Famous for shisha, Turkish delight and kebabs, it may come as a surprise to learn that Turkey is quickly becoming a hotspot for the health conscious traveller. Bodrum, situated on the West Coast, has quietly undergone its own wellbeing renaissance and now offers many varieties of yoga, meditation classes and hiking trials, transforming it into the glittering and secret LA of the Aegean coast.
Where to stay
Among a hilly landscape offering sublime views of the bay, it is more than appropriate that the Greek poet Homer coined it as the “Land of the Eternal Blue”. Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay was the first International Luxury Hotel to open its doors to Bodrum’s visitors and continues to welcome and impress guests from around the world with its five star service and impeccable facilities. Sprawling over 70.000 square metres of a picturesque land, the hotel offers its own private blue flagged sandy beach, an infinity pool, an impressive spa and luxury gym, making Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay the perfect location for the sun, sweat and zen-seeking traveller. Even in your room you won’t be able to forget where you are; the balconies are truly cartwheel-friendly (they’re huge) providing panoramic views of the sparkling sea and coast.
The 5,500 sqm spa is spacious and graced with beautiful views of the Aegean Sea. Upon arrival you’re immediately transformed to a state of peace; lit by candlelight and enveloped by incense, you’re robed-up and warmly welcomed with ginger tea, sweet almonds and the sound of quiet mediation music.
The therapists at the Sanitas Spa offer over 30 treatments from around the world. Using products from only natural ingredients, therapies include: Ayuvedic treatments, Hamman rituals (including a coffee, seaweed or sea salt scrub – hello long-lasting tan), lymph drainage, Thai massage and many body wraps and facial peels.
Visiting practitioner, Deniz Susever has provided many alternative therapies for almost 20 years and under her consultation you may experience either Watsu massage, (a super interesting form of body massage performed while floating in 35 degree water), a Reflex Balance Massage, Hypnosis, Reiki or even Emotional Freedom Techniques.
The philosophy of the Spa is to engender a sense of peace and wellbeing which long outlasts your trip. The treatments can be tailor-made to suit your various needs or imbalances, so from chakras to hamstrings, your therapist is sure to have your back (quite literally). There is also a colour therapy room and vitamin bar in addition to special Purification Programmes, so you’ll leave feeling revived and rejuvenated from the inside and out. With personal health consultations and wellness coaching, your stay at Hotel Kempinski can provide positive hacks on how to improve your health in the long and short term.
Daily hatha yoga can be arranged via The Spa Concierge and is provided regardless of interest (so you can be the only one in the class – always useful for finding out you’ve been downward dogging wrong this whole time!). The classes take place outdoors among sweeping views of the coast. You can cool off afterwards in the infinity pool and sample the seasonal and organic juice menu (watermelon, mint, cucumber and lime was my personal refreshing favourite). If you fancy a different type of yoga, concierge will be happy to assist you. Local options include SUP yoga (a 90 minute class with an hour on a paddle board) at Haute Boards or Ashtanga yoga at The Yoga Centre.
The hotel has its own 1 hour hilly hiking trail which (you guessed it) culminates in breathtaking views. You can also arrange longer and more strenuous treks with a tour guide and a group (tip: Pip & Nut’s hand-luggage-friendly Squeeze Packs offer the perfect fuel for a hot day’s hiking). Upon your return to the hotel and to the secluded Gokova Bay, you can refuel on their beautiful sun deck or silent beach (no phones allowed, imposing a perhaps well needed social media detox) with a menu which includes fresh fish and tasty salads (and ripe avocados – hallelujah).
Aside from the hotel’s wellness credentials, it’s also a stone’s throw from many historic places of interest, including the imposing medieval castle built by the Knights of Rhodes and two (!) of the Seven Wonders of The World, the Mausoleum and Temple of Artemis. The hotel offers a shuttle bus to the centre of town every 30 minutes, meaning exploring the cobbled streets is cheap and hassle-free.
Words by Georgia Devon-Spick