Prima Donna

near Kalkan, Mediterranean Coast, Turkey Book from

A quirky and intimate retreat high above sweeping Patara Beach, with excellent food and a free shuttle down to the sand
Unless you're hiking the Lycian Way, Prima Donna isn’t a place you’ll happen upon. It’s way up high, at the end of a dirt road that snakes up through cedar forest: part of the adventure is just getting here. Such glorious isolation speaks of doing precious little, so reach for a book, take a deep breath and prepare for some serious R&R.

The place itself is full of creativity, and the joie de vivre of owner Cengiz (an Istanbul neurosurgeon-turned-hotelier) is reflected in every corner. Posters of the eponymous prima donnas (some of the silver screen’s most fêted actresses) sit by rough-hewn furniture, local kiln-fired bricks and an eclectic collection of antique radios, farm instruments and the like; there’s even a bikini-clad mannequin lounging by the pool. It’s endearingly personal, a tiny bit crazy, and like nothing else you’ll have come across. The 6 suites - each with a private terrace and hot tub, and 2 with their own pools - are just as quirky, and the bright young staff welcome you as friends. And the food? It’s in a class of its own - another reason for heading up that long, winding road.


  • Watching the sun dip into the sea: sunsets here are droolingly seductive
  • The suites feel private and secluded - perfect love nests
  • A free shuttle to Patara Beach (reserved daybeds, too), plus bikes and quad bikes to borrow
  • A stunning drop-edge lap pool, and an outdoor screen for films beneath the stars
  • Food as good as you’ll find anywhere along the Turkish coast


  • No children under 16 - this is very much an adults’ retreat
  • Full pre-payment required, plus a strict cancellation policy, a 3-night minimum stay and a 2.5% surcharge for credit-card payments
  • The nearest airport, Dalaman, is 175km away
  • It's a 20-minute journey to the restaurants and bars of Kalkan; most guests stay put and dine in-house
  • Expect a bumpy ride up and down (transfers can be arranged if you don't want to negotiate the road yourself)

Best time to go

The hotel is open from May to November. May and June are ideal, as they’re a little cooler than July and August, when temperatures often climb into the 40s. September and October are also lovely, with chillier evenings but a warmer sea.

Our top tips

You’ll get plenty of quality ‘me’ time at Prima Donna, so pack a couple of good novels. One great choice would be Orphan Pamuk’s Istanbul, a magical evocation of one of the world’s most fascinating cities.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 6
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • Children aged 16+ only
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Jacuzzi
  • Bicycles Available
  • Quad bikes
  • Free shuttle to Patara Beach (3 times a day)
Room: Signature Suite - Brigitte Bardot


The suites share a slice of the view out to sea. Their design reflects Cengiz's love of the zany and his desire to create a home-from-home mood. All have rough-cut cedar furniture, fireplaces, sofas or chairs, and private decks with hot tubs and cushioned seating. You’ll also get a kitchenette (with tea- and coffee-making apparati plus a Smeg minibar stashed with drinks and nibbles) - not for preparing food but to make you feel chez vous. The name game hasn’t been over-hyped: there are 1 or 2 film posters and a few books about the eponymous grandes dames, but that’s as far as it goes.

Of the 2 Superior Suites, Norma Jean is a perfect lovers’ nest hidden among the olive trees, whilst Bette Davis is less intimate and close to the parking area. The Deluxe Suites, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, share a terrace and can be linked together, though when rented separately they're perfectly private. The Signature Suite, Brigitte Bardot, is a cavernous space with a mezzanine bedroom beneath its soaring ceiling, and a private pool outside.

Since our visit, Casa Liz T. has been added. We're yet to personally view this villa, but it promises to be very similar to the Superior Suite, but with the addition of a second bedroom and a full kitchen.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Jacuzzi
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Prima Donna’s open-fronted restaurant, Locanda, is ideal for relaxed dining. Gather around the bar with an aperitif, then take to your table for classic Turkish recipes with extra zest, made using market-fresh fish, the finest cuts of meat and plenty of ingredients from the organic veggie garden.

My dinner began with a mouth-watering array of mezes: chargrilled peppers in a pomegranate marinade, aubergine in olive oil, a vegetable terrine, haydari (yoghurt with mint and garlic). This was followed by a perfectly grilled beef tenderloin, plus a peppery Anatolian red that formed the perfect match for both the main course and the cheeseboard and pastries that ended the meal. Breakfast, served whenever you like, is another meze-style feast. Expect home-baked bread and an assortment of small dishes (cheese, olives, tomatoes, walnuts, fruit).

Light lunches and snacks are available from the pool bar, and picnics can be made up on request - perfect for a day at the beach.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Activity: Patara Beach


  • Hide away and chill: the vibe is conducive to lazing, reading and long siestas. Come evening, watch films on the giant screen by the main pool
  • Take the shuttle (3 times a day; a 5-minute drive) to the beach. Patara has 20km of pristine sand, and daybeds are reserved for guests
  • Wander the ruins of Patara and Xanthos (where you get a real sense of the majesty of ancient Lycia), or visit the Roman remains at Kale
  • Explore the coastline by yacht - you'll get a free day-long cruise (with lunch) when you book through i-escape
  • Hike or cycle (bikes are available to borrow) along waymarked paths through the cedar forest. The Lycian Way passes right by the front gate and you can follow it down to the beach
  • Or go quad-biking - a 20-minute session is included in the rates. Yoga (free) and horse riding on the beach (extra cost) can be arranged, too

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Picnics
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Quad-biking
  • Sailing
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Yoga


No children under 14 are accepted - this is a place where grown-ups come first.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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