Turkey has been on our radar ever since a friend of ours visited and shared stories of the most incredible hot air balloon experience in the world, the Middle Eastern and Greek-influenced landscape, and just how friendly the locals were.
Before heading out on a group tour to be fully immersed in the country, we decided to take a holiday from our holiday (hear me out) because the last few months we had been spending in Europe had been quite full-on.
We realised we needed just a few days to escape the world and actually stop to relax. Sometimes a busy holiday schedule isn’t what your body needs to de-stress. Instead, you need a few days just lounging around and eating delicious food.
Six Senses was a name that had popped up here and there, but we had yet to fully experience one of their resorts. We thought Turkey would be the perfect spot to give them a shot, especially at their brand new estate expansion in Kaplankaya on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
Price: €650 per night (around $AU1,020)
Seaview Ridge Villa with pool
Arriving at our hotel and checking in
To stay on board with this resort’s theme of enjoying the natural beauty of Turkey hidden away in a Mediterranean valley, you need know that it requires getting out of the city to enjoy the tranquillity Six Senses are selling.
So for some the location may be quite an inconvenience, but with a price tag of over $AU1,000 per night, those planning an escape may already have this “getaway from the tourist hustle” as a reason to book.
There are numerous ways to get to the hotel, including private boat, private helicopter (yep you read that right) or car transfer, taking 10-30 minutes depending on your choice.
Because we were on an extended trip in Europe we opted in for the more reasonably-priced car transfer in a luxurious Mercedes Benz, which was pre-booked and organised for €75. But we really did have our eyes set on that €750 heli transfer. Maybe next time.
The room details: Seaview Ridge Villa with pool
- 46㎡ Luxurious Room
- Spacious marble bathroom, double vanity and shower, including a lounge area
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Private swimming pool 12㎡
- Views of the Aegean sea
- King-size bed
- Walk-in closet and dressing area
- Complimentary bathroom amenities by the Organic Pharmacy
- Yoga mat, beach bag and thongs
- Complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities as well as sparkling and still water
- 42” television with satellite channels
- Marshall Bluetooth speaker
The check-in process
Once you are in the private estate of Kaplankaya, you are in for the full experience, and wow was it a ride! It all begins at check-in. After driving up to the top floor of a five-storey high architectural wonder, you start to realise just how well-designed the resort is.
The main building works its way down from the top of the valley, housing everything from the reception area right down to their breakfast restaurant, with a spa, hairdresser, gym, and just about everything else you need in between.
Embracing the natural coastline and blending contemporary design with the valley setting, each building is nestled into the grass, trees and flora covering the resort. It almost seems like a futuristic utopia, but of course with a $1,000 entry ticket your credit card may be using the word ‘dystopia’ instead.
The resort is split into two styles of accommodation. The first is located inside the five-storey high main building, which also houses the reception, multiple bars and restaurants as well as the gym and the spa. Rooms in the main building start at around €350 per night ($AU550) and all include sea views.
The second half of the resort is where the escape truly begins, with Six Senses Ridge Villas. We went for their one-bedroom villa with a pool, but they also have options without a pool, and family rooms of up to three bedrooms.
Our very quick check-in process included welcome drinks and a member of staff escorting us to a buggy which drove us up to our room. Here we walked down into our Seaview Ridge Villa, which felt like our own private home rather than a room in a hotel.
The 46㎡ luxurious villa is placed on a large lot with a 12㎡ private swimming pool, a terrace and a massive backyard. They spared no expense when it came down to just how much space you actually have.
You can’t help but notice the pool upon arrival. It has that infinity pool feel to it, as the design keeps the flow of the water going off the side of the villa as if it’s falling into the Aegean sea. There were times when we were relaxing watching the sunset and it seemed as if the pool was the same colour as the sea.
Walking into our villa we were met with a king-size bed fitted with a nautical theme of ropes and shells above the headboard. The resort is on the Mediterranean coast and they are fully embracing it.
After admiring the bedroom, your eyes can’t help but swing by the mini bar and its grand collection of large (and expensive) alcoholic spirits with liqueurs whose cost per sip we didn’t dare check. Our favourite part of the mini-bar came in the form of a wide selection of black and herbal teas, as well as a Nespresso machine for our caffeine fix.
If you decide to have a night in, there are plenty of local and international satellite stations playing on the flat-panel TV, as well as a Marshall Bluetooth system for audiophiles. The Wi-Fi met our needs for uploading and downloading large files, so for the average user it’s more than enough for high-speed internet, even though it’s almost an hour outside the main city.
Before we checked out the bathroom, we couldn’t help but be reassured about just how big the space was when we had our own walk-in closet. (Just a personal note - you honestly don’t want to share a room with us. As soon as we are in, our two bags are flipped open and clothes slowly cover the floors, so for us having a “containment” room for our luggage and clothes meant we could enjoy a clutter-free bedroom.)
The marble bathroom with double vanity, separate toilet and waterfall shower, topped off with a lounge chair, still managed to feel large. I don’t know how they fit everything in, but they do. The bathroom amenities are by the Organic Pharmacy, with bottled water (bottled on site at Six Senses) replenished daily.
Now we can make our way outside to talk about the pool with accompanying outside shower, a further sitting area, yoga mat to relax on and two deck chairs to complete the backyard. Yes, I generally wouldn’t use the word ‘backyard’ in a hotel review, but that’s what it felt like. The kinda backyard you wish you had at home, with your own gardener who took care of everything for you.
Every Seaview Ridge villa has its own spot of the Aegean sea to gaze at as the sun goes down. The room is a destination in itself. You almost don’t want to explore the resort, but that’s where Six Senses Kaplankaya really shines.
The TLDR version is: the space is massive, the rooms are big but cosy and there’s a very expensive mini-bar waiting for you to have a drink as you watch the sun set over the Aegean sea from your infinity pool.
Deciding whether you want to take the buggy back to the main building, or walk, is just the first of many decisions you need to make at this resort, especially when your stomach starts to growl and you’ve convinced yourself that you probably shouldn’t just stay in and order room service.
Wild Thyme restaurant
We experienced the Wild Thyme restaurant on our arrival night because we made it into the resort quite late. So after taking a few moments to enjoy our room, our stomachs started to talk to us as we made our way towards Wild Thyme. Here we enjoyed a pre-dinner cocktail from a cart (why don’t all restaurants have this?) and some delicious fresh fish from the Aegean sea.
8/10, would eat here again.
Meze by the Sea
As this was our first stop in Turkey, we had yet to try any local dishes, so heading out to their Meze-based restaurant (Meze being a popular style of food here in Turkey) was a memorable experience.
Upon arrival at the restaurant we almost felt as if we had gatecrashed a beautifully laid-out wedding reception, with strings of lanterns hanging between the multiple fruit trees.
Before we even saw a menu (which we will get to later) a waiter and his assistant brought out a gigantic tray containing easily two dozen smaller plates. This is Meze, a style of starter where you have a bunch of different dishes and flavours to accompany your meal.
After we gave up and realised we couldn't possibly get through more than eight plates, the assistant placed down our eight-plate starter kit while our waiter escorted us to the grill. There, instead of a menu, we had fresh seafood and fish placed out for our choosing.
We decided to have grilled fish, with some calamari and octopus to add to our already overflowing table.
10/10, best meal we have had on our trip so far.
Anhinga Restaurant, Beach and Bar
You think the restaurant experiences stop here? Well, how about having to jump into the resort’s Tesla to drive to what Condé Nast Traveler calls “One of the best new beach bars of 2018”?
After our first-ever Tesla experience, taking us around the coast to the other side of the Kaplankaya resort, we found the Anhinga Restaurant, Beach and Bar. This Italian restaurant is adjacent to a beautiful beach (as the name implies) so if you are looking for a quick pizza, sunset dinner or just some cocktails, this is where you can easily spend your day.
7/10, great for casual dining.
To be honest, the biggest let-down at Six Senses Kaplankaya was the room service. The menu seemed to be based on offerings from different chefs and poorly-designed meals. We were lazy and opted in a few times, with each experience getting progressively worse until we gave up.
Options include pricey salads containing just a few vegetables and morning pancakes barely filling a plate, so if there’s one recommendation you take from us, make it this one: eat at the restaurants.
2/10, just skip it unless ordering drinks.
Other dining highlights we didn’t have time to experience during our three-night stay:
- Sage and Sea Restaurant (Aegean and Mediterranean-inspired cuisines)
- The Beach Bar (Casual dining with sun and sea)
- The Library Bar (A cosy and comfortable cocktail bar)
- The Alchemy Bar (Learn to cook using only raw products)
If you manage to drag yourself away from your room, the pool or even all the restaurants, then make sure you head into the main building to check out the spa.
Let’s start with what’s included here: there’s an indoor swimming pool, Watsu pool, a hydro-thermal area including a salt grotto, crystal steam room, experiential rains, Finnish sauna, hydrotherapy pool, heated lounges, foot therapy basins, relaxation lounges and even an igloo. Wow, that’s even before we sit down to talk about the spa treatments.
The wellness programs begin with your spa expert, who can recommend a wide range of spa experiences including:
- A wellness screening
- Holistic anti-ageing program
- Weight loss program
- Massages, facials and wellness therapies
There are few resorts where the whole experience can be defined as new, fresh and peaceful. This establishment is only just getting started, with the future leading to expansion and more experiences.
With a hefty price tag that is backed up with its promise, if you are looking for a destination resort with spacious open-plan rooms nestled into the Aegean coastline, then this could be your next spot.
Since we didn’t even touch on the Bodrum coastal experiences on offer, with one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus) just around the corner, and four restaurants we didn’t even step into, a three-night stay may not be enough to see everything at Six Senses Kaplankaya.
Six Senses Kaplankaya
Bozbük Mahallesi, Merkez Sokak No:198, 48200 Milas/Muğla, Turkey