Looking out over the delightful, turquoise waters of the Aegean sea and lounging on the wooden deck of the beach club, I settled into the large, white, Ottoman-style cushions to play cards with Tall, Dark and Handsome. Located in the village of Türkbükü, Maçakızı is named after proprietor Sahir Erozan’s mother, whose nickname is Maçakızı, the ‘Queen of Spades’. The hotel is situated on a gardened hillside on the north coast of the Bodrum peninsula. A series of terraces cascade down to the ocean, awash with a beautiful, mature garden full of vivid bougainvilleas and luscious green foliage, where kittens frolic. It has a mesmerizing location, it is simple yet very elegant. The buildings are low and scattered and guide you via a number of stairways to the sea.
Maçakızı is a well-known. Glamorous and sexy it is the Turkish seaside playground. I had donned my aviator shades, prepared several bikini changes and awaited the paparazzi. They were not forthcoming. We were visiting out of season and the hotel was blissfully quiet. We certainly had no jostling for a lounger at the beach club. In the height of Summer the deck is filled with the movers and shakers of Istanbul’s upper environs and billionaires on a break. Celebrities wanting to be spotted can pose for the ‘paps’ who balance on jet-skies in the bay. If you want to be seen in the right place Maçakızı is where you need to be.
In 1977 the original Maçakızı was set up in Bodrum town centre as a B&B, established as a creative place for writers, painters and intellectuals to rest and recharge. The place evolved, and since 2000 Maçakızı has been located in Türkbükü.
The hotel is still evolving and this year saw the launch of the Mediterraneo Pavilion. This beautiful covered yet open-air area is where the exquisite, buffet breakfast is
laid out, a plethora of fresh produce all tantalizingly displayed. Breakfast is a languid and relaxed affair. The natural feeling space is made using wood, ironwork along
with a polished concrete floor. Furnishings are sparse and stylish with minimalist arrangement and the casually placed sculptures give the room a slightly nautical feel. There are sofas, a television and a fireplace for use in cooler weather. The pool forms a backdrop to the Mediterraneo Pavillion and the area can be used in the evening for dining, or it can also be hired for private dinners, exclusive parties or art
The bedrooms are set high up above the waters of the private bay, and many of the 53 rooms have sea views. There are an additional 21 suites for people wanting more space during their stay. The rooms are fresh, white and uncomplicated, featuring artwork by Turkish artist Suat Akdemir, and the textiles are by renowned London based designer Rıfat Özbek. The picture window formed a lovely sea vista framed by the hot pink bougainvillea flowers. The remote control black out blinds were a very useful addition to achieving a much needed lie in. The bathrooms are compact with a satisfying rain shower, and the bright, sunflower yellow bottles of Aqua di Parma toiletries.
The hotel also houses a NUXE spa with treatment rooms and a glass walled hamam. In addition there is a gym, a boutique selling beachwear and soft furnishings and a fantastic fine dining restaurant. The bar is at sea level and perfectly positioned for people watching whilst lingering over cocktails. If you feel inclined to leave the hotel then the staff can arrange for water skiing, sailing or jet ski hire.
If you are seeking glamour, Istanbul gossip and plenty of champagne the summer months are the time to visit. The hotel is chic, and the rich and famous embark from their super yachts and come to the beach club to socialize and party. Slightly out of season the hotel feels like a hillside estate of an affluent family that have kept their home simple and stylish and have invited you to visit.