There’s a seaside town along the Aegean coast where people traveling by land and sea converge. This is Kuşadasi – the gateway to Ephesus, a city once claimed by the Greeks and later by the Romans and that was one of the seven churches of Asia referenced in the Book of Revelation. Kuşadasi is a bustling port city that welcomes cruise ships carrying passengers from all corners of the globe and from all walks of life.
Kuşadasi is abuzz with life. From travelers wandering through bazaars and alleyways in hopes of successfully haggling for a good deal, to parade participants from the Greek island of Samos and other nearby countries decked out in their national garb, Kuşadasi is the antithesis of a sleepy Turkish town.
And Club Caravanserail – a Kusadasi hotel that sits in the heart of all of the action – embodies the city’s vibrant energy. In centuries past, caravanserais were roadside inns where travelers could rest their weary heads after a long day’s journey. In Ottoman times – 1618 to be exact – Okuz Mehmet Pasha built Club Caravanserail with the standard caravanserai features of two floors, two entrances, and a huge courtyard. The outer architecture of the inn resembles a castle.
From a bus stop located across the street from Club Caravanserail, you can hop on a bus for the 10-minute ride to Ladies Beach where you can stroll along the promenade, eat at one of the beach restaurants, or lay out in the sun.
The hotel is also an ideal jumping off point for a tour of ancient Ephesus which is about a 25-minute drive away. The beautifully preserved ruins of the Library of Celsus, the Great Theater, the home of the Virgin Mary, the burial site of St. John, what’s left of the Temple of Artemis, and so much more are all easily within reach in nearby Ephesus.
Club Caravanserail is also ideally located near shops, restaurants, and nightlife. One night, we chose to party it up at Kitty O’Shea’s where my then 16-year-old nephew awkwardly had his first nightclub/bar experience with his father, aunt, and uncle in tow. We did our best to show him the ropes! When we returned to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, we were relieved that the front desk attendant was on duty as promised and available to open the inn’s huge doors for us when we came knocking.
For those who’d rather have a party closer to home, Club Caravanserail hosts a Turkish Night show where dancers and musicians perform traditional Turkish folkloric songs and dances. Although the noise from the show may deter some guests, we were delighted to have balcony seats to one of these performances from the comfort of the verandah outside of our room.
We rented the family suite whose décor was reminiscent of my grandmother’s house. With a double bed and two pull out beds, it was perfectly suited for a family of four. From our window, we had views of the cruise ship docks and the vibrant street below. In the mornings, we were greeted with made-to-order omelets, fresh bread, and honey.
At Club Caravanserail, the hospitality was superb, the breakfast was amazing, and we truly felt like we were in the center of it all!