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Yacht Boutique Hotel and Yacht Classic Hotel: A Fethiye family’s affair

                                                     Hurriyet Daily News 06.12.2010


Yacht Boutique and Yacht Classic hotels are family-run and jewels of organization, professionalism and design, a delight in this era of industrial and anonymous tourism in Fethiye. The Kaya family has lived on the prime coastal land on which Yacht Classic sits so comfortably for many years – long before the hotels were built – and they still call this their home.

Banuhan Argın, is a petite woman with a powerful character in charge of the beautiful gardens and outdoor areas. Her husband, Mustafa Argın, runs one and her brother the other. The patriarch, Yücel Kaya, had the good fortune, or maybe foresight, to buy the land many years ago. Their original house has been modernized and cleverly integrated into the garden, which even at this time of year is crammed with an exotic array of trees, shrubs and flowers.

Coming off the street to either the Yacht Boutique Hotel or its sister hotel, the Yacht Classic, a few hundred meters along the road in the Karagözler district of Fethiye, the cool tones and comfort of the meeting areas certainly bodes well for what is to come.

The hotels overlook their gardens and beyond that the marina, which even at this time of year is full of jostling yachts and gullets, for which this area is famous. Surely, the hotels are aptly named for having the best nautical panoramas in town. The Yacht Classic has a select marina – the first to be built in Fethiye, back in the 1980s.

Both hotels have evolved over time. They started off as simple restaurants, catering to adventurous independent holidaymakers that visited the area three decades ago. Over time they were developed until last year when they both had a major face-lift and re-entered the fray elegant and a tribute to the town.

Both are open all year and cater for guests who want to enjoy all that Fethiye has to offer without being subject to the noise and bustle of the center – even though it is just a short walk away.

Both hotels received their makeover at the skilled hands of Mustafa Argın and Ahmet Yücesan, who developed his talent in San Francisco. These two interior design geniuses have used only local craftsmen and their imaginative use of texture, style and design make the visitor feel that they are in the lap of minimalist luxury.

Yacht Boutique Hotel

Just a few minutes walk from the center of town this hotel is modern, with idiosyncratic touches. There are different styles of room, suitable for holidaymakers and business people. There is a meeting room with capacity for a small conference and an excellent rooftop restaurant. The rooms are pleasantly furnished in true boutique style, with some overlooking the marina.

To reach the upper floors there is an elevator or stairs. Outside, at the rear of the hotel there is a well-designed swimming pool with a selection of comfortable seating areas. Here there is the same excellent level of service as inside and it is hard to imagine how close one is to the town.

The restaurant is beautifully presented, in an understated sort of way. The service is attentive but discreet and it is a refreshing change to have waiters who are inconspicuous enough to not to make their customers feel intimidated but observant to their needs: just there to top up a water or wine glass or to remove a finished plate without the feeling that they are hovering.

The wine is kept in an air-conditioned room, so that it can be served at a perfect temperature. There is also a wide selection of local and imported drinks. The lighting is subdued enough to allow a view of the town below and beyond but bright enough to ensure that fish bones can be easily identified. All in all the tasteful, stylish design of this restaurant is an agreeable change from the frenetic restaurants of the town center.

If one wants more elegance while staying at the Yacht Boutique Hotel it is a mere stroll up the road to the larger and equally elegant Yacht Classic Hotel where there are tip to toe treatments for everyone as well as a Turkish bath and sauna.

Yacht Classic Hotel

On arriving at this unique hotel one is greeted by a shady seating area and a curvy turquoise pool in which a family of Koi Carp swim around lazily, no doubt waiting for a snack.

Inside, every aspect of this hotel has care and attention to detail as its trademark. From the furniture to the objets d’art, there is good taste positively bursting from the walls. There is an external elevator that will silently whisk the guest to the upper floors and one of the 35 rooms.

All the public areas have those little touches, paintings, sculptures, antiques, that make this more than a hotel, perhaps a tribute to the family who have created this architectural masterpiece. Even the wall coverings have character, whether it is the wallpaper, the muted tones of the fabric or the exquisite carpentry and textiles. The ceiling must not be ignored, for even they have a modern twist.

There are rooms for families, couples, singles and romantics. Four of them have hot tubs on their private balconies, hand crafted from local pebbles – but nevertheless looking relaxing and tempting. The rooms at the back of the hotel overlook the hotel’s private jetty.

In the summer there is a shady restaurant but during the winter season guests are invited to dine in a delightful dining room with French windows that catch the sparkling sunlight.

Attentive staff and waiters are there to look after the diner’s every need and as the owners point out most of them have been there for many years and are part of this extraordinary family team.

For further information visit www.yachtclassichotel.com or www.yachthotelturkey.com

Already rich with character

Staying in Fethiye during the winter months provides a wealth of opportunities for exploring the nooks and crannies of this bustling town, which is an authentic reflection of the area and unlike other resorts does not close down for the “off season.” Local walks, places of historic interest and good restaurants are there for the out of season traveler and at present the weather is delightful – warm and sunny. And although that cannot be guaranteed, all the indoor cafes and restaurants have extra heating, many with large open fires or wood burning stoves, which add to places already rich with character.

From either hotel it is possible to take some forest walks, even as far as Kayaköy. Close by, there are many historic and cultural sites. The Yacht Classic is particularly popular with yachters who are more than happy to use the shower facilities and eat a wonderful breakfast in the shore-side restaurant during the summer months.

Listening to the guest

The land now filled with the buildings and gardens of the Yacht Classic Hotel was once the garden of manager Banuhan Argın’s father, Yücel Kaya. Indeed the house he originally built for his family on the shore of the Gulf of Fethiye is still there, albeit brought up to date. In those quiet days before hotels, yacht marinas and mass tourism, Kaya had the good fortune to be the owner of a prime piece of real estate.

He also has a vision of how this idyllic parcel of land could be used to his family’s financial advantage. The position was a perfect place to build the first jetty for yachts and he and his family had a small restaurant to feed the hungry yachters.

From this, the Kaya family has developed, almost organically, the Yacht Classic Hotel while still retaining a sense of timelessness. After all, this is still very much their home. The family is proud to say 70 percent of their guests return year after year and were included in several development decisions.

“Our guests have always been included in our decision-making process. We ask them to tell us what they like, what they would like to see in the future and indeed, from time to time, what they don’t like. We always take their ideas on board and listening to them means that we have the best hotel in town,” Argın said.

She is also keen to point out that the hotels are designed to be accessible by people with disabilities thanks to elevators, ramps and wide doors.

 Hurriyet Daily News 06.12.2010