A short morning drive can really set the tone for the day, I think, during the 30-second walk from my hotel room to the beach at Cooks Club Adakoy, Marmaris, Turkey.
After a short detour to the hotel bar for a fresh apple juice, I find a deckchair and begin to listen to the waves crashing against the rocky shore.
Part of the Cook’s Club franchise, Adakoy is without a doubt the lushest resort I’ve ever been to. And, although prices have steadily risen, favorable exchange rates make Turkey far more affordable than euro favorites like Portugal and Spain.
Here’s the lowdown on the luxury Turkish resort with all the trimmings, at a lower price.
The location is perfect as a postcard
Located in the Marmaris National Forest in Adakoy, a two-hour transfer from Dalaman Airport, the five-star adults-only resort sits on a private cove and marina overlooking crystal-clear waters.
In addition to 151 rooms, it has a spa and hammam center, a nightclub and a beach bar, a tennis court, a co-working space and a meeting room. private disco available for hire.
There are three private beaches, lined with deckchairs and wicker umbrellas, a large swimming pool and a bubbling jacuzzi.
My double room is fully equipped with a modern bathroom, full of all the amenities I could need, from a hairbrush to a dental hygiene kit, and a balcony overlooking the pool and the beach.
One of the rooms offered at Cook’s Club Adakoy, Turkey (Cook’s Club/PA)
Food options are fabulous
The Cantina Restaurant, centrally located in the hotel, prides itself on home cooking, with every dish prepared in front of you and perfectly to order.
Although the core menu — which changes daily — doesn’t offer an abundance of meatless options, the chefs are happy to accommodate vegetarians and vegans at their seven live cooking stations.
A mini-glacier also offers a huge range of flavors throughout the day – something I’m relieved to discover in the 35°C heat.
During the week I eat traditional Turkish kebabs, pizza, pasta dishes, sushi (vegan and otherwise), noodles, steak and much more.
There’s also a mini market with snacks, souvenirs, and other vacation items you might need if, like me, you forget to bring a plug adapter.
The hotel hosts sunrise and sunset yoga sessions daily on a jetty overlooking the water and neighboring Bedir Island.
The state-of-the-art, white-walled spa offers a range of services. Although the idea of a hammam body scrub sounds intriguing, I opt for a Turkish massage, which costs €35 (£29.50) for 30 minutes.
In what looks a bit like a consensual beating, I forcefully pulled the knots out of my back. But even though I feel much better afterwards, I conclude that 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, tasting Raki (the Turkish national drink similar to sambuca), a movie night on the beach and water sports – which I plan to try.
As I board a spacious bi-level boat to experience a sunset sailing excursion, I have no idea how sensational the evening will be.
Sitting on the foredeck, I drink Turkish beer and eat fresh fruit as we cruise for twenty minutes before turning off the engine to watch the sun go down.
At night, the beach turns into an open-air nightclub, where I dance and sing along to an array of hip-hop and 2000s number ones.
Days can be action packed
Around 7 a.m. the next day, I join a group led by our host at the hotel and begin a somewhat grueling hike to Nimara Cave, slightly hampered by my excess of all-inclusive gin and tonics at the nightclub in the beach the day before.
Just minutes from the hotel entrance, we follow the path to a high point in the national park, where we are greeted by incredible views of the ocean, Marmaris and beyond.
Going down, we visit the cave; a huge, expansive echo chamber accessible by a rickety wooden staircase.
I also discovered the joys of canoeing which, although a beginner, is surprisingly pleasant and costs only £7 an hour for a single canoe, and £10 for a double.
We paddle to Bedir and jump in for a quick dip, before touring the island in our canoes.
What else is there to do in the area?
Despite the number of activities offered at the resort, I feel the need to explore further afield. Marmaris is only 25 minutes away by water taxi (£3.90 each way). Taxis run all day, from 10:00 a.m. to midnight, so guests can spend as much or as little time as they wish away from the resort.
Once in the old town, I’m greeted by hundreds of shops, all serviced by rather enthusiastic Turkish vendors, who carry a wide range of designer (and less designer) brands.
Of course, a key part of shopping in Turkey is haggling, and you’re expected to drive a bargain before buying anything.
Fortunately, I’m not a fan of shopping. Instead, I enjoy watching others try their luck while eating even more ice cream and admiring the architecture of the beautiful Old Town.
From Marmaris Marina, where the water taxi drops us off, it is also possible to take a 40-minute boat trip to the nearby Greek island of Rhodes.
But the only place I’m heading is my secluded beach resort, where I spend my last evening enjoying a cocktail on the beach, feeling more relaxed after a vacation than I have in a long time.
Prices start from £117 per night for two people, under the ‘Feel Free’ concept, which includes all meals, branded alcoholic drinks, beers, wines and soft drinks. Visit www.cooksclub.com
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