Jamie Ndah heads to Turkey to explore the delights on offer at the Amanruya Resort In Bodrum
It was Friday afternoon, late in the month of June, and I arrived at Milas Bodrum Airport in Turkey to searing heat and sizzling temperatures. But before I could look for some much needed shade, I was greeted by my Amanruya personal driver who welcomed me with a warm smile and a cool hand towel to wipe my brow.
He quickly took my bag, and directed me towards a beautiful air conditioned vehicle equipped with water bottles for the journey ahead. My first impression of Amanruya’s attention to detail was an excellent one, and the tone was certainly set for the rest of my much anticipated weekend stay.
Amanruya is named after the Sanskrit-derived word for peace, ‘aman’, and the Turkish word for dream, ‘ruya’. It is positioned on the southeastern Aegean coast of Turkey, and on the northern coast of the Bodrum Peninsula in Mandalya Bay. This tranquil all-season property is surrounded by a pine forest and an ancient olive grove, and is inspired by the region’s traditional architecture and building methods which combine Mediterranean and Ottoman design elements. A range of gorgeous courtyards and terraces on the hillside transmit a real village feel while still retaining a sense of space.
I stayed in one of the 36 sizeable and exquisite Pool Terrace Cottages which comes with its own private garden, open-air shower and grey-green marble swimming pool which I made full use of during my stay. The generous and sumptuous 75 square metre cottage is furnished with a stunning four-poster king-size bed, sofas, a dining table and chairs, writing desk, separate vanity space, wardrobe and a traditional Turkish mangal charcoal fireplace.
The extensive and naturally-lit open bathroom featured a delightful rain shower and a classic standalone large bath for those guests wishing to enjoy a long soak whilst focusing on the peaceful private garden views. The garden compromises of a pergola with large cushioned daybeds and two separate wooden chaise lounges with shade umbrellas to keep out the strong heat when the sun was at its highest point. All Pool Terrace Cottages are equipped with LCD screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, DVD players, mini bars and small fridge, espresso machines, safety boxes, iPod players, air conditioning, hair dryers and electronic keys.
I was also assigned a guest assistant who was my personal concierge during my stay, and tended to my requests to ensure my visit was nothing short of fabulous. It was evident why the Aman Resorts are favoured by royalty, dignitaries, celebrities, business moguls, captains of industry and VIPs all over the world.
This exceptional venue’s restaurant facilities are divided into three dining pavilions, each with four to six tables. They feature authentic Turkish and Western cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, whilst focusing on local and seasonal ingredients. The dining areas either have views overlooking the main swimming pool, or are situated on the hillside with a dazzling panoramic vista of the Aegon Sea, pine forest and the stunning coastline surrounding Amanruya.
The restaurant delivered a first class menu, and I opted to start with the traditional Amanruya’s home baked bread and informal Mezze platter, which was a selection of delicious mini dishes such as yogurt with purslane, aubergine salad with onion, tomatoes, red pepper, garlic and carrot in olive oil, cold calamari salad and barbunya (broad beans) diced tomato, onion, garlic and carrot in olive oil, to name but a few appetizers.
For my main course, I had the Ekşili Taraklık – slow-cooked lamb chops with dried fruits, green lentils and chickpea, served with Turkish rice with orzo. The meat was so tender and melted in my mouth, and the rice really complemented the dish which was rich in flavour, cooked to perfection and delightfully presented.
For dessert, I was recommended the Home Made Baklava which are layers of filo, filled with sweetened chopped nuts, held together with syrup and honey, and served with a tasty home made vanilla ice cream. It was a real honeyed heavyweight which I thoroughly enjoyed. The service from the staff throughout dinner was equally impressive, and of a very high standard, which made my dining experience so special.
Amanruya is a vast property stretching over 50 acres and also has other attractive facilities such as a wine lounge, wine cellar, boutique shop, art gallery, carpet gallery, gym, tennis court, spa and a fabulous beach club overlooking a small pebble beach and a wooden jetty. There is also a 24 hour buggy service to transport guests from their cottages to whichever sites they wish to visit on the resort. It is so useful, and epitomises the Amanruya personal service. There is also a marvellous library which is truly eye-catching, and a three-storey Library Tower that has a lounge on the top floor with large picture windows. The library offers the best views of the resort, and overlooks the ocean on one side, and pine forests on the other.
I personally recommend the heavenly spa treatments at Amanruya. It’s a real treat. The signature massage treatment offered rebalances and gave me a real sense of calm and deep relaxation throughout my session. I was given a choice of essential oils to choose from, and this therapeutic affair combined massage, reflexology and energy work. This was the perfect way to unwind after an excellent work out session in the gym. There are two treatment rooms, both for couples, and the spa also has a wide range of other massages, facials, and wellness treatments too. Guests can also have a massage in the privacy of their own cottage if they prefer.
For those visitors wishing to explore outside of the Amanruya resort, then I recommend a trip to the favoured holiday town of Bodrum which is one of the South Aegean’s most attractive seaside villages. I ventured into the centre of Bodrum to see what this beloved destination had to offer, and it took approximately twenty minutes by car to get there. Bodrum has long been a popular summer haven, occupied by a mixed and diverse crowd enjoying the numerous cafes, restaurants and bars along the city’s marina, which is also the starting point of many day trips to various Greek islands. The town itself curls around the bay, centered by the famous 15th-century Bodrum Castle of St.Peter.
I was welcomed to the land of eternal blue, and Amanruya really made my stay a truly memorable one. It is a magnificent property that offers nothing but peace, calm and serene surroundings. There is splendid gastronomy, and sterling facilities all underpinned by a world class team offering an exemplary service throughout the resort that caters for your every need. I am now a true Amanruya fan, and I am already looking forward to my next Aman adventure.
To stay at the 5* Amanruya in Turkey prices start from £452 per night including breakfast and airport transfers, excluding tax and service charge. Flights departing from London Gatwick to Bodrum start from £101 per person. For more information please visit www.goturkey.com or www.amanruya.com for accommodation details.
By Jamie Ndah