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Private beaches, sunrise yoga and a Turkish spa - why Marmaris is the perfect place for an affordable luxury break

The old town of Marmaris. Picture: PA Photo/Gemma Bradley

The old town of Marmaris. Picture: PA Photo/Gemma Bradley

Published Aug 4, 2022

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By Gemma Bradley PA

A short morning commute can really set the tone for the day, I ponder, on the 30-second walk from my hotel room to the beach at Cooks Club Adakoy, Marmaris, Turkey.

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After a short detour to the hotel bar to get a fresh apple juice, I find a sunbed and commence the task of listening to the waves crash against the rocky shore.

Part of the Cook’s Club franchise, Adakoy is without a doubt the lushest resort I have ever stepped foot in. And, although prices have been steadily rising, favourable exchange rates still make Turkey far more affordable than Euro favourites like Portugal and Spain.

Here’s the lowdown on the luxe Turkish resort with all the trimmings, at a lower price tag.

The location is postcard perfect

Located within the Marmaris National Forest at Adakoy, a two-hour transfer from Dalaman airport, the five-star, adults-only resort is on a private cove and marina overlooking crystal clear waters.

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Along with 151 rooms, it has a spa centre and hammam, a beach disco and bar, a tennis court, a co-working space and a private disco room available to rent.

There are three private beaches, lined with sunbeds and wicker parasols, a large pool and a bubbling Jacuzzi.

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My double room is fully equipped with a modern ensuite, full of all the amenities I could ever need, from a hairbrush to a dental hygiene kit, and a balcony overlooking the pool and beach.

A hike through the national park. Picture: PA Photo/Gemma Bradley.

The food options are fabulous

The Cantina restaurant, located in the centre of the hotel, prides itself on its homemade cuisine, with every dish made in front of you and perfectly to order.

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Although the core menu – which changes daily – doesn’t have an abundance of meat-free options, the chefs are happy to accommodate vegetarians and vegans at their seven live cooking stations.

A mini-ice cream parlour also offers a huge array of flavours all day long – something I’m relieved to discover in the 35C heat.

Over the course of the week, I eat traditional Turkish kebabs, pizzas, pasta dishes, sushi (both vegan and otherwise), noodles, steak, and much more.

There is also a mini market with snacks, souvenirs, and other holiday bits you might need if, like me, you forget to bring a plug adapter.

Wellbeing is a big focus

Every day, the hotel hosts sunrise and sunset yoga sessions on a pier overlooking the water and the nearby Bedir Island.

The ultra-modern, white-walled spa offers a range of services. Although the idea of a body scrub in the hammam sounds intriguing, I opt for a Turkish massage, which costs €35 (£29.50) for 30 minutes.

In what feels a little bit like a consensual beating, I have the knots forcefully removed from my back. But even though I do feel much better afterwards, I conclude a Turkish massage is not for the faint hearted.

Evenings can be lively or relaxed

The hotel offers a full itinerary of activities for guests every day, including cocktail making, Raki tasting (the Turkish national drink similar to sambuca), a movie night on the beach, and water sports – all of which I plan on giving a try.

Cooks Club Adakoy. Picture: PA Photo/Gemma Bradley

As I board a spacious two-tiered boat to experience a sunset sailing tour, I have no idea how sensational the evening will be.

Sat on the front deck, I drink Turkish beer and eat fresh fruit as we sail for twenty minutes before turning off the engine to watch the sun go down.

In the evening, the beach transforms into an outdoor nightclub, where I dance and sing along to an array of 2000s hip-hop and noughties number ones.

Days can be action packed

At around 7am the following day, I join a group led by our hotel host, and begin a somewhat gruelling trek up to Nimara Cave, slightly hampered by my overindulgence of the all-inclusive gin and tonics at the beach disco the night before.

Starting only minutes from the hotel entrance, we follow the path up to a high point of the national park, where we are greeted by incredible views of the ocean, Marmaris and beyond.

On the way down, we visit the cave; a must-see huge expansive echo chamber accessed via a rickety wooden staircase.

I also discover the joys of canoeing, which, despite being a first timer, is surprisingly enjoyable and costs only £7 (about R150) an hour for a single canoe, and £10 for a double.

We paddle over to Bedir, and jump in for a quick dip, before completing a lap around the island in our canoes.

What else is there to do in the area?

Despite the number of activities on offer at the resort, I feel the need to explore further afield.

Marmaris is only a 25-minute water taxi ride (£3.90 each way). The taxis run throughout the day, from 10am-midnight, so guests can spend as much or as little time away from the resort as they like.

Once in the old town, I am greeted by hundreds of shops, all serviced by somewhat keen Turkish venders, who have a wide array of designer (and not-so designer) brands.

Of course, a key part of shopping in Turkey is the haggling, and you are expected to drive a hard bargain before buying anything.

Thankfully, I am not a fan of shopping. Instead, I enjoy watching others try their luck while I eat yet more ice cream and admire the architecture of the beautiful old town.

From Marmaris marina, where the water taxi drops us, there is also the option to hop on a 40-minute boat journey to Greek island Rhodes, close by.

But the only place I’m heading is my secluded resort, where I spend my final evening enjoying a cocktail on the beach, feeling more relaxed after a holiday than I have in a long time.

Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digital magazine here.

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