We slouched luxuriating in bubbles, glasses of (rather dubious) wine in one hand and chunks of (rather delicious) chocolate in the other. Our toes poked daringly out of the hot tub, framing the distant volcano that was basking in the evening sun. If, in it’s solitary existence it looked suspiciously like Tolkien’s ‘Lonely Mountain’ in the Hobbit, perhaps that was no surprise after a few days of tramping around what can only be described as ‘Middle Earth’.
We were nearing the end of our week in Cappadocia, and in true form were on the move after only 3 nights at the Kelebek Cave Hotel. Hubbie sighed resignedly as we began packing…again…pretty much a perpetual motion during our travels as I never put all my accommodation eggs in one basket.
“But the next place has even better views, we have the top suite AND we get our own hot tub” I whined.
So what if it was February and a little chilly in the evenings. This had romance written all over it. As usual I won so we were collected from Goreme and driven all of 5 minutes up the hill to the little village of Uçhisar. Perched regally on the side of a rocky mound known as the ‘castle’ this is the highest point in the area. It wasn’t like any castle I’ve ever seen (and I’ve lived in one, I should know), but the views weren’t half bad.
We were staying at the Taşkonaklar Rocky Palace, an elegant boutique hotel overlooking the Pigeon Valley that would soon become the location of our Middle Earth misadventures. Of course being a bit keen (and having only a few kms to travel) we were early, and had to spend a couple of hours waiting in the sunny garden for our suite to be ready.
It was soooo tough relaxing in the sun…
Such hardship came with fresh juice and cake, as well as the company of a couple of local moggies…
The view was terrible…
And the place was heaving with other tourists…
Despite it being February the sun was almost blistering in it’s intensity, and we enjoyed the novelty of working on our tans having told everyone back home it was going to be freezing. Being British we knew it would be the first topic of conversation on our return (and we weren’t disappointed!). Apparently the weather was unusual – no doubt the warmest since records began, isn’t that what they always say – and in fact the area is on the verge of a drought. The landscape did look very arid, but having not seen it before it was difficult to really compare it to normal. It’s no doubt wrong on so many levels to say we enjoyed the ‘benefits’ of global warming, but boy did it feel good!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get much better, the lovely smiley Valeriya came to show us up to our abode for the next few days – the Royal Suite was at the top of the house both literally and hierarchically.
I contained myself long enough to walk straight past the sparkling bathroom and my favourite Molton Brown toiletries, through the colourful and cavernous salon (anyone would think we were staying in a cave!) and out onto our private terrace.
Sorry, that should be THREE private terraces! The first had the comfy seats, the second….drum roll please…the hot tub, and the third was even closer to the sublime views.
I was all for stripping off and going for a soak straight away, but the voice of reason coming from the bedroom had already begun unpacking and folding up his undies neatly in the wardrobe.
We rarely bother unpacking and tend to live out of our cases even when surrounded by storage, but when you’re staying somewhere so gorgeous you do need to give it a little respect. Pouting slightly I zoomed around stuffing my clothes into drawers until soon the suite looked a little less of a bomb site.
Check out the bathroom – complete with shower big enough for ten, let alone two! And a couple of bathrobes each, one for inside, one for the hot tub!
It of course goes without saying there are complimentary slippers which fit even hubbie’s feet, a heated towel rail and really good water pressure (despite the drought!) in the shower.
The suite has lots of lovely touches, such as the little alcoves with local ‘artifacts’ each with their own mood lighting; Moroccan candle lanterns; an open fire (shame it wasn’t cold!); carved solid wooden furniture and a well stocked minibar complete with room service menu should you be feeling a little lazy after the day’s exertions.
Of course hubbie’s holiday rules state there will be strictly no consumption whatsoever from the minibar, so to save a few Euros we duly stocked up on chocolate, juice and politically incorrect biscuits from the local shop.
Feeling quite peaky after a hard morning’s work I could’ve easily flopped into the big bed and snuggled into the luxurious sheets, but apparently we needed to go and find some lunch so after the obligatory bedroom photo-shoot we headed out to explore Uçhisar.
For tea we did our usual and went to raid the two local ‘supermarkets’ for a room picnic later on. Rather than bread and cheese however, the first store we found sold nothing but wine, and the second nothing but chocolate!
With dinner sorted, there was only one thing left on the day’s agenda. HOT TUB TIME!
There’s something a bit special about watching the sun set on a distant lone volcano with your hubbie and a glass of Cappadocia’s finest red. Well, maybe not the wine!
A few hours later after a very comfortable nights kip we were up again before dawn to watch the sun and the balloons rise. We pulled on jackets and hats over our pyjamas (sorry, ‘loungewear’ as hubbie insists on calling his!) and padded out onto the silent balcony for the best view in town.
One of the birds from pigeon valley gets in on the action…
We had front row seats for watching the balloons – we loved our flight with Butterfly Balloons earlier in the week and wished we could go up again.
It was tough to tear ourselves away but after an hour of freezing and taking countless photos hubbie’s stomach dictated it was time for breakfast.
There was quite a spread in the dining room down below the garden with all the usual continental buffet breakfast options, as well as hot omelettes and pancakes, cakes and the best jam in town – with actual real strawberries in! We ate inside but during the summer they use the terrace for breakfasts with a view!
After hubbie had sampled all the delights on offer we were all set for another day of adventure in Cappadocia, this time in the form of hiking the length of Pigeon Valley down to Goreme. But that’s a story for another day. We’ve got a hot tub waiting with our name on it…
And finally, you know you’ve ‘arrived’ in the realm of the upper class when your coffee table literature includes the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club Yearbook.
Choosing where to stay in Uçhisar
Whilst deciding where to spend our few days of luxury in Uçhisar, as well as the Taşkonaklar Rocky Palace I also had my eye on the Museum Hotel and Argos in Cappadocia. I knew I had a difficult choice to make, they all looked beautiful.
However that choice was pretty much made for me after I began communicating with them all. Tolga, the Managing Director of Taşkonaklar not only replied almost immediately to my countless emails, but he was also very convivial and you could tell there was a real person there who cared about his guests, rather than just seeing them as another head on a pillow. In comparison, from the more upmarket Argos Hotel I received a standard email in response to my price request, one that was clearly churned out for all enquiries. What had caught my eye about the Argos was the fact it has suites with their own private pool, all very romantic! The fact that they don’t publish prices for these top suites should’ve given me a hint, but I still wasn’t prepared for the fact that I’d have to take out another mortgage just for one night there! The ‘cheapest’ pool suite was €680 and the top one was €1385 PER NIGHT! And that was in winter, and didn’t even include tax. Needless to say it wasn’t value for money in our book and we left it at that. Turns out it’s just along the street from Taşkonaklar so would’ve had the same views anyway. And as for the Museum Hotel, along with it’s impressive flaming torches outside and it’s antique-themed interior, I didn’t even get a response to my emails. So to stay in Taşkonaklar’s top suite for just €140 (including a cash discount and a winter discount), with superb service and views to die for, it really was a no-brainer.