The Kempinski Hotel at Barbaros Bay: Still Tops in Extraordinary Turkish Hotels

The Kempinski Hotel in Bodrum at Barbaros Bay is much more than an ordinary coastal luxury hotel in an up and coming vacation paradise. It is also a premiere destination resort for discriminating travelers from around the world. Here is why.

The Kempinski Barbaros Bay is about 20 minutes from the Turkish city of Bodrum. The hotel’s location is just far enough from the busy city center to ensure its guests complete privacy and serenity, yet close enough to Bodrum to enjoy the nightlife and vast historic treasures.

Bodrum is home to the famous castle of the Knights of St. John that was built by the Crusaders, and to King Mausolus’ Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

As you approach the hotel from the roadway, the first thing you notice is that the architecture is simple, but elegant in the way it communes with the natural elements of the craggy Turkish coast.

The topography is akin to that of Arizona – with an ocean.

Inside the Hotel

Kempinski registration desk

The lobby was quiet when we arrived. As we signed the register, we became aware of the distant sound of a piano coming from somewhere within.

We walked to a railing that provided a view of the lower lobby, and there seated at a grand piano was a young boy performing a very able rendition of Beethoven’s  9th Symphony, “Ode to Joy.” Unbeknown to our little fellow guest – an apparent piano prodigy – he provided us with the perfect first impression of a truly glorious hotel.

Location, location, location

The sprawling Kempinski overlooks the turquoise Barbaros Bay from a prominent bluff high above the blue Aegean.

Each of its 148 rooms and 25 suites has its own balcony from which to savor the gentle sea breezes by day and view the dazzling spectacle of limitless stars at night.

This is a photograph of a Bodrum Gullet schooner in the bay outside our room. We spent a day on the schooner, but that is a story for another time.

A luxury hotel dedicated to solitude and relaxation

The Kempinski Barbaros Bay is an oasis absent the complications of everyday life. It is easy to understand why so many come here to regroup and rejuvenate the body and inner spirit.

The water at Barbaros Bay

For your swimming and basking pleasure, the Kempinski boasts an exquisite infinity-pool that melts effortlessly into the Aegean.

Just below the infinity-pool lies a private sandy beach for guests who favor close and personal interaction with la mer.

Surrounded by history

Sitting on the beach, we could see billowing sails in the distance. We daydreamed of bygone eras and conjured visions of the thousands of sailing ships that visited these timeless shores – merchants and traders of oils, gems, and colorful textiles from the far corners of the ancient world.

Entrance to Museum

Nearby Bodrum has a renowned Museum of Underwater Archeology, where visitors can learn about the ships and cargo that sailed the Aegean in early times.

Might we have observed from our Kempinski beach vantage point the mooring site of Caesar’s galleys, or the rendezvous point where Anthony and Cleopatra warmed in the ancient Aegean sun? They were here – as was Alexander the Great, who conquered Bodrum (then known as Halicarnassus) in 334 BC.

Then and now

It is difficult to imagine how the sojourns of visitors in centuries past could be superior to what is available to couples and families vacationing at the Kempinski Barbaros Bay today.

The Sanitas Spa

After our musing on the beach, we were eager to experience the highly touted Sanitas Spa at the Kempinski – Condé Nast Traveler has selected this Kempinski Spa as one of the “Best 25 Spas in the World.” It was everything they observed, and more than we anticipated.

Finishing a soothing mineral soak, we happily assented to a sublime deep massage that was accompanied by wafting aromatic scents and ever so faint transcendental music – talk about bliss.

This amazing 59,000 square foot spa has fourteen indoor and two outdoor treatment rooms, an indoor pool, whirlpool, Turkish Hamam, Russian Bath, steam rooms – and much more. We left feeling like pampered limp noodles. After a refreshing post-spa swim, we were rejuvenated, energized, and ready for – food.

Welcome to delicious

The Kempinski Barbaros Bay has several outstanding restaurants offering local produce and seafood, International flavors, and oh-so-mouth-watering, Italian cuisine.

Breakfast buffet assorted rolls

A couple could spend an entire day eating their morning meal at this hotel and never get bored.

Scooped fresh bee honey from the comb. Pure and delicious!

Eating at the Kempinski Barbaros Bay befits royalty, which is exactly how they treat their guests. Do not fail to ask your Maitre D’ for a perfect pairing from the hotel’s extensive wine cellar.

If you go

The hotel is located about 45-minutes from Bodrum International Airport, which is well served by Turkish Airlines.

This Kempinski resort also offers excellent shopping, a state of the art health club, a complete guest business center, a fine library, and many more features that we could not fit into this short article

Find out about all that the Kempinski Barbaros Bay has to offer by looking at their website at

Happy travels.


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© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff




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