Stay Overnight in a Turkish Mansion

May 14, 2009, Time Magazine

“Make yourself at home” may be a refrain heard in guesthouses the world over, but it takes on new meaning when it comes from one of your host country’s wealthiest families — and when your temporary “home” is their mansion. The Buyukkusoglu family, who made their fortune in the automotive industry, converted their 48,400-sq-ft (4,500 sq m) modern manor house in Bodrum, Turkey, on the edge of the Aegean Sea into a 12-suite hotel, and in 2007 opened it to paying guests as the Casa Dell’Arte.

“We wanted the hotel to still feel like a house, and to be very social,” says owner Fatos Buyukkusoglu, who led the hotel’s design team and lives in a smaller house on the property. “We designed a lot of inner courtyards and spaces where guests can come together — at the dinner table, in the lounge or by the pool.” Meals are taken at a 14-seat dining table, on the terrace, or on various sculptural bits of lawn furniture, and each night guests gather by the fireplace in the reading room or on the sofa in the lounge.

The hotel is also a way for the family to share their vast contemporary Turkish art collection, which is regularly refreshed by their gallery in Istanbul. The walls are adorned with pieces by Turkish artists such as abstract masters Devrim Erbil and Adnan Coker, as well as works by international artists including Colombian sculptor and painter Fernando Botero. And next door is the Casa Dell’Arte Art Village, an equally chic 38-suite hotel with in-house artists who run free painting and sculpture workshops for guests — just in case looking at all that great art inspires you to create some of your own.