Turkey: Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay
A luxury resort on the Aegean coast, in southwestern Turkey, the Kempinski is a whitewashed complex of 173 elegant rooms and suites—each with its own sea-facing private balcony—that extend across a remote headland overlooking a turquoise bay. Don't miss the Turkish breakfast featuring fresh farmer's cheeses and locally harvested olives.
Address Kizilagac Koyu Gerenkuyu Mevkii Yaliciftlik 48400 Bodrum, Turkey 90/252/311-0303 kempinski.com
The breakfast spread. Room service is excellent at the Kempinski, but it won't include the full cavalcade of Turkish breakfast pleasures on offer each morning downstairs, including fresh farmer's cheeses and locally harvested olives.
Arrange to pick olives in Bodrum, or go deep-sea fishing in the nearby bay.
Beachside, enjoy al fresco mezzes and seafood at Barbossa.
Swimming at night in the Infinity pool, which is dotted with decorative minaret-like structures that glow from within.
The traditional hamam, or Turkish bath, housed in the hotel's Six Senses spa.
- Kids Studio and babysitter service
- Private Marina Services
- Six Senses Spa
- Business Center
- 24-hour room service
Not that you'd necessarily need it, but the Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, a luxury resort and spa on Turkey's Aegean Coast, has its own helicopter landing pad. That says a lot about how far tourism has come in southwestern Turkey, which was more or less a backwater 20 years ago but is now a prime destination for European and Turkish jet-setters. The Kempinski is a whitewashed complex of 173 elegant rooms and suites—each with its own sea-facing private balcony—that extend across a remote headland overlooking a turquoise bay some 20 minutes outside the ancient city of Bodrum. The hotel is a short drive from Bodrum's soon-to-be-expanded international airport, to which Turkish Airlines offers daily flights from Istanbul.
Full-service spa, yoga and tai-chi, multiple restaurants and lounges, in-room iPod docks, infinity pool—all the trappings of a contemporary high-end resort are here. So is the potential for a surprisingly authentic Turkish culinary experience, in the form of elegant, ultra-fresh-tasting meze plates and seafood preparations—available at Barbarossa
, the resort's beachfront al fresco restaurant, and at Olives
, the restaurant housed in the hotel's main building, which boasts a soaring atrium that is as much Vegas as it is Anatolia. That comparison is less incongruous that it seems. The Kempinski is emblematic of a growing trend across Turkey to revalorize Ottoman culture in all its unabashed sensuality. This impulse expresses itself in the food perhaps more than anywhere else. Though the Kempinski also houses a contemporary Italian restaurant, called Luce, its pride and joy is interpretations of regional Turkish specialties, from his house-cured olives and pickles to sumptuous smoked-eggplant spreads and refreshing raw-artichoke-and-mint salads. —David McAninch
In the Area
- Ali Riza: This humble seaside fish restaurant in the village of Gumulsuk, a 40-minute drive from the hotel, has perfected salt-baked grouper, a local specialty. A server will bring the fish to your table and remove it from its salt-crust sarcophagus using a hammer and chisel. The fish is typically served with braised bitter greens and a variety of savory eggplant and legume spreads. Raki, the Turkish aniseed-flavored liquor, is the perfect accompaniment. Ali Riza; tel: 0252/394-3047; balikcialirizaninyeri.com
- Campanella Bar: In the heart of the city of Bodrum, this shoebox of a tavern offers nightly live music, including traditional Turkish singers, and a sing-along-friendly environment (provided you know Turkish love ballads). Cumhuriyet Caddesi Eastern Bay; tel: 90/252/316-5302
- Turkbuku: This once-sleepy village on the north coast of the Bodrum peninsula, about 30 minutes from the hotel, has become a magnet for high-end travelers from Istanbul, creating a curious, and oddly invigorating, mix of tiny cafes and modest seafood joints wedged in side by side with bustling night clubs—all along a recently renovated waterfront promenade.