Paradise Garden, Fethiye
Located at the meeting point of the Aegean and the Mediterranean, Fethiye is home to plenty of sandy beaches and the celebrated Ölüdeniz lagoon, (meaning "dead sea" due to its calm turquoise waters). Up a steep hill, Paradise Garden is massive property set on 30 acres of land with a panoramic view of Ölüdeniz. A free shuttle makes the short but steep two-minute drive to the beach. The 33 rooms are comfortable, with thick drapes and carved wooden furniture, and there are two pools, but it is the lush, almost wild garden that makes the hotel special.
• 90 252 617 01 12, paradisegardenhotel.com. Doubles from £48
Rengigül Konukevi, Bozcaada
Historic Bozcaada (Tenedos in antiquity) is mentioned in the Iliad as the base of the Greek fleet in the Trojan War. One of only two Turkish Aegean islands, it is famed for its imposing fortress and thriving viniculture (try its corvus wines). This calm, laidback community welcomes visitors to stay in a number of boutique hotels, which are normally family-run. Set in a traditional Greek stone house, Rengigül Konukevi is a guesthouse in the home of a retired teacher. Like an eccentric aunt, Özcan Germiyanoğlu has filled her house with knickknacks, embroideries, flowers and hundreds of paintings. Guests are encouraged to mingle over her generous home-cooked breakfast, including feta cheese, fresh tomatoes and delicious local olives.
• +90 286 697 81 71, rengigul.net. Doubles from £50
Eski Foça (Old Foça) is the historic heart of this Aegean town. The name is derived from the Greek Phokaia, meaning "town of seals", a reference to the Mediterranean monk seals that are said to have inspired the sirens in Homer’s Odyssey. Filled with fishing boats, the small harbour of Küçükdeniz has been home to Foçantique, the town’s oldest boutique hotel, since 2002. Run by the Alemdaroğlus, retired tour guides, the 1890s stone building right on the shore is filled with items gathered from around the country. Each of the 12 rooms is decorated in a different style, with unique objects and antiques collected by the couple during their travels around the country. The Aspasia, with its net bedding, is particularly romantic. There is also a café in a charming garden.
• +90 232 812 43 13, focantiquehotel.com. Open mid-July to mid-September. Doubles from £83
Otel Sobe, Cunda
A small bridge connects the mainland to this former Greek fishing village. During the 1920s population exchange, it was settled by Turkish immigrants from Crete who felt at home in the low stone houses and cobbled streets. Set in a converted Greek house, Otel Sobe has seven modern rooms with exposed stone walls. A striking glass staircase leads to the second-floor rooms, which have pitched roofs with white painted beams. Traditional Aegean breakfast is served in a shady courtyard frequented by Cunda’s cats (the town is renowned for them). The rate includes use of the hotel’s private beach in the bay of Pateriça, accessed by a free shuttle. (No children under 12.)
• + 90 266 327 31 02, otelsobe.com. Doubles from £73
Cadde 75, Alaçatı
A favourite with windsurfers, thanks to its shallow bay and steady wind, Turkey’s best-preserved Greek village has experienced an explosion of boutique hotels, cafes and restaurants, attracting throngs of tourists that can overwhelm its narrow streets. Housed in new building with a central garden and pool, Cadde 75 is set just far enough away from the town centre to be peaceful but still convenient. The glass-walled breakfast room/lounge overlooking the pool is ideal for reading a book and sipping a glass of homemade minty lemonade. The 15 rooms are spacious, homey and bright. Alaçatı’s popularity has led to high prices, but Cadde 75 is among the more reasonable. Minibuses to the surfing beach, five minutes away, and sandy Ilıca pass in front of the hotel.
• +90 232 716 93 03, cadde75otel.com. Doubles from £83
Nişanyan Hotels, Şirince
When the Mayan calendar "ran out" on 21 December 2012, one of the reported havens from the apocalypse was Şirince. It is certainly idyllic, with its 19th-century Ottoman houses, outdoor markets and homemade wines. It was put on the map by Nişanyan House and its resident owner – writer, lexicologist and activist Sevan Nişanyan. The hotel incorporates a number of properties: the original inn with its five rooms and restaurant, plus a newer Tower House, and independent houses and cottages. Şirince offers a cool, hilltop respite from the nearby beaches of Kuşadası, a 15-20 minute drive, and the relentless heat of Ephesus, only 10 minutes away.
• +90 (232) 898 3208, nisanyan.com. Doubles from £93
Palmetto Resort Hotel, Selimiye
This quiet Aegean fishing village on the Bozburun peninsula remains relatively undeveloped and little visited. Surrounded by mountains, its deep, blue bays attract yachts and sailboats. Palmetto Resort – named after the many palm trees in the grounds – is owned by a spry retired doctor, who runs a tight ship. The 22 rooms and two suites are simply furnished but spotless. The large garden is manicured, and there is a hamam, spa and pool. Off the shore is a tiny islet within swimming distance. While the restaurant serves seasonal fare, such as fresh local vegetables cooked in olive oil, it is worth having at least one dinner at the nearby Sardunya restaurant, which boasts a romantic location on a dock and some of the finest seafood in Turkey.
• +90 252 446 42 98, palmettoresorthotel.com. Doubles from £43
Taş Turizm, Bodrum
On the gulf of Gökova, about 45 minutes’ drive from Bodrum, is Mazı – three secluded bays with only a smattering of basic pensions and eateries. Almost unknown, even by locals, the pristine beaches and verdant shores are a rustic paradise. The family-run Taş Turizm pension is a true pioneer, having opened with just four rooms in 1976. Now run by the third generation, it has expanded to 23 rooms, simple, sparsely furnished but spotless rooms. Full-board accommodation includes an organic breakfast of tomatoes, olives and fluffy bread, a light Turkish lunch of green salads and cold vegetable appetisers, and fresh fish for dinner. It tends to attract intrepid Italian and Turkish travellers, who wile away the day in its garden, which is filled with massive ceramic urns, or lounging on the pebble beach. Open May to October. Limited availability in July and August.
• +90 532 656 76 59, tasturizmmazi.com. Doubles from £53, all-inclusive (or £27pp for single occupancy)
Özak Pension, Bodrum
Located at the far western point of the Bodrum peninsula, Gümüşlük consists of two bays lined with seafood restaurants, bohemian bars and simple hotels. At the centre is an island inhabited by rabbits that frolic over archaeological excavations. Recent gentrification has attracted a more upmarket crowd, but the original informal spirit survives at Özak Pension, set at the end of the bay. The pace of life is slow: guests hang out on the beach; play backgammon in the rustic, shady garden; or swim in the clean, shallow water. The 14 rooms are extremely simple, but all are steps from the beach. The night-time vibe is decidedly cool, with dinner by the shore, drinks at the sociable round bar, and live music.
• +90 252 394 4443, ozakpansiyon.com. Doubles from £47
Happy Caretta, Dalyan
Dalyan’s 4.5kmsandy beach at Iztuzu is often known as Turtle Beach, as it is a protected nesting ground for loggerhead sea turtles. Dalyan also has a reed-lined river that can be explored by boat, which also carry visitors to the ruins at Kaunos, an ancient town renowned for its elaborate graves carved into cliff faces. With 14 rooms furnished with local textiles, Happy Caretta takes its name from the Latin word for sea turtle. Located just outside downtown Dalyan, it has a quiet spot on the water, with a garden and small dock, where meals are served. At night, the owners lend guests a rowboat to enjoy a romantic view of the Lycian cliff graves under the stars.
• +90 252 284 2109, happycaretta.com. Doubles from £73