Travel

Where to stay in Bodrum

The Bodrum Peninsula, with its wealth of beaches, offers an array of resorts, from affordable-yet-chic boltholes to decadent havens of luxury, with many opting for a stylish, minimalist vibe Thursday, 16 May

By Chris Leadbeater

In its original incarnation as Halicarnassus, Bodrum was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. But over time, the tomb crumbled and the port city faded into relative obscurity. Today, the city and the eponymous peninsula it stands on have reinvented themselves as one of the hippest hotspots on the Mediterranean. Not only has it avoided much of the high-rise development elsewhere on the Turkish coast, but it’s also come to revel in hotels of real elegance, with a lively array of excellent restaurants and busy bars. Resorts aren’t just clustered in Bodrum itself, but are dotted all around the peninsula, on whose south flank the city sits. It may no longer be an ancient wonder, but chic modernity suits Bodrum perfectly.

For luxury calm: Amanruya

It doesn’t actually say ‘oasis’ above the entrance to this gorgeous bolthole (although ‘aman’ means ‘peace and security’ in Indonesian), but it may as well do. Amanruya which lies on the north coast of the peninsula, near the village of Torba, feels removed from the world. Just 36 sizeable ‘pavilions’ wait discreetly on a slight hillside, their honey-coloured walls framed by lemon trees and paths that wind down to what is, essentially, a private bay. Above, an infinity pool, a spa and a library add to the air of tranquillity. It comes at a price, but if you want to escape from it all, this is your haven.
Rooms: Doubles from €839 (£722), B&B.

For party people: 4 Reasons Hotel+Bistro

Bodrum’s bar scene promises long and lively nights without ever making you feel you’ve stumbled into a garish, open-all-hours resort. This can certainly be said of Yalikavak, where bars line the streets around the marina. Just outside the town and perfectly poised for a night on the tiles is 4reasons, whose modern vibe comes from walk-in showers and minimalist decor. Visitors can happily spend their days next to the pool, but the hotel is close enough to the action that they can be clinking glasses on the main drag, Carsi Caddesi, as soon as they summon the will to move.
Rooms: Doubles from €158 (£136), B&B.

For Bond fans: Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bodrum

Cutting a dash on the water, Caresse looks like the sort of idyll James Bond might drift around at mission’s end, shirt unbuttoned. Fittingly, the house yacht was even used in the filming of 2006 blockbuster Casino Royale. Guests can cast off into the sunset, the ghosts of espionage thrillers past fluttering in the sails, before returning to the nicely compact retreat where 77 rooms, suites and villas overlook a private beach, and whose Glass Lounge serves punchy cocktails.
Rooms: Doubles from €250 (£215), B&B.

For spa serenity: The Bodrum Edition

Formed of an alliance between ultra-hip New York hotelier Ian Schrager and accommodation behemoth Marriott International, The Bodrum Edition
can be found in Yalikavak, just minutes from Bodrum Castle and Bodrum Amphitheatre. Most of the 108 rooms and suites peer at the Aegean, and some have private pools. Guests keen to cast off their cares gravitate to the spa, with its Turkish hammam, 14 treatment rooms and outdoor cabanas, for gentle, sea-view kneadings. A highlight here is the Hawaiian lomi lomi massage.
Rooms: Doubles from €353 (£303), B&B.

For city convenience: Ena Boutique Hotel
Ena is ideally located if you want to base your trip around Bodrum’s compact, buzzy centre. Inexpensive yet comfy, it has 18 rooms of fair size, bathrooms with rain showers, and a roof terrace from which you can gaze across city roofs to the seafront beyond. It’s also a short walk from here to Bodrum Castle and the bars along Cumhuriyet Caddesi.
Rooms: Doubles from £69, B&B.

 

For greedy gourmets: Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum

Sitting pretty above Paradise Bay, the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum has 132 rooms and suites, decked out with neutral tones and handsome teak panelling. Many of the rooms have views onto the two private beaches, but its three main restaurants are a highlight here, flying a flag for the flavours of Japan, Italy and Turkey respectively. Bodrum Balikcisi falls in the latter camp, serving the likes of sardines marinated in garlic and beetroot-infused raki, plus a ‘gobek salad’ of lettuce, hazelnuts, roasted sesame seeds and seaweed.
Rooms: Doubles from €350 (£301), B&B.

For family frills: Hilton Bodrum Turkbuku Resort & Spa
Perched on the headland above Türkbükü, the Hilton has a host of indoor and outdoor pools, a kids’ club, and children’s menus in the restaurants, with wakeboarding and water-skiing available for teenagers. Parents, meanwhile, will love the ayurvedic spa.
Rooms: Doubles (for two adults, one child) from €158 (£136), room only.

For boutique bargains: Divan Bodrum
Divan Bodrum, on the northern tip of Türkbükü, exudes an easy trendiness that belies its affordability and its 60 rooms are decorated in soothing pastel tones. There’s a private beach and an outdoor pool that’s an ideal spot for dozing. Iskele Restaurant, meanwhile, serves delicious Mediterranean fare and Sahil Bar mixes cocktails on the waterfront.
Rooms: Doubles from €90 (£77), B&B.

Published in the June 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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