Turkish hospitality meets Italian architecture

ARDA SAYINER @ardasayiner
Published 28.04.2017 22:58
Updated 28.04.2017 23:09
Turkish hospitality meets Italian architecture

If you need a getaway from Istanbul that is not too far away, Şile is a perfect choice, especially for a sunny weekend. Casa Lavanda Hotel offers visitors Italian flavor accompanied by Turkish hospitality

Just imagine yourself in a magnificent home in a small village in Tuscany. Stone walls and courtyards, wooden windows with shutters, colorful hydrangeas, lounges with fireplaces and tables brimming with fantastic flavors. This picturesque view can be a reality at Casa Lavanda Hotel in Şile. This 14-room boutique hotel is perfect for a getaway, and what's more, it is just 45 minutes from Istanbul.

The main building of the hotel was built by the Şen family for themselves seven years ago. Feryal and Ahmet Şen turned it into a hotel together with their children. Emre Şen, one of their sons, manages the hotel with his family and serves as the master chef. He graduated from the Italian high school and spent a long time in Italy receiving training in the culinary arts. This culture and knowledge that the family has adopted is reflected in even the smallest details at the hotel.

Casa Lavanda is ideal for those who like country style. The fireplaces, sofas in the lounge area, the flower paintings on the walls, embroidered tablecloths, bookcases, statues and figurines dotted around the compound make you feel at home. The whole facility feels like it could be in Tuscany, thanks to the patio paved with cobblestones, spacious stairs, and the Mediterranean-style architecture. The dogs wandering around the courtyard, hydrangea plants and cherry trees add extra warmth. The hotel has a very roomy garden area. Here you can read a book or enjoy some coffee in the wooden chaise lounges.

The area where the restaurant is located is the most dynamic spot in the facility. At the tables covered in pink checkered tablecloths, you can taste the chef's fantastic preparations. In winter, food service is offered in the main lounge inside. It has a very impressive ambience. In particular the lounge area in this main restaurant, where the bar lounge and sofas are located, is fantastic. In spring and summer the terrace area is a visitors' favorite.

There is a stylish swimming pool in the courtyard of the hotel. The facility has also a spa area in the same spot. A distinctive feature of the spa is that you can view the forest from the sauna area, a feature that brings extra pleasure in the sauna, which has full-length glass windows. The very same view of the pool and forest can also be enjoyed from the resting lounge. There are therapy rooms where you can get skincare treatments and massages. I can say that it is one of the better full-service spas that I have seen hotels in Turkey possess. I particularly adored the wooden armchairs placed there for guests to rest. The green spaces of the hotel continue underneath this pool and spa section. Just like heaven!

As you move through the greenery, you come across another building, separate from the main one. In this building, you can see the room called "hydrangea," one of my favorite rooms, as well as the meeting halls used for corporate events. Weddings, company training activities and other events are organized frequently at Casa Lavanda. The hotel has a number of roomy spaces for that purpose. The hallways are vibrant with rich bookcases, vintage stoves and paintings.

The room called "hydrangea" has a high ceiling, like many others at Casa Lavanda. Its fireplace, wooden flooring and nostalgic sofas are quite relaxing. The white kitchen inside is done in the country style, and you can view the artificial pond of the hotel and the lush hills from its balcony. Next to your bed you can find poetry books from famous Turkish poets Behçet Necatigil or Özdemir Asaf. There are no standard rooms at the hotel, every one reflects its own style. Most of the rooms are spacious suites though, and are bright and spacious with high ceilings. Molton Brown products are used in all rooms.

As for the food, the hotel has a very rich breakfast. I particularly loved the cheese varieties and the bread which they prepare themselves. Lunch and dinner are just as good. Sorbet is offered before the main course, an indication that the chef has adopted the real Italian food culture. What appealed to me most on the a-la-carte menu was the smoked salmon. They smoked the fish with sawdust made from chips they get from the cherry trees growing in the garden of the hotel. It was absolutely wonderful together with orange, Campari and cream cheese. The a-la-carte menu includes a wide range of similar options. The chef has a tasting menu as well. Carrot soup, artichoke with broad beans, and cheese agnolotti were some of the dishes that I loved. For the main course, we had meat which married well with roasted and caramelized beetroot.

If you wish to wake up with the sounds of roosters, birds and even cows, see every shade of green, experience both Turkish hospitality and the Italian dream, then you must definitely visit Casa Lavanda. Do not forget to drop by the boutique in the foyer of the hotel. It is possible to come across vintage lacework, antique cup sets, assorted tablecloths and trinkets and many more household items in this cute shop.

Casa Lavanda offers authentic warmth and a welcoming atmosphere. Make a booking in advance in the spring months and be a guest of the Şen family!

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