“A funky, friendly, Mediterranean-Zen chillout near Bodrum, with cool pool, bistro bar and family rooms too”
We loved our airy, all-white sanctuary of a bedroom: it had plenty of space and all the necessary ticks without feeling in the least cluttered. The firm-but-comfy double bed was bordered by a strip of smooth pebbles (a great wake-up for your soles) and overlooked by a sun-bleached branch of driftwood – simple, artistic and very fitting. Stylish bedside lamps and halogen spots gave plenty of light for bedtime reading, but kept the mood cosy. Along one side was a console with desk, minibar (stocked to our tastes, we soon discovered), TV and a carafe of mysterious red liqueur which slipped down nicely, along with the Ferrero Rochers. And the whole room was cleverly shaped, with daring diagonals, to avoid being boring and boxy. In the white-tiled bathroom was a large quadrant shower with a huge head, a gel dispenser on the wall (lots of eco-points) and a sign reminding you that the tap water is brackish. Towels and robes were thick and fluffy, bathware was slick Vitra design. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into these spaces. We had booked a Casual room, which suited our mood perfectly (lots of space but no frills); other room types have roughly the same spec but one or two distinguishing features. Passionate rooms come with a fireplace for cosying up (or for winter stays; not all rooms have central heating); Junior Suites get a sitting area with a Persil-white sofa (doubles as extra bed for one child); while Functional rooms are perfect for nuclear families, with one queensize bed and 2 singles in 2 compact bedrooms (sharing a bathroom). Views vary – some face the olive groves, others overlook the pool, both have their merits, and many have a balcony too. We particularly liked #11 (Junior Suite), whose balcony offers views framed by palm fronds towards the sea; #31 (Passionate) with its spacious bathroom and cool pearly mirror; and #32 (Functional), with its triangular balcony overlooking the pool so parents can keep an eye on kids.
Our days started brightly, with the sun dappling the walls in reflected pool-light, Maria Callas soaring from the speakers and the ever-smiling young Kurtulus bearing down on us with a basket of muffins and croissants. This was followed by a bowl of crunchy cucumber-tomato salad, some crumbly white cheese to set it off, scoops of cold water melon and a rosette of jams and preserved fruit. It's a wonder we ever left the poolside terrace. You can order eggs and cold meats if you want, but you won't finish them. We were back most days for a quick dip and lunch - warm salad of sea bass with pine nuts, raisins and chives, perhaps, or a medley of grilled veg which we never tired of – followed by a siesta on the sofas. The menu was big enough to keep us amused, but small enough to be manageable (and to corroborate the fact that many of their ingredients come from their own organic gardens). And it's worth staying in at least once for dinner, by which time the poolside tables have gained candles, and the cocktail bar is lit by flickering torches, to create a romantic bistro atmosphere. We can thoroughly recommend the 4reasons salad (tasty strips of chicken with crunchy lettuce) and the succulent sea bream baked with olives, cherry tomatoes and herbs (which comes wrapped in greaseproof paper like a very superior takeaway); the hunkar beyendi (braised beef in aubergine purée) was also good, washed down with a ballon of excellent house red. Only the desserts let them down: the local specialty of pisanliye looks like you've had a fight with a chicken, while the halva-ice cream mix benefits neither party, in my opinion. Prices are very reasonable, at around 20 YTL per dish. If you want to head out for dinner, staff will recommend the hot spots, from waterfront taverns in Yalikavak harbour to chichi dining in Bodrum. Our top tip for dinner is Mimosa in Gumusluk, whose tables practically sit in the millpond water; or if you're there at lunchtime, try Limon Café up on the main road.
The great thing about this place is that there's no shortage of things to do (being so near Bodrum), but also an abundance of tranquil spots to sit and do nothing…
Although a tranquil couples hotel, children of all ages are actively welcomed – Ali and Esra have their own – and you can book baby-sitters and cots are complimentary. Of course, don't expect organised creche-type activities or plenty of toys and games; but generally Turkey is a very safe and sociable place to go with young kids.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Functional Suites have 2 bedrooms and can sleep a family of 4 plus a baby, and are considered quieter if on the upper level. Junior Suites work well for a family of 3-4 (as long as the children under 9) as they have sofabeds. Casual Rooms can take a baby cot
Babysitting available by arrangement
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's a good selection of pasta dishes on the menu and the chefs are always happy to make meals for children on request
Keep an eye on toddlers around the pool which can become slippery for little feet, and stepped pathways