelle, T-bone steaks, and weekly tango lessons. Lavanta and Tuval - offering sophisticated Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine - are where weekending Istanbullus go to see and be seen. For seafood, pick any of the scenic restaurants along the harbour of Dalyankoy. Imren Patisserie specialises in sweets flavoured with mastic, grown exclusively in Cesme and Chios. Another local ‘delicacy’ is kumru - a grilled sausage, cheese and tomato sandwich.

    Features include:

    • Afternoon tea
    • Bar
    • Breakfast
    • Restaurants nearby
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Bliss out by the pool; the tranquil garden is filled with olive, palm and cypress trees, vines of jasmine and honeysuckle and beds of geraniums, lavender and daisies - it's hard to leave
    • Wander through Alacati’s cobbled streets, browsing the tasteful cafés, galleries and craft shops - there’s not a plastic chair in sight
    • Trawl the lively Saturday market, centred around Pazaryeri Mosque, for antique vases, delicious melons and artichokes, and bargain Lacoste samples
    • Soak up the scene at Ilica beach - 2km of pure white sand and underwater hot springs
    • Learn how to windsurf, kitesurf or scuba dive at one of the many watersports centres on the Cesme peninsula; sheltered Yumru Cove is ideal for beginners
    • Get dirty in Sifne Bay’s mud baths, whose therapeutic effects were praised by Pausanias back in 146AD
    • Enjoy alfresco classical music concerts in Alacati’s main square in summer
    • Take a boat trip to the sandy coves of Donkey Island, 5km from Cesme
    • Dance under the stars at trendy beach bars like Babylon and Otto
    • Take a day trip to admire the magnificent Roman ruins at Ephesus (150km)

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Classical concerts
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Scuba diving
    • Scuba diving courses
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Well being
    • Windsurfing

    Kids

    The policy is children over 12 only in the main guesthouse, but a younger child can sometimes be accommodated in Large Room (#8) by request. Children of all ages are welcome in the private villas. Teenagers will enjoy the watersports and beach bars nearby.

    Best for:

    Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Small and Large Private Villas can both sleep up to 5. The Large Private Villa has 2 bedrooms (1 double and 1 twin) and can fit an extra mattress, while the Small Private Villa has a twin bedroom, plus the option of adding 2 single beds in the living area, and an extra mattress, too.

    Baby equipment:

    There are 2 baby cots available for use in Large Room 8 or the private villas - request in advance

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Location
    Tas Otel is ideally situated on the quieter end of Kemalpasa Caddesi, Alacati’s main drag. Alacati is on the Cesme peninsula in western Turkey, 70km west of Izmir and just 3km from the sea. Cesme harbour is 10km away.

    By Air:
    Fly into Izmir Adnan Menderes airport (90km; a 45-minute drive). There are direct flights from the UK or it's a short 1-hour hop from Istanbul. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

    By Car:
    We'd recommend hiring a car. Although you can walk to the nearest beach in about 20 minutes and explore Alacati itself on foot, a car is indispensable for exploring the secluded beaches and historic sights further afield. Driving to Alacati; from Izmir is a doddle on the 6-lane Izmir-Cesme highway. It’s a long drive from Istanbul: a 2-hour high-speed ferry ride from Istanbul's Yenikapi quay to Bandirma quay, then a 340km drive through Balikesir, Manisa and Izmir to Alacati, which takes about 5 hours.

    Alacati's lanes are very narrow and much of the town is pedestrianised, but you can park on the street near the hotel. If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations. Alternatively the hotel can arrange local car hire during your stay.

    By Bus:
    If you’re not driving, it’s an hour on the Izmir Cesme Seyahat bus from Izmir central bus terminal or Uckuyular bus terminal.

    By Sea:
    Between June and September there’s a daily ferry service from the Greek island of Chios to Cesme (10km away), which takes just over an hour.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

    More on getting to Turkey and getting around

    Airports:

    • Izmir Adnan Menderes 90.0 km ADB

    Other:

    • Beach 2.0 km
    • Shops 0.2 km
    • Restaurant 0.2 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    9/10
    Room
    9/10
    Food
    10/10
    Service
    10/10
    Value
    10/10
    Overall

    We spent a week in Tas Otel - 6 nights in large villa and final night in the hotel itself. We enjoyed our stay but there is a big caveat - Alacati in August turned out to be absolutely heaving with Turkish tourists, so it was incredibly busy at night and very very noisy, especially in the nights we had in the villa. There was a cafe over the road that played live music until between 1 and 2 am every night. For me this was a very significant downside and i was surprised other reviews didn’t mention. In the day time both the villa and hotel were very calm and quiet and nice places to be but for me the nights were awful.

    8/10,

    We stayed in the large villa which was an absolute treat, separated from the main hotel with it's own pretty garden and swimming pool. This is shared with the other smaller villa although no one was there during our stay so we had it all to ourselves. The villa is more like an actual house with an amazing upstairs bedroom and second room downstairs, a good kitchen and sitting room - it is ideal for those who like space, privacy and the freedom to cook for yourself whilst also having the room service and other trappings of a hotel - a quick walk up the road for the great breakfast and the wonderful cake at tea time. The main hotel is equally charming and the staff are very friendly and accommodating. Alacati itself was lovely off season and not too crowded; with some delicious restaurants, a wonderful Saturday market and enough shops to keep our girls entertained. We did a one day trip to a not too exciting beach and for the rest of the time we didn't want to leave our garden and pool. It was a great place to spend a few days relaxing and I happily give it a big thumbs up.

    10/10,

    We rented one of the houses. Absolutely one of my favorite holiday houses. Warm, cosy, clean, spacious. Relaxing to enjoy breakfast in the hotel, and wonderful service of staff! They helped us with the lost luggage in the airport, and the flat tire of the car.

    10/10,

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