Club Marvy, Izmir, Turkey
01 September, 2018
There are a few key ingredients every sunny holiday destination should have. First, a stretch of pristine sand sloping gently into the crystal waters of the Med (obviously no other sea will do in the summer months). Second, plenty of options to wine and dine every night (and day) away, preferably featuring local cuisine and talented chefs. Third, the kind of weather we can only dream about in drizzly London - the kind where summer lasts six months and rainy days are an irregular occurrence. If you can find all that without having to stray too far from your ocean-facing hotel room, you've probably found Club Marvy.
Nestled on the edge of the Aegean Sea just outside of Izmir (our pick for Turkey's soon-to-be hottest summer destination), Club Marvy embodies the sophisticated simplicity of easygoing Aegean life. Designed by acclaimed Turkish architect Fahrettin Aykut to blend so perfectly into the surrounding bay that if you squint a little the buildings are almost invisible, the newly revamped hotel has embraced a "less is more" approach to luxury that harks back to its Mediterranean roots. In fact, with a healthy respect for the surrounding environment and an appreciation of local products, principles and craftsmanship, everything at the hotel has been sourced from within a 200km radius, from the handwoven towels you'll find in the bathrooms to the organic house wines you'll find on the menus at each of the bars and restaurants. So committed was the hotel to using only local goods that they even cajoled tradespeople and ateliers who had long since stopped producing back into their workshops. This dedication has extended to having several artisans set up shop at the resort itself, meaning you can take more than just those pilfered toiletries home with you in your luggage.
From the moment you step into the airy, bohemian lobby to your last dip in the glittering infinity pool, you'll be well and truly in holiday mode, so pack your favourite floaty maxi and prepare to go barefoot all week long.
While 338 rooms might sound like a lot, you wouldn't know there were quite so many just by staying here. Spread out into well-hidden blocks, each of the minimalist rooms is decked out in neutral mochas and taupes, with handmade bedding and towels from the town of Buldan, famous for textiles and organic olive-oil toiletries. Book a sea-view room for the chance to sip your morning coffee while also drinking in the blue horizon, preferably clad in a hand-woven bathrobe.
What's for breakfast?
Head to the main restaurant for a buffet spread which will prove your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Opt for an omelette whipped up before your eyes, traditional Turkish dishes or just pile your plate high with fruits, yoghurts, cheeses and a range of freshly baked breads and pastries.
How about lunch and dinner?
There are options galore, all overseen by chef Semsa Denizsel of renowned Istanbul restaurant Canteen. Make sure you hit the main restaurant for lunch or dinner at least once, if only to sample the dizzying array of baklava on offer. For a less waistband-busting option, hit up Iskele Meyhane for a traditional Turkish taverna experience (featuring bucketloads of raki), Degirmen for local and Aegean specialties, or one of the three other restaurants for varying cuisines, all of which make use of produce from the organic farm just up the road.
Is there a bar?
Yes, there are no less than seven, in fact. But the ones you really need to know about are the Luvi Bar for skilled bartenders mixing interesting serves, and the Boho Beach Bar, where you can take your mojito right down to the water's edge.
As well as all the necessities, the hotel features a spa and Turkish hammam for optimum relaxation mode.
Things you should know
The hotel is family friendly, so stay away in July and August if you're not keen on sharing the pool with youngsters. Lucky that Izmir summer lasts well and truly into October...
Within a short distance you'll find…
If you do want to leave the beach, hire a car and hit the historical sights of Izmir's port town, or get an early start and head for the tiered pools of Pamukkale.