The Quiet Side of Turkey’s Beach Party Town: Susona Bodrum

Bodrum is booming. Sometimes literally, around the central marina of Bodrum Port, you can hear the rhythms of discos until late at night. In the old town, the narrow shopping streets are teeming with tourists, as are the restaurants by the sea.

(The new Yakikavak Marina, where megayachts prefer to dock, has a different energy, centered around high-end boutiques and restaurants, to the Nusr-Et “salt bae” steak house.)

But for those who prefer something a little more low-key, there’s Susona Bodrum, a quietly luxurious hotel that opened two years ago on the other side of the Torba peninsula, about 15 minutes by car. drive to the busiest part of Bodrum Old Town. . The views of the Turquoise Coast, described by Homer as “the land of eternal blue”, are no less spectacular. They can be even better because of the calm.

This water is a focal point, and the resort takes its name from an aquatic creature from Turkish mythology that resembles a mermaid. Its marketing slogan is “Dance with the waves, move with the sea”. Its low and discreet architecture is inspired by the shape and movement of a drop of water, with an energy pole (the restaurants) and circular rings (the rooms) radiating outwards. In between, the nature of the region is preserved and the property is dotted with cacti and lemon trees, olive trees and pomegranate trees.

The 76 suites are huge and beautifully appointed, with full kitchens, living and dining areas, and plush bedrooms, all with walls full of windows and gorgeous sea views. outdoor dining areas and private pools, and they can be joined with those upstairs to create villas that feel more like home for larger groups.

They will send a private chef, if customers wish, for people who book this option. But to do that every day would be to miss one of Susona’s great pleasures, enjoying the restaurants of this central energy hub. Ezi, the all-day restaurant, specializes in simple dishes in the dining room and on the terrace next to the hotel’s infinity pool overlooking the ocean. It places particular emphasis on the Turkish breakfast, with pomegranate juice freshly squeezed from the trees in the field, homemade olive oil, jams and fresh sourdough bread, as well as fresh tomatoes, cucumber and herbs from the garden.

The other restaurant here is Malva, which applies Slow Food principles to local produce – as much as possible from the rooftop garden and nearby local farmers and markets, but nothing from beyond the Aegean region. There is low-key live music in the evenings. And at sea level, Frankie Beach Club & Restaurant, with a “power lunch” menu and resident DJs for an afternoon vibe full of energy.

Executive chef Gökhan Sinmaz oversees all of this, which aims for cuisine that is as local as possible, not only because it tastes better, but also because he cares about sustainability. A signature dish is the lionfish ceviche in Malva. Most chefs avoid it because it’s not easy to prepare and only small local fishermen bother to catch it. But it’s a non-native species and a predator that’s considered a threat because it eats more valuable fish, so if we can eat it instead, that’s a step towards solving a problem.

Sinmaz will also allow guests to accompany him on his shopping trips to Turgutreis Market, where they can taste dozens of kinds of olives and watch an artichoke whisperer cut vegetables at lightning speed while watching the chef choose the best tomatoes, cucumbers and fruits. . Back at the hotel, he will lead a relaxed cooking class, with plenty of patience for novice cooks who need to work on their knife skills.

PS: This is part of Hilton’s LXR brand, which is useful for people who care about loyalty points and international service standards, but nothing feels like a chain hotel.

Sharon P. Juarez