Villa Macakizi – sister property to the legendary Macakizi hotel – is the ultimate private pad, set in an idyllic location along Bodrum’s prime coastline in Turkey
Known as the Saint Tropez of Turkey, the Bodrum peninsula – the ‘Turquoise Coast’ – is a magnet for the jet set and there’s no shortage of luxury hotels to cater for their every need. But one hotel that stands out from the crowd is the hidden gem of Maçakizi, which for those in the know, is the place to go.
At the far end of the town of Türkbükü, this boutique hotel and beach club is a magical place that has managed to retain its charm since it was founded by Ayla Emiroğlu back in the Seventies. Originally a retreat for artists and writers, which hosted the likes of Mick Jagger and Nureyev, the hotel is now run by her son, Sahir Erozan, who has recreated its Bohemian and stylish aesthetic.
Macakizi (meaning ‘Queen of Spades’ – a tribute to Sahir’s mother) remains true to Ayla’s ethos and some of her traditions such as the family-style Sunday lunch, courtesy of head chef Aret Sahakyan, have remained in place, adding to the convivial atmosphere.
The hotel is set on a hillside with villas dotted among the pretty Jasmin-scented gardens, which are also full of bougainvillaea, magnolia and oleander. Steps lead down to the sea where you can enjoy a cocktail at the bar while listening to cool sounds from the DJ, or simply lie on the deck and soak up the sun and view. Alternatively, head to the spa for a touch of pampering or relax in the traditional Turkish hamam.
Contemporary artwork graces the hotel, with pieces by local artists in the 53 cottage-style rooms and 21 suites. Understated, yet charming, the rooms come with little luxuries such as Rifat Özbek-designed cushions, Acqua di Parma amenities in the bathroom, Bose TVs and Nespresso machines.
As for the food, the focus is on Mediterranean and ‘new Turkish’ cuisine, with specialities including ‘manti’ – small egg pasta dumplings filled with ground beef or flavoured with garlic and lamacun – a thin pizza topped with tomato and spiced lamb. There’s an à la carte open-air restaurant, bar area and breakfast pavilion, which serves a daily buffet with a variety of salads and grilled fish and meat. The wine list is impressive too, consisting of international favourites as well as boutique Turkish labels.
Macikizi prides itself on offering a personal service – you’ll frequently see Sahir mingling with guests and by night, propping up the bar, cigar in hand, chatting to regulars, many of whom are friends. Weekends see a glamorous crowd who have jetted in from Istanbul for the weekend or might have come in off their yacht for dinner.
This spring also saw the unveiling of the spectacular Villa Maçakizi. Created by Rome-based architect Fabrizia Frezza, the interiors are inspired by the sunny inviting atmosphere of the Mediterranean Riviera. Located on a hill, in Paradise Bay among gardens filled with olive trees, lavender and freesia, it’s just a 10-minute boat ride from the main hotel and has two pontoons for arriving yachts.
This idyllic, uber-luxury property has 10 sea-view suites with its own spa, two massage rooms and Turkish baths, fitness centre, extensive outdoor terraces and an infinity swimming pool, not to mention its own private beachfront with cabanas on ocean-front decking.
Chef Carlo Bernardini offers a farm-to-table concept with lavish Mediterranean feasts consisting of the best local produce and herbs grown in the villa’s gardens.
Bernardini and his team will put together tailored menus consisting of home-made pasta and freshly-caught seafood including Böcek, the local lobster accompanied by a carefully-selected wine list exclusive to Villa Maçakızı.
With two bars and private DJ booths, the villa is perfect for hosting private parties, weddings, cocktail or dinner parties for up 250 people.
Or why not celebrate a special occasion on Maçakızı’s motorboat? The boat, with a maximum capacity of nine people, is perfect for exploring the Aegean coastline and visiting some of the pretty surrounding villages or the historical town of Bodrum. Ideal for a half-day lunch excursion or sunset cruise.