Enjoy the holiday season

ARDA SAYINER @ardasayiner
Published 25.06.2016 00:31
Updated 25.06.2016 00:33
Enjoy the holiday season

With its fascinating natural beauty, luxurious hotels and zestful beaches, the southwestern city of İzmir offers a peaceful and joyful vacation that will take you away from the exhausting daiy routine

As we have a long Ramadan holiday ahead, I want to tell you about alternatives for an enjoyable holiday. The first stop is in İzmir, a natural wonder where an ultra-boutique hotel awaits you in the Ilıca district: the Nars Ilıca Exclusive Boutique Hotel. The name derives from narcissism, which suits this hotel well, created for those who seek perfection. Nars Ilıca opened in 2006 and is operated by Ayfer Şentürk, an assistant of Güler Sabancı for 26 years. It has eight rooms. The guests of the hotel have included famous people from the worlds of business, art and politics. The history of the hotel dates back to the 18th century, and Tosun Paşa, the son of the Governor of Egypt, once lived here with his family. A fountain was built behind his room with the healing waters of Ilıca for therapeutic treatment of Tosun Paşa's skin disease. Architect Süreyya Saruhan supervised the restoration of the hotel to ensure the historical structure wasn't damaged, while the internal decoration bears the signature of Hakan Ezer. You can see the refined tastes of Şentürk reflected in original oil paintings, antiques from around the world and decorative products from the Şentürk collection. I suggest you pay particular attention to works by Mehmet Güleryüz and Hamza Rüstem. The en suite bathrooms are enormous and have both the traditional "a la Turca" style ground toilets and the standard sitting toilets, as well as Olive Farm products. All rooms have a sea-view.

The lobby floor, wooden stairs and sofas, give you the feeling you are in your own mansion, creating a warm environment. In the backyard, access to thermal water pools and sunbeds are provided. The front of the hotel is heavenly. The sea has the hottest, cleanest water in Çeşme and is gorgeous. Nars Ilıca has its own pier, as well as lounge and restaurant areas near the sea. There are sunbeds right above the pier. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner at seaside. Activities, such as weddings and private parties, are organized in the same area. The menu of Chef Şehnaz Anar is rather boutique. Enjoy the sea, sit on specially designed chairs, while eating meals accompanied by French songs. I especially liked the appetizers. Mashed fava beans and hummus must be tasted. For main dishes, a vast range of fish types are available. For dessert, definitely taste the Poshe Pear and Pavlova, which reminds me of macaroni and contains sour cherry and mascarpone cheese. Delicious!

Nars Ilıca Hotel is fully boutique, with all meticulously thought details. Staff members are kind and warm, which is why customers return and the hotel is always full. A reservation is imperative. I congratulate hotel owner Şentürk and operating manager Murat Pirimoğlu for the services they provide, and the tourist value they add to the region.

If you want to get away from the peaceful, calm environment of the Nars Hotel and enjoy the sea in a fun environment, my first suggestion is the Madeo Beach Club. Madeo means getting wet and drunk in Spanish and really does justice for its guests. The beach club with the same name, Madeo, in Karaköy is "shabby" and "comfortable." Unlike most beach clubs, they stayed away from luxury and created a natural environment. Tanning areas in the sea in lodges are ostentatious. Its kitchen offers tastes from world cuisine and contains options for everybody. Carefully read what's written on the wall at the entrance of the restaurant: It's fun and thought provoking. Showers are designed as asymmetrical pipes. Visit Madeo for parties starting after midnight. The party area next to the sea is interesting with its fireplace and lighting.

Visit Alaçatı center in the evening after having fun at the beach during the day. Homemade jams, healing herbs, handmade accessories and lots of souvenirs await you along stony streets.

If you are looking for a boutique restaurant while walking around Alaçatı, visit İris Art & Steak House, operated by Chefs Serdar Eryorulmaz and İris Küçükbayraktar. They operate with love and care, as if they are cooking in their own homes and offer great tastes to their guests. The walls are full of oil paintings produced by the couple. The kitchen uses the highest quality red meat. Serdar is against the dry-aged method and prepares the meat with a method he calls wet-aged. We learn from the chef, an ex-butcher, that the paintings on the walls are for sale. I especially recommend the Bon Burger. Art enthusiasts and detail-oriented people should examine the venue signboard, written with a thousand screws.

If you decide to settle down or buy a summer house near Çeşme, my suggestion would be the Sea Homes project in Paşalimanı. All the apartments in the complex, a project of Erkin Köksal, have a sea and forest view. Sea Homes is Köksal's second project in Turkey, after the Bayer building. Each apartment is built with German perfectionism and has its own terrace, and some terraces even have an outdoor jacuzzi. The motto of the project is "Life is on the Terrace." I especially liked the faucets designed by Philippe Starck. The marble flooring, which looks like parquet, is rather amazing. The project was built without disrupting nature and has changed the look of Paşalimanı, cleaning and organizing the area. The project has its own beach and pier, with a very special restaurant operated by Chef Murat Bozok. The restaurant is next to an asymmetrically designed pool and is rather elegant, with examples from a rich cuisine, ranging from Çanakkale to Gaziantep. Even if you are not able to afford a house, visit to taste the dishes of Murat Bozok. This is now the most popular place in Paşalimanı. I congratulate the sales team managed by Emel Dilek and owner Mr. Köksal for an incredible summer residence.

Top 3 Restaurants of the Week

- The Brassiere / Tarabya

- Sushi Moto / Armutlu

- İris Art & Steak House / Alaçatı

Top 3 Hotels of the Week

- Nars Hotel / Ilıca

- Golden Key / Hisarönü

- Splendid / Büyükada

Top 3 People to Follow This Week

- Arzu Mildan / PR person

- Kerem Kumbasar / businessman

- Sercan Sencan / tennis player

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