Overlooking Turkey’s Aegean coast, the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum is a dream location for families looking for a hotel that truly goes above and beyond – for guests of all ages.
When planning where to stay on a family holiday, there’s no better advice than from a parent who has been there. Citizen Femme’s well-travelled PR director and mum-of-two, Alexandra Carello, tells us why this is one of the best hotels she’s ever stayed in – as well as why it’s an ideal place to take children.
The Mandarin Oriental Bodrum is incredibly chic. From the moment you walk through the doors to the moment you leave, the experience is sleek and seamless and it’s hard to think of a hotel with a guest experience to match it. With two wild children in tow – who are equally hard to impress – this property stands out. So well thought out is the hotel, that once you arrive you don’t really need to leave.
This hotel is the best of both worlds for parents: a grown-up hotel that ticks all the boxes for a stylish stay yet everything and everywhere is thought through and set up to accommodate children.
Upon arrival you are met with the most beautiful view of the Aegean Sea, before being swiftly handed a glass of champagne with a cold towel, and invited to overlook the aptly named Paradise Bay below. The beautiful beach and hotel property unfolds before you, in understated tones of cream, slate grey and mahogany that sit perfectly within the green hillside.
The hotel has an impressive 28 categories of rooms, suites, villas and apartments to choose from. We booked a Sea View Room with floor-to-ceiling windows from which to stare out of. It was spacious, and cleverly laid out for families with enough space for a cot. In addition to the bed, it featured a walk-in wardrobe, a separate seating area and a beautiful garden overlooking the bay. The bathroom runs along the length of the room – a clever use of space. Some of the other room categories come with their own private pool.
Children will of course love splashing around on the beach and at the pool, but these aside, kids’ activities here are endless. The property has not one, but two kids’ clubs. Start at the space next to the beach, it’s connected to what can only be described as a mini amusement arcade packed with games and is great for kids, but just as fun for adults. There’s a wonderful arts and crafts centre where you can paint or make ceramics and jewellery – my four year-old could have spent all day in there! The property also has two playgrounds, a special children’s pool and a variety of activities on offer. And, should you wish, you can indulge in a mummy and mini-me spa moment or take part in family yoga. No matter which of the many activities you choose, super-helpful staff are on hand to help you plan every detail.
THE FOOD + DRINK
The hotel has an exciting array of restaurants and bars (11 in total) to discover and, no matter the duration of your stay, you won’t get bored of the options; from modern Chinese at Hakkasan, Japanese-Peruvian fusion at Ioki on the Beach, Mediterranean at Sofra or steaks at Atelier di Carne. Restaurants also range from casual to formal and include some beach-side spaces.
Child-options are plentiful, and flexibility is central with staff happy to respond quickly to any requests. As anyone travelling with kids knows, sometimes you just need to eat immediately! Dotted around the property you’ll also find a patisserie, a gelateria and traditional Turkish sweet shop. This is an ideal spot for kids who want to eat all day long.
THE LITTLE EXTRAS
Everything has been considered: from spa to shopping, service to style.
The tranquil, award-winning spa is spread over two levels with an extensive garden and an array of treatments, from the traditional Hammam to Forest Therapy. In-property shopping opportunities are second-to-none, among other boutiques you’ll find Chanel, Hermès, Missoni and children’s brand, Jacadi. Turkey’s leading department store Beymen are also here – handy for picking up gifts or anything you may have forgotten to pack.
What stood out the most was the service. Every guest is assigned an ‘ambassador’ to assist with anything and everything including activity planning, dinner reservations, spa treatments and taxis – but the service goes beyond this and is some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Our ambassador, Borak, noticed my two girls fighting over a balloon and so when we returned to our room we were met with twenty balloons…and a reminder not to fight over the small things. This is something I will remember for a long time.
THE TO-DO LIST
With so much to do on the property, it’s hard to leave. But it’s well-worth venturing into Bodrum to experience some culture too. My four year-old enjoyed Bodrum Castle built in 1402 (we told her it was an ancient princess castle which she loved!). There’s also The Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as an Amphitheatre. All impressive but equally, a wander around the shops or time spent taking in the hustle and bustle by the port is just as delightful.
Follow Alex on Instagram: @alexandracarello
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