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BODRUM: TURKEY'S ANSWER TO ST TROPEZ by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By The Travelwrap Company

Bodrum is often called Turkey’s St Tropez. Like its French counterpart, this chic seaside town on the Aegean has a marina filled with smart yachts, a quay lined with restaurants and bars, and a warren of narrow streets crammed with jewellery shops, boutiques and artisan outlets. It sits on a coastline of pristine beaches and quiet coves. The main difference is that Bodrum has never had much in the way of luxury hotels. But all that has changed recently. Aman arrived in 2012, Mandarin Oriental opened a luxury resort here just a few weeks ago, and a Four Seasons is on its way. So at last, the Beautiful People have somewhere suitably fabulous to lay their beautiful heads. These are the hotels currently making St Tropez establishments look, frankly, a little lacklustre.

Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental’s luxurious resort at Cennet Koyu (Paradise Bay), 20 minutes’ drive from the heart of Bodrum, opened earlier this month. Not only is it the newest resort on the Bodrum Peninsula, but it offers the most spacious accommodation, ranging from 77-145 square metres, with most of its 86 rooms and suites boasting terraces with private dining areas and sundecks.

Standout features include two private beaches, a fabulous spa and wellness centre, top-class cuisine including Turkish, Italian and Mediterranean restaurants and a cake shop. If you’re after old-school glamour honed to perfection, this is the place to find it. Further information, www.mandarinoriental.com

Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay

The dazzlingly white Kempinski opened eight years ago, nine miles south of Bodrum. Built into the cliffs at Barbaros Bay, it feels like a liner, with every deck and terrace looking out across the sparkling Aegean. In high summer, tenders from yachts moored out in the bay tie up at the hotel, giving the resort a lively, French Riviera vibe.

The hotel’s vast reception area is a trifle lacking in ambience, but the pool, dotted with minarets and a cupola that rises from the shallow end, is one of the loveliest hotel pools we have ever seen, and the Hammam is amazing. With plenty of space for everyone, this resort works particularly well for families. Further information, www.kempinski.com

Amanruya

Named after the Sanskrit word for peace ‘aman’ and the Turkish for dream ‘ruya’, Amanruya is set on a hill above Manalay Bay, just north of Bodrum. It’s surrounded by pine forest and olive groves, with a path winding down to a pebble beach below. As at other Aman resorts, every effort has been made to complement the surroundings and the architecture is a beautiful combination of Mediterranean and Ottoman design elements. This is rustic chic with a Turkish twist.

Accommodation here is in 36 cottages, each with its own garden and gorgeous pool. If you hanker after privacy in tranquil surroundings, you’ll love Amanruya. Further information, www.amanresorts.com

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