Travel to Turkey this Eid

September 21, 2014
With half-a-dozen, four-hour daily flights from the Gulf, it’s no wonder that Turkey has catapulted itself to the top of most people’s short-haul holiday list. From the pandemonium of central Istanbul to the spectacular coastal towns of Bodrum and Marmaris, the country has countless options for the perfect Eid Al Adha getaway.

Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum

Wrapped around its own private bay on the northern shores of a rugged Aegean coast peninsula, it is hard to imagine a more laid-back yet sophisticated retreat than the newly opened Mandarin Oriental. In recent years Bodrum has become somewhat of a haunt for Turkey’s wealthy elite, their impressive parade of yachts cruising along the coastline only helping to further establish the quaint town’s reputation as Turkey’s answer to the French Riviera. It’s easy to lose yourself once you pass through the gates into the five-star resort’s vast grounds. The cubist-style, low-rise rooms and villas seem camouflaged amid an orchard of beautiful aged olive trees, and the olive stone hue to the buildings. Daytime activities revolve around the crystal clear waters of the resort’s twin beaches and the elegant pool complex. It also benefits from a superb spa and wellness centre, while the evenings offer the guests options from Turkish, Italian or Japanese cuisines at one of the à la carte beachfront restaurants, before sipping cocktails and listening to mellow sounds at the low-key beach bars JuJu and M2, run by Istanbul’s leading club, Babylon. Spread across almost 15,000 acres, this is a world within a world, about as exclusive a getaway as you can imagine, making it entirely appropriate that the complex is situated on a stretch of shore known locally as Cennet Koyu - Paradise Bay. [gallery link="none" ids="8510,8511,8512,8513,8514"] Details: visit mandarinoriental.com/bodrum

Raffles, Istanbul

Everyone knows that in the hotel business, a good location is crucial. Although this adage seems to hold more weight in a thriving metropolis like Istanbul, where good locations are at a premium. It’s lucky then that the luxury hotel chain Raffles seemingly has a good eye for real estate – and money to burn. Newly opened this month, the chain’s first property in Turkey is located in the upmarket Besiktas area on the European side of the city. Despite being a little further out than its Bosphorus-boarding, five-star rivals, Raffles’ hill-perched location gives it a wider panoramic view over the Bosphorus Bridge, the Princess Islands and the city’s famous peninsula. The hotel makes up part of the city’s new Zorlu Centre – a swanky new development that brings together high-end fashion, art and dining. With interiors that mirror those of its stylish older sister, Le Royal Monceau in Paris, sleek modern design is embellished with impressive collections of artwork that have been specially commissioned from local artists. A mix of paintings, sculpture, photography and video installations all come together as a contemporary interpretation of Turkish culture, giving the hotel a strong sense of identity. [gallery link="none" ids="8517,8516,8515"] Details: visit raffles.com/istanbul

D-Hotel, Maris

Set high up on the hillside in Southern Turkey’s stunning Datca Peninsula reservation, the D-Hotel Maris has everything you could want from a stylish seaside getaway. Spectacular views over the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, five natural private beaches, luscious pine forests and access to multiple small islands and volcanic mountain ranges make it easy to see why this is one of Turkey’s most coveted holiday spots. But it is not just the enviable location that keeps this resort in such high demand for big spenders – high-rollers can choose to arrive at the hotel via seaplane, private helicopter or chauffeur. There are plenty of reasons why the D-Hotel is the first resort hotel in Turkey to have been accepted as a member of The Leading Hotels of The World collection. The resort’s 200 rooms each have mountain or sea views and most Deluxe rooms feature a bathtub on the balcony. The Duplex Presidential Suite and Exclusive Villa come with a private swimming pool, sauna, hammam and 24-hour butler service, and are snapped up in advance so make sure you book early. The Executive Club is reserved for suite and villa guests only and offers access to a private Executive beach and Club Lounge, which – as you can imagine – boast breathtaking panoramic views of the bay. Because the hotel is on a popular sailing route, many luxury yachts stop by to use the hotel’s restaurants, bars, ESPA spa and sporting facilities, which are available to non-residential guests who moor near to the lake-like bay. But if you’re prone to a bit of yacht envy, you needn’t worry, guests staying at the hotel can charter the hotel’s 100-ft custom-made sailing yacht and a Sunseeker Portofino 48 is also available. [gallery link="none" ids="8522,8518,8520,8521,8523,8519"] Details: visit dhotel.com.tr

Shangri-la, Bosphorus

Being one of Istanbul’s most recognisable buildings is no easy accolade, but this coast-hugging, neo-classical building is exactly that. With prime position on the city’s European bank, the Shangri-la offers front row seat on one of the world’s most historic waterways. To the hotel’s right side is the Dolmabahçe Palace where the prime minister has an office, while to the left a postcard-perfect view of the Bosphorus Bridge. The 1929 former tobacco warehouse was taken over by the Shangri-la group and given the expected full luxury facelift. While the interiors are undeniably marble-heavy, the hotel chain opted for more of a subtle, luxury feel with stitched leather banquettes, silk panel and lacquer work all wrapped up in a palette of pastel blues, beiges and creams – all working in contrast to the bustle of Istanbul’s streets. The majority of the hotel’s 186 rooms have views of the Bosphorus, with the 17 suites each have private terraces. As can be expected, some rooms have more flashy touches including televisions incorporated into the bathroom mirrors, comprehensive office kits and notepads installed next to the toilets. The hotel also boasts an eight-suite spa complete with Turkish hamams and a health club with indoor pool. [gallery link="none" ids="8524,8525,8526,8527"] Details: visit shangri-la.com/istanbul