Turkey

07.11.2011 | by: Meghan
Inns & Hotels

Stay: Argos

Cappadocia, Turkey

Charlie Scott is one of the founders of Trufflepig–a super-cool, design-aware, adventure-embracing trip planning company that really gets it. “A great guide in Hannoi. A superb hike out of Cape Town. How to do nothing in Rome. When to splurge on the fancy safari lodge and when it’s not worth the splash.” Make sure to check out their online mag The Sounder for digestible snippets from their travels. Here, Charlie shares an architectural hotel gem from a recent trip to Turkey.

If illusionist illustrator M. C. Escher had ever tried his hand at architecture, he might have designed a place like Argos in Cappadocia. This fabulous little hotel in central Turkey is a study in subtle confusion and organic delight.

Steps lead up, stairs go down, bridges arc across roads, rooftops turn into terraces, and terraces lead to tunnels. It’s very cool stuff, and the sort of architecture you can’t actually plan—or at least, don’t really plan. It just happens over time, as a reaction to the landscape and as an expression of the local building materials and techniques. Originally a random collection of traditional village homes, these fine stone structures have been lovingly restored and cleverly repurposed into a labyrinth of a hotel.

The 34 rooms and suites spill down the hillside and are technically clumped into four ‘mansions’, but good luck figuring out where one building ends and another begins—it’s hard enough to figure out where the hotel ends and the village homes begin. Hint: if the grounds are green and the stonework is meticulously repaired, you’re looking at Argos.

To be frank, the fantastical architecture of Argos is nothing unique in this part of Turkey. Slaphappy vernacular is par for the course in Cappadocia. What is unique to Argos is a refreshing degree of restraint when it comes to the interiors. Whereas most hotels in the region have taken a heavy-handed, over-textured approach to décor (perhaps in response to the often dark cave room interiors), Argos has managed to keep it light. Not only do the rooms tend to be physically brighter (what a difference a window makes), but the furnishings are sparer and the textiles simpler. Part of your room may, in fact, be a cave, but you won’t feel like you’re in a cave—especially when you walk out your door and gasp at the epic view. Not even Escher could dream up a landscape this wacky and wonderful.