New and ultra-chic Murat Reis is a hidden gem in the incredible area of Ayvalik – a part of Turkey that has long been a favourite destination for locals but little known outside the country. Stylish and smart, this spectacular hotel is the only one of its kind, including captivating views of the Aegean coast and a once in a lifetime opportunity to discover an undiscovered Turkish Delight. Set on a spectacular panoramic location, the Murat Reis Hotel has just completed a major renovation transforming the hotel’s luxurious 91 rooms, luxury bungalows and Exclusive Villa. It’s stylishly modern with a Mediterranean accent: whitewashed greys, crisp blue striped linens and light coloured Turkish Travertine marble floors. The luxury resort offers breath-taking natural views, lush green gardens and pine trees wrapped around the legendary slopes of the Kaz mountains; accented by calming waterways and what may be the loveliest sunsets in the world.
Known for its oxygen rich, clean air, the area is a major draw. Indeed, Ayvalik represents undiscovered Turkey at its best. Ayvalık Islands Nature Park is Turkey’s largest nature reserve in Turkey, with the richest underwater floor structure. Nearby there are more than twenty islands that form an ecological niche of underwater flora and fauna and 60 diving locations that provide suitable conditions all year long. Red corals have been identified in 34 places – more than the Red Sea – and helpfully, there is daily diving instruction on offer.
With two million olive trees, the area is famous for both its olives and olive oil – and it’s beauty. The charming, centuries old stone houses are built in traditional Greek materials in neo-classical style and the nearby island of Cunda (just 10 minutes away by boat) houses the Taxiarchis Church, a great example of traditional Byzantine architecture. Ayvalik has recently become a surfer’s paradise as well, as the wind that blows landward from the sea is ideal for surfing, windsurfing and the increasingly popular parachute surfing.
Naturally, with so many islands nearby, the seafood is incredible. There is gilt head, bream (dorata), red mullet, sea bream, red sea bream (coral fish), dentex, sea bass, bogue, squid, octopus, prawns, sea urchins, clams… and of course, the skullcap which is a fish unique to Ayvalık.
Murat Reis offers sunset wine tastings, two chic restaurants offering a wide selection of modern Mediterranean foods along with incredible views. There is a deck bar, pool bar and lobby bar all on offer and for the highly motivated, a vast menu of water-sports including waterskiing, wakeboard, monoski, ringo, matte, canoe, and SUP. In the Murat Reis luxury spa and fitness centre there is a heated open pool, sauna, steam room and Turkish Bath and all gym equipment affords excellent sea and island views whilst exercising. There are opportunities to visit local olive oil factories, the ancient Leka Panagia Monastery, and both city and island tours.