Selcuk Serenity

July 29, 2007


Just below Selcuk’s 6th century castle and St. John’s Basilica, and within walking distance to Ephesus, the antique Hotel Kalehan ( provides the fantasy of living in an Ottoman villa made with traditional materials and decorated in typical anatolian style.

We were so happy to be there, especially after making the dire mistake of booking first at the four star Hitit Hotel which was a filthy mess with severe stains all over the carpets, very dingy and unkept. Clearly the owners of the Hitit Hotel do not have the funds to keep it up and the review I read must have been out of date. We knew immediately that it would not do and were on the phone looking for an appropriate place as we knew we wanted to stay about a week in this vicinity and needed something special.

There is a lot to see in this area and we wanted a base that would be an oasis of comfort and we found it at the Kalehan and wonderful new friends on top of that. As soon as we entered we knew that it would be the perfect place for us with the charming pool, tranquil English style garden, homey feel and fine antiques. It was very clean and they gave us a room that was a family suite so Mozart had her own room and TV which she loved.

The food was excellent in their restaurant and the staff very gracious, but what Mozart liked best of all was a new playmate! The owner had a son who was a year older than her and they got to play when we were not touring, which they both seemed to enjoy immensely. He also has done a lot of traveling and living in different countries (including NYC) and currently they live in Italy where he goes to an American school.

There were mostly Europeans in attendance when we were there and most without children, but some families would come and go and there was a really nice atmosphere for both children and adults. The kids played well together whether they shared a language or not.

We walked around Selcuk some and enjoyed the small farming town. There is an excellent outdoor market and lots of restaurants serving typical Turkish fare. There is even a very nice playground right outside their fabulous Ephesus museum, that Mozart of course, could not pass up.

Once when we were having lunch, we spotted the storks and their nest on top of some ruins at St John’s Basilica. Mostly we were ensconced in our lovely villa and gardens of Kalehan, when not touring and it is so picturesque that it colors one’s perceptions, but when we ventured out we usually found some sweet surprises like this. The women farm workers dressed in traditional clothes going by in a tractor always caught our attention or whole families on a motor scooter.

I loved the chess set at Kalehan that had the Turks versus the Greeks. Since there has long been animosity between these two, it made me chuckle. Interestingly, the family who owned it had come from Crete and they had the beautiful coral wedding dress of their grandmothers’ grandmother on display in the lobby that she wore at her Crete wedding. This family had been part of the 1924 exchange between Greece and Turkey and one must admire the strength of the people to make such a move.

We liked the Kalehan so much that we added more days than planned and it was hard to separate Mozart from her new found friend. There was also a piano there, that made it terrific, so that she could get some piano practice in while in Turkey which was not something we had expected. Both kids played, so they inspired each other.

We enjoyed his mother as much as we did him and watching them play so happily together. They played with books, games, computers, had foosball challenges and a blast at the pool or running around the garden. They even had Nickelodeon on Big Screen TV in English, which became a kid magnet after dinner with desert, while the parents got to sip wine, watching them from a distance, having some adult conversation!













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