ANTIK THEATRE HOTEL, Kibris Sehitleri Caddesi, 243, Bodrum, Tel. 252 316 6053, Fax 252 316 0825, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms: 20.
Once a hotel is given the smart title "best small hotel in Turkey" by The New York Times, and its chef has been written up by the same newspaper, it can't really be considered a secret anymore. Despite the enthusiastic recommendation, however, the Antik Theatre Hotel remains a quiet, comfortable place, and doesn't feel like its been the least bit spoiled.
The hotel's architect, Cengiz Bektas, built the terraced hotel for owners Zafer and Selmin Basak - Mrs. Basak was a design school colleague of the architect's and has done all the interior design and decorating herself - into the side of the hill just below the ancient Helicarnas theater, with every room looking out on the picturesque Castle of St. Peter through its shuttered door and windows. Every level has its own small patio with a deliberate jumble of gravel and stepping stones and greenery sprouting by the rail, with bougainvillea crawling up wooden frames and old terracotta pots tucked in corners. On the bottom tier is a deep swimming pool which recalls in shape the ancient theater's seats. Guests gather here on summer nights, toasting the magnificent castle and bay below.
The decoration is simple whites and marble, with spare blonde wood furnishings. You'Il find a candle and an old framed nautical chart or boat diagram for decoration and take especiaI note of the bedspreads, the thick linen fabric cames from a weaver on the Black Sea who uses an old hand loom, and the lace is handmade as well. The corner bathrooms are particularly cleverly designed. The suite room, with its long couches, private terrace, fireplace and steepled skylight, is simply one of the finest rooms available in the country. The aesthetics and attention to detail are helped along generously by a good staff that, far from aloof, is engaging and friendly. The owners spend a fair bit of time enjoying the hotel themselves.
The Antik Theatre Hotel is directly across Kibris Sehitleri Caddesi from the Bodrum theater. The patios are ideal for late evening dining, the castle illuminated and the harbor alive with lights. The hotel has an excellent chef, and at $38 extra half board accommodations should be considered. At least spend an evening at the Sunset Bar.