A D-Resort experience on Turkey’s coast proves to be the last word in peace and relaxation….
Turkey’s Dogus Group, owner of a string of high-end hotels throughout the world – from Villa Dubrovnik to Capri Palace – arguably has its most impressive properties closer to home. And while the Turkish economy on the whole is in a challenging position, it’s clear from a recent visit to D-Resort Göcek and another – the D Maris Bay on the Datça peninsula – that the group’s home-grown portfolio is doing very nicely.
With impressive occupancy rates, well-drilled staff and hotel environments that are nothing less than outstanding, it’s little wonder that both hotels have picked up a host of awards and glowing reviews since they launched.
We started at D-Resort Göcek, located in a pretty and peaceful coastal village situated around 20 minutes from Dalaman airport. It offers a gorgeous private beach and sits between the town’s two marinas in a tropical-type setting – helped by the importation of tons of powder-white Egyptian sand – among palm trees and azure seas, at the foot of pine-clad hills.
It’s an impressive sight, with huge superyachts bobbing around in those turquoise waters, and a bleached-blond wood beach restaurant serving up the freshest of local fish to diners. Admittedly, the sea was a little cold for swimming when we were there but, come the summer months, the temperature climbs to allow for hours of water-based fun.
The hotel’s 103 rooms are lovely, all decked out in a white and blue nautical theme, with distressed wood and well-appointed bathrooms being the order of the day. Some rooms even offer direct access to one of the hotel’s three long, rectangular pools.
Dining is also a delight, in any of its three restaurants. The international menu at Olive Tree is best for families, as there’s literally something for everyone. Elsewhere, the Q Lounge – a stunning spot sitting high on the hillside overlooking the sea – offers the best in contemporary Japanese cuisine. Breeze is a more relaxed affair, its whitewashed terrace perched over the sea, serving freshly grilled fish and meat dishes.
The next day saw us take a short transfer car ride to the secluded luxury of the hotel group’s flagship Turkey property – D Maris Bay. It’s hard to do justice to this fabulous place in words and pictures, as it has to be seen to be believed.
It sits on a cliffside above a glorious sandy beach and looks across to the magnificent volcanic coastline of the Bozburun Peninsula. Renovated in 2011 to an impeccable standard, it combines Turkish exoticism with cool minimalism in a perfect marrying of form and function. The secluded nature of the location – surrounded by jagged cliffs and hillsides lush with almond trees on the undeveloped and protected Datça Peninsula – means that the stresses and strains of the outside world simply melt away. Indeed, the only reminder that you’re not in an undisturbed slice of personal heaven is the occasional arrival of a helicopter, dropping guests at the hotel’s landing pad.
Although there are 200 rooms here, the sheer size of the property’s footprint means that it never feels too busy. The extensive facilities include five white-sand beaches (including one which allows neither music, phones nor children under 12), a water ski school, indoor and outdoor pools, four designer boutiques (the Orlebar Brown emporium was a particular favourite) and a hand-made jewellery shop. The Bodyism gym is also a welcome addition, with its helpful and skilled trainers on hand to help us shift some of the ‘holiday weight’ gained by indulging at many of the hotel’s fine restaurants.
There are five of these in total, with the fabulous Japanese Zuma being the pick of the bunch. We dined there several times during our trip, enjoying everything from beautiful black cod with miso to marinated chicken skewers grilled over burning coals.
Also worth a look is Rüya, serving Anatolian dishes and Turkish mezes; Nusr-Et (with a shisha lounge next door), part of the Turkish steak house chain owned by flamboyant chef and internet star Nüsret “Salt Bae” Gökce and Manos, a Greek taverna.
For daytime dining, though, make a beeline to La Guerite (which has sister restaurants in Cannes and St Barts) for seafood specialities served on a beautiful sundeck, with the sound of the waves lapping beneath you. This restaurant also has a daytime DJ playing Balearic classics, giving it a Ibiza-style feel – but thankfully without the raucous party crowds.
A lovely additional touch is that each beach, while accessible by walking along some quiet roads, is better reached by the hotel’s complimentary boat. There’s something rather lovely about arriving by sea for lunch and – even on those days when all we were looking for were some French fries, cheese and good bread for a light snack – the boat trip to our table made the moment feel extra special.
The rooms, too, go the extra mile. All are furnished with beautiful woods, cool marble surfaces, and sophisticated room controls. Each has a private balcony and a bathtub with a view – we loved watching the superyachts sail while we lay in bubbles sipping Champagne – and is stocked with toiletries created exclusively for D Maris Bay by the Italian perfumer and designer of Queen Elizabeth’s signature scent, Laura Tonatto.
A spa session raised my sybarite levels even higher, with a detoxifying massage in the Mytha spa helping to shift some of the bleary-headedness of the previous evening’s wine consumption. A dip in the hotel’s indoor pool followed this, as well as some additional water pummelling in the separate smaller pool with its variety of aqua jets.
And while it’s easy to spend all of your time checking out the many delights of this fabulous hotel, I’d recommend enquiring about a trip on the hotel’s impressive custom-made 100-foot yacht Pasa, available for charter and day tours. This can take you to isolated coves and pristine islands, or even the nearest fishing village, where you can enjoy a taste of traditional Turkish life.
But if you do manage to get out and about, then I take my hat off to you. Because the siren call of the hotel’s many pleasures kept us firmly rooted on-site throughout our stay. When you’re having this much fun then, frankly, why go anywhere else?