Friday was treat day. After our friends left the previous weekend, we bunkered down at home and had one of our 'cheap weeks.' It's become a game. We keep a spreadsheet and see how little money we can get away with in seven days - it makes for interesting reading! But by the time Friday came, we were ready for a treat so we headed off to the Sundial Hotel for a swim and a weekend Efes Pilsen.
Sundial Hotel and views of FethiyeIt was over this Efes Pilsen that the idea for this post came about. As we looked out over the pool, the rooftops of Fethiye and the sea beyond, Barry pointed out, "It's not a bad place to come and have a beer treat, is it?" This is very true! But somehow, over the years, we've always managed to have at least one beer in those establishments that weren't really built with budget travellers like us in mind. It's good fun...and makes for fascinating people watching, too.
In Fethiye, we love the Sundial and, if you follow this blog regularly, you'll know we're also quite partial to a swim and a beer at the Yacht Classic, too. But it's not just in Fethiye that we enjoy the occasional swanky beer...
Seven Hills Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul
After leaving the much more affordable Antique Hostel for the day, we've had a beer on the fabulous roof terrace of the Seven Hills Hotel a few times, now. Only one, mind! Sitting on a terrace with 360 degree views that include Aya Sofya, Sultanahment Camii (the Blue Mosque), the Bosphorus Strait and the Marmara Sea, does not come cheap. You make this beer last!
Aya Sofya, Sultanahmet, IstanbulAlp Paşa Boutique Hotel, Antalya
Antalya's an interesting one. When it comes to price range, the city is full of out-of-our-league hotels. BUT, in the winter months, these hotels drop their prices to levels that even we would consider.
And so it was that one winter, a few years ago, we found ourselves not only having a sneaky Efes at the beautiful Alp Paşa Boutique Hotel; we stayed there...for a few days...half board. Oh, how we laughed when we saw the slippers, the bath robes, the bath! What on earth were we doing in a place like this? Cut us some slack here; we're more familiar with tents and hostels. The Alp Paşa Hotel is in Kaleiçi and goes down as one of the best hotels we've ever stayed in. But what about the beers? A gentle couple was all we had and then it was time to explore the more affordable options of the old town.
Antalya harbour and KaleiçiPera Palace Hotel, Istanbul
Pera Palace Hotel is a classic. You can't go to Istanbul for the first time and not pop in for a drink at one of the world's most famous hotels. We had a one-off, very expensive beer here before it was refurbished - back when the place creaked under the weight of its history and looked like it hadn't had a lick of paint since Agatha Christie stayed there.
The waiter's demeanour made it perfectly clear that when he accepted his job at the Pera Palace, he most certainly did not expect to be serving drinks to tourists in jeans and trainers. He was way above that. Çerez (nibbles) were brought over and Barry's mum popped a nut into her mouth. "I think these nuts have been here since Agatha Christie used to stay here, too," she quipped. Chuckles all round, making this beer particularly memorable.
We should point out that the Pera Palace is now all shiny and new and probably doesn't creak at all!
Sirkeci Station - the last stop for the Orient Express. Guests stayed at the Pera Palace Hotel.Beech Hill Hotel, Lake District, UK
Yes, we know this isn't Turkey, but this is one of Barry's all-time favourite beers and it's an example that we don't limit our swanky beers to the hotels of Turkey.
We spent as many weekends as we could in the Lake District when we lived in the UK, camping more often than not. On one such weekend, Barry and his friend took off to, let's say, use some more comfortable facilities at the Beech Hill Hotel. My friend and I stayed behind and waited...and waited. Eventually, we worked out that after using the facilities, the boys had decided to partake in an afternoon beer. We walked to the hotel and there they were, sat on the garden terrace, overlooking Lake Windermere, sipping a pint of lager. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em - so we did.
These are just a few examples of the places where we've enjoyed a rare little treat. Where do you like to go for the occasional treat?