The word ‘Susona’ translates as ‘mermaid’ in Turkish mythology – and it’s also the namesake for this ocean-inspired hotel. Georgie Bentley-Buckle checked in to see how the luxury property from LXR Hotels & Resorts, Susona Bodrum, is paring back the region’s party-pro persona.
Review: Susona Bodrum, Turkey
Transforming Bodrum’s former Nikki Beach Resort, the opening of Susona Bodrum in 2020 embodies a new wave of refined hotels opening along Turkey’s most glamourous holiday hot spot. Reinventing the large white villas that are cast around the private piece of land, you can leave your bling at the door and instead slip into a state of unpretentious relaxation.
Located under 30 minutes from the airport, it’s a swift arrival to Susona. The white buildings are situated around the exposed circular peninsula which looks out over the surrounding ocean views; making it easy to navigate the property wherever you may be. In the hub can be found the main bar and restaurant, reception and bohemian boutique, with a spa and gym. On the perimeter are the cool suites and villas, plus Frankie’s Beach Club with its sushi restaurant, which alludes to its former life under the Nikki Beach brand.
A smooth design aesthetic is inspired by the rolling ocean waves, drawing the eye from buildings and lush vegetation to flowers and sea. Uniting Bodrum’s guests with the surrounding bountiful nature, the contemporary hotel has 70 rooms of various sizes, spanning from the sprawling suites to the four-bedroom villa complete with a private pool and manicured garden.
With just two of us, we checked into one of the more modest options available: the 50 square metre ‘King Deluxe Room’. Here the unoffensive white palate continued, with a well-lit marble bathroom and a large bed that looked out towards the ocean. Meanwhile, higher up are balcony sea view rooms and suites with open ocean views (some even with pools). For Selling Sunset vibes, you’ll want Susona’s 276 square meter villa that sleeps eight; with four bedrooms, a pool and plush floor to ceiling windows, it’s the most opulent retreat for luxe families or larger groups to check into.
With the largest deck in Bodrum, inspired by its mermaid namesake, Susona encouraged us to spend time beside the ocean, either in one of the cabanas or perched under a parasol on one of the more intimate decks, exclusively reserved for adults. On the other side of the property and beside the neighbouring four-star is the hotel’s family beach, a friendly stretch of sand with shallow waters for little paddlers.
A personal highlight was the enormous gym in the centre of the hotel – large and round with floor to ceiling windows, weights and cardio machines look out into the garden – alongside an additional outdoor gym and nearby tennis court. This sits in the same building as the equally spacious spa. Concealed in the cool basement, Susona’s spa is a myriad of treatment rooms that lead onto a gorgeous marble hammam, with an indoor hydrotherapy pool overlooked by sauna and steam rooms. For the true Turkish spa experience, choose from a variety of hammam treatments – from the traditional, where you’re scrubbed from head to toe, to the aromatic, enriched with shea butter, honey and argan oil. Meanwhile, massages include the Swedish ‘Stockholm’ or the ’Focus’ (which as it suggests, focuses on specific areas of the body). A clever combo for those who want to try it all is the ‘Welcome’ massage, which combines four different techniques in one treatment.
For a taste of the local culture, Susona hosts Aegean wine and cheese evenings, and guests can make the most of the mild evenings and clear starry nights are open-air cinema nights. Outside of the property, we enjoyed a guided city tour of Bodrum Town which is just a 15-minute taxi ride from the hotel. A visit to the ancient castle revealed historical treasures that have been unearthed in the last decade from a nearby shipwreck. Taking ourselves from past to present, we then navigated into Bodrum’s bazaar for late-night shopping and Turkish mezze while the bright moon dropped beneath the castle.
The hotel’s signature restaurant Malva is one of the hotel’s leading attributes. Celebrating local Aegean produce, Head Chef Necmi Ağaç’s micro-local approach notably includes serving Lionfish ceviche. A variety that is not indigenous to the region, this exotic newcomer is a potential threat to the Aegean marine life. With a conscious effort to support Bodrum’s natural balance and to maintain the population of the unwelcomed Lionfish, the restaurant has decided to serve this unusual fish on the menu. Excellently executed, it’s a must-try.
With everything sourced from local producers and farmers, the sustainable gastronomy on this menu is world-class. Other beautifully presented dishes include tuna with cucumber from the garden, a local tomato salad, grilled lamb loin and the fall-off-the-bone slow-cooked beef short ribs. The team encourage you to enjoy with bottles of local Turkish wine which they proudly enjoy having guests try.
Turkish culture also comes to life each morning at Susona’s Ezi Restaurant. For a traditional start to the day, fill your table with a sweet-savoury unison of locally baked pastries and bread, cheeses, olives, capers and fruit with pots of steaming Turkish coffee. Meanwhile, an attraction to outside guests is Frankie’s Beach Club. Set to the soundtrack of DJs that play throughout the week, it is overseen by the resident tabby cat ‘Frankie’. Drink cocktails at the swim-up bar and order Japanese favourites such as Californian rolls and nigiri with bottles of rosé wine at the chic poolside restaurant.
THE FINAL WORD
Susona is an example of how hospitality in Bodrum has mellowed and matured. Previously a destination where the party never ended, today you’ll find a hotel that champions sustainable dining and understated luxury.
Nightly start from £250. To book visit lxrhotels3.hilton.com