Bodrum: Behind The Most Exclusive Destination Where Style Insiders Go

Known as part of the Turkish Riviera of the Mediterranean, Bodrum has seen one of its busiest seasons in 2022. With its clear turquoise coastline and paradisiacal coves, the seafront city sets itself apart from the regular European hotspots with an added touch of sophistication and style, and has fast become one of the most exclusive destinations amongst the world’s elite globetrotters.

Cem Mirap, founder of Lucca and member of the TURYID Board of Directors, has been instrumental in masterminding and curating the most glamorous destinations in both Istanbul and Bodrum. Transforming the best of art, culture and delicacies Turkey has to offer with a strong dose of upscale, international influence, Mirap’s establishments are known for attracting some of the most high profile crowd in art, design and fashion.

Having founded Lucca, an iconic destination located in the chic area of Bebek, Istanbul since 2004, Mirap took the bold step in expanding the venues under the Lucca umbrella in Bodrum, despite the uncertainties amid the pandemic. After launching Lucca by the Sea in summer 2021, the ultra chic Lucca Beach opened its doors in 2022. Situated at the Paradise Bay within the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, the private beach club offers an experience like no other whilst combining the best of style, nature, music, and dining by the seashore for those long, lazy summer days.

Quickly discovered and loved by the trendsetters, the style at Lucca Beach emanates an air of poised relaxation. Think on-trend swimsuit with daring yet tasteful cutouts, lightweight and semi see-through kaftans in sorbet shades, statement-making accessories and headscarves, completed with this season’s hottest arm candy — be it a bold piece of jewelry or mini Kelly in the newest, impossible-to-get color.

But you’d be wrong to think this is yet another beach club where the rich competes in who racks up the highest bar tab. The clientele is delicately charming and classy, with an atmosphere to match. Decidedly breezy and lighthearted with natural elements and materials, the works of contemporary Turkish artists such as Esra Gulmen are on display throughout the Lucca Beach site, with fashion designer Rifat Ozbek’s influence adding a stylish twist to the interior design. Undeniably sleek and pristine, the combination of woven fabrics in varying burnt orange shades and wooden furnitures in contrasting natural colors also add a modern vibe that’s refined yet carefree.

Since its opening this summer, Lucca Beach has quickly become the destination of choice for style insiders and international gliterratis, hosting events for high end design maisons such as Valentino and Miu Miu, as well as world-renowned DJs including Moodyman and CC:DISCO. With an overlapping audience, American Express was quick at scene to create a special deck area so its members can have guaranteed access to this buzzing piece of haven.

Fashion lovers will feel right at home — the Lucca Store, displaying an array of Turkey’s independent brands, handmade accessories from local artisans, as well as the latest collections of international designers, is conveniently located on the beach for the summer. The Mandarin Oriental also boasts a number of top boutiques including Chanel, La Perla and Eres.

When the night falls, those in the know all hurry to Lucca by the Sea to see and be seen. Just a short walk from the newly launched Lucca Beach, the open-air fine dining restaurant overlooking the sea is decorated with romantic drapes and dimly lit canvas lamps. The buzzing spot is often said to host some of the most beautiful and stylish crowds in town, and one can expect to witness a wide mix of styles from Pucci to Chanel, all fresh from the latest runways and expertly put together: Dior pajama-style pant suit? Check. Mach & Mach stilettos? Check. The sold-out Prada crystal-embellished dress? Check.

The happy scene at Lucca often continues well into the small hours in the morning. When asked what his secret sauce is in creating the most desirable establishment or drawing all the best patrons, Mirap doesn’t hesitate in telling me that it’s so much more than just culinary excellence or expensive exterior. “This place has history, it has a story. For a destination to become this popular, some magic has to happen. I believe the appeal that drives the regular Lucca crowd for years is our commitment to provide great food, drinks and entertainment, as well as having a distinctive style that blends all in our own way — we constantly upgrade and refine ourselves as a team while keeping to our colorful approach to the spirit of our classic concept.”

You can follow Lucca Beach on Instagram @lucca_style.

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