It turns out heaven is closer than you’d think. A four-hour flight, in fact. And if you’re looking to get there, it’s located on a charming peninsula named Paradise Bay, where the Mandarin Oriental lies nestled beneath the hills of Bodrum.
Within minutes of checking in at the hotel’s stunning welcome terrace, surrounded by acres of ancient olives groves and pine trees with panoramic views of the Aegean Sea, it became abundantly clear the Mandarin Oriental was going to be the perfect location to unwind from the pressures of daily life and revel in world-class luxury.
With a wide range of luxury rooms, suites, apartments and private villas, guests can enjoy the serenity of Paradise Bay in whichever way they choose. Either way, you’re guaranteed unrivalled views, deliciously soft linen and the biggest bathtub of all time. Tick, tick, tick.
Aside from having a personal butler available 24 hours a day, the Mandarin Oriental boasts a world-class spa spread over two floors and 2700 square metres with saunas, steam rooms and extensive water facilities. I had the pleasure of experiencing the 50 minute Oriental Essence massage which uses custom-blended Oriental oils and movements to release desk induced tension in the back, neck and shoulders. The result? A blissful state of semi-consciousness.
After the treatment, I was whisked off to ‘recover’ in the spa’s tea lounge, a beautiful wooden hut perched over water where I enjoyed a warming herbal concoction and soaked up the calming atmosphere before collapsing into an outdoor cabana for the rest of the afternoon. Yep, ‘living my best life’ took on a whole new meaning.
When you’re not reaching peak relaxation at the spa, the place to base yourself is the resort’s beach club, Blue Beach, which can be reached via a private golf buggy (beats the Victoria Line commute any day). Here, you can kick back and relax with an icy cold glass of Rosé just metres away from the crystal clear azure waters of Turkey. And if you thought you could only get picture-perfect white sand in the Maldives, think again.
While my plans stretched no further than collapsing on a sun lounger and getting stuck into a good book, those looking for more activity (*ahem* pesky husbands and children) needn’t worry with a state-of-the-art watersports hub on hand with jet-skis, speed boats, kayaks and paddle boards.
As the sun set in hues of pink and orange each night, we enthusiastically indulged in the most important part of any holiday: food and wine. The hotel has three mind-blowing restaurants, each so exquisite you can forget worrying about your waistline immediately.
My favourite? Assagio, the resort’s Italian restaurant where Chef Fabio De Paolis served up creamy burrata and indulgent lobster pappardelle so delicious, it instantly rivalled the Amalfi Coast. But if you’re in search of local Turkish cuisine, then be sure to try Bodrum Balıkçısı where you can delve into a selection of mouth-watering mezze to start (warning: you’ll never buy supermarket hummus ever again), followed by the finest fresh fish and seafood best enjoyed with a glass of bubbly. Equally, guests have the option of dining at Kurochan, a glamorous waterside Japanese restaurant serving up the best prawn tempura to ever exist (second portions are a must), amongst a selection of sushi and noodles.
After eating till your heart’s content (and then some), a golf buggy swiftly arrives to escort you back to your room where you can melt into a haven of fluffy pillows and silky sheets.
A long weekend at the Mandarin Oriental left me feeling rejuvenated, obscenely relaxed and desperately planning a return visit.
The only downside? That you eventually have to leave.
Rates at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum start from EUR 473 per room per night (approx. £420). For more information or to make a booking, please call or visit mandarinoriental.com/bodrum