Sabrina’s Haus

Have you ever started on a journey and realized at some point that you had no true idea of where you were going?

That was our experience the past weekend. Christian and I (boys were left at home in capable hands of Olga, the babysitter) went on a 4-day romantic getaway in southern Turkey. I had planned it as a 19th anniversary gift. In truth, my gift (in hindsight) was not that well formulated. In a casual conversation with an acquaintance, a nice, romantic hotel was mentioned. It sounded like a good idea for an anniversary gift at the time. Especially since the boys were older and we had a trusted person to watch over them, something we hadn’t quite realized or taken advantage of yet.

So, thinking, great, our chance at a mom-and-dad-only getaway, I went on the internet to check out the place. The pictures looked nice, so I booked a weekend when Christian would be free and the weather would be getting warmer. I printed out a picture, rolled it up in a ribbon, and presented it to my husband on the night of the anniversary. And that was that. Out of sight. Out of mind.

Until, that is, we were in the apparent last minutes of our journey (based on the taxi driver’s slowed driving and straining of neck for road signs).

We had left Istanbul at the indecent hour of 4:45AM and arrived into Dalaman just before 8AM. The short flight from Istanbul to Dalaman offered little opportunity to rest up, but, fortunately, the taxi fares were set so our tired brains didn’t have to haggle with the driver. I had sent a confirmation to the hotel just days before our departure and had been told that it would be a two-hour journey from airport to hotel. We settled in for the ride, and one hour and fifty minutes later we found ourselves…in a small, unfinished town and a road full of potholes and lolling dogs and sheep.

Could it be that after spending almost two hours in the car, passing through breathtaking beauty, across fields of orange trees, olive groves and winding mountain roads that offered an exquisite glimpse of azure blue sea sparkling below us, that we would end up in a dive? The alleys that the driver was eyeing were not reassuring in terms of promising any kind of charming accommodation. Plus, we had driven in the exact wrong direction, away from the sea! Christian’s eyes mirrored my worry, though he didn’t say anything except to ask me in a tentative voice, “Isn’t the hotel on the sea?”

I started to panic. I had thought the hotel was on the sea, but could I be sure? I had booked the trip months ago, and the images had faded in my mind. Plus, I knew from scary experience, that the Psycho hotel could look like Four Seasons in pictures on the internet. Plus, what did I really know about the woman who recommended the hotel and her vacation preferences? Maybe she considers a campground with running water and electricity to be a luxury (I know I did, but I had been hoping for a bit more for my romantic getaway gift).

Finally, after driving up and down the same, not so charming pot-holed road (our hopes raising every time we turned back toward the water and being dashed every time we headed inland again) and multiple conversations between the hotel and our kind taxi driver (whose bewilderment and exasperation were reflected in his eyebrows and shoulders that kept raising higher and higher in shrugged synchronization), we came to a rough harbor road. Okay, it seemed a bit under construction and the building across the road didn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but, hey, we were next to the sea. That was an improvement over our imagined sea-less destination on the potholed road.

We parked and were met by two smiling gentleman who greeted us warmly, apologizing profusely (the driver adding his in Turkish) for the difficulty in finding the hotel. We swallowed back (or at least I did) a bit of disappointment, forced a smile, murmured no problem, nice to meet you, and got ready to cross the paved road to our hotel.

Except that we didn’t.

They took us to the pier and to a lovely pristine white speedboat, where a blanket was spread invitingly across a cushy lounging seat. The gentlemen helped us into the boat, Asim, our guide, all the while giving us some background information as we sped across the pristine clear water and arrived, two minutes later, in…

Paradise!!

Isn’t it wonderful to be pleasantly surprised?

And even I, who had started out with some high expectations (although, granted, they had diminished over the last 15 minutes as we navigated every crook and corner of that potholed road), was, well…I would have giggled and clapped my hands if I was unconcerned about appearing a bit mentally undeveloped. Instead, I allowed myself some inner cartwheels and a calm ‘this is very lovely’ to our greeter and savior from potholed oblivion.

We were helped out of the boat and greeted with a smiling waiter bearing two delicious goblets of an exotic fruit smoothie, perfectly refreshing as was the quiet, secluded, peaceful, stylish, comfortable charming oasis we had entered.

But enough talk. I will let a few pictures speak for themselves (rates include breakfast and dinner, which was a 5 course gourmet meal, as well as ‘tea’ served at our lounge chairs…’tea’ is the first food pic; breakfast the second; and appetizer of dinner the third).

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By the way, we met the owners of the place (turns out they are landlords of friends of ours in Tarabya…small world) who were as nice, stylish and charming as the place itself. Sabrina’s Haus has only 17 rooms and it feels like one’s own private slice of heaven. The rooms are all uniquely and tastefully decorated, with just the perfect touch of whimsy that bestows each room with its own charming personality.

On the way to and from Bozburun, the sleepy – yet growing – town where you can find Sabrina’s Haus – we marveled at the beauty of this country, and the secret delights that people not familiar with the country would never guess at, secret delights that include the warm and charming people. It is definitely a country to explore, and Sabrina’s Haus is one place that will not disappoint.

How do you say ‘paradise’ in Turkish?

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