Forget Bali and Mykonos: An ancient port city in Turkey is the under-the-radar luxury hotspot to visit in 2019

Bodrum is a burgeoning luxury travel destination.

caption
Bodrum is a burgeoning luxury travel destination.
source
Shutterstock/Luciano Mortula – LGM

Forget Bali, Mykonos, and St. Tropez.

The hot new under-the-radar luxury travel destination is the seaside city of Bodrum, Turkey.

The port city has been dubbed the “St. Tropez of Turkey” for its luxury hotels, beach clubs, food scene, and the abundance of superyachts drifting in its turquoise waters. While Europeans have been vacationing there for years, it’s long been overlooked by American travelers.

Both Condé Nast Traveler and Bloomberg named Bodrum one of the best places to travel in 2019, with Bloomberg suggesting travelers skip “overdeveloped Bali in favor of Bodrum, where a five-star-resort renaissance is under way.” The publication pointed out the recent high-profile openings in Bodrum of trendy luxury resorts such as Six Senses and Edition Hotels.

“With slick infinity edge pools facing the Aegean, celebrity-approved beach clubs, spas with steamy hammams, and sunbathing nooks shrouded by olive groves, the see-and-be-seen destination is a revitalized alternative to St. Tropez and Mykonos,” Bloomberg wrote of Bodrum.

Here’s what it’s like to vacation in Bodrum.


Bodrum, Turkey, is an increasingly popular luxury travel destination, earning comparisons to European hotspots St. Tropez on the French Riviera and Mykonos in Greece.

source
Shutterstock/Luciano Mortula – LGM

The city is located on the Bodrum Peninsula on Turkey’s southwest coast, on the shores of the Aegean Sea.

source
Google Maps

Source: Google Maps


Bloomberg named Bodrum one of the best places to travel in 2019. “With slick infinity edge pools facing the Aegean, celebrity-approved beach clubs, spas with steamy hammams, and sunbathing nooks shrouded by olive groves, the see-and-be-seen destination is a revitalized alternative to St-Tropez and Mykonos,” the publication wrote of Bodrum.

source
Getty Images

Source: Bloomberg


Indeed, the port city is dubbed the “St. Tropez of Turkey” for its luxury hotels, beach clubs, food scene, and abundance of superyachts.

source
Getty Images

Source: Mandarin Oriental


Jenny Southan, founder of Globetrender, described it as an emerging “hotspot for celebrities, models, upper-class bohemians and the monied elite.”

source
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


In addition to its nightlife and luxurious boutique hotels, Bodrum is known for its early 15th-century castle …

source
Getty Images

Source: Lonely Planet


… its charming, white-plastered back streets …

source
Shutterstock/Nejdet Duzen

Source: Enjoy Bodrum


… its marina filled with sailboats and yachts …

source
Getty Images

Source: Enjoy Bodrum


… and its markets, where vendors sell fresh and dried fruits, herbs, vegetables, local cheeses, olives, olive oil, and more.

source
Getty Images

Source: Enjoy Bodrum


Bodrum is a favorite spot for billionaires to hang out on their yachts. Kazakh billionaire Alijan Ibragimov has been spotted there on his yacht, I Dynasty …

caption
Kazakh billionaire Alijan Ibragimov’s megayacht, I Dynasty, is seen on Yalikavak offshore in Bodrum in June 2018.
source
Ali Balli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Getty Images


… as has Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich on his vessel, Eclipse.

caption
Roman Abramovich arrives in Bodrum, Turkey with his luxury yacht “Eclipse” in November 2013.
source
Ali Balli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Getty Images


One of Bodrum’s most luxurious hotels is the Mandarin Oriental.

source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


All the suites and villas at the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum have private pools …

caption
The terrace at Mandarin Oriental Bodrum’s Mediterranean Suite.
source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


… and the massive spa includes indoor and outdoor pools, hammams with private scrub rooms, saunas and steam rooms …

source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


… and outdoor spa cabanas where you can get a massage with a view of the Aegean Sea.

source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


The hotel overlooks two private sandy beaches.

caption
The bathroom of an Aegean Suite at the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum.
source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


A stay in the resort starts at about $568 per night for two people in a sea view room; suites start at about $1,000.

caption
sea view room
source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


The hotel also includes several villas, which range in price from about $1,400 to nearly $23,000 per night.

caption
The Melissa Villa at Mandarin Oriental Bodrum.
source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bodrum


“There are newer, flashier, trendier resorts in Turkey and all over the Med, but the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum seems poised to become one of the classics,” Ann Abel wrote in Forbes in 2018.

source
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Source: Forbes


Mandarin Oriental may be the classic, but the past few years have seen openings of several trendy new luxury hotels, including Lux Bodrum, Nikki Beach, and Bodrum Edition, a boutique hotel from Studio 54 cofounder Ian Schrager.

caption
A room at LUX Bodrum Resort & Residences.
source
LUX Bodrum Resort & Residences/Facebook

Source: The New York Times


LUX Bodrum sits among landscaped gardens and offers 91 rooms and suites, 19 residences, and a one-of-a-kind villa.

source
LUX Bodrum Resort & Residences/Facebook

Source: LUX Bodrum


A night’s stay ranges from as low as about $260 per night for two people for a Sea Front Room, all the way up to more than $4,200 for the Presidential Villa, which comes with a private garden and swimming pool.

source
LUX Bodrum Resort & Residences/Facebook

Source: LUX Bodrum


In June 2018, another of-the-moment luxury hotel brand, Edition, opened a location in Bodrum.

caption
A view of the first night of events for the Bodrum Edition opening on June 29, 2018.
source
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for EDITION Hotels

Bodrum Edition is only open in the summer months and rooms start at $761 per night.

source
Bodrum EDITION

Source: Bodrum Edition


The pool at Bodrum Edition overlooks the Aegean Sea.

source
Bodrum EDITION

Source: Bodrum Edition


But the hotel that Condé Nast Traveller called the “the hottest spot in Turkey right now” is the latest location of Six Senses, a brand known for its elegant wellness retreats.

source
Six Senses Kaplankaya/Facebook

Source: Condé Nast Traveller


Bodrum’s Six Senses Kaplankaya includes 141 guestrooms and suites as well as 150 residential villas. It reopens in April 2019 with rates starting at $410 per night.

source
Six Senses Kaplankaya/Facebook

Source: Six Senses Kaplankaya


It’s not difficult to see why Bodrum just might topple the likes of Mykonos and St. Tropez as a go-to luxury destination.

source
Getty Images