4reasons Hotel, Yalıkavak
Lovable Boutique Hotel. Doubles from £70 B&B
Among the narcissists’ beach clubs, bronzing platforms and mega-marinas which have spawned along the Bodrum Peninsula’s hectic north shore it’s a joy to discover the personable and welcoming 4reasons Hotel. Orange groves protect this hillside haven from the developers, but it’s the particular atmosphere conjured within this compact plot which truly keeps the world at bay.
That’s down to the exceptional staff and to the regular presence of the owners, forty-somethings Ali and Esra, who love their jazz and old movies (posters and other memorabilia are scattered throughout the hotel), and have made many firm friends among their (ever-returning) clientele. The centre-piece is the pool-side bar and bistro where Esra’s inventive menu fuses Aegean Turkish mezes (starters) and main dishes, notably local fish, with exotic, even North African flavours. Beyond are tended gardens with peaceful sitting and yoga areas. Low-built stone cottages contain bright and spacious rooms where dazzle-white walls and dark-wood floors and surfaces create clean, unfussy lines.
All sorts – young families who park themselves pool-side, honeymooners, retired types returning dusty but spellbound after visits to archaeological sites like Labraunda – stay at the 4reasons. They like it because it’s stylish without being the least self-regarding; and because the spirit of Aegean Turkey remains intact here. Somebody left a gate open the last time I visited which only became apparent when a flock of sheep was discovered milling around the pool. They were soon herded out, but for several minutes their agreeably strong lanolin smell remained. Call me eccentric, but such are the travelling moments that remain.