Antalya’s Mardan Palace

When the hands-down queen of social butterflies attends your opening, you know you are doing something right. Antalya, Turkey’s Mardan Palace, a member of Great Hotels of the World, opened over the Memorial Day weekend, attracting the likes of socialite Paris Hilton and stars such as Richard Gere, Sharon Stone and Mariah Carey. Already, the hotel is being called the best in the Mediterranean.

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It’s certainly one of the most expensive: At a cost of an estimated $1.4 billion, Mardan Palace took three-and-a-half years to build and includes sketches by Leonardo da Vinci.

The 560 rooms include two Royal Suites, four Presidential Suites, 38 Executive Suites, and 17 Dolmabahçe deluxe rooms. The hotel also includes a specially designed Turkish bath, 24 restaurants and 32 pubs.

Mardan Palace reflects authentic Ottoman architecture and pays homage to Istanbul icons such as the Dolmabahçe Palace. The hotel also features what it says is the world’s third-largest swimming pool (258,000 square feet) and a pool dividing the hotel in two, like the Bosporus divides Istanbul.

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