Headed up by former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, D Maris Bay's tennis school means you'll spend more time on the court than on the beach
Seclusion. Retreat. Peace. Music to the ears of those of us who live in a big city. D Maris Bay, nestled in a serene corner of south-west Turkey, offers these qualities in spades.
Let’s get it out of the way now: it’s really, really nice. Of course it is. It’s one of Turkey’s top resorts and features first-class service, exceptional restaurant options and caters to a crowd that accepts no less than the best. But what sets it apart from its rivals, if anything?
The Mytha Anthology group, which owns the hotel, wants guests to experience something it calls “Mytha moments” – outstanding experiences that push a holiday from the ordinary to the extraordinary. My own “Mytha moment” came when stepping aboard the Paşa, one of three yachts it operates. Or, to be more accurate, when it sailed through the Datça peninsula, in a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in Game of Thrones (albeit with fewer dragons).
The beaches have some of the clearest water in the region and the white sand, shipped over from Egypt, stays cool in the searing temperatures, which averaged 35˚C during our stay. Beach parasols feature bells to alert staff to your every need – which should give you some idea of the kind of clientele and level of service here.
But it’s not all about sitting on the beach at D Maris Bay. A focus on wellness has culminated in an onsite tennis school led by Goran Ivanisevic. The one-time Wimbledon Champion doesn’t actually run the sessions, but there’s a team of fully-trained coaches who will help you work on your game. The courts are well-maintained and a pleasure to play on, although the heat makes playing between the hours of 10am and 6pm a challenge most don’t take up.
This means trainers are fully booked in the evenings and getting a slot can be difficult, which somewhat contravenes the ask-and-you-will-receive ethos of the hotel. I only managed a couple of sessions during my stay, which was a little disappointing.
I managed to buck myself up by exploring the resort’s other wellness facilities, the Bodyism gym and Chenot spa. I enjoyed a semi-gruelling session at the former, being put through my paces by possibly the most attentive trainer I’ve ever encountered. Although performing squats, tackling battle ropes and grimacing through elbow planks isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday, it forms part of a lifestyle that many guests here seem to subscribe to. A subsequent much-needed massage helped me return to the relaxing element of my stay.
The resort’s stellar restaurant options are plentiful, including Nusr-et, a steakhouse made famous by the Salt Bae meme that retains popularity through the sheer quality of its food. The breakfast buffet was a slight let-down in comparison, with depressing tasting fruit and sad pancakes sweating in a steam tray. However, sticking with the Turkish breakfast options had better results – gözleme (traditional savoury Turkish flatbread ) made fresh in front of me was as good as any I’ve had in Turkey.
The only other disappointment was the patchiness of the wi-fi in some spots, including our room – maybe it shouldn’t have been a concern in “paradise”, as several people described it to me, but it’s nice to have the option of adding a picturesque scene to your Instagram stories.
But it’s a small price to pay. Most people I spoke to had been coming back to the resort year after year – it wasn’t a case of been there, done Datça. “It’s the annual family holiday,” one beachgoer told me. And, after my stay, I might just join them in becoming a regular.
The two-hour drive from Dalaman airport, 25km closer to the hotel than Bodrum International, takes in the hills that make this region so spectacular. There’s also the option of a helicopter transfer if you’re feeling particularly flash. It gets you to D Maris in 20 minutes but costs around £1,500 each way, compared to £80 for a taxi.
The resort itself features five world class beaches. Located in an area of natural beauty, where the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas meet, D Maris feels secretive and unspoiled.
While the rooms themselves are well designed and pleasing to sleep in (be sure to explore the pillow menu to get the best option for your specific neck needs), it’s outside the hotel where the magic really lies. It’s worth paying a little extra to reserve a sea view room – you’ll feel more relaxed just for taking it in. The rooms are well air-conditioned, tastefully designed and surprisingly spacious, especially if you’re used to city hotels. The smart room features, which give guests control of the lights and temperature via a touch panel, are easy to use but were at times unresponsive, though this was a minor quibble.
Datca Yolu Hisaronu Mevkii 35. Km Marmaris Mugla, Hisarönü, 48700
00 90 252 441 2000; dmarisbay.com
Doubles from €330 per night, B&B. During the Tennis School summer season, D Maris Bay offers a five-night stay for two people sharing a Deluxe Mountain Room, B&B, from €2,404. This includes four 60-minute Hard Court Tennis Lessons, a recovery drink following each session at the Tennis Bar, return airport transfers from Dalaman Airport, a 30-minute catamaran lesson and a space available room upgrade on arrival.
Ibrahim flew to Dalaman with Monarch Airlines (monarch.co.uk), which operates flights to Dalaman from Birmingham, London Gatwick, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and London Luton airports, from £170 return.
Access: Rooms are accessible and lifts are available