Bodrum — The New Saint-Tropez?

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The Turquoise Coast, often referred to as Turkey’s Saint-Tropez.

​Jet-set travellers are starting to realise that this physically perfect part of the world remains largely untouched by the human turmoil nearby.

When Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia spent £600,000 on a four-day trip to Bodrum this August, press wondered if the stretch of Turkish coastline was replacing Saint-Tropez and Portofino in the hearts of the super-rich.

The Prince, who usually holidays in France, Italy or the Caribbean, descended with his entourage on Bodrum — a jumble of rocky coves and cypress trees that reaches from Turkey’s southwest coast into the Navajo-necklace blue of the Aegean. And with him came 300 suitcases and his yacht, Kingdom 5KR, which was docked in Palmarina, a glitzy nearby marina.

But he is not alone in his new-found love of Turkey. Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego and Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Yaroslavsky have both recently bought properties on the Bodrum Peninsula; supermodels Kate Moss and Adriana Lima are regulars at the LifeCo spa; and Richard Branson is rumoured to be building a house overlooking the Aegean Sea.

So what is it about southern Turkey that is proving so popular? Recent political upheaval has led to a general turndown in tourism along the Turquoise Coast, often referred to as Turkey’s Saint-Tropez, but jet-set travellers are starting to realise that this physically perfect part of the world remains largely untouched by the human turmoil nearby.

And it is difficult to describe the beauty of the Bodrum Pensinula without descending into cliché. The Aegean Sea is warm and turquoise-coloured; the jagged black rocks tumble romantically into the water; and small Enid Blyton-style coves beg to be uncovered by sailboat.

And whether your holiday plans involve making your way through the Booker Prize shortlist on a sun lounger, engaging in some serious water sports or occasionally lifting your head off a lilo to admire the perfect dive of a princess, you could hardly do better than Bodrum — a name that refers to the largest town and the peninsula as a whole.

And while the town of Bodrum retains a faint air of package tourism, the nearby Türkbükü Harbour is as glitzy as any spot on the French Riviera, filling up every summer with luxury yachts, glamorous sailing boats and beautiful people draped in expensive pieces of swimwear.

The Maçakizi Hotel is at the heart of the action. Perched above the harbour and covered in pink bougainvillea, it somehow manages to be sexy, stylish and intimidatingly cool in one breath. So it is no surprise that US ‘royalty’ such as Caroline Kennedy and Chelsea Clinton have stayed here. And throughout the summer you’ll notice paparazzi floating offshore, hoping to catch a glimpse of a Turkish film star lounging on Maçakizi’s decks.

The bedrooms are airy and pretty, facing the sea and scented with jasmine; while the restaurant is expansive, sitting serenely about the water and serving delicious Mediterranean food.

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