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The opening of Mandarin Oriental Group’s first non-city hotel in Europe was always going to be a big event, and Mandarin Oriental Bodrum has upped the already high ante on luxury hotels on the Aegean Coast.
The hotel's location alone is pretty impressive, right on the so-called Cennet Koyu or Paradise Bay, just five minutes from the pretty town of Göltürkbükü and 45 minutes from Bodrum Airport.
There are 86 rooms and suites and a further 23 one- to four-bedroom villas, every one of which has lovely views out over the bay, two private sandy beaches and the sparkling blue sea beyond. The theme here is elegant simplicity, with muted colour schemes, wooden floors, subtle Turkish and Oriental influences and floor to ceiling windows to maximise the views.
The views don't get any worse from Assaggio, the hotel's Italian restaurant with a wonderful shaded terrace, while the equally family-friendly (so much so there's even a sweet shop) Sofra serves mainly Turkish and Mediterranean fare. Turkish-style mezze and high quality fresh fish dishes are the order of the day at the al fresco Olive Garden restaurant while Kurochan restaurant (sister of London's two Kurubota restaurants) specialises in tapas-style Japanese cooking in a terrace setting with yet more perfect sea views. If that wasn't enough, guests can also order light lunches and fresh juices by the main pool or anything from salads to sushi at the Blue Bar on the beach.
Watering holes also abound with Juju Bar @M2 transforming from a(nother) contemporary Japanese food outlet by day into a chic beach bar by night, complete with mixologists (that's bartenders to you and me) making signature cocktails, craft beers and DJs playing. Meanwhile the more conventionally glamorous Mandarin Bar has a wide range of cocktails, mocktails and fine wines.
Mandarin hotels are known for their famously good massages, and the huge (like 29,000 square ft huge) spa here offers the full range of signature Mandarin treatments and holistic therapies. There are 12 treatment rooms including specific beauty rooms, rooms for couples and even two outdoor cabanas, plus hammam stream rooms and a lovely indoor swimming pool. Guests can also enjoy the services of Pilates and yoga experts or create a dedicated wellness programme with a dedicated personal trainer.
Other facilities at the hotel include three adult pools and a dedicated kid's pool; two tennis courts and a basketball court. Juju Beach, one of the hotel's two beaches, is home to the Watersports Centre, where guests can arrange snorkelling, diving and fishing trips, and hire wakeboards, paddleboards and jet skis. The hotel can even arrange a private skippered gulet (traditional Turkish broad-decked boat) for the day or a heli-tour of the region. For younger guests there is a fun climbing frame in the gardens and the kids' pool while on-site babysitters can look after the little ones.
Because just when you think the place couldn't get any more perfect, you discover the Mandarin Cake Shop.
Harriet, Original Traveller