This review is composed of two parts, the short and the long. You'll get the gist from the first part. The second part exists because our experience was so wonderful that I just have to give it some real estate in these reviews. If you want to hear how truly awesome these people are, I encourage you to read it all.
When reading reviews, we often wonder who the reviewers are, because that helps to put the review in context. So here's a quick rundown of us: early 30s, post-grad degrees, lived in NYC for last six years before moving to Baltimore for work. Have traveled extensively throughout the US, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Typically, we take one or two major trips a year. Oh, and this is our first review. Because they deserve it.
Part the First:
The title of this review is not an exaggeration. Really. Aydinli was the best hotel my wife and I -- together or individually -- have ever stayed at. Ever. Period. The room was cavernous (pun very much intended), spotless, and comfortable. Every single member of the staff (all -- or almost all -- family) went out of their way to make everything perfect. We were literally treated like family. When the end of our stay came, we were legitimately sad to be leaving. It felt like we were saying goodbye to life-long friends. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true. And the crazy thing is that it's not like we spent our days at the hotel! But when we were there, we were family (sorry, Olive Garden, for plagiarizing).
Book this hotel immediately. Do it. Now. You'll thank me. Really.
Part the Second:
Congrats on making it this far into the review. I hope you've just finished booking your stay at Aydinli and have returned to learn more about what you should expect from Mustafa, Cem (pronounced "Jem"), Fatih (sorry if I'm butchering the spelling) and the rest of the wonderful people at Aydinli. If you haven't booked yet, please take this pause to do so.
Well done. I'm excited for you. Honestly and truly. I wish I were back there right now.
Aydinli provides the kind of authentic hospitality that you probably thought was no longer in existence. They are sincere about helping and provide not only great service at the hotel, but also give great advice on how to tackle the region of Cappadocia. We went there knowing very little about what we wanted to do, but Cem hooked us up. Here's the rundown.
Arrived around midnight. Cem and his cousin (I believe) were there to greet us, take our bags, and offer us tea. As he checked us in, he upgraded us (no charge) to a larger suite. He inquired about our plans for our stay, and we told him we didn't really know, especially since my wife had broken her foot a few weeks before and was in a boot. She could walk, but not a lot, and definitely not hike or mountain bike. So we thought we were out of luck for really experiencing the area. Cem came to the rescue. He recommended we rent a car and drive around one day. He took out a map and marked the best things for us to see (half of which were definitely not highlighted in our Eyewitness guide book), that we *could* see, on account of the broken foot. He organized the car for us, which picked us up at the hotel, and we spent the next day driving all around the countryside. It was incredible. (It was also a great deal, for we compared prices with another couple we chatted with a couple days later.)
So that was one day. The next day, again on Cem's advice, we decided to do the hot air balloon. Prior to our trip, we had been up in the air on this (again, intended) on account of the ridiculously high prices we were seeing online. We decided to make it a game-time decision, and Cem's opinion tipped the scales. Again, he arranged everything, making sure we were in a small (8-person) balloon, so we could actually see everything. (BTW, apparently, some balloons take as many as 20. Not sure how good the viewing is on those, but there was no need for us to strain to see anything.) We paid a great cash price, which I believe was about 100 eruo cheaper than anything we had previously seen.
Was it worth it? Oh, hells yeah. Do the balloon thing. It's phenomenal. (Only do a 60-minute trip, though. Can't see paying more for just another 30 minutes. I mean, you can only see so much.)
Cem = the man. Listen to him. He won't steer you wrong.
Since the ballon ride is early in the morning, you make it back in time for breakfast. Let me tell you about breakfast. It's gourmet. You have all the standard Turkish breakfast fare, but it was fresher and just better than we had previously encountered. Western grains are also available, but the best part is that you can also get eggs and omelets made to order. Oh, and there's amazing french toast. Oh, and you eat breakfast overlooking the village -- gorgeous view.
Later that day, we decided we wanted to go out and do some light walking in the valley. We had planned to walk there, but Cem wouldn't hear of it. He drove us all the way to the valley and showed us the good routes to take. He also gave us a great tip about how the beat the crowds at the Open Air Museum. Of course, he was spot on. (I'm not going to pass it on, though. You'll just have to ask him.)
We ended that day with a delicious bottle of local wine on the terrace, which they brought up to us (and, I think, *under*charged us for -- but at checkout they were adamant that we were square with it).
Our final day was a brief one, but still remarkable. We were flying out of Kayseri, so of course they arranged transportation. But we really wanted to drop our bags somewhere in Kayseri and explore that city before our evening flight. Aydinli to the resuce. They told the driver our situation, and, when we got to the airport, the driver passed it on to a cabbie, who took our bags and kept them safe in the cab stand. He drove us into the city center and picked us up on time later that afternoon. He didn't speak any English, we don't speak any Turkish, but it all worked out! Our bags were fine, and we made our flight with no problems.
One last story, which really says a lot about the area, if you're not sold on it yet. When we were in Kayseri, we were thinking about looking for a rug, as Kayseri is especially known for their rugs and is NOT a tourist city at all. Since this is about Aydinli and not Kayseri, suffice it to say that we bought an amazing rug and an amazing price from a lovely man, whom I will be emailing next, as he just emailed us to inquire about our well being in the wake of hurricane Sandy.
So, we bought a rug, and are carting it around the market in the castle in the middle of Kayseri, when we start conversing with a shop owner. In no time at all, we are having tea and smoking cigarettes outside his shop. He's not trying to sell us anything. He's just chatting and being hospitable. So how does this relate to Aydinli? It turns out he is a close friend of Fatih, from Aydinli. He called him and they both had a great laugh at the crazy coincidence. Kayseri is a city of 1 million and an hour away from Goreme, and we end up having random tea in front of a random shop with a close friend. Amazing.
I am sorry that I forget this gentleman's name, but he said something that has stuck with me and describes our Turkey experience perfectly. He asked where we had been in Turkey, and I told him: Istanbul, Antalya & Side (beach), and then Cappadocia.
He said, "I think you have seen three very different sides of Turkey. The busy, metropolitan side, which is very different; the touristy beach side; and then the more authentic and real side, in this part of the country."
We couldn't agree more.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.