As the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum prepares to open for its first full season, Scape Design Associates, the practice responsible for the resort’s stunning landscape design, has revealed its vision for this high profile project. It was, they say, the creation of a seamless flow between indoors and out where little bits of discovery as well as the big views all make for stunning memory-making moments.
The Mandarin Oriental Bodrum is the hotel group’s first resort in Europe and is located on a 60 hectare site on the northern side of a peninsula offering panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. Built over a series of levels nestled in the landscaped hillside, the resort comprises 109 luxurious guestrooms and suites, all with sun-decks, terraces or balconies and many with a private garden and infinity edged pool. There are numerous restaurants and bars, an extensive spa and a wide range of leisure facilities, each painstakingly located between the hotel at the summit and two beautifully crafted beaches on the shoreline.
Working with the topography of the site and the existing olive groves, pine forest and natural water courses, Scape Design Associates was responsible for creating and siting the main public landscape areas, from arrival court to stepped swimming pools and spa gardens as well as external terraces to the main restaurants. The firm also designed the landscape to each villa. The challenge was to weave the landscape around the buildings, creating the sense that they both might have been there for years, naturally growing together over time like an ancient settlement on the shores of the sea.
The journey along the entry road winds through a forest where carefully selected and located trees frame views of the Aegean Sea below. The main lobby building sits astride a hillside spur surrounded by terraces of olive trees. A frame of fig trees and bougainvillea herald arrival at the hotel. Stone paths lead guests through the stepped landscape to the many pockets of amenities and on down to the beaches while an abundance of natural hillside planting and native grasses grow around and over local stone walls. Importantly, the landscape story cannot be seen in one view but rather is a series of interlocking spaces, some open, some intimate, that unfold along the journey. Although the overall site is quite compact, it feels large and offers much to discover thanks to its tiers and many secluded spaces.
Each built facility has its individually crafted location. The main pool deck, for example, benefits from tiered infinity edged pools; private cabanas dot the landscape under old trees, each one perfectly placed to capture stunning views and the speciality restaurant and beach bar are sited in the best waterfront location creating a unique entertainment venue hidden from the main hotel. The tranquil spa garden is a very special destination with a dramatic water feature carved through it, spilling into pools and secluded areas such as the outdoor sauna. The garden also offers up a tranquil tea lounge surrounded by water, while groupings of sculptural cypress trees and jasmine creepers fill the air with scent around the entrance to the treatment rooms.
Planting was key in blending buildings and landform. The retention and additional planting of large pine and olive trees was combined with a ground layer palette offering seasonal colour and fragrance. More than 500 semi-mature trees were purchased from Turkey and Italy and thousands of plants, mainly from local nurseries, were introduced. As a result, the gardens are full of Mediterranean colour and rich texture.
“The beauty of the resort, created through the seamless link between landscape, building architecture and outdoor facilities, appears and feels to be entirely natural. In fact, every siting, material and plant has been carefully considered to ensure guests enjoy the greatest sense of luxury and well-being imaginable,” says Phil Jaffa, Founder, Scape Design Associates. “This was an especially important project for everyone on the team, not least Mandarin Oriental since it was their first European resort. So we were determined to set a new milestone and are delighted that it has been so well received.”
Other members of the design team included: architecture and interior design studio Antonio Citterio Patricia Vieland Partners from Milan, lighting designers Metis Lighting, also from Milan, and local interiors practice MetexDesign from Istanbul.