I had first discovered Six Senses Kaplankaya in Turkey in an article by Condé Nast Traveller, who are excellent at writing in such a way that entices me drop everything and book whatever it is they are talking about immediately.
Fast forward a year or so and the name popped up again, this time with a deal attached to it on one of my favourite luxury boutique hotel booking websites, Mr & Mrs Smith. No further encouragement needed, a couple of hours later and we were all booked to visit Six Senses in Turkey!
Six Senses Kaplankaya Review
This hotel has an interesting back story; it was originally opened in 2016 as Canyon Ranch Kaplankaya, a wellness resort and luxury spa brand very popular in the United States. For all intents and purposes, it was not really hotel at all, which appears to be one of the reasons it didn’t work.
No alcohol, no smoking, no kids basically translated to no fun and a remote location was just too restrictive, even for a wellness resort in Turkey; that coupled with the unrest in the country at at the time, it didn’t last long.
Rebranded as Six Senses, this Kaplankaya hotel reopened again in May 2018, still as a spa hotel, but this time with all the amenities of a luxury resort.
For those not familiar with the Six Senses brand, they operate luxury hotels and spas all over the world (mostly present in Asia) with a strong focus on wellness and sustainability.
I had heard excellent things about them and had wanted to stay at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman for my honeymoon, but hadn’t quite managed to work it into the itinerary. This was to be my first experience staying with them.
One note on my review, it is very much from the perspective of a guest of the hotel rather than from one of the wellness programmes at the spa, which I did not partake in.
Location & Getting There
You will see this Kaplankaya resort marketed as a luxury hotel near Bodrum. A subjective term, yes, but it will take you an hour and forty minutes to get there by road, so it isn’t so close! Luckily, as the airport lies north west of Bodrum, you will be at the hotel in under an hour by car.
We were flying in from Istanbul where we had just spent two fantastic days staying at the superb Witt Istanbul Suites and spending a good chunk of time hopping from one rooftop restaurant to the next.
I rarely book transfers directly with hotels as I generally find them to be around double the cost of a regular airport transfer. I booked with Hoppa, a company I hadn’t used before, who charged us £90 for a return transfer between hotel and airport. It was similar to the vehicle we had had in Istanbul, large with two rows of bench style seating facing each other.
They also had USB ports for device charging! It was very comfortable, which was a blessing as the road to Kaplankaya was mostly steep, winding and bumpy.
However, if a more dramatic entrance is your thing, the hotel can also organise transfers by boat or helicopter.
Check-in & Lobby
As you walk into the lobby of Six Senses Kaplankaya, you are met with huge windows in front of you overlooking the indigo sea. The space is very stylish, yet cozy and calming, and gave a great first impression.
On arrival we were met by the very lovely and smily Merve, who introduced herself as one of our Guest Experience Makers, or GEMs (best job title ever).
A GEM is on hand 24 hours a day to help you with whatever you want. For ease, we were even given a number we could WhatsApp them on, a very convenient touch.
We were planning a “fly and flop” job as we only had a week off work, had just had a couple of days exploring Istanbul and wanted to go home well rested, so we were quite low maintenance guest and didn’t take them up on their services.
Golf Buggy Tour
After checking in, our GEM then gave us two options; have a guided tour of the resort via golf buggy, or we could go straight to our rooms. I was keen to acclimatise and start planning my time there (once a planner, always a planner) and Danny was keen to locate the best spot for a beer, so golf buggy it was.
The resorts’ location is superb; clinging to the hillside overlooking the beautifully clear Aegean, it is what holiday dreams are made of. The outside of the hotel is nothing spectacular, but the subtlety works superbly as it blends well into the landscape behind.
The hotel complex is actually fairly huge and it would be a bit of a steep walk from the rooms not in the main hotel building to get to the hotel facilities. Merve however, assures me that they are happy to ferry the guests around via golf buggy should they so wish.
One thing did concern me during our tour in that we were consistently being shown things before then being told they were closed due to now being off season.
Whilst we were there in the first week of November, the resort was due to be open for another month and there had been no mention that any of the facilities would be unavailable during our stay.
However, still fresh with excitement of our new adventure and the splendid views, we decided to reserve judgment….. for the time being.
Bedrooms at Six Senses Kaplankaya
The hotel has a total of 141 rooms across eleven levels, so there is plenty of choice. The lower level rooms are in the main hotel complex with the more luxurious suites and villas sitting independently on the hillside nearby, with most of the latter equipped with their own private pools.
We opted for a Deluxe Room located in the main hotel, which is exactly the same as their entry level room except with the addition of a sea view, one of my favourite things to wake up to!
It was absolutely fantastic, so I can only imagine how amazing the other rooms in the hotel are. A 54 sqm, it was extremely spacious for what was essentially an entry level room, with a king bed (which passed all my comfiness tests) and big floor to ceiling glass sliding doors out onto our smallish balcony with some fantastic views out across the Aegean Sea.
The décor was on the contemporary side and very minimalistic, with wooden floors, cream walls and various accents of blue across the soft furnishings.
Separated by a partial panelled wall is a desk should you wish to work and a mini refreshments area that is restocked daily. The tea, coffee and water is all complimentary and they will happily bring you fresh milk on request.
I like to consider myself a bona fide expert when it comes to coffee machines but I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out! Luckily the guy who delivered the milk helped me out or my morning could have gone downhill fast.
There is also a pretty spacious and very fabulous walk in closet (which I will one day have in the dream house) with a full length mirror, ample storage space and a safe. There were also various goodies to make our stay that bit easier; including water canteens, flip flops and a beach bag.
The main bedroom area features a long couch as well as the bed and for those that like the tech, it appears to have all of it; a flatscreen TV on the wall, a Marshall bluetooth speaker and an in room iPad that does everything from control the lights and air conditioning, order room service and browse the internet.
You can also check your bill on there, although ours was never accurate, the total added up to significantly more than the items listed and some things never appeared on there and should have been. Our final bill, however, was correct.
And then, the bathroom! Wooden sliding doors open to reveal a very decent sized bathroom; an egg shaped marble tub is by the floor to ceiling windows (don’t worry, there is semi sheer curtain that I can attest you cannot see through if you happen to look up while walking through the resort), twin sinks and a large, powerful and very excellent rain shower.
There is also a decent range of toiletries from The Organic Pharmacy.
The only potential negative I could find about the room at all was that the balconies are adjoining and the shape of the outside of the resort means that you won’t be subject to a lot of privacy should you sit out there.
We were also very close to the busiest part of the complex by the main restaurant where breakfast is served, so there is a possibility that if the hotel has a lots of guests, it could be a bit noisy.
However, bearing in mind I didn’t hear a single sound from the outside world whenever the doors were shut, I can’t imagine it being a major problem.
Bars & Restaurants at Six Senses Kaplankaya
One of the reasons I had chosen to stay in a hotel that was effectively an all inclusive set-up (bearing in mind leaving the place to go anywhere would basically end up as a day trip), was the selection of four restaurants and three bars.
Unfortunately, the majority of them were not open. Had I have known, I would not have booked this hotel, there was just not enough variety for us for a five day stay in a remote location.
Something to be aware of is, like in Istanbul, there are a few stray cats and dogs around. We have a cat and a dog at home and so didn’t mind them being around while we are eating (they know where the food is served!) and are perfectly comfortable shooing them away when needs be.
While most guests seemed to like having them around and fed them scraps from the table, there were a few who found it an annoyance. It’s obviously really difficult for the staff to manage as they are trying to keep us all happy, but they seemed to be quite good at reading who was comfortable with them and who weren’t and dealing with it appropriately.
One kitten became good friends with Danny during our stay and even spent one evening curled up in his lap. We called her Jess as she looked just like Postman Pat’s cat!
I thought the cost of the food was great value. It was of unfailingly excellent quality and had a range of healthier options as well as more indulgent ones. They were also very generous with providing complimentary amuse bouches and an absolutely incredible bread basket with all kinds of dips before each dinner.
The drinks, however, were a bit silly.
They had several bottled international and Turkish beer options which were all around £8 to £9 each. Completely ridiculous, particularly for the Turkish beer which was only marginally cheaper than the international.
To put it in perspective, a pint of draught beer in Istanbul cost around £5 in similar standard places.
The wine costs weren’t so outrageous, but again, there was no discernible price difference between the Turkish wine (which was excellent) and the imported wines, all of which started at around £8 for a medium glass.
Most of my wine in Istanbul cost between £5 to £6 for a large glass if I was selecting from the cheaper end of the menu.
A word of warning, as many men do, Danny just announced the colour of the wine I would like whenever it was his turn to go to the bar and order and they brought the most expensive wine by the glass available on each occasion this happened. Naughty.
Quick note on costs; they apply a 5% service charge on everything. The service received in the restaurants was worthy of this in my opinion and in a couple of instances, we chose to tip more.
However, there needs to be a bit of common sense applied to when it is appropriate to charge. I really don’t mind going up to the bar and ordering if there is no one around to take it, but for the love of god, do not stick a 5% service charge on it. You literally just turned around and opened a beer.
Danny has one request on our holidays. He wants somewhere shady to lie by a pool, read his kindle and have an (international) beer.
Honestly I thought this was so basic I wouldn’t need to check it was possible. Turns out here, I really should have.
On our first day we went down to the Beach Bar and ordered a drink each. There were four (bottled) international beers on the menu. Danny tried to order each of them in turn. All out of stock.
I honestly thought he was going to demand we leave there and then.
We later discovered that when they said out of stock, they just meant out of stock at the Beach Bar. In all honestly, my expectation was that they just go to another bar and get it if they had it.
However, it turned out they did have very limited supply throughout the whole hotel but by day three, they were completely out and there were only Turkish beers left, which Danny tried and wasn’t a particular fan of.
With a month to go until they closed and bearing in mind bottled beer would keep until they reopened next year, I am really not sure why this was allowed to happen.
Sage & Sea Restaurant
A beautifully designed and atmospheric restaurant with a stunning fire on one wall and an outside seating area that was perfect to watch the sun set over the sea, this was the main restaurant at the hotel. Breakfast and dinner were both served here during our stay.
I also noticed that the service here was the slickest compared to the rest of the resort.
Breakfast at Sage & Sea Restaurant
Breakfast was quite honestly amazing. They have literally got everything (not a Full English for Danny, but I can easily count on one hand the number of hotels that have done that well outside the UK, so we don’t expect it).
There is a buffet style selection going on in the middle with everything from healthy juices, hams, cheeses, smoked salmon and some very delicious pastries in a thoughtful mini portion, perfect for avoiding over indulgence!
A very comprehensive egg and pancake station sits separately; my favourite on our trip were the perfectly cooked waffles with honey, nuts and fruit.
The staff were also great at suggesting different dishes each morning, which we usually would take them up on, sharing one between us; their Turkish eggs (which believe it or not, I’d never tried before) were excellent.
Dinner at Sage & Sea Restaurant
Almost every night we would come out about an hour before the sunset and play cards on the deck with a glass of wine before having our dinner.
Dinner was unfailingly excellent, they do a really great job of keeping it mostly very healthy but still delicious with a few less “balanced” options thrown in as well.
It wasn’t a huge menu and it didn’t change during our stay, which could have been a problem bearing in mind it was the only restaurant open for dinner on four out of our five nights.
However, their daily specials caught our eye on a couple of occasions which saved it from getting too repetitive.
Wild Thyme Restaurant
With one pool just below and another to the side, this is the ideal place for lunch, perfect as that was the only meal it was open for!
I imagine when the hotel is busier there is a bit of a soft beach club vibe going on judging by the music playing in the background and the setting.
The food was a more casual offering from burgers and chips to wraps and a seafood salad that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
Meze by the Sea Restaurant
An open air restaurant which, as you would expect, is overlooking the sea, serving Turkish mezze and fresh seafood.
This restaurant was unfortunately closed for the duration of our stay.
Our lovely GEM was quick off the bat to let us know shortly after our arrival that it was the last night that Anhinga, the Italian restaurant, would be open.
No further questions asked then, we were going that evening.
Located alongside hotel’s third and largest beach, there is a walk along the coastline that can get you there in around thirty minutes, or there is a complimentary shuttle to get you there in five.
The inside is rustic with a canopy and no sides and is the most informal of the hotel’s eating options. There were only a few tables set out (presumably as it was the last night) and the lovely lounge area overlooking the sea that is pictured on their website was unavailable.
Then something odd happened. Our waiter started reading the menu to us from a clipboard.
A combination of my terrible short term memory (my long term is EXCELLENT, just ask Danny!) and not quite understanding his accent led to me asking to look at menu myself. He was little hesitant before handing it to me, but when he did, I understood why; the “menu” was scribbled on a small scrap of paper.
I had a large sip of wine, went with it and ordered the seafood risotto, one of my absolute favourites. I can’t remember what Danny ordered, but perhaps even more bizarrely the waiter emerged from the kitchen again a few minutes later to say what he ordered was no longer available…it was 7pm and there was only one other couple there.
He was presented again with the hand written menu and made another selection of the calzone, which thankfully, arrived without further incident.
The food, like everything we ate at Six Senses, was excellent, I honestly couldn’t fault it.
The Library Bar
A lovely setting overlooking the Sage & Sea restaurant, but was closed for the duration of our stay. To describe it as a library is a bit of a stretch though, there is a bookcase in the corner with some coffee table books on it.
The Beach Bar
We were informed this was only to be closed for the final two days of our stay, but the bar staff were more concerned about cleaning down the bar area than they were about serving anyone for the time it was open.
It ended up closing properly a day earlier than originally communicated, however they did leave us an ice bucket with bottles of still and sparking water.
I noticed during our time at the resort that the bottled water was only ever charged for when dining in a restaurant and seemed to be freely on demand on a complimentary basis the rest of the time.
We were advised that we could walk up to the Wild Thyme restaurant (a few minutes walk away up a bit of a hill) and place an order at the bar there, which they somehow thought was appropriate to then apply service charge to.
Amenities & Activities
Considered among one of the best wellness resorts in Turkey, there is no shortage of facilities and activities here to give it that title.
It all begins and ends with the spa. A contender for the best spa hotel in Turkey (it is apparently already the largest spa in Europe), I can see why, it is by far the best one I have ever been in (I am no expert on them though).
With a sauna, steam room, ice room, hammam, jacuzzi (not sure I can call it that, it was huge) and experience showers, I spent a lovely couple of hours in here before discovering the huge indoor pool and then sipping tea and eating dates in the relaxation room.
I had an excellent one hour foot massage courtesy of booking through Mr & Mrs Smith; a choice of a thirty minute foot massage or body scrub for both of us was our Mr & Mrs Smith “Extra”.
Danny wouldn’t be caught dead in a spa, so I was kindly allowed to take his treatment and extend my foot massage by thirty minutes.
As this would have cost around £130, this is the most generous extra I have ever had from this luxury boutique hotel website.
A shout out to the staff manning the front desk here as well; we had to walk past them from our room to access the rest of the hotel and they would wave and greet us every time, they so were lovely!
Keep your eyes out for free ten minute massages on the beach as well!
Gym & Exercise Classes
Their gym is state of the art and again, the best and biggest I have ever seen in a hotel. They have the reformers for pilates, a yoga studio, TRX and basketball and tennis courts as well.
There is a class timetable which has a complimentary class on there every day, from yoga to meditation and coastal walks. They have a larger range paid classes as well that I decided were too pricy to indulge in, each was at least the same amount as my monthly gym membership back home.
A range of tours are offered by the hotel, from shuttles boats over the bay to Bodrum, private cruises to the Greek Islands or day trips to the likes of Ephesus and other archeological sites.
They also run cooking classes on site in the very pretty Alchemy Bar.
One of my favourite things in life are beaches. There are seven along the private six-kilometre coastline, three of which are serviced by the hotel. All of them are located in small coves with white sandy beaches and crystal clear water.
The furthest and largest beach is the one by Anhinga which had it’s final night before closing for the season the day we arrived. We only saw it very briefly, a nice looking sandy beach with lots of sun loungers and parasols. This is also where a lot of the watersports take place; canoeing and paddle boarding is complimentary.
The Family Beach complete with adventure play park and outdoor bar was a bit smaller, about a fifteen minute walk from the main hotel complex along the same coastal pathway you can take to walk to Anhinga. When we went, there was no one there, sun loungers were out but the bar closed up.
The final one, Orta Bay, is by the hotel and next to the aforementioned Beach Bar. We opted to stay here as it was closer to the amenities and as the hotel was so quiet, was still very peaceful.
There are three in total, two outdoor and one indoor in the spa area. The indoor one is the largest and the only heated one. The smaller of the two outdoor pools is child friendly with a shallow section separated off from the main pool.
We spent time at both outdoor pools and were the only ones there, one of the plus sides to an almost empty hotel! However, as with the beach, there was no pool service and drinks had to be ordered at the bar.
With the ethos of the Six Senses brand rooted in sustainability, unsurprisingly everything at the resort is well thought out in that regard; there is no plastic in site, there is a water room to refill the water canteens left in your room and reusable coffee pods and bamboo products in the toiletry amenity kits.
They also have an organic “Moon Garden” that supplies the kitchen run on local and sustainably sourced ingredients.
I am fussy. Even more so with hotels. However, I also like to think I am fair and not unreasonable about my expectations, which I will be the first to admit, are high. Always bear this in mind when reading my reviews!
I desperately wanted to love this hotel, but while it grew on me throughout our five day stay, there were too many issues for me to consider it a truly great hotel experience.
This Kaplankaya resort has a lot going for it; the design and style is impeccable and suits my tastes perfectly; I’m not a huge fan of opulence and this hotel does luxurious simplicity at it’s finest.
The food was consistently excellent and great value, definitely one of the highlights of the stay.
One of the great things about this hotel is that while it does operate as a wellness resort (we certainly didn’t go there for this reason), it is very much optional and and not forced upon you in any way. This makes it great for couples with different interests or families.
There is a decent chance this hotel is nothing short of excellent in peak season, assuming everything is open. All the hallmarks are there, including some brilliant staff who, for the most part, can’t do enough for you.
They also apply some nice personal touches; our GEM came to check on us a couple of times to see of there was anything she could help with and as we departed, we were given complimentary snacks and water for the road.
A slight challenge at times was the language barrier. Some staff were confident enough to ask you to repeat something if they didn’t understand it and some really weren’t, which often then led to a misunderstanding. It didn’t cause any major issues though and nothing that couldn’t be rectified quickly.
The Not So Good
The single biggest issue was that most of the restaurants and bars were closed. We should have been made aware of this before we booked, you cannot advertise facilities that are not available.
This issue was compounded by the very remote location; there are no shops, restaurants, bars or indeed anything to do anywhere near the Kaplankaya resort. If we had known that a good portion of the resort was shut, we wouldn’t have booked, it’s as simple as that.
I am not actually sure if the mass closure of most of the resort was planned, or a by product of the fact that the hotel appeared to be at around 10% capacity.
The beer issue was a big and really basic one, I really have no idea how they ran out of it. I also didn’t appreciate service charge then being applied when having to order direct from the bar and after my first four choices of beer weren’t available.
Would I Recommend Six Senses Kaplankaya Turkey?
Overall, unfortunately, this hotel didn’t represent good enough value for me in terms of both money and time, and I am even more precious about value when it comes to taking our annual leave.
Again, I might have had a very different opinion on this if all of the advertised facilities were available.
Would I book it again? I’m not sure. Definitely not out of peak season.
Would I recommend it? I’m going to say a hesitant yes, but with some caveats; as long as you were going when everything at the resort was open and had read this review first!
- There is complimentary fast WiFi available everywhere, including the main beach.
- Our package was bed and breakfast only, however the hotel does run half board and all inclusive packages, as well as some very comprehensive wellness programmes.
- We travelled in early November and couldn’t have asked for better weather. The temperature was 22°C to 25°C, perfect temperature for us!
- They are very kid friendly with a babysitting service, a crèche, play park, jungle gym, family beach and lots of activities. They are also welcome in all of the restaurants.
- Check-in is 3pm and checkout is at midday.
Address & Contact Details
Six Senses Kaplankaya
Bozbük Mahallesi Merkez Sokak No: 198,
Phone: +90 252 511 00 30