I know this blog is for cool Istanbul but so much of ‘cool’ Istanbul residents move to Turkbuku in the summer and I’ve spent a fair amount of time myself there this summer that I thought I’ll dedicate a post entry to Turkbuku before the summer is over.Turkbuku is on the north side of Bodrum peninsula, but is very different to other Bodrum resorts of Gumbet, Torba, Turgutreis, etc. It is mainly a Turkish resort, very upmarket and outrageously expensive. It is similar in feel (though not in look) to St Tropez, Miami Beach, etc with expensive yachts, celebrities (Turkish and International), expensive restaurants, exclusive beach clubs, big villas, VIP clubs.
Turkbuku is a new resort. 15 years ago there was a small village and one restaurant on a jetty (Mey), well, things have changed.
Turkbuku is on a beautiful bay, quite big, with its neighbouring bay Golkoy. They brought the 2 bays under the same administration last year and started calling in Golturkbuku but no one calls it that!! Turkbuku it is. Golkoy is quieter and laid back.
Now Turkbuku is not for everyone but there are many lovers of Turkbuku (myself included)
Turkbuku bay is divided into 2, divided by the river flowing into the sea. If you’re facing the sea, the left side is the happening side, the right side, well, the more relaxed (read not smart enough)
On the smart side there are jetty after jetty of bars, restaurants, beach clubs and night clubs, all in one place. Let me explain – during the day they are beach clubs where you either rent a bed or gazebo for the day or pay an entrance fee, then they are sunset bars around 7, they become restaurants around 9 and bar and club after midnight.
After you spend a week in Turkbuku, you would feel like you have jet lag as the day begins around 1pm and end around 6am.
There aren’t that many hotels in Turkbuku as the main crowd from Istanbul either have summer villas there or come with their yachts (ideally both)
The hotels are of very good quality:
Ada Hotel : a beautiful small boutique hotel of the Relais and Chateau group with an exquisite Turkish Bath. A little uphill, but with a jetty beach club and free shuttle service. http://www.adahotel.com/
Maca Kizi : A very established hotel and beach club at the end of the bay. Very popular. http://www.macakizi.com/
Maki Hotel : Next to Maca Kizi with a popular beach club. http://www.makihotel.com.tr/
Divan Palmira : In the heart of all action, with a nice pool area, nice beach club and a great bar. An old favourite with many people, some who spend the whole season there. http://www.divan.com.tr/hotel/palmira/default.asp?sxx=0
Iber Princess Hotel : A large hotel, at the end of the bay, on its own small picturesque peninsula. Modern hotel but has a wonderful beach club. This summer the hotel became All Inclusive and went a bit downmarket with the clientele (packet tours etc), only the private villas are still OK with their own VIP beach. http://www.turkeyhotelsguide.net/iberhotelbodrumprincessturkey.html
Kuum Hotel. Opened this year, weird modern architecture, very minimalist and a great beach club http://www.id-mag.com/article/kuum/
Ev Hotel : Minimalist villas, Ian Schrager style, on top of the hill. Very trendy, very expensive. http://www.designhotels.com/hotels/europe/turkey/bodrum/ev_bodrum_turkey
Top Beach Clubs 2008 :
Beach clubs in Bodrum are the place to be during the day unless you have your own boat or invited to a friend’s boat. They usually charge 75YTL to 100 YTL entrance fee, but whatever you spend inside is taken off this so it is a way guarantee a minimum spend for you. If you spend more then this, you must pay the extra.
Maca Kizi, http://www.macakizi.com/
Bianca http://www.biancabeach.com/ – large beautiful and fun. Great bar scene around 6pm where the beautiful people of Turkbuku flock for the sunset party. Has a great Greek Tavern at nights.
Iber Princess Hotel – very pretty but clientele gone down this year.
Kuum Beach – The highlight of 2008, great location, beautiful sea, great service. My favourite. With a new hotel http://www.id-mag.com/article/kuum/
Lola and Ada – next to each other in the bay, small jetties, but don’t have minimum spend, you hire beds for the day for around 6YTL. Good bar and restaurant service in both.
Top Restaurants and Clubs
Shipahoy : The top top top club is Shipahoy and has been for years. A beach club during the day, in the evening it transforms to the hottest place to be. http://www.shipahoybodrum.com/
White barrels act as bar tables and the few seats are bottle service only for the VIPs (which are plenty in Turkbuku) Large tip is needed to secure these. Hundreds of people, young and old, decend here ta night to drink the expensive cocktails (25 – 30 YTL each) and sort of shuffle to the great club music later at night interspersed with Turkish tunes.
Guverte. At the unpopular end of the bay, they host popular Turkish singers and performers all summer. Program starts around 1.30am, set price for music and local drinks, price depends on the performer.
Fidele : Great restaurant, next door to Shipahoy, mainly seafood, with their signature mezes and main courses. http://www.fidelehotel.net/indextr.htm
Divan Palmira, Macakizi, Maki hotels have good restaurants.
Many many more restaurants along the bay from Casita Manti to Changa, Bodrum Manti, all have their main locations in Istanbul.
Dress Code : Turkbuku is unique and have its own dress code among all of the holiday resorts. It is a weird mixture of dress down beach with designer wear. I’ll speak about women here as men don’t care what they wear, linen shirts, shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, anything dress down goes. It’s the girls who go mad!
Beachwear is designer label bikinis, the smaller the better, preferably with sequins and sparkly bits on. On top of the bikini, a trendy loose kaftan of any colour, , short or long, again with sequins. This kaftan can either be designer or bought from ‘Ipekce’ shop on the Turkbuku bay, selling Indian sourced kaftans and jewellery. On top of the kaftan you need chunky cheapish jewellery of glass, beads, semi precious stones such as turquoise, amber. Large bracelets, necklaces hair accessories, anklets, they don’t need to be taken out while swimming, though I fail to understand how they can stay afloat with so many stuff on!! Hair this year was big. It has to be styled so that it looks like you’ve just woken up, put a hair clip on and came down the beach, which can only be achieved after careful grooming. Some women wear high heeled wedges and some wear trendy flip flops, either is acceptable, depending on how tall you are I suppose.
Night time, this uniform is more or less kept, maybe a pair of shorts and a longer kaftan sometimes, not necessarily. You only need to add a lot of make-up and you’re there!!
Typical Day in Turkbuku :
Wake up at 12.
Beach club around 1.30pm
Beach party in beach club, or sunset drinks in Shipahoy or Divan : 6 – 8pm
Home for rest, wash and change
Dinner : 10pm – 12
Bar : 12- 2am
Club or watch performer : 2- 5am
Morning eat in Bodrum Manti : 5- 6am
Not much English is spoken in Turkbuku and menus are usually in Turkish but the quality of food and service is very good as they depend on repeat customers. This place is the choice of many celebrities from Olivier Martinez to Cavalli to Uma Thurman and Paris Hilton. What can I say, they liked it.
Have fun in Turkbuku!!