Felicity Long
Felicity Long

*logoTravelers looking for spectacular ruins, scenic beaches and unparalleled shopping can find all of the above in Turkey, which has been teetering on the brink of tourism A-list status for the past decade.

But while its attractions are undeniable, one of the country's most alluring features has been its affordability.

There certainly are some tony properties, from the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Istanbul to the over-the-top Marmara in Bodrum, but could the new Mardan Palace in Antalya be tipping the destination into St. Tropez territory?

TURK-MardanPalacePoolThe Mardan, with its reported $1.4 billion price tag, threw itself a grand opening party with such celeb guests as Mariah Carey, Richard Gere and Paris Hilton.

The party apparently featured fireworks and a laser light show to set the mood for the dinner of lobster, beluga caviar and black truffles.

The 560-room property, which is billing itself as Turkey's first five-star destination resort, was inspired by the luxe Ottoman palaces of old, complete with gondolas plying the Mediterranean's largest swimming pool, five huge aquariums, a spa and a 900-person amphitheater.

For your clients who can still afford this kind of luxury, rooms go from about $510 to nearly $20,000 per night, depending on room category and season.

For hotel information, visit www.mardanpalace.com.

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