27 October 2016

Indulge in the views: D Hotel Maris overlooks the azure Aegean
Paradise found on the Aegean coast
Deborah Arthurs discovers Turkey's divine haven where she wants to stay forever
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o call D-Hotel Maris a playboy's playground is to do this earthly Eden a disservice. Yes, you can indulge in sailing, yachting, wakeboarding, mountain biking, paragliding, sunbathing, hot-tubbing, bar-hopping and kayaking (you get the picture). But this hub of perfection on Turkey's Dalaman coast is so much more than that. Without meaning to resort to hyperbole, the D-Hotel Maris really does feel like Paradise.

Except that I've read the bible, and Jesus doesn't mention a 100-ft yacht, five beaches, an infinity pool and its own island. Oh and Zuma - if the other four restaurants don't tickle your tastebuds. The hotel is perched on the pine-clad hillside of the Datca peninsula, 25 miles from Marmaris in south-western Turkey.
Relax in the pool at the D Maris hotel
A Deluxe Room at the D Maris Hotel
Or maybe it's going to the Colisseum - a beach lined with a fleet of catamarans and a serene decked area with swimming platform, white-curtained cabanas and, oh yes, another champagne bar. Proof, if any were needed, that this is a place of luxury and refinement. There is also a top-of-the-range gym that hosts a pop-up by Bodyism - the elite fitness brand renowned for transforming supermodels' and civilians' bodies from London to LA. If the thought of all the sailing, tennis, waterskiing or cycling is enough to send your recalcitrant thighs into shock, a world of opportunity is available for the holidaymaker who prefers to spend their downtime supine.
The 200-room, 28-suite property overlooks a glorious expanse of sparkling azure sea, which meets rolling hills that turn from blueish green to violet as they fade into the horizon. Down in the bay a speedboat pootles towards a jetty, taking guests from bar to lounger and back again, whether for passion fruit martinis at Aqua, to the silent beach (no phones, no children, no music) or the private executive club beach.
"The property overlooks a glorious expanse of sparkling azure sea."
An ESPA-stocked spa, cocktails at sunset, a vast, pristine white hammam. The beaches too will provide plenty of opportunity for those who want to do nothing. Like me, you might want to lie in the white sand, marvelling at how it really does not stick to your body.

That is because the sand is shipped in from Egypt because it is whiter and softer to the touch, doesn't cloud the turquoise waters - and doesn't cling to the skin. And it is laid in the water by hand. Grain by grain. It is the sort of attention to detail you'd expect when you discover that the hotel is owned by one of Turkey's wealthiest businessmen, Ferit Sahenk.

He is also the largest distributor of VW, is a part-owner of Zuma (hence the restaurant) and owns Turkey's Conde Nast offerings, including Vogue and GQ.
"The décor is impeccable, the onus on crisp lines, quality materials and impeccable finish."
Watch over the jetty as you dine in style at Zuma
The Bellariva Restaurant at D Maris
He is behind the development of the hotel, which saw it turned from a bucket-and-spade destination into something that feels luxury and boutique, despite its size. The service is infallible - and I tried to catch them out. I was my usual irritating self, ordering off-menu, asking for strange coffees and making complicated requests. But each time they came through. The décor is impeccable, the onus on crisp lines, quality materials and impeccable finish. Three materials - walnut, bronze and white travertine stone - dominate. Hefty design books line shelves in the lobby; a giant Helmut Newton tome tops a marble table in the suite. In sea-facing rooms, the bath - more than big enough for two - has a huge picture window overlooking the bay. Elsewhere you can bathe overlooking pine forests or mountainsides.

Suites have Nespresso machines and maxibars with full-sized bottles, and handmade drawers housing full-sized glassware. The luxury villa, costing from £4,000 a night, is something else. The floor and walls are cut from one single piece of callacatta marble. A gleaming kitchen houses an immense Gaggenhau wine fridge, Porsche design knives and a chef to put them to use, if you wish. Cedar wardrobes, a four-poster bed, a white marble hammam, a private garden with pool and a 24-hour butler complete the picture. If money is no object, I say take the Presidential suite.

This one-bedroom suite, usually occupied by Turkish celebrities, footballers, and royalty, has the hotel's best views. Curving along the entire sea face, it is a vision. The terrace feels like its own destination, with hot tub and sauna. This is the place to come to party. Or just to lie face down under the sun and hope no one notices you haven't checked out. As the seaplane taking me to Dalaman airport lifts up into the warm air, I almost have to hold back sobs. I realise there's only one bad thing I can say about D-Hotel Maris - that I can't live in the Presidential Suite forever.

Original article published in Apr 2015. All info and prices correct at time of publication.
Take time out on the Silence Beach at D Maris
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