The largest of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands, an hour-plus ferry ride from the city, Büyükada is an ideal spot for relaxing, though serious sightseers will want to stay elsewhere. Naya’s secluded grounds are a 20-minute walk from the main ferry docks.
The simple rooms are cheerful and bright, with comfortable beds and a smattering of wooden furniture. I like the use of colourful mosquito nets to turn a practical feature into a decorative one. Rooms have ceiling fans in lieu of air conditioning and some have small balconies with views over the garden or out to sea.
Whether you want to gather around the white wrought-iron tables over a drink or curl up on one of the tapestry-draped benches with a book, the extensive garden area offers plenty of places to sit, and to stroll.
Eating and drinking
Drawing from a mix of culinary influences, with the focus always on fresh ingredients, the cooks at Naya whip up delicious vegetarian food for the breakfast buffet (included in the room rates) and other meals.
Guests can take a dip in the natural swimming pond, join yoga classes, or borrow bikes to ride around the island, which is blissfully car-free.
Service is friendly and personal in the home-stay style.
Who stays there
Arty eco types from around the world, with a strong contingent of Germans. Groups sometimes host workshops and retreats at the hotel as well.
- Families with younger children
- Sporty types
- Escaping the crowds
- Great views / scenery
- Chilling out
- Nature / wildlife
Pros & Cons
- Beautiful setting
- Unique atmosphere
- Great food
- Far from the city
- No A/C or TV