Turkey is a real melting pot of colours, flavours and cultural experiences. It used to have a reputation of cheap package holidays but it is no longer the case. Turkey has re-defined the luxury holiday and took it to the new level. We suggest a great mix of city and beach destinations in this beautiful country for your next Turkish holiday. Start you trip from Istanbul, a must-see cosmopolitan and glamorous city. Follow on to Bodrum, to discover the jetset glamour and romance. And from there, make your way to Marmaris for some well deserved luxury family fun in the sun!
Stop 1 – Istanbul
Istanbul is a unique city buzzing with life & energy. With its glistening mosques, beautiful vistas & luxury hotels this quintessentially Eastern city is a perfect start to your vacation in Turkey. It boasts a lot of historic monuments (Hagia Sophia cathedral), natural beauty (one of the world’s most beautiful harbours) and colourful attractions (Grand Bazaar) as well as a multitude glamorous bars, restaurants & velvet night spots.
Istanbul is also home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, like the Four Seasons and Kempinski on the Bosphorus. These hotels are located on the waters edge of the European side with views of the Bosphorus and Asian continent across the waterway.
Both hotels are very luxurious and expensive; rooms start from €600 per night. But if you can afford it – stay here, it is well worth it!
Things to do in Istanbul – sightseeing, private boat tour of the harbour, drinks at the roof top bars and dine at the waterfront restaurants.
After a few days in glamorous Istanbul, head to the Turkish Riviera for much needed R&R.
Stop 2 – Bodrum
The Turkish Riviera is a very pleasant surprise. The sea is crystal clear, the food excellent, service superb and the hotels are ultra luxurious! In Bodrum choose from either uber romantic Amanruya, a heavenly resort designed for ultimate privacy and romance or Casa Dell’Arte, a small boutique hotel with impeccable taste, located right on the water’s edge.
Amanruya (owned by the famous Aman hotel group) has only 38 bungalows, each immaculately designed with floor to ceiling marble bathrooms, large private pools, relaxation cabanas with sea views, and private garden dining areas. The bungalows should be re-named Luxury Designer Villas – they are stunning, modern and stylish. The whole resort has an atmosphere of exuberant luxury and relaxation; a perfect place to relax after a long flight or a few busy days in Istanbul. Amanruya will leave you inspired and rejuvenated.
An alternative to Amanruya is a much more affordable and still very stylish boutique hotel – Casa Dell’Arte. It has only 12 suites on the water’s edge, each slightly different, overflowing with luxuriousness. Some of the suites have direct sea views, some spread over two spacious levels with huge heart shaped beds and priceless artwork in each suite. At any given moment Casa Dell’Arte showcases over €40,000,000 Euros in art – not too shabby! The beach set up in Casa Dell’Arte is beautiful too – guests can relax on the white cabanas on the pontoon to the sexy tunes of the local DJ.
If you are travelling as a family, Casa Dell’Arte will look after your children too, with a friendly art teacher always on call ready to show your little ones how to paint, make toys out of clay or anything else that is fun and creative. Superb!
Stop 3 – Marmaris
Once you have discovered Bodrum and relaxed a little, head to Marmaris (about a two hour drive) – another gem on the Aegean sea on the Turkish Riviera. The flavor of this part of your holiday is fun activities at the amazing resort that has everything you might dream about on your vacation, all in surroundings of astonishing natural beauty.
Our recommendation in Marmaris is the best hotel – D-Hotel Maris. It is possibly one of the best resorts we visited in 2013. It has everything! Suites with views ‘to die for’, the best beaches in Turkey (the hotel has imported 250,000 tons of white sand from Egypt), restaurants run by the world renowned chefs, a range of water activities that will put most resorts to shame (water skiing, wake boarding, canoes to mention just a few), boating (the hotel owns 3 spectacular vessels – Sunseeker 48, Azimut 55, 100ft luxury sailing yacht with 4 bedrooms & ensuites), custom designed spa.
In D-Hotel Maris you won’t be bored – it is the ultimate hotel for a mix of relaxation and activities. Our recommendation – visit the spa (try one of the local treatments and a hammam), try out a different restaurant every night – they all are excellent but especially nice is Breeze on the water’s edge; try a different themed beach every day; hire a boat for the day and go cruising and swimming around the local bays and deserted beaches.
Enjoy your journey through Turkey – it is an amazing place that won’t leave you disappointed. It is worth the long travel time to get there (we travelled 24 hours to Istanbul) and can’t wait to go back!
Marina Noble is Founder of The Lux Traveller.
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