For those who want total away-from-it-all in Bodrum, try to reserve one of the 35 ‘cottages’ that constitute Amanruya (peace + dream), built around centuries-old olive trees in a 120-acre sea-set grove partly owned by architect Eminet Ogun and her husband, Mehmet Ogun.
The estate had long been in her family and when she finally came to design and build the luxury resort she brought in a co-owner to help with finance.
Apart from the trees, which govern the shape and layout of the private terraces and pools, all cottages are the same, says the gal, hand-made local bricks and concrete outside, and 760 sq feet inside.
The interiors have pale marble floors, whitewashed walls and white wisps of curtains flowing from the four-post-outline beds, which have desks behind, and, at their feet, televisions that rise up out of a box, and swivel through 180 degrees. There are traditional Ottoman charcoal urn-fires for colder days. Look through into the bathroom, again all white. Look out, as everywhere in this retreat-hotel, into olive trees. Although the place was just under full at my visit, it seemed deserted. Some guests arrive and never leave their own private villas, and the main pool is barely used. The literary-inclined venture upstairs in the three-floor square tower to the really copious library, with books in five languages, or to the carpet boutique or art gallery, or the wine cellars, or the many airy lounges. Choose to eat, whenever, wherever.
Monty Brown, the character-ful GM, 2016-season, of this place relates that one party, booked for 14 nights, now want to stay 17. He has another family who booked 17 nights in the first place. There is a London hotelier staying here, no names mentioned, who told me on the plane coming into Bodrum that he simply intends to sleep for the first few days (is London really that stressful?). One of Monty Brown’s colleagues here says that whenever she has to go to Istanbul for a day, for business, she returns completely stressed out. Monty Brown appears to have not a care in the world, but then anyone who can run Amans in some of his other assignments must find Bodrum a breeze.
We head down to the beach. Well, the main approach ‘drive’ is a sandy track, half a mile of it, through lovely olive groves, and the beach approach is the same, but slightly longer. Down there, in a small cove, groups lounge on mattresses-for-four, the kids all on iPhones. Couples have ventured along natural tracks to pairs of loungers set privately, away from prying eyes. One of the spa staff hovers, in case you would like a massage. An attendant, in white polo and khaki chinos like everyone but Monty Brown, goes round offering complimentary cold-somethings. A pop-up – well, summer-long – restaurant on a deck offers lunch from a pop-up kitchen (no permanency allowed, says local planning). I have calamari on a big salad, and as we exit we talk to an American couple having similar. Yes, it is remarkably good, she says. And try the rosé, too, says he, with a smile. No-one looks at their watch at this refreshing luxury hotel.