“Four delightfully restored cottages, in the leafy hill town of Sirince, near Ephesus”
Olive is a 2-storey house is next to the main terrace (which operates as a small-scale café during the summer months - very handy for breakfast and drinks, but not so private in high season) sleeps 2-4 in 2 double bedrooms. Inside is a cosy sitting room with thick stone walls and a hearty fireplace. The well-equipped kitchen is used for the café in summer (guests get a fridge and tea/coffee equipment instead), but reverts to the Olive House in winter. The master bedroom has a grand four-poster bed, a scattering of rugs and pretty trinkets. The second bedroom is small with just enough space to get around the bed. The bathroom is downstairs, and features an unexpected corner tub and lions-head spout (which we spurned because of a water shortage) and a limestone-faced wetroom (which more than made up for it). Overall we were very happy here as a couple in autumn, but for a longer stay as a family, or in midsummer, we would recommend one of the other houses. Fig is also a 2-storey cottage that sleeps 2-6. It’s a stone's throw above the terrace café and has 4 handsome shuttered windows looking out over the town. You enter via a private, fig-shaded terrace, set on 2 levels with sunbeds and a dining area; then walk into a lovely living-dining room on the ground floor that features a kitchenette. The bathroom, leading off it, is a good size with a claw-footed tub and a beautiful marble basin. There are 2 double bedrooms; lovely touches include a glass-beaded chandelier, a wardrobe with inlaid meander-pattern tiles and an old studded chest. The largest cottage is Grapevine (sleeps 4-6), and is slightly more secluded. It’s reached via a suitably vine-shaded terrace overlooking a leafy terraced garden. A covered walkway divides the sitting room from the rest of the house. The highlight here is the vast bathroom, reminiscent of a hammam with its cushioned seating, widely spaced basins (no couple can need that much elbow room!) and cymbal-sized shower hanging from a retrieved door panel by a smooth wall of pencil-grained marble. The kitchen is the best equipped of the 4, and cosy too. Upstairs the bright main bedroom evokes an Orthodox church, its panelled walls reminiscent of a wooden rood-screen. Across the way is a second bedroom with twin wrought-iron beds and a ladder up to a snug kids' lair. The newest additions, which we’re yet to see, are Garden House and Heritage cottage (located next to Olive), which can be rented exclusively, or by floor (if rented separately, guests only share an entrance hall). Upstairs is the Harem Suite, which has a gorgeous claw-foot bath and a living area (with a single sofabed), while downstairs is the Hamam Suite which features a basic kitchen and a shower bathroom. Both appear to have good-sized double bedrooms and share a terrace.
The cottages do have kitchens of varying sorts - from a basic kitchenette in Fig and Heritage to a decently-equipped kitchen-diner in Grapevine, while Olive has a winter-only kitchen (note that if booking just the Harem Suite in Heritage, you will not have access to a kitchen). But given the delicious breakfasts and dinners available (in season) at their terrace café, and the choice of restaurants in town, you'll probably end up, like us, preparing little more than the occasional coffee or snack. We emailed ahead for dinner on our arrival day (you're asked to give a day's notice) and, sitting down at the candlelit terrace table, with the sun setting behind an amphitheatre of tiled townhouses, and a gleaming spread of muffin dishes and painted ceramic plates in the foreground, we knew that self-catering had gone out of the hayiati window. Aysel, the smiling magicienne of the kitchen, lifted the lids and - hey presto! We were assailed by wafts - soon followed by delicious mouthfuls - of baked aubergines, stuffed peppers with rice, tender lamb with beans, fresh picked greens (bitter samphire, milder semirotzu in yoghurt sauce), not to mention homemade trahana pasta and a classic salad. Even if there's one dish you don't like, there are 5 you will (but, since they discuss menus with you in the morning, that's unlikely). Breakfast, also offered on the terrace, is a fresh and savoury start to the day - nothing fancy, just carefully sliced tomatoes and cucumbers sprinkled with oregano, a star of cheeses (we loved the crumbly cökelek), ramekins of olives and jam, warm corn bread and brioches, plus Aysel's irresistible menemen (scrambled eggs with pepper and tomato). If that doesn't fuel you through Ephesus, nothing will. If you fancy eating out one night, Sirince has lots of restaurants, from the pretty terrace of Ocakbasi (delicious ravioli and stuffed pumpkin flowers) to the grander Artemis, housed in an old school on the edge of the village (pine-shaded gardens, home-made wine, but beware tour groups at lunchtime). Ask Charlotte and Omer for their latest recommendations.
Children are welcome in all of the houses.
Teens (over 12)
One of the Suites (Harem) can fit an extra child, Olive and Fig would suit a couple with 1 or 2 children, while Grapevine and Heritage (exclusive rental), could take 3 or even 4 children at a squeeze.
Baby cot available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There is 1 cot available but bear in mind that they are not really toddler-proof: no doors on the stairs, some stone edges etc. There is a very safe beach at Pamucak (25km), and Turkey is a very child friendly country generally.