Tuesday, July 2, 2013

KATRE BOUTIQUE HOTEL: Serenity in Alaçatı/Çeşme

Dear readers,

To put it mildly, from the end of May and throughout the month of June, it was an extremely "trying" time in Istanbul and the rest of Turkey! I'm sure most of my readers have been following the news on the happenings and since my blog is not a "political" one, I don't feel it's appropriate that I delve into the topic here - besides I'm apolitical, but I have to also state that I do wholeheartedly support freedom of speech and democracy!

Besides being totally engrossed in current events, I have also been suffering from a horrible cold for the past week and although today is day 8, I'm hard pressed to say I'm back in good health. However, this is the first day I've had enough energy to venture out and run some chores - in preparation for my trip to Alaçatı/Çeşme next week!

Since I haven't been at all socially active in Istanbul for the last month or so, I wanted to write about a lovely hotel I 'discovered' in Alaçatı last year to recommend to those planning a trip to this lovely summer resort town in the Aegean region of Turkey.

First, some general info before I go on! I've been visiting Çeşme every year since 1999 ever since my sister got married to my brother-in-law who is originally from Izmir. Izmir is a lovely city in the Aegean region and your first port of call on your way to Çeşme if travelling by air. There are several airlines (THY, Atlas Jet, Pegasus, etc) that have regularly scheduled flights to Izmir on a daily basis from Istanbul and some airlines fly directly to Izmir from certain cities in Europe. Flight time from Istanbul to Izmir is about 1 hour.

The one main problem is that there is no direct bus service from Adnan Menderes Airport to Çeşme... what I do and what most people do is reserve a car service/taxi before arrival and pay a flat fee. Since prices can vary and change from year to year, I won't be mentioning any prices. Your other option is to take a taxi to downtown Izmir where you can catch a bus that has service to Çeşme, but this can be very tiring and take much longer time (normal travel time via taxi is about 30-45 minutes and about 80 km).

Up until last year, I mainly stayed at my sister's summer home in Ilıca, but for a variety of reasons I've decided it suits me better to stay at a hotel - especially after Luka came into my life and last year was the 1st time that we stayed at a hotel together.

Just like in many parts of the world - it is difficult finding decent hotels that accept dogs or other pets of any size. In fact, the last time I researched the  topic recently on the web, only a handful of hotels accept animals in Çeşme province!

And... one of those places is Katre Hotel located right across the street from the Port Alaçatı Marina! 

Katre Hotel 
I "discovered" Katre after reading numerous articles in the local press about this newcomer (I believe this is its 3rd season) as well as from friends who had stayed there. I was especially interested because this is an "animal friendly" boutique hotel. 

So, when I finally made a decision to go to Alaçatı at the end of August last year... I booked a room for myself and one for my friend Nur and spent a WONDERFUL 7 days at my "hotel of choice" in this area!

Figen Mertol is the owner of this quaint and serene 10 room, 3 story boutique hotel and to be quite frank, from day one of my stay, I felt like I was staying at a friend's home instead of a hotel! 

"my room" at Katre Hotel
Luka and I stayed on the ground floor by the pool (3 other rooms also available on this level). Nur stayed on the main floor and all rooms offer lovely panoramic views of the marina and Aegean sea. 

The Bar (top) and shots of the hotel (left and right)
Like I said, if you want a calm, serene and laid back vacation, this is the place to stay! The majority of the guests during my stay were from abroad and we quickly became a "family" after running into each other at breakfast...

Speaking about breakfast... besides being the owner of Katre, Figen is also a gifted chef and is into organic cooking and only uses ingredients in season and some directly from her garden and Katre has the "best" breakfast selections!

Some breakfast treats at Katre Hotel
Breakfast includes typical Aegean style treats and brought to your table (not buffet style) and include different cheeses, breads, olives and a whole host of organic  vegetables in olive oil, etc. and from time to time, homemade savory pastries are also prepared! 

It was such a treat to have breakfast overlooking the marina and then hanging out and reading the papers while Luka hung out by my feet before we ventured to one of the "beaches" in the vicinity!

Except for one evening, we went out to one of the many restaurants in Alaçatı, Çeşme, Ilıca or Dalyan. However, you can also treat yourself to a relaxing dinner at Katre too. There is no "set" menu and changes daily and most importantly, you don't have to be a hotel guest to have breakfast or dinner at Katre (but reservations are a must for dinner).

Like I mentioned earlier, the Port Alaçatı Marina is right across the street and includes a variety of restaurants and bars. This year, there is also a beach club...

I really really enjoyed staying at Katre Hotel. The rooms are clean, some are more spacious than others and all are decorated in a minimalistic style (check their website for photos) with all the basic amenities (minibar, TV, hairdryer, etc.) and Nur, Luka and I were sad when leaving and wished we had more time to stay!

Also, I am so happy that I can now count Figen among my friends (and our birthdays are only one day apart, although I'm older!) We had the chance to get together in Istanbul last year and attended a wine harvest together. 

Me (left), Figen Mertol (owner - right)
As my yearly ritual, I will be travelling to Alaçatı next week and staying for two weeks this time. But, I made one big mistake and didn't make my plans until several days ago because I was sick, so unfortunately Katre is not available to accommodate me for two weeks! As a result, I will be staying at another property not too far from Katre this time around. But, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be swinging by Katre for breakfast, drinks and/or dinner to catch up with my friend! 

I highly recommend Katre Hotel to those travelling to the region and for those guests who want quiet, tranquil and calm hotel surroundings and a place which feels more like a home than a hotel! You can call the hotel directly to make reservations (give them my regards if you call directly) or use one of the many hotel reservations sites on the internet).

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday this summer and I will be reporting more from Alaçatı (my hotel, places to wine & dine, beach clubs, clubbing, etc.) hopefully in the next couple of weeks if I decide to take my computer with me or right after I return to Istanbul - haven't decided yet. 

Katre Hotel
Tel: (0532) 152 35 88

Stay well,


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