They bought a small piece of land, right on the beach to build their villa. At that time there was not much on the beach of Torba, except the wonderful, grandiose palm tree that was standing almost in the water. My father always told me the story, how he would just sit there on the beach, watching this incredible tree for hours, dreaming that someday it would belong to him, so that he and my mom could sit under it and watch the sunset together.
My parents were avid art enthusiasts and collected art pieces passionately for more than 40 years. They loved their country, its art, the people and all the happiness Turkey had offered to them.
I remember my father always complaining on how Turkey didn’t receive the attention it deserves in the world and how Turkish Art was not promoted enough. He also complained that he had to work so hard all his life, and did not find the time to share the good things like art with his friends. He wanted for he and my mother to one day build a place for them to invite all their friends to share the good things in life together.
My mom was a wonderful, colorful woman with impeccable taste and vision for art and design. Together with my dad, they decided to create a very special place, a special house for art next to the villa. My mom designed the house to its every detail to show the beauties of Turkey, Turkish hospitality and art. Every stone, every painting, every sculpture is an original piece of artwork. This is how the story of Casa dell’Arte began.
In 2007, we turned the house into a museum-like 12 suite boutique hotel, The Residence, to share the art and the experience of being in a collector’s home. My mom worked on the design and I helped with branding it into a boutique hotel. It is a romantic, luxurious vacation haven created for those who appreciate art. Our family collection is exhibited throughout the hotel, in the lobby, in the suites, in the common area, in the garden and even by the pool. The featured artists include Burhan Doğançay, Azade Köker, Bedri Baykam, and more.
The first summer, we opened, the British Guardian, chose Casa dell’Arte, as “The Best New Boutique Hotel of Europe”. We were all surprised and overwhelmed with the unexpected success of this family project, but this once again proved that projects done with genuine intention and soul always receive the attention they deserve.
Remember that tree, my dad always wanted to be his? In July 2008, we bought the land where it sits which was next to The Residence and turned it into another house of art, Casa dell'Arte Casa Frida. Here people can create their own art. The kids’ friendly, 36 guest suites resort was opened for families to share an art experience and have the ultimate family vacation. The opening was crowned by the exhibition of a saluted work by Botero “The Bedroom”.
Unfortunately our joy was cut short, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and lost her life in 2009. My father, my sister and I were devastated by this sudden loss and it was really hard to accept that my parents were not going to grow old together at Casa dell’Arte and by the tree anymore. My father stopped coming to Casa dell’Arte, but I knew how my mother loved this place and worked so hard to make it so perfect. I decided to do my best to continue her legacy and keep it exactly like she would want it to be.
After my mom was gone, we also turned her little villa on the beach to a part of the hotel. The Casa dell’Arte Private Villa located by the breathtaking Torba Bay right next to The Residence.
So life still goes on, it is full of surprises, some good, some bad, but the most important thing is to make the best out of it and share it with your family and friends. Casa dell’Arte for us is not only a collector’s home anymore, but it is a place where people who love good things in life come together, enjoy each others company, share art and watch their children grow and grow old.
For our guests who appreciate art and being pampered, but prefer to sail the turquoise seas and travel at their own pace, Casa dell'Arte also has 2 yachts: a 28-meter and a 35-meter classic gullets. We offer private voyages in the Mediterranean and trips to the secluded spots on the Aegean coast, whilst reflecting the Casa dell'Arte vision with renowned artists’ works showcased like a museum on water.
My younger sister Gamze took on the love of art from my parents and became an artist and contemporary art theoretician. Today, she influences the artistic direction of the collection and together we work hard to make Casa dell’Arte a memorable place for all our guests who visit us from all over the world. My father is well and motivated more than ever and he is still a big inspiration to me, my sister and my daughters and the artists in Turkey.
Ahu Büyükkuşoğlu Serter