From April showers to the southern sun of the Turquoise Coast, the Hilton Dalaman Hotel Turkey beckons…
Summer in Britain is a short-lived experience but, at the Hilton Dalaman Hotel Turkey, you’re guaranteed glorious sunshine as early as March. My visit there will go down in memory as one of the most relaxing retreats I’ve ever been on, where I rediscovered my body confidence and adopted a four-month tan.
It’s easy as a travel writer to give the impression that we’re always gallivanting to somewhere lush, reclining in the heat of some tropical faraway place or sipping coffee among city rooftops. In all honesty, often those Instagram shots are taken in 5 stolen moments in the midst of a packed itinerary. So imagine my surprise when I arrived at the Hilton Dalaman and our hosts insisted that relaxation was practically a legal requirement during our stay. That is what the Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa – to give it its full name – was designed for.
Truth be told, I am the sort of person who gets itchy feet easily and can rarely limit myself to the confines of a hotel. For me, the idea of reading a book on a beach usually appeals for all of twenty minutes before I’m keen to move on to the next activity. I struggle with being ordered to ‘relax’. Yet, at the Hilton Dalaman Hotel, I found myself compelled to do just that. I could easily spend the day luxuriating by one of the resort’s many pools – partly because there’s so much choice that it’s easy to avoid the busier spots frequented by families nearer the guestrooms. Venture out a bit further, and the pools are sparsely populated, providing the isolation required to truly retreat from the demands of society.
This is a resort where absolutely everything is taken care of, from its ultra all-inclusive concept to its child care and spa facilities, making it the perfect destination for families, romantic getaways or even a quick break with the lads and lasses. If you’re visiting as a family with children, there are plenty of options to help exhausted parents remember what tranquillity feels like. The resort provides a comprehensive children’s entertainment programme, with waterparks, the Kidz Paradise centre and educational facilities offering cookery classes and sports activities. Catering to children from toddlers to teens, the evening discos and movie screenings mean that parents can still enjoy a romantic dinner undisturbed.
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The Hilton Dalaman hangs on the cusp of the Dalaman River, where the mouth meets the sea. This unique location has been cleverly interpreted in a way that enables guests to both revel in riverside dining and explore the local sea life through an array of water sports. The spacious resort is home to no fewer than ten swimming pools, 7 restaurants and a private beach, where you can also avail yourselves of a private gazebo with butler service (yes, really). Our group of girls could not get enough of the charming service offered by the attentive, obliging staff. These gazebos are one of the many winning features of the Hilton Dalaman, with soft furnishings, hammocks and individual jacuzzis overlooking the Aegean sea. #UtterBliss
The resort is a place that soothes you, while tantalizing the senses in multiple ways, from the scent of oils in the Elysion Spa to the orchestra of river life as heard from the terrace of the A La Turca restaurant. During our stay, we were treated to a combination of traditional Turkish massages and a deep-cleansing ‘mummy’ facial, which involves wrapping your anointed face in bandages until they stiffen and lock in the ointment. I’m a big fan of massages and my masseuse perfected the technique of vigorously easing out tension while supplying tender caresses on more sensitive spots. When it comes to facials, I’m often slightly dubious of the benefits, but I can honestly say that I was genuinely still enjoying the effects 24 hours later, with my skin feeling softer and more supple, which is all in line with the philosophy of the Hilton Dalaman – even my face was forced to relax.
If you’re truly resistant to the notion of reclining in radial sunshine, and the idea of sharing the water slides with a gaggle of pre-teens doesn’t appeal, then the resort does offer opportunities to venture further afield. I always love to go exploring and believe me when I say that anyone with a sense of adventure will find plenty to do in the surrounding region. Not far from the resort rests Göcek (pronounced “Ger-check”), a collection of beautiful islands that can be reached by boat from the mainland. The dozen islands are home to a number of lagoons and secluded coves, where visitors can safely take a dip in the azure sea, go snorkelling or enjoy a picnic on a remote beach. We took lunch at Zeytin Kitchen, tucked away along a wooden pier, from where you can spy the Gulf of Fethiye and the ancient Lycian rock tombs that scatter the cliffs of the Dalaman inland sea.
Whether or not you’re an adventurer, you cannot stay at the Hilton Dalaman without making an excursion to the picturesque town of Dalyan. From here you can purchase a range of local crafts and souvenirs and sample the famous blue crab at the Casa Nova restaurant. It’s a good place to pick up some Turkish coffee or rose flavoured baklava too. A short drive away, in Sedir, you can also find the famous Iztuzu Turtle Beach, where the endangered Loggerhead (Caretta) turtles lay their eggs. A half hour meander away via public boat, you can even visit the Kaptan June Sea Turtle Hospital.
After a day of sight-seeing, you’re bound to be in need of something to cool you down, so be sure to avail yourselves of the many bars on offer at the Hilton Dalaman, with drinks covered by the all-inclusive package. The Rouge Roof Bar is a real treat, with an adult-only clientele, a menu packed with sumptuous cocktails and breath-taking views of the gardens stretching out to the sea. It’s the perfect meeting spot for drinks with friends or loved ones before heading to dinner at one of the hotel’s many restaurants, which offer everything from traditional Turkish fare to the Eastern promise of Indian and Japanese cuisine. Alternatively, you can take a trip to Italy via Alize restaurant, where you can sample a different Italian wine with every dish.
The Hilton Dalaman is a well-equipped private ecosystem that offers everything from an onsite farm to its own waterparks and event facilities. As a venue, it can cater to both weddings and conferences, which would make it just about the best place in Europe to attend a conference. Any event planners out there looking for a unique, luxurious location for their next summit or family reunion should place the resort top of their list. Meanwhile, the wedding suites are styled as duplexes with a kitchenette, balcony and private spa facilities including a whirlpool, sauna and massage room. What’s more, the honeymoon package includes a 30-minute couples massage and use of a mini Gazebo.
When it comes to luxury resorts, I despise places that are unnecessarily pretentious, yet this hotel is anything but. The Hilton Dalaman has perfected the art of elegant luxury through a simple combination of good service, excellent facilities and an informal but well cared-for environment. Crisp and contemporary, with a casual, relaxed atmosphere running throughout, the Hilton Dalaman is a smart but sophisticated resort that really has thought of everything.
Flights can be booked directly from Stansted Airport with Pegasus Airlines. Dalaman Airport Is just a ten minute drive from the resort. Rooms start from £200 per night at an all-inclusive rate.