Beg, borrow or steal to stay at Macakizi in the hills perched over Türkbükü Bay – Turkey’s version of the Cote D’Azur – it’s where you want to be. Macakizi (pronounced Magicizzy) is a supremely elegant hotel owned by Sahir Erozan, a Turkish national. The hotel is named after his mother, Ayla, she too a hotelier and whose nickname, Maçakizi, means the Queen of Spades, the image of which you’ll see throughout the hotel.
The resort stands on the Mugla Province, close to a small village called Türkbükü in the southwestern Aegean Region of Turkey, on the Bodrum Peninsula. From the airport, it takes about 50 minutes to get to the hotel, about a 20-minute drive from Bodrum Centre. It is close to Greek islands such as Kos, Patmos and Mykonos.
I notice a wonderful collection of art installations from the reception area to the restaurants, and all the way down to the sea. My favourite is by a Turkish artist called Elif Uras, a beautiful bright blue ceramic on one of the walls by the beach bar area.
Described as the mecca for hedonism and embraced by the new age jet set, Maçakizi certainly gets its fair share of young, cool, international travellers, from couples to families during the long, hot summer months.
Set up a steep hillside overlooking the clear and sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea, Maçakizi offers a myriad of rooms and suites amongst a garden of lush vegetation, beautiful plants and flowers including cascades of vibrant bougainvillaea. I feel as if I am walking around a private estate with nooks and places to rest at every step.
The hotel has a total of 53 rooms and 21 suites, 30 have sea views with balconies, and the rest have views over the gardens. Rooms have recently been renovated and feature modern furnishings with bright colours – light and airy. The beach area and bar at the bottom of the resort are really fun and at night; party time kicks off and it really comes alive.
The staff are all extremely helpful and can organise day trips from the hotel to see the Underwater Archaeology Museum, Bodrum Castle of Crusader, a local mausoleum, the amphitheatre and shopping trips to local markets on most weekdays. Don’t miss the amazing carpet shops, whatever you do.
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I am met from my car upon arrival and taken down to the reception area which is very light and airy and mainly outdoors. I am checked in quickly, the general manager is around and welcomes me, and then I am taken to my room where my bag arrives shortly afterwards. The receptionist explains the air con and where everything is in my room. Easy.
Rooms and suites
Rooms and bathrooms are very simple. They have an array of different sizes and suites from 52 sq m (560 sq ft) and up, and all feel a little Swedish and ‘clean’ in their décor. The wood used in the room is a distressed beige/white which made the room feel light. Nothing feels fancy or luxurious but everything works, and all fixtures and fittings are modern and of good quality.
My room faces the sea and the pool and is above the main indoor restaurant. It is quite a small room but perfectly comfortable and very bright and airy with a lovely balcony wrapped in fuchsia bougainvillaea. The room next door is very close though, so there is no privacy on the balcony. Because of the proximity to the pool, I keep my door closed in the afternoon because of noise, as I do into the night when the music from the bar area drifts up.
The bed with its wooden bed-head, is nice and comfy, with good linen sheets, but I use a blanket from the cupboard at night which is a bit ratty and could be a lot nicer, plus the pillows are not very soft. The black and white bedcover is very stylish.
There is a lovely painting hanging on the wall to the side of the bed which I like to look at in the mornings, and there are two bedside tables with nightlights (useful so you can turn it on easily if you have to during the night), table lamps and plug sockets either side. The balcony to the left of the room has a table and two chairs outside so you can enjoy breakfast overlooking the sea.
Fully serviced with daily housekeeping, they provide a good turndown service, shutting the remote-controlled black-out curtains and dimming the lights ready for bed. It is very inviting and feels really calm when I walk in late at night after dinner.
On the service front, when I ask for an iron, a smiley housekeeper delivers it immediately. Room service is available, and, again, when I ask for a cup of tea, it is presented very quickly with the honey I ask for. Self-controlled air con is very good and quiet; the Wi-Fi is excellent and very speedy in my room and throughout the hotel. All in all, it is relaxed, really friendly and not intimidating – an amazing place to take over for a private party.
The bathroom is to the left of the room as you walk in. It does not have natural daylight, but the lighting is good. Fully lined in a mottled beige stone, it is very simple with a loo, a single basin, a large shower stall with rainfall shower-head and a handheld shower as well. Amenities are by Acqua di Parma: shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, soaps and body lotion. There are two bathrobes which are adequate, and lots of towels, which is great. Not my favourite hair dryer – one of those nightmare ones connected to the wall.
The hotel offers dinner-inclusive accommodation, so hotel guests can choose whether they have lunch or dinner at the hotel. The food is fantastic wherever you eat. Breakfast is a casual buffet offering everything from traditional Turkish food including lovely local cheeses, nuts and honey to full cooked breakfasts. I have a lovely fresh juice each morning which they make individually, and the coffee is good.
Head chef Aret Sahakyan, formerly of the Cities Restaurant & Lounge in Washington DC, offers an exciting menu of Mediterranean and ‘new Turkish’ cuisine, with manti (tiny egg pasta dumplings filled with ground beef) and lahmacun (a thin pizza topped with tomato and spiced lamb), his signature dishes.
Lunch is also a buffet on the sundeck under 100-year-old olive trees, on the middle level of the hotel. They serve a fantastic array of fresh plates of mezze, cooked meats, delicious fresh salads and puddings you simply cannot miss.
In the evening, dinner on the deck is heavenly and romantic. You can see the twinkling lights across the sea in the distance whilst you enjoy a romantic dinner. The food is excellent and the wine list has a very good selection. Don’t be shy of trying the Turkish wines, some are really good and well priced. If you are a guest in-house, you should not need to book, but if you want a waterside table, do so.
Spa and wellness
The gym is just down from the main pool and opposite the spa. Nestled into the rock it offers a wide range of cardio and free weight equipment. They offer personal training sessions and Bodyism on request, and you can request a yoga or Pilates teacher for private lessons as well.
The hotel teams up with French cosmetics house NUXE, and the spa has five treatment rooms offering a range of massages, face and body treatments and a beautiful Turkish hammam area. They can also organise a hairdresser to come in upon request.
Pool and beach
There is no beach at Maçakizi, but there is a long stretch at the bottom of the hill either side of the beach bar with beautifully decked and shaded loggias with very comfortable, low sunbeds. They have a couple of layers of beds, and you can choose one close to the waterfront where there are steps with handrails into the clear blue waters of the sea. As the bar is in the middle of this decking, just up a level, you can hang out and sip cocktails at the beach all day if you wish. The music starts late morning and goes through until the night. The small pool, however, was somewhat underwhelming and right next to one of the restaurant/lounge areas.
It is not the most child-friendly hotel from a logistics point of view, and there are lots of steps up and down. The beach area is decked, so again, there is no sand for kids to play on. I see a couple of little children playing behind the decking where there are a few rock pools, but it is not possible for them to paddle off a beach. The pool towards the top of the hotel is nice, but they have to be supervised by an adult as it is deep.
Staff and service
The staff is absolutely delightful from reception to restaurants, to room service. Come down to the beach area in the early morning for a swim, and someone soon appears to give you fresh towels and make your bed up for you. Nothing is too much trouble, and everyone is friendly, always ready to greet you politely. One walks me down the stairs one evening as I have my ridiculously high heels on. You are better off leaving those at home, trust me.
The guests are quite young on the whole and it is, I imagine, a bit of a scene in the summer. If you want a peaceful time, this is not the place for you, but if you don’t mind being with a very cool and young international set, well dressed and, from what I see, nicely behaved, then this is your go-to. Older teens and twenty-somethings will love you for bringing them here.
There are many Turkish people staying, and a lot of locals come in for lunches, dinners and family celebrations as the food is fresh and good. Other nationalities are American, English, Dutch and Swedes.
I check out of the hotel very quickly, and I am helped to the car with my hand luggage. My bags are already in the car waiting for me to go.
How to get here
50 minutes by road from Bodrum Milas Mugla Airport
74 rooms & suites