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BLOG Why Luxury Bodrum Leads the Turkish Holiday Market

13 September 2022 / Travel


Luxury Bodrum is The Place for Turks

Sitting on Turkey's Aegean coast, luxury Bodrum dominates the Turkish holiday market, and the region shows no sign of letting go. Specialising in high-end travel, Bodrum excels in everything luxury destinations should, including stylish fashion boutiques and classy restaurants with world-renowned chefs and marinas hosting millionaires, billionaires, and global royalty.

Indeed, for those with endless streams of cash, who want to know big names in Turkey's social circles, Bodrum is the perfect place to visit and mingle. Artisans also flock to luxury Bodrum for inspiration, and anyone trying to find themselves, and the deeper meaning of life, often head to the numerous yoga studios dotted over the peninsula. The Bodrum peninsula is quite unlike anywhere else in Turkey.

So, anyone would be forgiven for thinking that at a time when prices of travel are peaking, and energy costs are rising across the globe, that luxury travel would go on a backburner. But not in Bodrum. This summer, the peninsula has still attracted its fair share of wealthy holidaymakers, who frankly, have no concern about prices whatsoever. During the annual Turkish holidays, the population still swelled as normal, and at the beginning of summer, one newspaper reported that….

“The summer season in world-famous tourism hub Bodrum has started with the long-known discussion of prices out of sight of some famous beach clubs, where the rent of some exclusive gazebos is 10,000 euros, while the price of a lahmacun dish is 200 Turkish Liras ($12.60).”

In another article discussing rents, they said…

Prices in Bodrum go even much higher. The monthly rent of a luxurious villa in this resort town during the high season is between 100,000 and 250,000 euros”

So, why isn’t the Bodrum peninsula suffering? Because the name Bodrum and the word “luxury” are synonymous. Bodrum doesn’t just do luxury holidays. The ambience isn't pretence. It is not a show to attract money spenders. On the contrary, luxury and fine living have been engrained in the culture for many decades, and the reputation spreads far and wide to attract those view rising prices as a drop in the ocean.

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The Rise of Luxury Bodrum

Bodrum's relations with artisans and high-mixing members of society started nearly 100 years ago and were purely unintentional. What was originally one's man's downfall became his legacy. Driving into town, a man's face appears on a billboard. The words next to it say, "When you reach the top of the hill, you will see Bodrum. But, don't assume you will leave as you came. The others before you were the same too. As they departed, they all left their souls behind."

That man was Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, who came to be known as the fisherman of Halicarnassus. In 1925, authorities exiled him to Bodrum for publishing manuscripts against social protocol. Following a brief stint in Istanbul, he returned to Bodrum and explored his new home. One pastime was to head out to sea and explore surrounding coastal villages since there was no major Bodrum peninsula highway in those days.

The problem was where to sleep, so some anglers converted their boats, and the new version of Turkish gulet boats was born. Since Cevat was a literary genius, he mingled in the same luxury social circles and invited other writers, artists, and musicians to join him. As a result, his mini sailing cruises would eventually be called "Blue Voyage Cruises. "With rich and famous people regularly flocking to Bodrum, the area excelled in luxury tourism; hence when mainstream travel packages started to be sold in the early 1980s, luxury Bodrum was already ahead of the game.

Luxury Super Yachts in Bodrum

So, naturally, with Bodrum cementing a reputation nearly 100 years ago, the region excelled in luxury travel for many decades. However, the big test came with the Palmarina opening in Yalikavak. This marina offered all the usual facilities like upmarket restaurants and shops, but the gem was the ability to host super mega yachts. Super mega yachts, the crème de la crème of cruising, naturally bought with it, their owners like Bill Gates and Saudi royalty. In 2020, Forbes said that while luxury mega yachts cruising the coastline of Spain had decreased, in Turkey, they had increased.

Mega-yachts-in-bodrum

In one month alone, 63 superyachts cruised Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. With each yacht moving for approximately three months, they spend an average of 25 million euros. Luxury mega yachts spotted in Bodrum include the 140-metre Scheherazade, the Cloud Break available for rental at 1 million USD a week, and Tom Hanks sailed into luxury Bodrum on the Maltese Falcon. Then just this summer, enthusiastic locals spotted the Galaxy of Happiness, the world’s second-largest trimaran that looks like a star ship, whose owner is unknown thanks to their driving need for privacy.

Luxury Hotels in Bodrum

So naturally, rich and celebrities sailing on luxury yachts might want to spend some time on dry land. In which case, this is where luxury five-star hotels of the Bodrum peninsula step forward as the ultimate masters in hotel accommodation. Luxury Rixos premium is one such example. They say, "Glamourous Bodrum offers magnificent beaches and lively nightlife. Our sophisticated hotel spoils discerning guests with luxurious accommodations, outstanding restaurants, and world-class entertainment." They offer numerous rooms and suites, but the primer place to rest your weary head must be the executive villa. "The luxury three-storey Executive Villa 840 m² offers six bedrooms and two living rooms with panoramic views, an equipped kitchen, large terrace, private swimming pool, butler service, a club car and private access to Cleopatra's beach." Naturally, the price is disclosed upon asking.

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Celebrities and Millionaires in Bodrum - Turkey

So, we don't like to name drop, but luxury Bodrum does host its fair share of celebrities. Kate Moss typically drops by every year for her annual detox. Other famous names include the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Margaret, Roman Abramovich, Jade Jagger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lindsay Lohan, and Naomi Campbell. In 2017, Saudi Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz arrived at Bodrum airport and excited the paparazzi with his private jet and 300 suitcases. He then headed to Golturkbuku, where he rented a private villa.

The Golturkbuku area of Bodrum is Turkey's version of Saint Tropez. Bill Gates often docks into Yalikavak and meets other influential businesspeople; hence Turkey is a favourite place for him to work and party. In 2020, Ronan Keating stayed in the Barbaros Residences, and Nicole Kidman fronted the opening of the Paramount Hotel. These are just the celebrities we know about because the paparazzi snapped them in action. Imagine the royalty and celebrities who drop by unannounced.

Luxury Resorts on the Bodrum Peninsula

YALIKAVAK: Scenic landscapes cascade down rolling hills towards Turkey's Aegean Sea, while gentle breezes offer relief from summer temperatures and energetic vibes welcome everyone. Yalikavak has gone from fishing village to tourist destination to expat retreat and is ideal for shopping, dining and being seen all year round. For six months, locals earn a sizeable income from the tourism trade. Still, even during mild winters, life offers potential. Anyone looking for luxury property benefits from gorgeous beaches, boat trips, jeep safaris, strolling around the old town, and soaking up nostalgic vibes of bygone eras.

As a seaside location, also enjoy trendy alfresco dining during summer. Esteemed restaurants serve delicious food cooked by famous chefs, while harbour restaurants in old Yalikavak specialise in seafood, fish and Turkish mezes. Nightlife focuses on sophisticated or family-friendly sit-down entertainment, and youngsters who want top-scale parties should head to beach clubs surrounding Yalikavak or Bodrum town centre. For shopping, buyers tap into various ways to spend cash. For example, Palmarina offers upmarket shopping choices with more than 40 boutique shops. Other than shopping around town, locals head to large shopping malls of Bodrum, like Midtown in nearby Ortakent.

GOLTURKBUKU: Welcome to Turkbuku, Turkey's version of Saint Tropez. Also called Golturkbuku because it amalgamated with neighbouring Golkoy, Turkbuku offers prestige on the Turkish Riviera and within Turkey. The region also hosted Saudi royalty and wealthy Russian executives. The idyllic summer lifestyle of Turkbuku means that during mild winters, the village slows down a notch or two from November to March. Still, in summer, wooden jetties protrude into the Aegean. Break stints of luxurious sunbathing with waiter service from nearby restaurants, ride on private jet skis or enjoy a delicious lunch made by top chefs.

At night, the jetties turn into candlelit restaurants where friends indulge in good-hearted conversations over excellent Aegean cuisine, and couples sip quality wine while watching vibrant sunsets on the horizon. Turkbuku does have shops, restaurants, and bars but locals visit nearby Bodrum centre for a more vibrant nightlife and shopping choices. Luxury apartments and villas in Turkbuku boast dramatic sea views because of elevated landscapes, while coastal properties take advantage of summer winds. Often marketed as millionaire homes, they include minor quirks such as private jetties or poolside bars.

BODRUM TOWN: The town centre is the heart of the Bodrum peninsula, a scenic destination reflecting laid-back lifestyles. In Bodrum town centre, various supermarkets, shopping malls, bars, and restaurants line streets leading to the Aegean Sea. Nightlife establishments are well known throughout Turkey as progressive DJs play western and Turkish pop. Events throughout the year include musical concerts, charity events and the annual sailing regatta attracting sailors worldwide.

Travel brochures often portray Bodrum town as whitewashed sugar cube houses cascading down hillsides. Still, the luxury reputation as a retreat for wealthy and influential people inspires architects to build millionaire villas, with current trends for modern lifestyles. In addition, Bodrum property often sells for higher prices than neighbouring resorts because it is a transport, business and sailing hub. Still, anyone who plans to move to luxury Bodrum has an impressive portfolio to browse through, including new build, resale, off plan and renovation homes.

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Luxury Property in Bodrum

Naturally, with all this luxury on every corner, it makes sense to look at luxury real estate. You can see the range of luxury properties in Bodrum here. However, one prime example is this villa in Yalikavak (reference 249) by renowned architect Richard Meir. Situated proudly on a vantage point, this property exhibits award-winning Meier's hallmarks of geometrics and whiteness. A suitable pantheon of Yalikavak lifestyle blending modern luxury, perspective, style, and personality, spread over 5000 square metres with seven bedrooms, and uninterrupted panoramic sea views, thanks to high atrium windows.

The luxury kitchen features broad work surfaces and quality fittings, while four large ensuite bedrooms on the first floor feature sea-facing balconies. There are a further two basement bedrooms and living space. The "media room" is fully equipped and ready to use. Outside is a detached luxury guesthouse, continuing the main building's sparkling white design and patterns and angles. The extensive landscaped gardens offer unobstructed views, and the terrain immediately in front descends into giving a cliff face feel.

Also About Bodrum

Best Beaches: As a peninsula, beach holidays are the number one priority for holidaymakers, and luxury Bodrum always delivers. As a place to relax, swim and soak up sun rays for a gorgeous tan, some beaches also become party or dining centres once the sun sets. Choose from many long, sandy beaches and small hidden coves but here are our favourites.

Best Place to Live: Along with foreign expats, Turks highly favour the luxury Bodrum peninsula, often buying summer homes or even retiring to the region to soak up the hedonistic vibes that have made it famous. Making the pursuit of pleasure a priority of an average day, the carefree lifestyle has also made luxury Bodrum a hangout for wealthy and influential celebrities and business CEOs worldwide.

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