Located on the beautiful island of Buyukada, Ashaka Retreat is a place to relax and unwind. Owned and run by Murat and Serin, they were on site to ensure everything about our stay was looked after. They really are 2 lovely hosts who want all of your needs to be met. The pool and gardens were tranquil and whilst some of the accommodation was a little basic, it was made up for by the peace and tranquillity of the setting and attentiveness of the hosts. Their staff member Wildem was one of the kindest and smiliest people we have met. It is not the place to go if you want to party all night and the island does not offer much more than scenery and serenity, but this is exactly what we wanted. The setting for Ashaka is large and it is obvious that Murat and Serin still have a lot to do to get it perfect. For example the plumbing wasn't great, the facilities are still a little scruffy around the edges, but this is made up for by their eagerness to please and the location. Breakfast is included and food can be provided if requested. This was good quality, good value and homely. It also made a good change from the food in the local restaurants. This is not a reflection on Ashaka, but we stayed 8 nights and as vegetarians we found food options on the island limiting and very samey. It is one of those places where every restaurant sells the same fare and this gets boring. If you stay here, sit back unwind and chill out. Rent some bikes, go for walks and take in the stunning scenery.
We had a wonderful, restful break at this lovely place. The island itself is extraordinarily peaceful thanks to the absence of the internal combustion engine, and a sense of glorious languor hangs over the whole place. Murat and Shirin, who run Ashaka Pension, are extremely kind and welcoming hosts, full of local knowledge and enthusiasm, for whom nothing seems too much trouble. Murat personally came to meet us off the ferry, and took us back there at the end of our stay. The breakfasts were very good, and excellent value. The pool is gorgeous, with loungers and cushions dotted about all round it, and there are lots of different garden areas and hidden spaces around the place which offer many opportunities for quiet thinking and writing (which is what we went for). There is a beautiful, fabulously peaceful meditation/yoga space on one of the top terraces, with a view to die for. A very accomplished local yoga teacher is available for hire if you want tuition. The rooms are plainly but attractively furnished - Shirin is an artist, whose eye for colour and design is evident in her tasteful choice of curtains, bedding etc. The property is arranged on many levels, so is not suitable for people with significant mobility problems, but that probably applies to many properties on this very hilly island. Ashaka Pension is a very laid-back, relaxed sort of place, and if you are looking for hotel-chain slickness then it might not be the right place for you - for example, breakfast was sometimes a bit late, and the rooms are not done every day. These things did not bother us at all, we were happy to go with the flow and we certainly hope to stay there again (even though the mattresses were too hard for us, which seems to be a problem everywhere we go in Turkey). Be aware that not all the bedrooms have mosquito netting on the windows, so it's worth taking an anti-mozzie device with you.
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