These days, there’s no shortage of luxury (and party) hotels in the formerly sleepy fishing village of Bodrum—now one of the most lively resort towns on the Mediterranean. But one that stands out for its class, style and spacious accommodations is the Mandarin Oriental. Also, being in Turkey, it’s a great value these days, and probably will be when it reopens next summer.
Now four years old, the hotel has grown to 132 rooms (with more being added during each winter’s closing period) but retained its sense of intimacy and privacy, and its personalized service. It also benefits from its location, away from the bustle of Bodrum itself and further north on the Bodrum Peninsula, at Cennet Koyu (“paradise bay”) and near the village of Golturkbuku.
The latest additions (so far) are a romantic new honeymoon sweet and a lavish seven-bedroom suite, which the general manager told me is the biggest presidential suite or villa in the Mediterranean, as well as a new hippie chic beach club, called Kai. (I recently stayed as a guest of the hotel, although not in either of those suites.)
The basics remain solid: private pools in all the suites and villas, thoughtfully designed interiors by Antonio Citterio, complimentary activities such as standup paddle boarding and daily yoga or Pilates, and a massive spa with visiting wellness practitioners and a “soft approach” to weight loss.
The owners went all out in developing it, bringing in sand for man-made beaches, and fully grown trees for the landscaping—the transplants and native trees total more than 100,000, including 15,000 olive trees. They also imported native chefs for each of the eight bars and restaurants, including an Italian chef for the beautiful Assagio, which is perched on stilts over the sea, and a Japanese one for Kurochan by Ioki, featuring a modern, innovative sushi and Japanese menu with Peruvian influences. (It was a no brainer that a local chef heads the kitchen at the Turkish restaurant.)