Presiding over a pristine peninsula surrounded by ruggedly handsome mountains brimming with pine trees, D-Hotel Maris is more Thunderbirds fantasy than glam beach resort. From the outside it resembles a 1960s residential block clinging to a cliff, but inside it’s a high-styled haven catering to Turkey’s most sophisticated sun-worshippers.
Located in Maris, a small village just outside the chic town of Marmaris, the luxury hotel is within striking distance of the town’s hipster haunts, quaint harbour and golden beaches but far enough away to feel relaxed and quiet. Rooms are sleek, if slightly corporate, cut from travertine tiles with accents of walnut bronze and leather and epic views across the Aegean. But who are we kidding, it’s not about the quarters. This hotel has so much going for it outdoors, it would be criminal to stay inside for more than two minutes.
For starters, there are five private beaches, the brightest crescents of white this side of the Indian Ocean. Cartoon-like funiculars zip up and down ferrying guests to and from the hotel and the beach (or it’s five minutes in a golf buggy). Then speedboats and pontoons are on hand to transport you from cove to cove. Will it be the watersports beach, the silent beach or the executive beach today, Madame? So far, so spoiling.
With a clutch of restaurants to choose from, decisions at mealtimes are equally perplexing: will it be charcoal-grilled Turkish kebabs, tender dry-aged steak or a plate of rigatoni just like mama makes? And this year, the decisions have been made that much harder with the arrival of Zuma, an outpost of the trendy Japanese restaurant famous for its eye-wateringly expensive black cod.
This one, overlooking the resort’s gargantuan swimming pool, is just as buzzy as its sister restaurants in London and New York, and with DJs spinning tunes after hours, it’s no wonder fashionistas are choppering down to D-Hotel from Istanbul on Friday nights. For something more laid-back, try fresh grilled octopus with salty charred potatoes at Coliseum, a small sun deck with a handful of tables next to the harbour. Or, for ultimate decadence, you can press a buzzer and have a plate of mezze delivered direct to your sunlounger.
Be it on the beach or in the gym, at the spa or in the executive lounge, there is always someone on hand with a menu, a bottle of water or a telephone to call you a golf buggy. Indeed, you’re never far from a fruit platter or a cold towel, even when splayed out on the deck of an immaculate yacht – the hotel owns a gaggle of them. Bodrum, Turkey’s answer to St Tropez, is a short hop along the coast: you can be there and back within a day, or to really work that wonder-tan, you can sail the high seas for a week or two. I took out ‘Blue Dream’ for a morning of superstar-style luxury and instantly fell in love with her 55 feet of gleaming curves and gently purring engine.
Blue Dream or no Blue Dream, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the hotel. Located in one of the nicer spots on the Dalaman coast, it has plenty going for it. But for all the luxury, it still comes in cheaper than resorts elsewhere, including honeymoon favourites, the Maldives and the Seychelles. If you want glamour, golden beaches and crystal waters without the long haul price tag, the D-Hotel Maris is for you. It definitely was for me – I didn’t want to leave.
NEED TO KNOW
Rooms at D-Hotel Maris cost from £380 per night including breakfast. The hotel reopens 29 April 2015 for the summer season. See dhotel.com.tr for more information and to book. Monarch flies to Dalaman three times a week. Prices start at £85 one way. See monarch.co.uk for more information.