The $1.4 billion luxury resort Mardan Palace was unveiled in Antalya, Turkey to an audience of 600 international dignitaries and celebrities who dined on top of the Mediterranean's largest swimming pool, with performances from Mariah Carey and Tom Jones on the evening of May 21. The Mardan Palace took three-and-a-half years to build and is owned by Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire Telman Ýsmailov.
Famous singer Seal said the hotel recalled the golden era of the Ottoman Empire. "I see that Ýsmailov wanted to reflect the flavors of the imperial tradition in this hotel's silhouette. When you make an investment, you should respect and protect both history and culture. Ýsmailov has succeeded in doing so," he said.
Italian film star Bellucci said she would love to visit the place a second time. Underlining that she was impressed by the stylistic details of the building, Stone said every inch of the hotel was elaborate. "You can see how bounteously it is constructed. It is good to see such investments that will offer jobs for many amid the current crisis," she said.
Another famous guest, actor Gere said he was glad to be in Turkey, as it was his first time in the country, noting that he looked forward to paying a second visit. Gere said Ýsmailov had extended a great deal of support to a charity foundation Gere had established and that they had new projects in mind. Noting that they are currently building clinics in Tibet, Gere added that he and Ýsmailov were also planning to help some 50,000 poor people in India.
Laser light shows and fireworks lit up the hotel and surrounding Taurus Mountains. Mardan Palace is Turkey's first five-star destination resort. Surrounded by the Taurus Mountain range, the palatial resort comprises 560 rooms, including two Royal Suites with private pools. With Turkish heritage in mind, the architecture reflects distinctive landmarks of Istanbul -- the main hotel resembles the Dolmabahce Palace and bridges across the pool are based on original designs of the Da Vinci Bridge.
Gondolas will sail guests around the Mediterranean's largest swimming pool, five giant aquariums reflect the Earth's oceans in the hotel's restaurants and spa, Europe's only swimming reef provides a haven for aquatic enthusiasts to explore and a dramatic amphitheatre seating 900 will host entertainment and light shows. The resort also boasts the Mardan Spa, 17 bars and 10 a la carte restaurants including French, Japanese, Russian, Thai and traditional Turkish cuisine.
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