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Good Holiday Ideas | August 19, 2022

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Best of the Med

Best of the Med
Paula Hill

By John Hill

While every major and luxury chain has a hotel in Bodrum, there is one that we feel stands head and shoulders above the rest.

It will be no surprise to any of our followers who have visited this hugely-popular Turkish resort that the oasis of peace we’re talking about is the Kempinski Hotel Barbarous Bay.

Its peaceful atmosphere is ever more important nowadays, as bustling, burgeoning Bodrum has trebled in size since Good Holiday discovered it as a tiny village 30 years ago.

The ‘Kempi’, as it is affectionately known, is a haven of tranquillity standing on a lofty clifftop a short way from the hubbub of the town. The hotel and its manicured surroundings are in a commanding location on the most untouched part of a dramatic peninsula.
Its 149 rooms, 24 suites and 36 serviced residences all have their own balconies and unparalleled views of the Aegean Sea.

Below lies Gokova Bay, where the hotel has a private sandy beach lapped by crystal blue waters – and cleverly divided into two separate areas – a Family Beach plus an Adults Only Beach that welcomes guests over 16 years of age with a “no mobile, pure silence” bliss area.
Sounds like the perfect place to lose yourself in daydreams as the hotel’s team serves beachside cocktails chilled to perfection!

Back up the hill there’s also an infinity pool and a splendid spa where a truly holistic experience is tailor-made to allow each guest to rejuvenate and energise.

The experience is especially tranquil in early or late season when most the crowds have gone (although the beach is not available in winter months).

I have stayed here several times and never once left the resort, because the Kempi’s cuisine is as good as it gets for a large hotel, with several restaurants, including Turkish, Mediterranean, Italian and Thai (recommended)

For livelier entertainment, head down to busy Bodrum, which The New York Times labelled “the St Tropez of Turkey” and which, 3,000 years earlier, the Greek poet Homer called “the land of eternal blue”. It’s now more multi-coloured, as floral displays contrast with whitewashed houses and the assorted wares of shops and stall burst onto the cobbled streets.

The once-tiny fishing village offers all the delights of a world-class resort, with designer shopping, fine dining and vibrant nightlife, plus golf, scuba diving and outstanding sailing. And a splendid private port with designer shopping and superb dining.

The ‘Kempi’ is also close to some of the iconic sites of Turkey’s turbulent history, including the imposing medieval castle built by the Knights of Rhodes and two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum and the Temple of Artemis, in Ephesus.

But the real appeal of the Kempinski Hotel Barbarous Bay is its ability to softly cocoon the visitor in a quiet aura of sheer luxury.