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Seven reasons NOT to stay at Mandarin Boutique Hotel

A year or so ago, Mandarin Boutique Hotel used its email-newsletter to list five good reasons to stay at the property in Turkey.

For the sake of balanced reporting, they decided to mention the reasons why some travellers may prefer to stay away, so that guests can make up their own mind whether Mandarin is right for them.

1. Mandarin Boutique Hotel is in the middle of nowhere

Mandarin stands in rural surroundings in the sleepy hamlet of Faralya, a place that you may struggle to find on any map, let alone in the pages of the mainstream holiday brochures.

Gazing out from your balcony towards the sea, you may spot a handful of local dwellings amongst the green hillsides, but no large hotel complexes, casinos or shopping malls. All around, there is just woodland and countryside, and if you walk down to the seafront, you won't find row-upon-row of sun-beds, just hidden rocky coves lapped by crystal-clear water.

That said, it takes just over an hour to get here from Dalaman's international airport, and should you ever fancy a change of pace, there is an hourly local bus service to the popular beach resort of Oludeniz (9 km) and the bustling harbour town of Fethiye (20 km), so whilst Mandarin may feel gloriously isolated, it is actually surprisingly accessible.

2. Our furniture is a lot of old junk

Having noticed how hotel rooms the world over look increasingly alike, we wanted ours to have a distinct Turkish feel, so we sourced hand-crafted wooden furnishings, created from reclaimed wood from old Ottoman buildings near the Black Sea coast.

In our wasteful consumer society, "up-cycling" may have become a trendy buzzword, but we firmly believe that creating beautiful new objects from obsolete old ones is simply a sensible and sustainable way to give our interiors their individual charm and character.

3. Our staff had never worked in a hotel before

Being situated in a rural hamlet, we wanted our hotel to have a positive impact on the local community, so rather than bringing in workers from elsewhere, we recruited all our staff from Faralya.

Previously, most of the local women had had no opportunities to seek employment outside the home or the family farm, and it has been very rewarding to witness how they have grown in confidence as a result of their work at Mandarin, and how well they have risen to the challenge of looking after our guests.

After all, genuine warmth is a quality that cannot be taught at an hotel school or catering college, and true hospitality comes from the desire to make visitors feel welcome in your own homeland.

4. You may well put on weight

Like the rest of our team, our chef is local and learned her skills from her mother and grandmother.

Using traditional family recipes, she relies on fresh local ingredients and seasonal produce to conjure up five-course dinners with an authentic Turkish flavour, and still finds time to prepare tasty sweet and savoury snacks to serve as part of our complimentary afternoon tea by the pool.

So it is perhaps unsurprising that the only complaint about Mandarin's cuisine that you will find reading through our guestbook or our entry on tripadvisor is that the food was just too tempting, and some of our guests felt the need to go on a diet after their holiday!

5. You will have to make your own entertainment

Being a small hotel in an unspoilt setting, our emphasis is very much on peace and relaxation. There is no animation-team to create a "fun" atmosphere around the pool, and in the evenings, you will have to make do without karaoke contests, variety shows or bingo!

The closest we have to an entertainer is our resident hound, Pasha, who amuses guests with his attempts at catching dragonflies and his habit of walking back and forth along the pool in sync with any lane swimmers!

Apart from that, we sometimes play some classical or jazz music subtly in the background, and we have a DVD library if you fancy snuggling up with a good movie in the comfort of your own room, but for the best part our guests just enjoy such simple pleasures as contemplating the clear night skies over a glass or two of good wine, or rediscovering the art of conversation, exchanging experiences and anecdotes with their fellow travellers.

6. You may miss some of the sights

Our region of southwest Turkey boasts an astonishing array of historical sites as well as natural beauty spots, and many of these can easily be visited within the scope of a daytrip. However, some of our guests find themselves unwinding so comprehensively that they never quite manage to explore all the places they had planned to see.

For a start, you may struggle to drag yourself out of our super-kingsize four-poster beds – and with breakfast served at your leisure until 11 o'clock, there is no pressure to do so. Once you are up, the lure of our swimming pool and the cosy sitting areas in our colourful and fragrant garden may prove too hard to resist. Oh well, you can always finish off the sights during your next holiday at Mandarin…

7. We may already be fully booked

Finally, if none of the above has dissuaded you from wanting to visit Mandarin Boutique Hotel, the fact that we only have eight rooms and a fair number of repeat visitors means there are some dates over the next three months when we are completely fully booked.

Fortunately, there is still some availability for much of summer and autumn, so as long as your dates are reasonably flexible, we should still be able to fit you in.

Travellers can find more information on Mandarin Boutique Hotel at www.villamandarin.com

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