Hotel Insider: Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum
Built around Cennet Koyu (Paradise Bay), the hotel overlooks the Aegean Sea. Because the hotel is built in tiers among olive groves and pine trees, golf buggies are on hand to take me to my room, where my luggage is already waiting.
The hotel is about a 40-minute drive west along the coast from Milas-Bodrum Airport. Some travel by helicopter and there’s also a private jetty. But beyond its confines, the Bodrum Peninsula, long the preserve of cheap sunshine packages, now has more to offer monied tourists. Trendy town Türkbükü has markets and a boardwalk; Yalikavak is home to a glitzy marina; and Bodrum itself has beautiful whitewashed stone buildings with blue windows, the 15th-century Castle of St Peter and the ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. All are a short drive away and well worth a visit.
My 72-square-metre sea-view room is one of the 129 rooms, apartments and suites at the hotel. It can easily accommodate three people. The room has a private terrace overlooking the Aegean. Wooden floors are softened with Turkish rugs. The bathroom has a huge tub and rainfall shower. The main living area has a king bed with handwoven leather headboard, feather bedding, a desk and another sofa bed. The TV and audio are Bang & Olufsen, while a Nespresso machine provides caffeine fixes.
During my stay, stylish Turkish, Russian and European guests relax on sunloungers, others enjoy water sports, while some sunbathe in private beach huts. There are two private beaches. Dress code? Think Vilebrequin shorts and white shirts for guys; kaftans for girls, and cocktail gear at night. Families are catered for with a children’s club and creche.
My room has a valet wardrobe for laundry and deliveries. I leave two shirts there, flick a switch and the laundry is collected and delivered back without me even having to leave the room. The service is understated: no one ever “bothers” me, but when I need something done, someone manages to be there.
On my first morning, I have breakfast in the Sofra restaurant, and discover a station offering Turkish gözleme – a super-thin dough that I fill with parsley, cheese and potato, which is then fried. Sofra is one of eight places in which to eat and drink at the hotel, from Italian to Asian. Check opening times, though: Kurochan, the Japanese restaurant from Australian chef Scott Hallsworth, for example, is only open from July to September. Unsurprisingly, the Turkish food is by far the best. At the Blue Beach Club & Bar try lacmagun (flatbread topped with lamb that’s sprinkled with lemon and rolled up before eating), pide (a type of oval pizza) and ayran, a yogurt drink like laban, only thicker and saltier, for a classic taste of Turkey.
The three-floor, 2,700-square-metre spa has VIP and couples’ suites, hammams, eight treatment rooms and one of the hottest, most invigorating saunas I have ever experienced.
There are too many light switches in my room.
Understated luxury in an unforgettable location.
The bottom line
Rooms at the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum cost from Dh1,626 per night, including breakfast and taxes. The hotel is currently open seasonally from April to October.
This review was done at the invitation of the hotel.
Updated: May 25, 2017 04:00 AM