There is a Turkish proverb, it goes as, “the postman takes a day off and decides to take a walk in the neighborhood”. Likewise, with my husband, we used to visit Cappadocia in our private holidays, a place we would normally go when we were hired to lead tours. After countless visits we realized it was the place we want to spend out lives and we ended up buying three historical mansions next to one another in the village of Mustafapaşa.
Cappadocia is a large region, about the same size as the Yellow Stone National Park and is home to many towns and villages, since we wanted to live in the property, we carefully chose the location. It needed to have all the beauties of Cappadocia including well preserved architecture, had to be close to highlights, and it had to be someplace that has not been invaded by mass travel market, a place still with it’s soul and authenticity. We found it in Mustafapaşa, the ancient Sinasos. On top of all, it already had a university! Quite amazing for such a small community / village.
The next step was to find the ideal property. While volcanic stone masonry houses are very charming, they have a downside, humidity. It is their facades that are masonry, in most cases rest of homes is carved out of the bed rock and consists of men made caves. As we had stayed in numerous such properties that were converted into hotels, we knew that there can be a humidity problem in caves. So, we particularly looked for a bedrock and property that didn’t have humidity.
All to our luck we found it put to sale by an American army officer! He had been in the US army serving in İncirlik airbase. Like many others visiting Cappadocia, he had fallen in love with the area and bought these properties, but when it was his time to get back to US, he put the property for sale, and we bought it!
Then we started planning semi-retirement in Cappadocia. Well, our retirement plans were postponed after we had two children in the following few years. Meanwhile, the property was sitting idly. Those were the times a very high demand to cave hotels started. Our local friends encouraged us to restore the mansions as a small boutique cave hotel and promised us they would extend a hand in managing. Before we started the restoration we, my husband and I, both agreed on one thing easily. The hotel, was going to be authentic, but main and most important criteria was going to be comfort, but not cheap orientalism.
We built a new infa-structure to the property, but that was not all. I am sure that those of you who traveled in Turkey knows that in older parts of the country, almost in every bathroom, you see a sign saying don’t throw TP in the toilett but to the exposed waste bid, as the old and clogged pipes may not be able to carry them away.
This was something that bothered me so much all thru my career as a guide, I had asked Tankut, my husband, that we should do all that it took so that we would not put up such a sign. Well, the engineers told us that we had to change the sewer pipes of the village! What a task it was, we got permits from authorities and started digging the street. We imported the pipes we wanted to use.
I would never forget the look in the faces of the villagers when the 18 wheeler unloaded them, they asked Tankut, “hey bro, what is so different you are going to do with these pipes!?”
Easier said than done, now after 4 years, we proudly say Cappadocia Estates is the most comfortable hotel in all of Cappadocia with stellar staff. It is like an extended family business, staff members are either related to one another or good friends since childhood years.
Cappadocia Estates is categorized as a “Special Class” hotel and licensed by the Ministry of Tourism. The hotel categories, their licensing and category known as “Special Category” is topic of another entry I will write in the upcoming days.
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Meanwhile watch the short amateur video of Cappadocia Estates:
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