Turkish Hostels Are Going to New Heights
The backpacker set is nesting in large numbers on the southern coast of Turkey. Amid beautiful beaches and ancient Lycian ruins, the port town of Olympos has several tree-house hostels that find hard-partying travelers lurching up ladders to get to bed. "It's a little bit Robinson Crusoe, a little bit Gilligan's Island," explains 21-year-old Australian Zoe McDonald.
The rickety pine affairs, with crooked walls and asymmetrical stairs, cost under $20 a night, including breakfast and dinner. Even in the height of summer there's usually plenty of room for impromptu arrivals. Anyone with designs on a particular hostel, however, should reserve in advance online.
Kadir's is the most social, with a raucous nightly bonfire at an open-air bar. Forty shacks, some sleeping as many as 10 guests, are built around trees, and can be up to 40 feet off the ground. (Kadir's also has on-ground cabins and bungalows with bathrooms.) Staff and former visitors have given the tree houses names, such as the Betty Ford Center. With space for 450, Turkmen Tree Houses takes Kadir's overflow. It uses the term "tree house" liberally: The buildings are aboveground next to tall pines or on large trunks--they don't wrap around them. Each sleeps two to six in actual beds, not just on mattresses on the floor. Saban Pension has 12 tree houses with room for only 100--which means a shorter buffet line, if nothing else. It's by far the most mellow: Most guests spend their days playing cards under lean-tos or on the nearby beach. The 25 tree houses at Bayram's, which tower over orange groves, look like log cabins on stilts. A resident DJ spins Turkish rock while guests take the on-site Blotto Bar's name very literally.