With a hundred-mile coastline dotted with fishing villages, olive groves, and tangerine orchards, the Bodrum Peninsula in southwest Turkey sits on the Aegean Sea, cradled by two bays and surrounded by 32 islands and inlets.
These are the fabled shores from which Homer’s heroes launched themselves into history and where Greeks consulted their oracles and along which the Romans built temples.
In the fisherman’s village of Torba, boats depart daily for the ancient cities of Didymas and Miletus, homes to the Temple of Apollo and the Baths of Faustina.
Located on Torba Bay, Casa Dell’Arte Residence is a luxurious art hotel built around the Buyukkusoglu family's private art collection, which is now displayed in the modernist splendor of this sleek, marble sanctuary.
At the end of a long, dark winter, Casa Dell’Arte Residence is where you want to be in April. Nearby islands rise from the blue gray sea like shimmering chimeras. Hills of green, dotted with lemon trees and rosa rugosa, encircle Torba Bay. This is where you want to emerge from hibernation and contemplate the beauty of an enchanted locale as it bursts into spring.
Named for the signs of the zodiac, the twelve guest suites at Casa Dell’Arte Residence are sumptuous residences furnished in a contemporary style and complemented by artworks from modern Turkish artists. White leather sofas and upholstered tulip chairs are paired with red cowhide rugs. If you’ve ever browsed the modernist pages of a Design Within Reach catalog and yearned to step into the display rooms, then this is your opportunity.
The owners’ permanent collection ranges from the works of Old Masters to 19th-century paintings alongside Fabergé enamels and contemporary Turkish painting. The atmosphere is akin to being a guest at a home curated by Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen.
An air of understated luxury pervades the entire property, thanks to Casa Dell’Arte Residence's exquisite sense of proportion and line. A low-key entryway leads to massive ancient Turkish doors that open into a reception area beyond which is a lengthy swimming pool in a courtyard.
In the distance, beyond another courtyard and an expansive white marble living room, is a broad marble staircase leading down to a lawn and onto an outdoor dining room that skirts the beach. A jetty is built over the turquoise bay. Everything faces the water; everything leads to the water - or, as Homer put it best, to "the land of eternal blue."
Casa Dell’Arte Residence's tagline is "hotel of arts and leisure," and time spent in residence at the discreetly glamorous property becomes an exercise in artful leisure. The hospitable staff is extremely professional: gracious and attentive, yet unobtrusive.
Casa Dell’Arte Residence is flanked by a three-bedroom private villa and a 37-suite luxury family resort. Guests seeking further pampering can avail themselves of the use of three private yachts.
During the time of Alexander the Great, the city of Bodrum was known as Halicarnassus; it was the birthplace of Herodotus, the father of written history, as well as the locale of one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World: King Mausolus’s tomb, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
In the early hours of morning, well before sunrise, take a stroll across the lawn of Casa Dell’Arte Residence and through the garden down to the water. You might encounter a lone man fishing off the far end of the jetty. As you stare across the bay into the darkness, consider that these are the very shores from which Homer witnessed "the rosy-fingered dawn."
Casa Dell’Arte Residence opens for the 2013 season on April 1.