Villa Mandarin, Faralya
Elegant Country Retreat. Doubles from £180 H/B. Flight-inclusive packages from £1100 H/B pppw
The discreet Villa Mandarin pulls off the substantial trick of feeling like an established country residence that’s host to a cultured house party, perhaps in Provence or Umbria, when it’s actually a newly built villa barely a half-hour’s drive from the bars ‘n clubs of Ölüdeniz in one direction and the hippy camps of Kabak in the other. That’s down to the style and experience of owner Ghislain Sireilles, a Frenchman raised in Turkey, who has done so much to pioneer tourism to the country. The elegant but homely Villa Mandarin feels like a creation custom-made to appeal to the clientele – largely British, often sedate, even retired, but active – that Ghislain has gained at Cachet Travels, his London-based tour operation. It succeeds.
This secluded Ottoman-style house, the tiled roof protruding over the first floor verandah, the arched windows in their dark timber frames, stands in walled gardens lined by palm trees. Paths lead across the tended lawns to the pool or to shaded seating areas where a backgammon set may await. The interiors are dark and opulent, and the eight outstandingly spacious rooms are open-plan suites with exposed ceiling beams, dark furniture and stone hearths. Each room also has a raised jacuzzi, panelled in wood, though it’s debatable how much use the Mandarin’s clientele actually make of them.
Ghislain, who knows this remote and lovely area as well as anybody, often leads day hikes along the nearby Lycian Way or can arrange for boating trips along the adjacent coast. Then there are the evening meals where like-minded guests, 16 at most, gather at table to enjoy gourmet experiences grounded in the best of Turkish village cuisine.
Nightlife? The sound of the owls, maybe a game of backgammon and a star-lit sky.