Nisanyan House, a boutique hotel perched high in the hills of Şirince (see-rin-chay), is about 11 kilometers outside of Selçuk and Ephesus. It’s a place with a lot of personality, reflecting the owners and creators, Mujde and Sevan*. I loved the charm of Şirince and am glad we stayed there rather than Selcuk.
Tips: 1) If driving, follow the website directions exactly! 2) It would be important to have reservations in advance for dinner as the inn can accommodate about 30 in all of its various rooms but the dining room seats about 16. 3) I preferred the bed setup in our friend's cottage. I think they were in cottage 2. The problem with our bed arrangement (cottage #1?) is that it was attached on two sides (the foot and the side) and it was difficult for the inside person to get out at night if necessary. So ask about the bed setup. (The shower also was open to the toilet area with no shower curtain or partition.) 4) Lastly, you should be aware that the cottages are in an agricultural area, which means that beetles may crawl in one way or another. We had one bug visitor and a few bees. They have a can of bug spray in the room for a reason, I imagine.
We stayed with friends in the cottages, which are decorated with weavings, antiques and accessories - outside and in. The cottages are perched toward the top of the hill overlooking the town, and our patios and the open air breakfast room were perfect places to relax and watch the light changing over the agricultural fields that surround the inn. No sounds but the occasional donkey braying, peacock calling (yes, peacocks) and bell jingling of a herd of goats that were being rounded up for the night.
The inn is a small complex: five or so small buildings that have been converted into freestanding cottages connected by a gravel path that winds past the pool, an enclosure for geese and ducks, and several fountains and water features. There’s also a building with four or five rooms with eclectically furnished rooms and suites. Finally there’s a main building with a small seating area (the office and reception) and dining room where breakfast and dinner are served.
The restaurant has a great reputation for good reason. We particularly enjoyed “tavuk güveç” (chicken and vegetable casserole); “bonfille” (beef steak served with lots of garlic); lamb shank; börek pastry filled with spinach, feta, eggplant and tomato; “warm stuff salad” (made of warm red cabbage, green cabbage, walnut, dried apricot, green onions and cold carrots, cucumber and lettuce); stuffed sweet red peppers served cold with rice, feta, walnuts and herbs; vermicelli dessert and their chocolate soufflé. Dinner was about $75 for two, including wine.
*Twenty years ago or so, Mujde bought a donkey shed in the small town, about the time that the townspeople were convinced they should tear down all of the old stuff. She felt that the old buildings were charming, and she went about improving the donkey shed into a charming dwelling over a seven year period. Then she met and married Sevan, a travel writer, and they fixed up some of the villagers’ donkey sheds to prove to them that they could look good and shouldn’t be torn down. Apparently these were radical ideas to the local government; after one dispute, Sevan was jailed for 7 months. Not so many years later, he’s been recognized with a “Freedom of Thought” award.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- There are four types of accommodation on offer: Inn - double or twin rooms - all en suite, breakfast included. Houses - fully independent historic houses - sleep 4-5 - all en suite, breakfast basket provided. Cottages - modest comfort in beautiful farm setting - all en suite, breakfast included. Guesthouse - economy double and twin rooms, one suite - all en suite, breakfast included. ... more less
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