I am a fan of the Marmara Bodrum, having stayed there a few times since 2003. The pool is one of my favourites in the world. Both pools, as they have 2.
I booked my week at the Marmara through ebookers, which offered some additional benefits than the hotel website, although the price was much the same. (Free breakfast was included for one thing. Thank you ebookers!)
At every other hotel where I have stayed before, loyalty is usually rewarded. At the Marmara, they don't seem to have a system that recognises someone who had stayed even 2 or 3 years previously. Despite the hotel being only 40% full when I checked in, I wasn't offered an upgrade - or even, as was the case on Capri at the wonderful Scalinatella, a deal on an upgrade! I might have paid.
The room hasn't been revamped since 2003, and it is here that the Marmara really need to do something. The bed headboard is 'rustic style' - ie it looks like a piece of MFI plywood which has been stuck to the wall. The lamps and lighting is inadequate and needs to be reviewed, although they have at least installed nice flatscreens.
The bathroom is fine, always clean and with sufficient towels. Breakfast is also good, and the staff always delightful, even if their standard of English is often very low. I cannot fault them in any way, and the staff around the pool are also charming and very helpful.
Two major issues: one, a new beach club has opened which is OK, nothing special. The hotel are pushing it like crazy, I guess so that people buy expensive fish there in the evenings. There is a shuttle bus four times a day to the beach club, and yet no shuttle bus from the hilltop Marmara to the centre of town. That trip averages $10-15 each way, and it is easily possible to do it four times a day. Expensive. Why they do not lay on this basic service for their clientele is beyond me and a big turn off compared to other 5 star hotels in the town and area. Marmara, get your act together. The lack of a transfer is shameful at these room prices.
Secondly, who is paying $20 for a cocktail at a hotel bar on holiday? If the hotel wishes to increase its revenue from the bar, it might look at the bar prices and also change the lunch menu occasionally, as it is very boring. I had dinner once in the hotel. Super views, very average food. A $25 chicken schnitzel was extremely average. The food is more like a Marriott than a 5 star international hotel.
So, instead of resting on your laurels, Marmara, please be aware that the other boutique hotels in Bodrum are showing you up. Time for some timely investment in your flagship hotel on your own coast, making the experience more visitor-friendly. And in your business centre, please consider air conditioning and an upgrade to your Windows 2003. This is not 2003, even if you think it is.
The gym and spa were very good, by the way. The trainer Multu was excellent.