Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Two of First in Service’s advisors, Kimberly McFarland and Carlos Melia, recently spent some time in the Cappadocia region in Turkey—and are here to tell us all about it, from a breathtaking morning hot air balloon ride (hello, Instagram!) to the Argos hotel, part of the Mytha Hotel Anthology, where they stayed. We asked them a few questions about their experience.
First in Service: What was your experience in Turkey like?
Kimberly McFarland: My experience in Turkey was exhilarating. From Istanbul, I flew to Cappadocia, the region of central Turkey. There, I stayed at Argos, the amazing Mytha Hotel Anthology property. Argos is such a fairytale property: It’s a village that has been restored over the past 25 years and is located in one of the highest peaks of Cappadocia, below the famous Uchisar Castle and overlooking Pigeon Valley. I was booked in a cave room—wow!
Cappadocia itself is a unique destination of its own—it has some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. I had the pleasure of visiting the extraordinary open-air museum of Goreme, which displays treasures of sacred art and the rock-carved churches. One of my most memorable visits was Güray Müze, the Cappadocia Underground Ceramic Museum, where a number of ancient artifacts are housed. We dined at the charming Old Greek House— it’s owned by a family, where the wives and mother prepare the food and the husband and sons run the restaurant. It truly felt like I was at home having dinner with family.
F1S: What made the stay at the hotel so special—and why would you recommend it to others?
Carlos Melia: Argos in Cappadocia, is one of those quintessential hospitality experiences, around the world, that you must try once in a lifetime. Located and immersed in the charming village of Uchisar, featuring breathtaking panoramic views over the Güvercinlik Valley, the majestic Mount Erciyes and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are seven mansions interconnected with luxuriant gardens and sun-soaked terraces—including suites and a private villa, built into the rock below a towering castle. The property has undergone renovations, which remained faithful to the spirit of the existing decorative touches, designed to create an even more welcoming place. Under the grounds of an ancient monastery, a 5.5-kilometer tunnel and an underground city now houses the private wine cellars.
My favorite Mytha moments were the late afternoons, watching the sunset from the lounge terrace, sipping a cup of Turkish Tea, taking in the beauty of the Central Plateau of Anatolia. And the early morning over breakfast while looking at colorful hot air balloons taking over the sky.
F1S: What types of activities did you participate in? What was the most Instagrammable spot?
Carlos: We spent four days visiting all the little towns in Cappadocia—from Uchisar, to Goreme, Urgup, Mustafapasa and beyond. We visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the underground cities and churches curved in the mountains. We sampled the local cuisine at several local and fine dining restaurants. I went to a local Turkish Bath and Hamam. But the most Instagrammable moment had to be the early morning sunrise hot air balloon experience over the valley of Cappadocia—alongside 157 other balloons. It was quite a scene.
F1S: What should people know when booking a trip to Turkey?
Kimberly: When booking Turkey, you must obtain a visa. The process is extremely easy and you almost receive your visa instantly via email. While there, comfortable clothing and shoes are a must during the day, but at night, there are plenty of places to fancy up. If you have clients visiting Cappadocia, you may want to advise them of the hills and stairs at most of the sites. It can be quite cumbersome for someone who has trouble getting around. Assistance should be arranged accordingly in advance.
F1S: What are some unexpected things people might not know about traveling to Turkey?
Carlos: How beautiful and affordable and interesting this country is—it offers so many options beyond the classic visit to Istanbul. A friendly secular, welcoming and warm crowd, with a rich and fascinating culture, exquisite cuisine and full array of destinations and activities.
F1S: What was your favorite moment of the trip?
Kimberly: My favorite moment of the trip was the hot air balloon ride. It was such a peaceful moment with stunningly beautiful views. Watching the sunrise while flying was just breathtaking. I didn’t quite know what to expect in the beginning but after we landed, I felt a sense of accomplishment and joy. I would definitely take the hot air balloon ride again and again!
Interested in visiting Turkey? Contact one of First in Service’s advisors to learn even more about the wonderful experiences that Cappadocia, and the entire country, have to offer.