As I lie back on my lounger and gaze out at the glistening azure sea, the sky becomes a haze of pinks and oranges as the sun sets, and a majestic (read: uber-luxurious) yacht sails slowly by. The warm evening breeze dusts soft, golden sand across my feet, and cool, laidback beats somewhere behind me provide the perfect soundtrack to what can only be described as the evening of dreams.
But no, I’m not chilling at some swanky beach bar in Saint-Tropez – I’m on a pristine beach in Bodrum, Turkey. And it’s at this exact moment when a thought pops into my head: how have I not been to Bodrum before? Apparently I’m not alone as, according to the Turkey Tourism Investors Association, the number of tourists visiting the Turkish coastal city rose by a whopping 34 percent last year. Looking out at this view, it’s not hard to see why.
It’s also not hard to see why Bodrum is being dubbed the new French Riviera, but without the heaving crowds and the extortionate price tags. What was once a sleepy fishing village is now a hotspot for beach lovers, adventure seekers, and culture junkies, with everything from sumptuous five-star residences to ancient ruins, remote islands, and a beautiful palm-lined marina to explore.
But what Bodrum does better than its French counterpart is preserve the nostalgia of yesteryear. Cozy family-run restaurants serve up the freshest fish and mezze platters right on the water, where there’s no need for fancy décor and culinary gimmicks because the breathtaking sea views speak for themselves. Cobbled roads weave through a maze of small white-washed boutiques drenched in bougainvillea, and the bustling bazaar buzzes with life, enticing you with Turkish delight, intricate leather goods, and local handicrafts.
Bodrum exudes charm – it’s where rustic tradition meets modern luxury.
And if all that wasn’t reason enough to add Bodrum to your bucket list, the Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is. Sitting atop a hill just 10 minutes from the city center, its location is second to none, offering uninterrupted 180-degree views of the Aegean Sea with Kara Ada – or “Black island” – sitting slap-bang in the middle.
Caresse boasts a modern, stone-colored property comprised of huge geometric blocks that span across five floors, from the top of the hill right down to the sea. It’s home to 67 rooms, nine suites, and the Caresse King Villa (which is just as luxurious as it sounds). Whichever you opt for, you’ll be guaranteed sweeping vistas out across the sea, sleek and spacious surroundings, sublimely scented Acqua di Parma amenities, your own private sundeck with loungers, and an enormous cloud-like bed. Bonus? Everything can be done with the touch of a button, be it closing your shutters or turning off your lights. You are on holiday, after all.
If you manage to drag yourself away from your room, the property has everything you could possibly want – infinity pool and private beach included. It even has its own luxury yacht and two speedboats (one of which happened to make an appearance in Casino Royale) that can be yours for the day.
But no trip to Turkey is complete without a spa experience, and the sprawling, two-story spa is not to be missed. Start your trip off right with an invigorating hammam, which takes place inside a stunning marble chamber and is guaranteed to leave you squeaky clean and silky smooth – perfect post-flight.
Indulge in a heavenly aromatherapy massage, take a dip in both the indoor and outdoor spa pools, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning spa facilities that include a steam room and hot tub. For those who want to work up a sweat, a state-of-the-art gym and private reformer Pilates sessions await. Alternatively, or you can get your ‘om’ on with a yoga class.
But for the ultimate sundowner session, be sure to bag yourself a spot at the new Buddha-Bar Beach, which marks the beach concept’s first foray into Turkey. The ultimate day-to-night destination, it brings together fusion-style Asian dishes and Buddha-Bar’s signature lounge playlist.
Lie out on the private deck and enjoy bar-to-bed service as you soak up some rays and, as the sun goes down, the music goes up and dinner is served under the stars to tracks spun by some of the coolest DJs from around the world.
You know where to find us.
To book a stay at Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, click here.