An important part of travel is the place where you lay your head and rest your feet. After a full day of exploring and adventure, I need to come back to my ‘home from home’, be able to breathe a sigh of relief and just feel comfy and ready to charge my batteries for the next day.
For me, such place is a boutique hotel. More often than not, they have a distinctly local design, so you won’t forget for a moment which country you are currently in. Then there is the attention to detail, from little things like local soaps in the bathroom, to pieces of art in the salons to the staff at reception who just make that little bit more of an effort to help you along and make you feel like a welcomed guest. Not only because you pay, but because they are genuinely pleased, that you have chosen their hotel and not one of the big chains.
As they are privately owned, you get a feel for the taste of the owner and everything is just so much more personal. If you are very lucky, it’s the next best thing to staying in a private home but with the advantage that you can do as you like, use the shower at 4am if you so fancy and don’t have to worry about disturbing or inconveniencing your host with any quirky habits you may have.
For some reason, I seem to have a knack for finding just such hotels, when I start organizing and booking my trips. This time however, I have to thank my friend Christine for the golden touch. For once, I traveled not on my own but with her and we shared the tasks, I got the tickets and she booked the accommodation. Our destination was the city of Eskisehir in Anatolia, half way between Istanbul and Ankara. The hotel she selected is called ‘SRF’ and the term ‘boutique hotel’ could have been invented for this little gem.
For starters, the location could not have been better. 2 minutes walk to the tramway stop on one end of the road, a few steps to a taxi rank on the other. Easy walking distance to the center of town, the river and all the places where the action is. Short of hugging us, the guys at reception couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming. Although normal check in time is 2pm, we arrived in Eskisehir at 8am and decided to just take our chance. At least, we thought, we could drop our bags. But no, the rooms were ready and we could move in on the spot.
I am not a great fan of minimalist design. I find the white on white scheme cold and the sharp edges of metal/glass tables and the hard upholstery of rigid chairs cause me discomfort and the odd banged shin or knee. I want to sink into an armchair and I love velvet, damask, silk and soft leather. Preferably in warm and vivid color. Add gilded mirrors, paintings, chandeliers and plenty of plants and I’m in hotel heaven. As you might have guessed, I am decidedly a Renaissance woman.
SRF more than fulfilled these expectations. Look at the salon.
The rooms were even better. Dominating color scheme was several shades of purple and the doors were sound proofed with purple velvet. There was enough space to move in, comfortable queen size beds, all modern amenities like TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a mini bar (free of charge) and a bathroom with a Jacuzzi!! Not to mention a working hairdryer and equally working wifi (also free of charge).
Turkish breakfast was also included, served in the cozy downstairs dining room. Boiled eggs, several kinds of olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, bread, butter, local cheeses ,marmalade, pastries and, and… more than enough to last you well into the day.
Best of all: this treasure trove of comfort and luxury cost all of EUROS 33 per night. We couldn’t have found a better place to stay.
Disclaimer: We both paid full price for our stay. This post reflects my personal, honest opinon.