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Russian Billionaire Telman Ismailov,
Launches $1.65 billion Turkish Resort;
Mardan Palace Hotel

The Economic Times, IndiaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 29, 2009--It is probably a supremely confident or supremely reckless venture, launching an $1.65 billion resort as the world reels under an economic crisis and the tourism industry shrinks. But when Russian billionaire Telman Ismailov spends millions flying in JLo to serenade him on his birthday, what is so surprising about spending a billion or two to build a 560 room oasis of luxury on the Turkish riviera?

The Mardan Palace resort in Antalya, Turkey (whose opening saw the likes of Seal, Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Paris Hilton, Monica Bellucci and Tom Jones, and a feast for 600 guests featuring beluga caviar, lobsters and Dom Perignon) is the epitome of gilt-edged glamour.

It has 23,000 sq metres of Italian marble, 10,000 sq m of gold leaf, crystal balusters, Hermès crockery, a 5 acre pool for 1,000 guests, 17 bars, a three-storied night club, 10 restaurants , a sunken aquarium with 2,400 fish, a 7,500 sq m Mardan Spa and a beach with 9,000 tons of fine, white sand flown in from Egypt.

Harking back to the grandeur of the Ottomans, the hotel is an ode to Dolmabahçe Palace; but then it jumps architecturally across the Mediterranean to feature bridges that look like Da Vinci Bridge. A whimsical fantasy, some might call it; others may think it's just sheer extravagance. But will Indians be tempted to try out this Turkish delight?


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