Upon arriving in Cappadocia, our hotel, Esbelli Evi, arranged for a shuttle to pick us up from the airport. Buses run into the city, but if you can find a shuttle that will take you directly to your hotel – it’ll cut out the frustration of getting lost in a foreign city with your luggage. The shuttle took awhile as we waiting for everyone to load in, (probably a solid 45 minutes) but once we got on our way – anticipation and excitement set in, and also a bit of dread. Dread – because we began to see the dark clouds roll in and hear the winds starting to howl… signaling that our planned hot air balloon right might not come to fruition.
Finally, we pulled up to our ‘cave hotel’ and were instantly greeted by a smiling staff, anxious to show us around the grounds. Taking our luggage from the back of the van and escorting us inside, we met the team of Esbelli Evi and were given the grand tour by the owner, Suha Ersoz. We had been told by others before arriving that Esbelli Evi was by far the best ‘cave hotel’ and the first one in the area and that we were so lucky to be staying here. Once we began walking through, we truly began to understand what all the fuss was about.
The stone walls had little display alcoves cut into them, featuring pieces of Suha’s past — the typewriter of his father, the sewing machine of his mother. These personal touches added a true sense of home to the tavern-like room, fitted with colorful rugs and rustic couches. Heading down the stairs and onto the terrace, we were met with a panoramic view of the wondrous rocky city that left us speechless. To go from one bustling city – where every corner had something going on and people were everywhere, to here: a quiet, vast wonderland, where I could actually hear my own thoughts. Part of me wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, out of pure delight – thanking God for allowing me to be present in this moment, and the other part of me wanted to remain completely still – soaking in the moment and just letting the quiet stillness surround me.
A lifetime went by in that moment, saturating me with genuine happiness.
Then the whistling of the winds picked up and we scooted down the next doorway, entering into one of the cave suites. My mouth dropped a total of 50 times (okay, maybe more like 100) when seeing the first room. I had imagined a ‘cave hotel’ but this exceeded all expectations. Rooms carved into stone, cute dining tables, plush cushions, french-style bathtubs, melodies flowing from the TV, ginormous beds and WiFi. As if everything I had dreamed of as a kid had become a reality, both eight year old me and twenty-two year old me were silently doing dances while receiving the grand tour.
We plopped down our belongings in our chamber, took in a deep breath of the earthy smelling room and then collapsed onto the bed. One full day of travel, beginning at 5:45am, we were finally feeling home – in Cappadocia.
Kelsey and I explored the property some more and were delighted to meet another travel writer, one much more seasoned than myself, who offered up the most intriguing insight and advice. Tom, an American, who spends a good portion of his time in Turkey now, is a travel writer, guidebook author, photographer, website developer, and consultant on travel information — so I was extremely excited to pick his brain. Tom arrived in Turkey as a Peace Corps Volunteer at the beginning of the 1970’s and fell in love with the country. Through his adventures there, he authored one of the first guide books to Istanbul which led him to become a leading travel writer for Lonely Planet and other outlets. The serendipitous meeting of people, in a place like this — being there at the right time, it’s moments like these that are truly magical.
If you ever venture into Cappadocia (which I highly suggest that you do), you simply MUST stay at Esbelli Evi. I cannot express just how fortunate I am for their hospitality, their kindness and just overall peaceful and serene nature. Not only was it super cool to stay in a cave room, but to be surrounded with those people in that setting, added all the more.
The next morning, Kelsey and I actually looked into airline flights to see if we could extend our stay in Cappadocia (this is how much we liked this place) but alas, it would be too difficult and expensive to change our flights. Before sending us off to the airport, the Esbelli staff invited us to a traditional Turkish breakfast that nourished our bellies and our souls.
Thank you, Esbelli Evi, for everything!