A good base for exploring the Ephesus region is Kuşadası, a resort town on the Aegean which is a popular port of call for cruise ships. If you’re flying into Izmir, Kuşadası is about an hour’s drive south.
The Hotel Grand Onder overlooks the Aegean and offers a wide range of amenities, including a full-service restaurant and swimming pool. It’s within walking distance of the downtown and a variety of restaurants.
From Kuşadası you can take local transportation to Ephesus, which is about a 15 minute-drive away. The resort town also serves as a base for explorations to Pergamum/Bergama and Pamukkale and Hierapolis, site of unusual geological formations as well as ruins.
Kuşadası has a picturesque harbor and beach area that offers pleasant strolling. Adjacent is a shopping area with many small stores and vendors.
While it’s certainly possible to visit Ephesus on your own, if you’d prefer to have a local tour company make arrangements, I can personally recommend Crossroads Travel, which is based in Kuşadası and offers excursions throughout Turkey. Having a knowledgeable guide to the sites of the region can add immeasurably to your trip.