Ayanikola is an ideal weekend destination, close to - but just far away enough from - Istanbul. It can be reached by a brisk 30-minute walk from the centre, or by a leisurely drive though the city's leafy outskirts to the island, where you'll have to leave your car - driving is prohibited here.
   Owner Aysel Buluc inherited the hotel, then a ruined summerhouse, from her father and after all but total restoration opened it to guests. She's created a fairly traditional atmosphere, with antique furniture and harmonious colour schemes. There are wooden carvings on ceilings; mirrors from Konya in the bathroom; and old marble washbasins mounted on coffers.  
  The 11 bedrooms are all named after precious stones and decorated accordingly. Step outside any of them and you get a glorious view across the beach and the sea, with a glimpse of Sedef Island in the distance. You can truly get away from it all here: rooms are free of TVs, phones and internet connection. 
  Breakfast consists of homemade jams and spinach pies.