At first glance, the Sultan Beach Hotel near the Turkish resort town of Bodrum looks like any other seaside resort with its swimming pool, sun chairs and people sipping cool drinks. But a closer look reveals that there are no women to be seen poolside and not a drop of alcohol.
The hotel is run in strict accordance with the Islamic faith, a market segment that Turkish hoteliers are increasingly eager to target.
“Whatever kind of holiday you want to have, there are options in the tourism sector,” said Sultan Beach Hotel owner Ali Bicakci. “We wanted to have an alternative concept as there is an increasing need among conservative people to have holidays.”
Synonymous with wild parties and excess, Bodrum, a popular Aegean-Sea holiday spot often dubbed “Bedroom Bodrum,” would not seem a likely destination for such visitors. But Islamic or “halal” hotels, as they are usually called in Turkey, are fast establishing themselves in such seaside vacation regions. The area around Bodrum, a town of some 130,000, contains six.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.