INTERVIEW: Cluster director of commercial strategy, Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Elif Derya Bakkal

Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum

Cluster director of commercial strategy, Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Elif Derya Bakkal speaks to Tatiana Tsierkezou exclusively about the property’s latest developments and sheds light on its alluring offering, which is the ideal fit for Middle Eastern travellers.

TTG: What is new at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum?
Kai Beach recently opened at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, offering a completely unique beach experience. It hosts an exciting line-up of surprise performances and projects, along with fantastic food and drinks, courtesy of a healthy menu dominated by Asian flavours with a Mediterranean twist.

We not only have our very own Chanel boutique onsite, but have also welcomed two very important local luxury brands that are newcomers to our paradise. Vakko is a gorgeous boutique where you can find elegant resort wear, tailored suits, monogrammed handbags, elegant shoes, accessories and luxury fragrances. Family owned local jewellery house, Gilan, which designs contemporary and high luxury haute jewellery, has also recently opened its doors at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum.

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For golfing enthusiasts, Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum is a mere 20-minute drive from one of the Aegean’s most spectacular golf courses, Regnum Golf Club. We even offer a special golf package to our guests which provides the perfect balance of recreation and relaxation for families.

Because sizzling summers are all about BBQs, we also invite our guests to join us every Tuesday for an exceptional Turkish BBQ experience at Blue Beach, with traditional kebabs accompanied by mouth-watering mezzes and a live band providing captivating entertainment.

We have also newly decorated five luxury villas and a suite. We can now offer guests seeking total privacy exactly what they desire. When combining the elegantly designed Alisya and Arya Villa with a Waterfront Suite, they may enjoy their very own bay within Paradise Bay. In Blue Beach Villa or Olive Tree Villa, a seductive blend of style, luxury and comfort awaits all our guests to spend the most amazing time possible with their loved ones.

Finally, our cabanas – the nearest and most secluded place to enjoy the azure waters – have been enhanced at our famous Blue Beach, which is especially attractive for visitors looking for a relaxing vacation. 

TTG: Why is Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum a tourist magnet and what makes it so unique?
What makes Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum unique is that we have luxury facilities and legendary service quality to cater to all types of travellers, from couples to large families with a wide range of interests. Our focus is always on providing our guests with the perfect setting to indulge in our five-star luxurious resort, where guests can take pleasure in the retreat’s luxurious facilities and beautiful surroundings of pine trees and olive groves, as well as stunning views of the aptly named Paradise Bay.

We are also strategically located between Europe and Asia, which is another plus for travellers from all around the world. As additional direct flights and the accessibility to Bodrum increases, we are expecting to welcome more and more guests, and share the legendary service of Mandarin Oriental with them.

TTG: Are there any initiatives in place to boost tourism to Bodrum?
Tourism has continued to increase and prosper in recent years and our Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, emphasised the importance of this industry when he spoke at the opening of the Turkish pavilion at the World Tourism Market 2018 in London last year, saying that he expects a 23 per cent increase by the end of this year (2019), allowing the country to reach its target of 48 million tourists.

Speaking to the representatives of the tourism sector, Ersoy said they will work on increasing the Ministry’s budget to promote Turkish tourism, and the UK and Germany will be the main promotion points. Russian speaking countries and Arab countries will be the next targets for promoting Turkey as a tourism destination.

TTG: What major travel trends have you picked up on over the last year?
We always see a high demand from guests looking to book large rooms and villas, which is perfect for large Middle Eastern families. All our villas of course provide the utmost in luxury hospitality, as we always aim to please all our visitors and make sure they visit us again.

In terms of activities and what guests like to experience in our hotel, there is no specific feature or activity to point at as we provide a wide range of activities to cater to everyone, from water sports, snorkelling and scuba diving courses to cultural and nature excursions, great for both adults and children.

Other hotel features include a Beach Kids’ Club, an Indoor Kids’ Club and Kai Beach Club with colourful beach performances.

We also have a world-class spa that is spread over two levels providing a great overall ambiance and calming views overlooking the Aegean Sea, so we try our best to target all age groups and demographics at our property through a selection of different programmes and features.

Adding to this, there is a privileged opportunity for our guests to reach the resort in three ways: helicopter, yacht or luxury vehicle.

TTG: Why is Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum perfect for Middle Eastern travellers? What can you offer them to make their stay more memorable and comfortable?
We constantly strive to improve our guest offerings by constantly adding new programmes and enhancements every season. Knowing our Middle Eastern travellers well, our aim is to ensure that we cater to their every need, whether that is through our outstanding villa offerings, luxurious service or providing the utmost in privacy and culinary experiences.

We understand our Middle East clientele very well and are flexible to provide anything that they might require. Our Arabic speaking butler team ensures that all guests are understood and every need is attended to.