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Turkey’s $1.4 Billion Hotel Has Power Cut Over Unpaid Bills

Turkey’s $1.4 Billion Hotel Has Power Cut Over Unpaid Bills
The Mardan Palace Hotel in Antalya, Turkey. Photographer: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Turkey’s Mardan Palace Hotel, voted one of the world’s leading luxury destinations of 2010, had its power cut after local officials said that electricity bills went unpaid.

The Mardan, situated in the Mediterranean town of Antalya, is currently being powered by generators, assistant manager Zeynep Fiskirma said by telephone today, declining to give further details.

Legal proceedings will be initiated to seize the hotel if bills totaling almost $3 million are not paid within three weeks, Turkish newspaper Takvim reported earlier today, citing power company AKEDAS. The electricity was cut for unpaid debts, AKEDAS General Manager Ufuk Okul said by phone. He declined to give further details, citing customer confidentiality.

The Mardan Palace was built by Azeri-born businessman Telman Ismailov at a cost of more than $1.4 billion, according to a company press release. It was opened in May 2009 with a launch party attended by stars, singers and socialites including Paris Hilton, Richard Gere, Sharon Stone, Mariah Carey, Seal, Monica Bellucci and Tom Jones, the release said. Calls made to the telephone number of the public relations agency given on the release were directed to the hotel reception.

The Mardan beat destinations including the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, The Dorchester in London and the Trump Hotel Chicago to be crowned the “world’s leading luxury hotel” at the World Travel Awards 2010.

‘Days of Opulence’

The hotel, which on its website promises a “return to the days of opulence” where “exceptional indulgence” reins, has monthly electricity bills that average more than $300,000, Takvim reported, citing manager Cumhur Ozen. Last year it paid 7.7 million liras ($5 million) in electricity bills, Ozen was cited as saying. Fiskirma said Ozen was unavailable for comment.

The Mardan’s opening party cost $35 million and the hotel ownership spent $17 million on silverware alone, HaberTurk newspaper reported at the time. The same month, Forbes magazine ranked the hotel’s owner, Ismailov, 61st on its Russian rich list with a fortune of $600 million.

The Mardan Palace boasts the Mediterranean’s largest swimming pool, 10 restaurants, 11 bars and 546 rooms, including two royal suites with private pools, according to its website. An 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course is to be built in 2011.

A technical problem meant phone calls to the hotel made between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. today were met with a busy signal, Fiskirma said. The problem has now been resolved, she said.

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