- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
Bodrum is booming, and today there’s ample choice when it comes to chic and desirable hotels and resorts in this most heavenly destination. And if you’re hankering to get away from it all but don’t relish the party scene of beach clubs (as in pulsating music day and night) and hip and happening Ibiza-style hotspots on your doorstep, then Amanruya is the place to stay. The ambience is sexy and seductive here – guaranteed.
Amanruya stands on the Bodrum Peninsula, in a sheltered cove on a rugged coastline overlooking a private beach with far reaching views over the true-blue Aegean Sea. The name of the hotel, Amanruya, takes Aman from the Sanskrit meaning peace and ruya, dream, in Turkish.
Built by known architects, Emine and Mehmet Ögün, their brief for the creation of Amanruya included that it was to have as little impact on the environment as possible. The cottages, or suites, are barely visible from the sea, and there is a good sense of space and tranquillity all around. Hand-laid cakil pebble-work defines the lavender edged pathways and flower-scented gardens, while high mahogany ceilings and beams pay homage to the pre-Ottoman Seljuk architecture.
Following the traditional build of Southern Turkey’s stone houses, white design features contrast with dark wood in public areas, and all the seating areas are low divans with beautiful cushions tailor-made in Istanbul. The main buildings are all separate and feature various beautiful but simple pavilions with a lounge for afternoon tea or early evening drinks overlooking an infinity edge pool.
The beautiful three-storey library, which dominates the main buildings, has a peaceful drawing room on the top floor where you can sit and read and enjoy the spectacular views overlooking the ocean and pine forests. Next door is a carpet gallery and an art gallery.
So, if the picture I paint doesn’t have you drooling, perhaps knowing you have access to the Amanruya boat, a 40ft Vicem yacht, will. What are you waiting for?
Bodrum is the nearest airport, and a transfer is about a thirty-minute drive to the hotel; Bodrum town is about a 15-minute drive away. Surrounded by olive groves and a pine forest, the property is laid out as a traditional village with stunning, rustic guest pavilions and access to a private, pebble beach.
A myriad of walkways and stone paths through pretty gardens to very private pavilions and newly built pool suites, the resort has 36 suites in total all offering similar décor, fully air-conditioned and each with its own pool.
I arrived and was greeted by a small group of elegantly dressed, welcoming staff members and immediately shown to my pavilion. My bags were there as I reached the room.
The young receptionist showed me around my pavilion and told me everything I needed to know to make my stay comfortable. She helped me print off a document I needed on the printer in the room and registered my arrival. An elegant welcome.
Rooms and suites
My pavilion was up a narrow staircase with terracotta coloured stonewalls and pebbled steps with a small private courtyard; I felt as if I was entering Aladdin’s cave. I wanted to clap my hands with joy when I saw the vast private pool, a dining table with two chairs on the outside terrace, sun loungers with towels already laid out, and the Balinese bed all set up at the end of the pool.
Immediately, I thought that if you don’t want to be seen here, you do not actually have to leave your pavilion – you have everything you need on your private patch of heaven. Take note that Amanruya’s 36 stone pavilions and suites all offer large, gorgeous private swimming pools.
All pavilions are 75 sq m (807 sq ft) in size, and all are similar in layout and décor. The four pool pavilions with the deluxe sea view are the most private with a clear view of the Aegean. The newly added Pool Suites have smaller gardens, and garden views rather than sea views, but the rooms and pools are the same as the others in that category.
To the right of the huge, arched wooden entrance door was a little bell used for ringing the arrival of staff (it is considered rude to knock on someone’s door in Ottoman tradition). As I walked in, I was overwhelmed by the size of the room. High dark mahogany ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and doors together with simple white, locally sourced mugla marble flooring. From the living area was a view of the pool through French windows and inside the room a retro wooden sofa and chair covered in mink-coloured linen with a matching double ottoman adorned with a silver tray.
Beautiful orchids were on a side table, and two small, tub dining chairs with rope seats were set around a small mahogany dining table, next to a Turkish mangal charcoal fireplace flanked by marble pillars. The table was laden with apricots, a jug of fresh juice on ice, pastries with an assortment of homemade jams and the most delicious Turkish Delight, together with a welcome note.
The four-poster bed with its billowing, gossamer curtains was in the middle of the bedroom with beautiful linen sheets, a nice topper and lots of pillows. There was a cabinet with a hidden, elevating TV at the foot of the bed, and behind the head, a desk.
Though a traditional Ottoman Bursa arch was the large dressing room with a chest of drawers and a dressing table. On either side of the dressing room was a his and hers walk-in wardrobe with plenty of hanging space, room for a suitcase each and shoe storage underneath which also included a nice pair of slippers and flip-flops each.
In terms of technology, there was an updated dock for your iPhone and European two-pin plug sockets, but no USB points. The air conditioning system was very good and silent.
The spacious bathroom was off the dressing room. Airy and spotless, it was mainly white with beautiful marble walls and dark mahogany wood. There was a large shower stall with a rainfall shower; next to this, a separate loo with a window. There were two oval, white ceramic sinks, and above each were round windows and ‘elephant eye’ detail ones above these. Underneath was mahogany shelving with complimentary water and spare towels. On the countertop (by the bath and in the shower stall as well) lovely amenities were presented: Aman’s own, locally sourced organic products in ceramic containers (no plastic bottles here).
There were incense sticks with a little burner, bug spray to fend off mosquitoes at dusk and a hairdryer. Two nice, cosy bathrobes were hanging in the main bathroom together with hammam towels as well as regular ones and a laundry basket. I love Aman and the services they provide. You just put your clothes in the basket and do not have to be bothered with filling in one of those annoying forms; your stuff is returned that night or the following morning, perfectly cleaned and pressed.
The bath was a large white ceramic freestanding one which overlooked the gardens at the back of the pavilion. Bath salts and a candle means you can really relax and have a blissful candlelit soak.
The hotel has four restaurants, including a wine lounge and the restaurant down at the beach. Chef Ercan Soylu oversees the restaurants, which offer Western as well traditional Ottoman cuisine infused with Asian touches. Using fresh local produce, he is able to cater to a variety of individual dining preferences, and because he is very approachable, don’t be shy to ask for recommendations to suit your taste.
All the food I had during my stay was utterly delicious, including my Turkish breakfasts. At the Beach Club, my octopus salad was fresh and the breads served with it were really wonderful. My traditional breakfasts at the Pool Pavilion restaurant were also special, with lovely fresh cheeses, breads and local honey.
Other options include the Wine Lounge where you can have drinks and snacks and the large lounge, where you can relax with afternoon or early evening drinks. In-room dining is also very popular and is all set up for you in your private garden.
Spa and wellness
The little spa offers two treatment rooms offering massages, foot scrubs and manicures. They have a small fitness studio that is equipped with cardio and resistance training machines. Yoga sessions are available to guests in the lovely studio or outside with views of the sea. There is also a tennis court, and the hotel can arrange tennis partners. Private yoga and personal training sessions can also be organised for guests.
Pool and beach
Every pavilion has such a huge pool that I did not actually see anyone swimming in the main one. It is a long, 50-metre infinity pool, lined with green marble from Antalya, so it is perfect for swimming laps. The only thing that put me off using it was the fact that it is in the middle of all the dining pavilions so people can sit and watch you swim in this, the most public area of the hotel. It does, however, look beautiful and really inviting (note to self: get up early and go).
The beach is down a track which you can either walk to (about 20 minutes), or they will take and collect you by golf cart, and that takes about three minutes. The beach club is on the edge of a pine grove where the main restaurant is set up, a pebble beach with a wooden deck.
The only reason I have not given Amanruya a higher score is because of the beach area. I felt it could be so much nicer. There is no shade on the wooden deck, so you cannot really sit out as the sun is too strong and too hot in the summer months. Even in May when I went, it was too much. I have heard that they are addressing this. I hope so – they need an area that does the resort, and the fabulous food, justice.
There are some nice external activities on offer that children can take part in, but I do not really think this is a hotel for children as the beach is not suitable, nor is the main pool; for teens I think it would be a little boring unless they are happy to be quiet and enjoy time with their parents. You would be better off at other resorts with small kids and active teens.
Staff and service
Aman are always so faultless when it comes to service. The staff here were attentive, and they could not have been more accommodating and charming. I called the engineer at 10pm because I could not work the air-conditioning and it had to be reset; he was there in a jiffy, was very helpful and had it fixed in two minutes. No drama.
The management, including the current GM, are all charming and again, very helpful but unassuming. Aman staff know how to keep a respectful distance and it fascinates me that they always seem to know what you want. I can be standing by the main area thinking about a cup of coffee, and a member of staff will pass by and ask if I would like just that. How do they do it?
Very low key, super-elegant guests. Turkish, Dutch and some English. It had just reopened when I was there, so people are coming back to this lovely resort.
My check-out and transfer to the airport was a very quick and seamless affair. The porter collected my bags, and then I walked to reception, paid my bill and there was a member of the management team who walked me to my car and said goodbye. True Aman style.
How to get here
30 minutes by road from Milas-Bodrum Airport