Travel with me #87 : One night in Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa - The real gem of Selçuk!
Dear Steemit friends :
A few articles ago, we had the pleasure of visiting the Ancient City of Ephesus. This historical relic has served as the primary draw for people visiting this part of Turkey and indeed gives a significant boost to the local economy, in particular the small town Selçuk.
As previously mentioned, the easiest way to visit Selçuk is by train, directly from the Izmir domestic airport. There are fairly frequent train services to Selçuk and the entire journey takes just under one hour.
Of course, visiting Ephesus means that I had the choice of either staying further away at Izmir and making a day trip down, or staying at Selçuk which is just a few minutes drive away from the ancient city.
In the end, I opted for the latter and in hindsight, i'm very glad that I did. Why? Because I had the pleasure of staying at one of the best hotels I've ever had the pleasure of visiting, and sadly, my schedule only allowed me to stay for one night before moving on to my next destination.
Izmir Airport is modern piece of art
Izmir Airport was a real surprise. With a population of under 3 Million, the airport seemed larger and more modern than the one I left at Istanbul. Not only that, but the airport has succeeded in combining a grand visual excellence with a subtle artistic flare, making it stand out amongst the other airports I have passed through in Turkey.
From the airport, you can purchase a ticket to Selçuk for 5 TL (~$1.5 USD) then enjoy the scenic train ride for just under 1 hour.
One thing I like about the transport in Turkey is the level of service they provide throughout the journey. There is an attendant for every cabin, and they will serve you food and drinks for the entire journey. On coaches, the drinks and snacks are inclusive in your ticket, and on the train, it'll cost you a little more.
When we first arrived in Selçuk, I made the bold decision to walk from the station to the Hotel. No doubt, some of the previous reviews were more than optimistic about the distance of the hotel from the train station, citing a brief 10 minute walk. Pulling luggage along under the blistering sun, it's more like a drawn out 30 minutes or even more.
In-fact, I had to call the hotel to ask them to pick us up. We were tired and lost, like two survivors in a dessert looking for our oasis sanctuary.
To our surprise, one of the hotel staff pulled up by the road, and asked us if we were going to Cella Boutique Hotel. He was a silver haired knight in shining armour, loading up our bags and then driving us the remainder of the journey.
This was the beautiful "shining armour" that we were picked up in. It turns out that the driver was actually one of the partners of the hotel. Ali was his name, and he must have been well into his 60's or even 70's. Despite his age, he was full of energy and enthusiasm, welcoming us not only to his hotel, but Turkey!
A stone statue of a maiden functions as the water fountain in the centre of the car park. She sets the tone for the hotel, reminding us of the Greek Heritage of the area and it's ancient city of Ephesus.
Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa
The outside of the Hotel is very clean, and looks very new. In-fact, the hotel was only opened some 3 years ago. Since then, it has built an enviable reputation on both Trip Advisor as well as Booking.com.
Let's go in!
Right at the check-in desk, the hotel has a section on the wall with it's awards. As you can see, it's been given several prestigious awards from tripadivsor as well as booking.com.
We were welcomed with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and some small biscuits whilst we wait for our rooms to be prepared.
The waiting area has it's own little bar, but the chairs here remind me a little bit of Sanderson Hotel in London. All sorts of shapes, sizes, and colours, like a chair museum.
The size of the room is not too large, but it also needn't be. It has a very homely feeling, and I love that about it.
This is an example of one of the many antiques the owners have placed inside their hotel. It's little things like this record player that make it feel down to earth and just like my living room back home.
Staircase and passageways
Marble flooring and decorated floor tiles are used throughout the hotel, aside from giving it a more authentic ancient city feel, it also keeps the place looking neat and tidy. The railings are a lovely floral design and at a no point did I feel the passage ways to be too narrow. A mistake that many other hotels make in an effort to conserve space and maximise the number of rooms.
Each room in the hotel has a slightly different theme and design. The rooms we stayed in were the Standard Rooms, although there are also sauna rooms, vip rooms, penthouse rooms etc. for those looking for something a bit more luxurious.
For most people, the standard rooms will already be more than enough. The standard rooms come with a very large double bed, plenty of floor space which can also be used for additional guests, or just more space to put your luggage.
The room is very bright because of it's large french windows and also because the two French windows are perpendicular to each other meaning more natural lighting.
Each room has a modern air conditioner fitted which is automatically shut off when you open the windows.
Believe me when I say, the air-conditioner is a life saver. This part of Turkey frequently floats in the mid 40's and having the windows open only make the room even hotter.
In case you feel peckish or thirsty will also find a mini bar with complimentary water and coffee / tea and a well stocked fridge with some soft drinks and spirits for measure.
Unlike the hot tub and sauna rooms, the standard room comes with a standing shower. You'll be happy to hear that I had no complaints about the water temperature of the shower here. Seems like they sussed out how to get the water temperature just right.
What was really impressive to me was the toiletries provided. For those of you that are mindful about brands, you will recognise BVLGARI and L'Occitane shower gels, shampoo, conditioner and soaps are provided.
It's a little detail, but an important one because I wasn't expecting the toiletries to be from such high end brands. I was certainly impressed!
Since the hotel is also a spa, a menu is provided for the different kinds of spa services you can expect. As you can see, the prices are extremely reasonable. I was really looking forward to booking a session, but sadly I didn't have the time.
Another nice touch was the selection of pillows. Everybody sleeps differently, and mostly likely prefer a certain kind of pillow. The hotel knows this and gives you an option between, Hard, Medium, Medium Soft and Soft pillows.
Outside one of the windows, you can see a piece of grassland with a single horse grazing happily in the sun.
This is our private balcony which give us a really nice few of the farmland and mountains in the distance.
In the distance, you can see farmland stretching all the way to the edge of the mountains. Selçuk is not a very large town, and Cella is actually located at the edge of the town nearest to Ephesus.
Room No. 2
So me and Tania actually stayed in separate rooms. This room which is also a standard room, was hers.
I can't help but be a little jealous because I prefer the decoration in this one much more. The floor tiles are more traditional looking, and the walls by the windows have a stone like texture to them.
The room also has a less 'modern' theme to it with more neutral balanced colours.
In any case, you can see the room dimensions and layout are identical, the differences lie in the theme.
A hotel in climates as hot as Turkey would not be complete without at-least a paddle pool. Cella does not disappoint and has a pool large enough to swim rounds in and also deep enough to fully submerge yourself without bending your legs.
The partners at Cella take turns with shifts during the day and night, and amazingly, will keep the pool open throughout the night if you wish to go for a swim.
In my only night at the hotel, I had the pleasure of taking a dip around midnight, and Ali was kind enough to keep an eye on us whilst we had a swim.
Tania was adamant on using the Sauna in the spa, so after having a quick swim, we went to the Sauna for round two of sweating till dehydration. You'll notice that they actually have the facilities for massages, Turkish Baths, as well as the Sauna. However, the spa services are only provided between 9am and 6pm.
Like the pool, the Sauna is open all night, but you will want to ask Ali or Mustafa to turn it on an hour or so before using it to heat it properly.
Ornaments and Collections
It is clear that either Ali, Mustafa or one of the other Hotel partners have been collecting antiques for quite some time. Just like in the waiting area in the lobby, each floor has a cabinet full of some interesting collections.
These are a wonderful attribute to the hotel because as mentioned earlier, it adds to the feeling of homeliness. I expect the owners have built this hotel to be like their second (or even first) home. I'm sure all the guests appreciate this sentiment because it feels extremely welcoming.
Take a look at a few of the objects I captured. There are cabinets like this on each floor. In total, there are 5 floors including the basement where the Spa is!
The home cooked breakfast
I've become very accustomed to having eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, beans and bread for breakfast, but Cella have made such a distinguished effort to cook a home made breakfast for their guests.
It is probably the most balanced breakfast I have had in my entire stay in Turkey, and definitely one of the most tasty.
The dining area is simply stunning, it exudes so much class, and isn't too cluttered, with people or even things. Again, it feels like a dining room in someone's home.
Throughout the day, you will find a small snack bar which has some Turkish Biscuits, Muffins, Walnuts and other mini snacks, complimentary to your stay.
These are the nuts, and dried fruits which are available all day.
A selection of Cheese served in the morning.
This is our lovely selection of organic dishes freshly prepared on the day.
We are certainly spoilt for choice but you'll notice that a lot of the dishes are vegetables. I suspect that since both owners are quite elderly, they have taken great care to serve food which they themselves would like to eat.
Finally, we have the Spinach Pancake. This was the first time I had this dish, and I was offered it by the girls who worked in the kitchen in the morning.
I couldn't believe how delicious this was, so much so that I had to get a second serving.
For the rest of my journey's in Turkey, I was constantly on the look out for the Spinach Pancake, it really is fantastic!
Omelette is served on request!
Check out a quick video tour of the Hotel and some Drone footage of Selçuk!
Thank you for joining me on this tour of Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa. I can't recommend this hotel enough, once in a while, you visit somewhere and get the feeling that everything is done just right. This is one of those places. Both Ali and Mustafa are terrific hosts who looked out for our comfort and enjoyment at every single point of our stay.
We took a taxi to the bus station and was surprised to see Ali had also followed us there to see if we needed any help with getting to our next destination. He is such a sweet heart!
I enjoyed the hotel so much that whilst I usually like to experience different hotels, I will be coming back to this one and spending some proper time instead of treating it as a one night stop over!
If you're visiting Ephesus, then this is THE place to stay.
旅行途中，有欢笑也会疲劳，一天的观光结束，最希望的就是有一个像“家”一样的温暖居所，给你提供最大的后援支持，让你好好休息“充电”，再迎接第二天的黎明。今天带大家探索一家对我而言，像“家”一般的酒店，这是我在土耳其的旅行途中最难忘的经历。这家酒店的风格很古典，环境很清新，2位已是满头银丝的酒店老板的热情服务给了我永生难忘的愉快体验。Cella Hotel & Spa Ephesus位于塞尔丘克历史区，就在以弗所古城和以弗所大斗兽场附近。