Leisure, Lifestyle, Travel, Turkey
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AMANRUYA, BODRUM

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When you think of rich blue lagoons, jaggered coastlines, fresh seafood and white sandy shores; where does your mind wander? Some might go straight to the paradise islands of the Maldives, whilst others drift to Greece but very few stray to the turquoise-blue water, with pine-fringed bays and white sand shores of ancient Bodrum, a city so pretty it should be added to almost every summer vacation list.

There are definitely many places to stay when visiting Bodrum, but none are quite as picture perfect as Amanruya, a place so beautiful, it could almost be made up. The name, translating from Sanskrit to Turkish to mean ‘peaceful dream’, could not be more appropriate, and the entire resort embodies exactly that.

Sitting in a secluded corner of Mandalya Bay, on the south-eastern coast of Turkey, the entire resort is surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty, including pine forests, olive trees and wild flowers. A 10-minute drive from the centre of Bodrum, this simple yet stunning resort is dotted with apricot-coloured guest cottages, restaurants, a shop and spa made of stone and terracotta, bleached by the Mediterranean sun,all resembling a small, secluded village – each building is created from local materials found in the surrounding areas – be prepared to pinch yourself.  Local materials including stone, terracotta, acajau wood and Turkish marble in neutral hues make for an almost ethereal feel, most evident in the evenings as the Aegean sun sets turning the walls a blush shade of pink.

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Away from the property’s jewel-like central pool that portrays the heart of the Amanruya, the resort’s olive groves and forest slope down, giving way to its sun-kissed private pebble beach and secluded Beach Club. Overlooking its own private bay, the Beach Club is an idyllic spot consisting of a series of intimate nooks and terraces, artfully positioned amongst olive trees, decorated with Ottoman lounge beds.  The wooden jetty is the perfect sunbathing spot, with day-long rays beating down on its wooden decks whilst the beachside restaurant, nestled amongst the trees, offers freshly caught fish, salads and of course, Turkish mezze. Plucked straight from a fairy-tale, the beach club was enchanting and even thought the water was cold, I couldn’t resist diving into the clear, blue waters.

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Another definite highlight of life at Amanruya are the cottages. Home to only 36 contemporary stone pavilions, positioned amongst terraced gardens, scented by thyme and shaded by olive trees, each generous space emphasizes Aman’s signature design philosophy.  All free standing and hidden amongst terracotta walls and olive trees, expect immaculate white marble floors, high mahogany ceilings and white Mugla, hammam-style bathrooms with skylights.  Ottoman influences include Bursa arches that join the bedrooms and bathrooms and Turkish charcoal fireplaces to warm rooms and terraces in cooler months. Further indulgences include a private pavilion, outdoor shower and swimming pool, all found in each cottages personal garden.

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The rest of the resort’s facilities are housed in free-standing stone structures scattered around the 50-metre infinity pool, the pièce de résistance of Amanruya. They include an intimate top floor lounge, several Dining Pavilions and a Wine and Cigar Lounge. According to Executive Chef Ercan Soylu, Turkey’s variety of microclimates makes
it a cornucopia of diverse fresh produce,
allowing him and his team to deliver an ever-changing seasonal menu, incorporating Turkish and Western cuisines.

The resort is also home to a small spa with two treatment rooms offering massages, foot wraps, scrubs and manicures.  In addition there is a small boutique containing beautiful local textiles, jewellery and artefacts – shoppers heaven!  There is also  a carpet gallery which can be found inside a hand-built, beehive-shaped brick structure designed in the style of a traditional rainwater cistern housing a comprehensive selection of Turkish carpets, whilst the library is housed in a striking three-storey tower complete with fabulous views of sea
 and forest, offering a wide selection of books and DVDs.

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Another trip that offered a true insight into true Bodrum life was a visit to the village of Etrim, known for its wonderfully intricate hand-knotted carpets, a trade that has been passed down from generation to generation.  Witness the spanning and dyeing of the thread, as well as the weaving process itself and make sure you don’t leave without purchasing one of their many masterpieces – varying from centuries old to modern silk marvels.

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An Anatolian dreamland, make sure you add Amanruya and bountiful Bodrum to your summer schedule.

For more information, please visit www.amanruya.com

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