Suleyman’s Garden review
Down-to-earth yoga on a farm in Turkey
The Quick Read: Suleyman’s garden is a family-run, working farm offering simple accommodation in chalets amidst the crops. A little brother to Huzur Vadisi and The Pomegranate, it’s very much a family affair with a pleasingly simple authenticity and purity of heart. Yoga teachers vary in style and ethos – we can help you find the one that’s right for you. Yoga retreats run from April to October.
More on the yoga: The yoga space is fantastic – a yoga shala in the midst of a red pepper field with stunning iews out to the sea beyond. The week we were there, the evening class was timed to end with pranayama and meditation in front of a spectacular sunset – extraordinary. The space holds about 16 people and is well equipped. Yoga teachers change each week – and there is a wide variety of yoga on offer, with very different styles. Generally most teachers offer two classes a day, one more active in the morning, and a more meditative, relaxing class in the evening. But some only offer one – so do check the schedule carefully to pick what suits you. Read a word from the queen on her holiday.
More on the therapies: Gianna Karagoz is the therapist at both The Pomegranate and at Suleyman’s Garden. She is of English/Italian descent, trained in UK and Thailand and has more than twenty years experience. Gianna offers:
Signature back massage – 45 minutes £38
Reflexology/thai foot massage – 45 minutes £38
Indian head massage – 45 minutes £38
Energy therapy – Gianna’s own version of reiki, 45 minutes £38
Natural face lift – massage using Japanese and ayurvedic techniques, 45 minutes £38
Food intolerance test using Kinesiology – 45 minutes £38
Face yoga – a one to one, 1 hour class £42
At Suleyman’s, Gulshay also offers rather wonderful Turkish herbal steam facials.
More on the inside and outside: Suleyman’s Garden is just that – a vast garden and small farm, replete with fruit, vegetables and flowers – and it is utterly charming – like going back in time. Accommodation is in small cabins, some built of stone, some wooden on stilts, and all nestled in amongst the gardens. Kittens, chickens and a couple of sheep roam freely. Right in nature, it’s delightful and unique, but be aware that you’ll be sharing showers and loos, and where there is food there tends to be insects – and, whisper it – even occasionally mice. The swimming pool is small and not wildly scenic, but on our visit it had only just opened to visitors. There are a few bean bags and mats for lying around but no loungers (yet), and only one hammock strung between trees. However a ten minute (rather steep) walk will get you down to the sea. No sandy beach, unfortunately, just rocks and pebbles – but the sea is heavenly. Back at base there are a couple of outdoor seating areas or kosks – traditionally Turkish in style with big cushions around the space, on which to lie and chat or read.
More on other activities: The marked ‘Lycian Way’ (a coastal pathway) lies on the doorstep and Kabak’s beach is an hour’s walk through pine forests. The small resort of Olu Deniz is 15 minutes away by taxi – the beach is beautiful, there are plenty of restaurants and shops or you can try parascending from Mount Babadag (6,500 ft). Suleyman’s can arrange a boat trip (including lunch) either to unspoiled Springwater Beach or around the islands of the Bay of Fethiye. Or you can explore the ancient sites of Tlos and Pinara or the Roman city and beautiful beach at Patara.
Food and drink: Meals are served buffet style in open air, communal dining areas. Breakfast is relatively simple with a choice of muesli, yoghurt and fruit, or bread with feta and tomatoes or honey and jams. Both lunch and supper are more elaborate, boasting a variety of mainly Turkish dishes. Food is mainly vegetarian and all fresh and local. Think big salads, vegetable stews, stuffed lettuce leaves, spinach and feta in filo, courgette fritters. They even make their own tahini and the fig jam is heaven. Most of what you eat here will have been grown on the farm. There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing a vegetable hanging from a plant before yoga, watching it being prepared during the morning, and then finding it on your plate at lunchtime. Alcohol and caffeine are available but the emphasis seems to lie with the herbal teas and fresh mint which is always on tap.
Fellow guests: Teachers have their own loyal followers so fellow guests will depend on which week you have chosen, but they’re usually friendly, easy going types here for a genuine yoga break. You do have to have a certain amount of hardiness to go down the hut route – if you are even the slightest bit afraid of the great outdoors and all its creatures, then this probably isn’t for you.
What’s lowly: The vibe at Suleyman’s sometimes veers towards the ‘too laid back’, with information being a little hard to come by on occasion.
Costs: Each week is priced by the teacher so costs vary, starting from around £655 per person per week for a shared room for some teachers, and going up to £895 for others. This includes yoga, accommodation and food. Treatments are extra, as below. The steam facial with Aisha costs £15. Trips cost £35 – £45 per person depending on the trip, including transfers and lunch.
Getting there: It’s a 90-minute transfer by taxi from Dalaman airport. Transfers cost £20-50 each way (depending on how many share – the venue will try to link you up with fellow guests to cut costs if possible).
Reviewed by Sasha Bates
© Queen of Retreats
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