As I write this, I’m sitting at an old pedal singer sewing machine table, converted to a writing desk, surrounded by the smell of lavender form the reed diffuser in the corner. I drink my tea from a proper sized mug, no dinky little tea cups here. Speedy Wi-Fi is keeping the frustrations of technology away. I can hear the sounds of birds flitting about through the open balcony door. I look up and the enormous bed invites me to crawl under the covers for a nap.
This is Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa, the latest and most luxurious hotel to appear on the scene in Selcuk. It’s on the edge of the small town but out the window I can see the peach orchards, now wearing their winter clothes, and the hill of the Seven Sleepers, behind which lie the ruins of Ephesus. Cella is a haven set within a residential and rural setting, despite being only a 10 minute walk from the centre of town. Google maps had it as a 20 minute walk from the train station but it lied, it’s much shorter and excellent sign posting meant that even I didn’t get lost. I revel in the luxury that has been created here. Owned by a Turkish and French couple, but in the very capable hands of Ali, a 35 year veteran of luxury hotel management in nearby Kusadasi and his sidekick, Ozgul, a fashion and interior designer from Istanbul. The pair are running this hotel with care and the small staff seem like a family, working, eating and laughing together. My executive room is large and comfortable. I love the huge bed. I sleep in the middle and my arm span doesn’t anywhere near cover it. It came with my pillow choice from the menu provided on check in. I love the decadence. The bathroom is set in a corner of the room and my skin soaks up the Bulgari toiletries. The flat screen TV is discreetly installed in a white box on the wall – it took me awhile to notice it was there, I was so taken with the other features of the incredibly spacious room and scenery outside. The Roman style of Ephesus is in the art in the hallways and outside the hotel and French and Italian inspiration is evident in the colours and furniture in my room. I feel at home here but my home doesn’t a gloriously inviting swimming pool. I dipped a toe in but the January chill had me heading back indoors and downstairs to the hamam and sauna. My home doesn’t have one of those either. Tulay, the massage therapist, is a calming influence who seems to heal your soul with her voice and mere presence. Relaxation is key. The cook and housekeeper are smiling and welcoming in the morning at breakfast. Although breakfast is offered at any time of the day, I choose to rise early, there’s a lot to see out there. The Turkish breakfast is delicious and eat (more) than fill of meat, cheese, bread, olives, sun dried tomatoes, jams, French toast and pastries with freshly squeezed orange juice and tea. Then come the eggs. The farm fresh eggs fried with cheese and pastrami are my favourite. Ozi takes me on a tour of all Selcuk has to offer – we take in the Virgin Mary’s House, Ephesus, Isa Bei Mosque, St John’s Cathedral and the Citadel which towers above it, and a trip to nearby Sirence, a wine growing region with beautiful Greek architecture and views over hills and valleys. Back at Cella, I sink into my medium soft bead filled pillow and dream I’m an empress. I’m already sad that I can’t stay forever. Through my work with www.luxuryandboutiquehotels.com, I was a guest of Cella Hotel & Spa but all opinions are my own and nobody from the company reviewed or approved the text.