Macakizi on Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula is one of the chicest destinations in Europe
January 17, 2017
The small boutique resort of Macakizi on the coast of Turkey is creating big waves in the world of international tourism. Bronwen Gora looks at why.
What do Australian chef Christine Manfield, British model Kate Moss and one of the world’s wealthiest steel barons Lakshmi Mittal have in common? Fame and fortune yes, but all three share a love of a certain place on the globe that is emerging as one of the hottest spots to holiday.
The bougainvillea-filled seaside resort of Macakizi (pronounced Muchakizi) on Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula is one of the chicest destinations Europe has produced, from its sun-bed laden pontoons and waterside bar to its olive tree-shaded restaurant terrace where all manner of delectable Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine is served. Here even the music has its own menu, tuned from laid-back Norah Jones style in the morning before segueing to Euro beats in the late afternoon and evening.
Macakizi means Queen of Spades in Turkish, and is named after the founder Ayla who created the destination in the 1970s as a bohemian escape. It was she who came up with the concept of a ‘pontoon beach club’ whereby it is pontoons that jut into the Aegean Sea for the lounging pleasure of guests in place of sandy crescents. A kaftan-draped Ayla still presides over the resort, now owned by her son Sahir Erozan.
Macakizi comprises 74 modern beach-house style rooms decorated in shades of cream and white, which are encased in a series of villas cascading down a hill to the sea amid tangerine and olive trees and of course those bursts of hot-pink bougainvillea. As well as the waterfront pontoons and sun beds which on and around most guests spend their days, there are terraces for lounging carved into the hillside. Other ways to spend your time include the outdoor tented massage rooms and pools, the spa Nuxe and popular Turkish bath.
Making the stay a seamless luxury experience is a small army of bustling white-uniformed staff. In the morning if you’re looking a little lost the beach concierge will hurry over to help you find the best sun bed. Previous guests report the staff even seem to mind read: they may not have met them but within days they know their names and even what they like for breakfast.
Dancing in the Ship Ahoy nightclub and even a workout in the gym or a private pilates class may be called for, too, in order to work off the exquisite food for which Macakizi has become renowned. Chef Aret Sahakyan lives in the US but returns every European summer season (as he has done since 1977) to recreate an exotic fusion of Turkish and Mediterranean dishes. Expect a lot of fresh produce and especially seafood on the lunch and dinner menus. In the morning, rise to greet breakfast buffets groaning with fresh walnuts, freshly baked Turkish pastries and plump peaches and figs. By lunchtime the tables have been replenished with feasts of salmon, sea bass, salads, marinated vegetables, eight-hour braised ribs, and tasty seared chicken. And then there are the temptations of tiramisu and baklava for which the village of Turkbuku (where Macakizi is located) is famous, and of course the best local and international wines.
THE PLACE TO BE SEEN
Macakizi’s rise in chic-dom has not gone unnoticed. Spearheaded by owner Sahir, the entire Bodrum peninsula area is now a magnet for jetset from Europe and beyond. An Aman resort and the Mandarin Oriental are nearby.
“They have all come to join us here on the peninsula,” explains Macakizi’s Australian-born manager Andrew Jacobs. “This part of the Bodrum peninsula is now a bit like the Hamptons. Sahir was at the vanguard of the change. He helped turn this particular bay into a destination for wealthy clientele.”
Mr Jacobs describes being at Macakizi as akin to being “in this high society Turkish club”.
“The rooms are very tranquil and private, or you can hang out on the deck with the glamorous people,” he said. “One of the best descriptions of Macakizi I’ve read came from a travel writer who described it as being ‘like the estate of a Turkish billionaire with the good sense to keep things simple’. It appeals to everyone from 20-year-olds to 70-year-olds.”
+ Macakizi is open from April/ June through to October – but book early to ensure your stay.
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle Australia team.