It’s still possible to find elegant and intimate luxury on the Bodrum Peninsula
Turkey’s Riviera is back, and the big names in hospitality have arrived.
Aman Resorts, Mandarin Oriental and Kempinski are all offering their own take on Turkish Riviera luxury.
Yet small is still beautiful on the Bodrum Peninsula and probably one of the best ways to truly experience the bare foot elegance of this part of the Mediterranean is at one of Turkey’s very first boutique hotels, ‘Casa Dell’Arte’.
Created and owned by art collectors Fatos and Yunus Buyukkusoglu, this oasis of style is as much an education and an inspiration, as it is a place to kick back and relax.
The contemporary residence echoes traditional Anatolian architecture, with two intimate, high walled courtyards.
One provides privacy and shelter for the swimming pool, which is surrounded by exhibition space where you can admire and buy art from both emerging and established Turkish and international artists.
The other is extravagantly decorated by vintage French crystal chandeliers, suspended in the open air.
There are plenty of sculptures and installations in and around the property; and pretty much all the wall space inside is covered with rare art. Some 4,000 pieces in total, so take care after pre-dinner cocktails not to stumble and cause an incident!
The family have been collecting for over thirty years, discovering pieces on their travels. Request a private guided art tour of the hotel and one’s eyes are opened to the diversity of Turkish art from the Middle Ages through to the present day.
This expansive, contemporary residence has been built beside a traditional beach house, once the family’s holiday home. This fully restored self-contained property is now available for exclusive use, and offers three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a professional kitchen – ideal for a family break.
The main hotel’s twelve suites are named after the signs of the Zodiac, and feature individual styling, art and furniture.
Aquarius, Cancer, Gemini, Pisces, Aries and Virgo are the so-called Premium suites. These are the slightly more compact guest rooms, but still boast plenty of space and individual features.
In the larger Dome suites, Libra & Capricorn, look above the bed and you’ll find a dome of illuminated stars, adding a touch of magic.
For the ultimate stay, choose Taurus & Leo, as these suites have sea views and terraces looking out across the bay. Each suite has masterpieces from the family’s private collection.
If its space you’re after, then choose Sagittarius & Scorpio, duplex suites of more than 130 square metres.
Grounds & Jetty
There is a small garden, with spa tub, art installations and open air restaurant, with a path down to the narrow beach and the large, private, timber jetty, where sun beds, and oversized cushions are available for guests.
To the west of the hotel, next door, is their Gonca Fish Restaurant, a traditional style beach restaurant offering mezze and fresh catches of the day. We enjoyed a lovely meal under the stars and simple lights strung from the olive trees.
There is also a modest open air restaurant in the garden, and for upscale dining there is the large dining room where guests can share a meal and make new friends.
The style is intimate and very upscale.
Additional services – Brand Extensions
The Bodrum peninsula, on the Turkish Riviera, is enjoying a renaissance; now less back-packer parties and more about culture and cuisine.
Back in the 1960s, the Turkish literati started to choose Bodrum for their holidays. Cevat Sekir, an Oxford Educated Turk was passionate about the area, and his famous book the ‘Blue Voyage’ which describes gulet boat adventures along the Turkish coast, is said to have contributed to the popularity of Bodrum. Yet like so many Mediterranean destinations, things changed over the decades. Cheap flights and the backpacker generation changed the ambiance.
However Bodrum is now once again a favourite destination for those looking for that perfect Mediterranean get-away, a place that retains bygone charm together with just enough upscale luxury. It’s Muslim, but progressive and relaxed. Think Côte d’Azur but with better weather, and lots of exotic flavour.
- Gloriously glamourous, luxurious and exclusive
- The zodiac themed suites are cavernously spacious
- Attentive, yet discreet service
- Torba bay is experiencing development so sometimes there is a little construction noise
- Some guest bathrooms were small
- Restaurants and bars of Bodrum town and marina are a 10 – 15 minute taxi ride away
I was the guest of Casa Dell’Arte and Turkish Airlines