If you’re in the market for some winter sun somewhere sensational, Turkey is just the ticket.
Here Ashley Pearson offers five reasons why – five of the country’s hottest hotels. She’s stayed in them all and says they offer something for everyone.
There’s the magical bucket-list one, crafted from the ruins of an ancient 2,000-year-old monastery, the breathtakingly romantic one – and the ones that’ll keep all the family happy. They all have something in common though – the wow factor. Scroll down and see for yourself…
BEST FOR BUCKET-LIST – Argos in Cappadocia hotel, most magical
‘Argos in Cappadocia’ hotel, pictured, is one of the most jaw-dropping places to stay in Cappadocia
Set just at the edge of the ancient village of Uchisar, the five-star Argos hotel has a spa with an infinity pool (pictured)
The hotel is a heritage-style retreat that promises panoramic views of the hot air balloons that drift across the sky each morning at sunrise
The organic Seki Restaurant and lounge, pictured, offers spectacular views of Tiraz castle, Mount Erciyes and Pigeon Valley
Cappadocia is a place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
It’s one of the world’s most magical destinations, known for its distinctive fairy chimneys, honeycomb hills and ancient caves – and Argos in Cappadocia hotel is the area’s most jaw-dropping place to stay.
Set just at the edge of the ancient village of Uchisar, and crafted from the ruins of an ancient 2,000-year-old monastery with interconnecting caves and underground tunnels, Argos in Cappadocia is a heritage-style retreat that promises panoramic views of the hot air balloons that drift across the sky each morning at sunrise.
It feels authentically Anatolian, and the 51 rooms and suites have stylish rustic-chic interiors, each unique in design with high stone arches, vaulted ceilings, Turkish artwork and beautiful linens.
The hotel is crafted from the ruins of a 2,000-year-old monastery with interconnecting caves and underground tunnels. Plus, bathtime is quite special
Each room at the retreat is unique in design – features include high stone arches, vaulted ceilings, and Turkish artwork
On the left is Monks – an outdoor event space at Argos that offers ‘breathtaking views’. Pictured to the right is one of the ‘authentically Anatolian’ suites
A visit to the Argos is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will remember forever
The hotel’s wine cellar holds more than 20,000 bottles of fine wine – including from its own vineyards
The five-star hotel is also home to Cappadocia’s largest underground wine cellar (it holds more than 20,000 bottles of fine wine, some from its own vineyards), the organic Seki Restaurant and lounge – which offers spectacular views of Tiraz castle, Mount Erciyes and Pigeon Valley – oh and also a spa and infinity pool.
Perfect for: A once-in-a-lifetime experience you will remember forever.
Book it: Rooms start from £240 per night with breakfast. Visit www.argosincappadocia.com/home-page.
BEST FOR FAMILIES – Cornelia Diamond Hotel, the stylish crowd pleaser
The Cornelia Diamond Resort, pictured, is surrounded by sand and an abundance of swimming pools
There are restaurants and several bars dotted around the Cornelia Diamond Resort in Antalya. Pictured is the Shine Bar
The resort is suited to families seeking swimming and sun with some luxe thrown in. Pictured is one of the resort’s seven pools
Pictured here is the stunning Nick Faldo-designed 27-hole golf course
Antalya is famed for its affordable, family resorts, yet even among the stiff competition, Cornelia Diamond Resort is consistently rated one of the best.
It’s ideal for families seeking swimming and sun with some luxe thrown in. The biggest worry here? Where you left your sunscreen.
Resting beachside in Belek about an hour from Antalya Airport, it’s easy to get to – and easy on the eye. In fact, it’s over-the-top spectacular and you are literally surrounded by blue.
The resort has seven outdoor swimming pools and waterslides, all within a short distance of the sea, and a bar on a pier with panoramic views.
A white-sanded beach fringes the property, providing plenty of opportunity for sandcastle-building, but there is also lots of other fun on offer.
The resort’s outdoor swimming pools and waterslides are all within a short distance of the sea
The variety and quality of food at the resort is outstanding. Pictured is the Forest Pub
Recently, the resort opened a new kids club (which helpfully runs until midnight) that includes a large waterpark, extensive playgrounds (both outdoors and indoors) and three movie theatres, allowing films to play in multiple languages at the same time.
There’s also a Lego room, mini disco, pirate day, PlayStation and table football.
Golfers, meanwhile, will love the Nick Faldo-designed 27-hole golf course.
Resting beachside in Belek about an hour from Antalya Airport, it’s easy to get to – and easy on the eye
‘All accommodation options are superb, but the resort’s on-site Azure Villas [pictured] are particularly lovely,’ says Ashley
The resort has a spacious indoor pool under a giant skylight (pictured), and 12 aromatherapy saunas and steam rooms
All accommodation options are superb, but the resort’s on-site Azure Villas are particularly lovely.
Dressed in modern clean lines and crisp blues and whites, they are ultra-luxe and completely private.
The pool suites are well-suited for families – two-bedroom suites that lead straight onto a teak deck with sun loungers and a ladder leading into an enormous, meandering pool scattered with hot tubs along the way.
On the rare chillier day, relaxing in the spacious indoor pool, set under a giant skylight, is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The 12 aromatherapy saunas and steam rooms are another option.
The property is all-inclusive, and the variety and quality of food is as outstanding as the environs.
Perfect for: Parents that don’t want to sacrifice luxury and facilities just because they have kids – and golfers with partners who love to spa. With something for everyone, it’s the resort that will make everyone happy.
Book it: Nightly rates at Cornelia Diamond Resort start at £220. Visit www.corneliaresort.com.
Hillside Beach Club, a dream hotel for families
The five-star all-inclusive Hillside Beach Club is carved into the hillside, tucked into a cove of pretty blues and greens
Rates at the Hillside Beach Club start from £260, based on two people sharing a standard room on a full board basis
Adults will love the Balinese-inspired spa up in a treehouse, pictured, at the Hillside Beach Club
The hotel’s kids club is one of the best in the world
You will have to catch your breath the first time you take in the sunset at the five-star all-inclusive Hillside Beach Club, near Fethiye in southwest Turkey.
Carved into the hillside and tucked into a cove of pretty blues and greens, it feels like you’ve arrived in another world, one untouched by the ravages of the past two years. It is unspoilt, picturesque, and peaceful.
It’s also ideal for active families.
Everything from water-skiing, SUP-boarding, volleyball, basketball, and tennis to cocktail-making classes, star-gazing and mini-discos are on offer.
And the award-winning kids club is one of the best in the world. It can keep kids occupied all day long with waterslides, shaded pools, a bouncy castle for little ones and a basketball court, water polo, hot tub and Xbox for pre-teens. There’s even a daily musical show, and your kids will have the chance to perform in one show themselves.
Adults will love the Balinese-inspired spa up in a treehouse, the beachside disco, and the two adult-only beaches.
There are thoughtful touches too, like the glass bookcase on the path to the property’s ‘Silent Beach’ (one of several beaches) that is full of summer novels you are free to take, or the resort app that lets you request drinks without moving from your lounge chair.
There is a floating cinema set on pontoons in the bay, and the buffet area includes a ‘baby chef’ who makes bespoke food for tots, with disposable bibs available at every meal. There are also several, elegant private restaurants on offer, including adult-only options serving masterful cuisine in ultra-romantic settings.
The Hillside Beach Club resort app lets you request drinks without moving from your lounge chair
According to Ashley, the resort feels like another world, one that’s ‘unspoilt, picturesque, and peaceful’
If you think you can prise yourself away from the resort, book a sunset trip across the bay on a traditional handmade wooden yacht. Champagne and snacks are served and the boat will stop for dips. The hotel also introduced e-bikes this year, and guests can sign up for a customised tour of the local region, discovering the ancient city of Kayakoy or the mystical Af Kule Monastery.
Perfect for: Every fun-loving family.
Book it: Hillside Beach Club is open for the summer season until November 7. Nightly rates at Hillside Beach Club start from £260 based on two people sharing a standard room on a full board plus basis. Visit hillsidebeachclub.com.
BEST FOR ROMANCE – Bodrum Edition, the height of Aegean chic
The super-stylish Bodrum Edition is set in pretty Yalikavak Bay. Ashley recommends ‘romance seekers’ pay it a visit
The boutique hotel is perched atop a picturesque, quiet cove in southwest Turkey
The super-stylish Bodrum Edition, set in pretty Yalikavak Bay, is perched atop a picturesque, quiet cove, and is resplendent in Ian Schrager’s trademark all-white minimalism.
‘Sleek and chic’, sums it up nicely at this boutique hotel. From the moment you enter the fashionable lobby, you can feel how special it is.
Promising Insta-worthy moments at every turn – from the marble-white sanded beach to the tiled infinity pool, lantern-lit restaurant and the requisite jaw-dropping views – this one has wow factor written all over.
Bodrum Edition has a breathtaking tiled infinity pool (pictured) with jaw-dropping views
According to Ashley, ‘sleek and chic’ sums up this boutique hotel, ‘with promising Insta-worthy moments at every turn’
‘This one has wow factor written all over,’ Ashley says of the hotel, where rooms start at £582. Pictured is the private pool
Pictured is the ‘very cool but unpretentious’ Brava restaurant, decked out in fairy lights
Guests will want to dine at The Edition’s very cool but unpretentious Brava restaurant, which is decked out in fairy lights and overlooks the hills and white-sanded beach.
The head chef is Diego Munoz, whose menu is firmly rooted in Peruvian soil. Delicacies are inspired by Latin-Aegean flavours, such as an array of fresh locally sourced crudos and well known traditional dishes, such as lomo saltado [a stir fry] and nikkei ceviche.
Perfect for: Style lovers and romance seekers – this place oozes sexy cool.
Book it: Rooms start at £582 and include breakfast. Visit www.editionhotels.com/bodrum.
BEST FOR MULTI-GEN TRIPS – Bodrum Loft, luxurious seclusion in nature
Bodrum Loft, pictured above, rests in the hills of Bodrum and overlooks the sparkling blue Demirbuku Bay
The resort is inspired by the stunning nature all around it, with a focus on design and sustainability
Just opened this year, the resort is shaded by 14 private acres of sandalwood, olive and citrus trees
Resting in the hills of Bodrum, overlooking the sparkling blue Demirbuku Bay, and freshly opened this year, Bodrum Loft is an eco-chic resort that beautifully embraces the hotel/villa concept.
Inspired by the stunning nature all around it, with a focus on design and sustainability, the sun-kissed spot features 36 fully furnished, contemporary stone villas that will feel like a home away from home – and every single one has stunning views of the bay.
Shaded by 14 private acres of sandalwood, olive and citrus trees, there are a range of two to four-bedroom villas that rent as holiday lets but also as longer leases.
What’s more, you have the bonus of the privacy of your own kitchen and courtyard living area but with five-star hotel amenities, like a spa and fitness centre, hair salon, housekeeping, babysitting service and room service.
Bodrum Loft is perfect for ‘a modern, multi-generational group longing for slower life rhythms’
The resort features 36 fully furnished, contemporary stone villas – and every single one has stunning views of the bay
Locals drive in from all across Bodrum to enjoy the resort’s restaurants, which serve modern Aegean food. Pictured is the Loft Elia bar and restaurant
A real stand out at this resort are the restaurants. Locals drive in from all across Bodrum to enjoy them. Breakfast will typically be under the shade of olive trees, overlooking the bay, at the resort’s charming open-air restaurant Loft Elia (which also serves lunch and dinner). The menu here is modern Aegean food, and it’s full of Turkish and Mediterranean classics.
The on-site Paper Moon restaurant (famous across Italy and Istanbul and rumoured to be soon coming to London) serves an elevated take on Italian cuisine prepared by legendary Chef Cuiseppe Pressani ‘Pino’.
There is a wide variety of sushi and Japanese delicacies also served nightly – courtesy of Istanbul’s famed Sunset Grill restaurant.
Great ideas for autumn at Bodrum Loft include the cosy spa with indoor and open-air massage rooms, or boat-chartering across the bay. The resort’s private concierge is also on hand to uncover hidden gems, including local eateries, exclusive boutiques and historical sites. They can also arrange trips to other beaches and exclusive beach clubs, either on the private boat shuttle or through a private yacht charter.
Perfect for: A modern, multi-generational group longing for slower life rhythms, seeking stylish surroundings, natural beauty and amazing cuisine.
Book it: Starting rates for a week stay in a two-bedroom villa are from €2,750 (£2,300). Visit www.bodrumloft.com.tr.
TOP TIPS FOR TRAVEL IN TURKEY
It’s no secret that the tourism industry took a massive hit in Turkey last year – it normally generates nearly £30billion a year for the country – and thus the Turks are working hard right now to get it right. Visitors will be pleased to note that there are increased measures in place – all hotel staff vaccinated, all staff wearing masks, social distancing, and PCR tests on-demand as well as track and trace – all designed to ensure that visitors will remain safe.
Although PCR tests may not be required for the double jabbed, they are very affordable and easy to get there. Hotels will be able to recommend private companies (we used Antalya Lab, or Ant Lab) for PCR tests that offer a VIP service (around £30 pounds each) where testers come to you to take the sample – including the beach at your hotel. Results typically arrive in less than 24 hours.
Almost everything is cheaper in Turkey, but European brand cosmetics and baby formula are pricey. If you’re wary about getting through the airport with vast quantities of liquids, like baby formula, perfume or sun cream, order everything you require online at Boots and have it delivered airside at the airport Boots. That way you can go through check-in and security minus all the heavy bottles and instead, collect them just before you board. Just order a week in advance of flying to make sure it’s there waiting.
Turkey is a great place to hire a luxury car for less. According to rentalcars.com, luxury models are available in Turkey for the cost of something much more basic in other parts of the world. For example, a week’s car hire for the Volvo S60 (or similar) costs £401 from Bodrum airport – roughly the cost of renting a Ford Focus in Dublin or a Toyota Auris in Crete for the same time period.