IBIZA, Mykonos, Marbella, St Tropez . . . All places of influencer dreams, with their picturesque backdrops, trendy beach clubs and overpriced
IBIZA, Mykonos, Marbella, St Tropez . . .
All places of influencer dreams, with their picturesque backdrops, trendy beach clubs and overpriced bottles of Whispering Angel.
Bodrum is known as Turkey’s St Tropez and has spectacular beaches and weather[/caption]
And, obviously, as a showbiz editor, all my usual haunts.
But with cost of living going through the roof, and my bank balance through the floor, it was time to branch out.
Brilliantly, it turns out, there’s a new “cool” holiday destination in town — well, port: Bodrum.
Known as both the St Tropez of Turkey and the Turkish Riviera — depending on your previous posh point of reference — this glorious spot on the Aegean is thriving. And deservedly so.
It’s also around half the price of its aforementioned Mediterranean rivals, but with glorious, unspoiled beaches, and weather to rival any of them.
And, oh, the food! But more of that later.
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As someone with a pathological fear of high-rise hotels, I booked into the newly opened METT Hotel, which is situated on one of Bodrum’s most pristine stretches of beach, Haremtan Cove.
The minimalist boutique resort features 68 beautifully designed guest rooms and 35 villas, complete with private pool or garden.
Upon checking in, I was asked for my phone number.
Turns out I hadn’t pulled, rather the absolutely faultless Guest Experience Team uses numbers for Whats-App updates to field any questions and generally be on call 24/7.
It was a service I’d never, ever experienced before and makes every single guest feel they are getting a uniquely VIP service.
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Dancing on tables
Clearly this is the future of hotels, and saves dialling 0 on the in-room telephone.
Our seafront room boasted a sizeable balcony, which was perfect for watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee, courtesy of the in-room coffee machines.
While there was no bath — but then who bathes in 30-degree heat? — the shower was a blissful jungle one, and the bed came with a “pillow menu” which, for a semi- insomniac, gave me no excuse not to sleep.
(Well, that and the industrial-strength melatonin and nightly bottle of Turkish wine).
While I accept not everybody wishes to exercise on holiday, for me, it is non- negotiable.
Happily, there was a state-of-the-art gym overlooking both the outdoor infinity pool and ocean — plus the METT’s in-house bodybuilder personal trainer, who strutted around looking like The Rock.
After a quick infrared sauna (no idea, either) and a steam room, we had a couples’ massage in the resident spa.
This may sound romantic, but in reality saw us being respectively pummelled by two different therapists, simultaneously. It was bliss. In a sort of masochistic way.
A crack-of-dawn departure saw us lying on the beach by 2.45pm, just in time for a leisurely, wine-filled late lunch.
It turns out Turkish wine is delicious. We found a reasonably priced £13 bottle of home-grown Sauvignon Blanc which was refreshingly dry, and slid down a little too well.
Conveniently, the METT has one of the most exclusive beach clubs and restaurants in the entire province, Folie, which looks like a cross between the Aztec Zone from the Crystal Maze and an uber-trendy Ibizan al fresco restaurant.
Offering a range of Mediterranean-fusion food, freshly caught fish specials and a resident DJ that spins suburb remixes, it’s pretty much unbeatable. Saturdays are the day to visit, with a cabaret performance complete with acrobats, singers and a dance troupe.
By 5pm, the place was rocking. Guests were dancing on tables, and still the enormously patient serving staff were smiling. It was brilliant.
The restaurant is a child-free zone, so possibly not the place for toddler-heavy families.
The METT’s other restaurant is an Italian called Isola Manzara and overlooks the whole of Bodrum, including its 15th-century castle.
All the pasta is made by the chefs, and the cocktail bar wouldn’t look out of place in buzzing London or New York, only with a backdrop considerably prettier than Tottenham Court Road.
Water sports are on offer, too, and we had some enjoyable and childish afternoons out on inflatable “doughnuts”, being towed along by a speedboat. My neck still aches.
While we could happily have stayed on the resort all week long, we decided to check out another beach bar on the Bodrum peninsular.
The Buddha-Bar Beach, a 15- minute drive from METT, was similarly exclusive and offered a range of cocktails, champagnes and wines.
After a couple of fairly watery frozen margaritas, we wandered over to the Barbarossa restaurant.
For the next five hours, I had one of the best meals of my life. And I have eaten a lot of meals. Run by the charismatic Lambros, this Greek restaurant deserves its own review.
The food, seemingly never-ending, included an exquisite prawn saganaki — giant prawns wallowing in olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, feta cheese and chilli — followed by a lobster spaghetti and a Greek version of Eton Mess.
It was washed down with more local wine, and a bit more local wine.
If you go to Bodrum, make sure you check it out. Another must-have, if you like a bargain, is a wander round the town itself, which sells a range of, well, fakes.
Name your designer, and you can buy it — only for a fifth of the price.
I came away with a “Louis Vuitton” wheelie suitcase (£148 as opposed to £2,140) which, if you don’t inspect the zips too closely and squint slightly, looks like the real deal. And a “Hermes” bracelet (£24) was similarly convincing, although I drew the line at some fake Birkenstocks.
It’s also fun, in an adrenaline- fuelled way, to haggle with the shopkeepers all swearing blind their products are “genuine leather”.
See, you wouldn’t get that in St Tropez . . .
STAYING/GETTING THERE: Five nights’ B&B at the METT Hotel & Beach Resort Bodrum costs from £1,474pp, including flights from Gatwick on September 13, plus private return transfers.
For details, see trendingtravel.co.uk or call 0161 388 5553.
Bodrum’s beaches are pristine and the perfect place to unwind[/caption]
A stay at the METT’s hotel will have staff accessible for room service via WhatsApp[/caption]
The food in Bodrum is truly memorable and worth savouring[/caption]
Bodrum is a famous port city with a busy waterfront[/caption]