Ten minutes with Sahir Erozan on Maçakizi Bodrum

 

Maçakizi takes a privileged location overlooking the gorgeous blue seas of the Aegean north of Bodrum and evokes the free-spirited hedonism of the 70s. Founded initially by Ayla Emiroğlu, the concept of the hotel, originally a retreat frequented by artists, is echoed throughout its current location in the ultra-fashionable Türkbükü, for which it has resided since 2000 under the direction of Emiroğlu’s son, Sahir Erozan. Today, Maçakizi is synonymous with simple yet unparalleled luxury centred around its exquisite hillside pavilion and collection of fifty-one rooms, twenty-two suites, incredible spa and the recent addition of Villa Maçakizi.

We took the time to speak with Sahir Erozan on Maçakizi’s evolution under his direction, how he has continued his mother’s legacy and what to expect from Villa Maçakizi.

 

Sahir, your mother Ayla Emiroğlu is considered an icon for her flair for combining art, gastronomy and beachy vibes to make Maçakizi the legend it is; how does it feel taking the reign?

I have been incredibly inspired by my mother and what she achieved with Maçakizi, and I am honoured to have taken the reigns.

I think I have my mother’s genes for the hospitality business, and that, paired with my hospitality and restaurant experience, means I hope to continue the hotel’s success.

It comes to me like spending any other day in my house with friends.

You brought women of gastronomy, fashion and art together for International Women’s Day; why is showcasing creative women so synonymous with the ethos of Maçakizi?

Of course, Maçakizi was created by my mother – a very special, creative and artistic woman, so it only seems right to continue her legacy in this way.

What do you love about Bodrum, and what makes Maçakizi such a special place?

Since the very beginning, Maçakizi has exuded authenticity, beauty, and peace—all attributes that are shared with the surrounding region. Alongside the exquisite location, food is a true highlight and the heart of the hotel – some people even describe us as a restaurant with rooms. Our indoor-outdoor hillside dining pavilion is headed up by the incredible Chef Aret Sahakyan, who uses the freshest, organic, seasonal produce, some of which is grown especially for us on local farms. Our wine list is also one of the finest in the country.

Maçakizi has around 70% repeat clientele; what is it that makes your guests return year after year?

There are many reasons, but I would say the personalised service. Every guest is a VIP at Maçakizi, and we do everything to ensure their stay is memorable. Every part of their stay is bespoke from addressing everyone by name to remembering their favourite dish or cocktail.

Türkbükü is often regarded as the St Tropez of Turkey. What is it about the village that has made it so fashionable over the years, and how does this tie in with the location of Maçakizi?

Bodrum was the bohemian capital of Turkey, and all the cool people — the writers, the poets, the musicians like Mick Jagger — dropped by.

It’s like a hub. We are on the southwest point of Turkey, which means all the people who cruise around on their boats and yachts in the Mediterranean stop by in Bodrum. During the summer months, the hottest clubs in Istanbul bring pop-up locations to the town, billionaires dock their yachts here or in the nearby Yalikavak marina, and the lazy village becomes as exclusive as St. Tropez.

 

How has the resort evolved since moving to its current home back in 2001, and how does it still echo the flair of the original hotel from back in the 70’s?

 I ensure that despite changes and updates, Maçakizi still exudes the same cool, effortless, and chic vibe that has been there from the start.

With various partnerships and collaborations, we continue to harness and honour creativity in all forms at Maçakizi. These include our exciting guest chef programme, where we host renowned chefs from all over the world as well as hosting art exhibitions on property. We are currently hosting a group exhibition called ‘Between Humankind and Nature’, which features paintings, sculptures, site-specific installations and digital works by national and international artists, inspired by our incredible surroundings.

The recent addition of Villa Maçakizi is a big part of the resort’s evolution and helps elevates our offering to another level of bespoke luxury.

 What flavours has Aret Sahakyan bought to Maçakizi, and what is your favourite dish at the resort and why?

 Chef Aret makes sure the gastronomy experience stays up to date with global trends and produces a regularly changing, seasonal and creative menu. It is hard to choose one favourite, but signature dishes include our famous Seafood Lahmacun (Turkish pizza), Calamari Carbonara, local Spiny Lobster with Orzo Risotto, Hot Smoked Mackerel with Fava Bean Mousse and Braised Short Rib with Charred Aubergine.

Tell us about the addition of Villa Maçakizi and what guests can expect?

Villa Maçakizi is a 5-minute boat ride from Maçakizi’s jetty and is perfectly positioned on the hillside overlooking Paradise Bay. It brings the concept of a personalised hotel experience to a whole new level for families or groups of friends celebrating or simply spending time together.

The hotel’s signature bohemian style is instilled into the property, and the Mediterranean Riviera inspires the custom interiors.

Villa Maçakizi comes with 24-hour service, 10 beautiful sea-view suites, its own spa complete with Turkish baths, a fitness centre and expansive indoor-outdoor living areas with terraces leading to an infinity pool. Grounds planted with lavender, freesia and olive trees run down to a private beachfront with cabanas on oceanfront decking, and two pontoons ready to moor arriving yachts.

Gastronomy is of course, a key part of the overall villa experience, and Chef Carlo Bernardini leads the culinary offering at the villa. The villa’s new farm-to-table culinary concept results in tailored Mediterranean family-style and fine dining feasts highlighting the best of the local produce, freshly caught seafood, including the local lobster Böcek and herbs grown in the villa’s gardens. Meals are accompanied by wines specially selected for Villa Maçakizi, which can be seen in the villa’s well-stocked wine room.

What is your fondest memory of the hotel and why?

So many sunny and happy days with friends make it difficult to pinpoint just one

 If you could give one bit of advice to a guest staying at the hotel, what would it be?

Don’t plan too much… Maçakızı days have their own rhythm… Relax & Enjoy…!

What’s your favourite hotspot in Bodrum, and why?

Recently, Several International restaurant brands have opened in Bodrum. Each brings their own global cuisine style, adding to the rich tapestry of Bodrum dining and entertainment.

As you can imagine having so many friends in the restaurant business, it is hard to separate.

Words By Jaz Grewal