The A-list are swapping the French Riviera for this heavenly corner of Turkey – and I can see why – The Telegraph

When Claudia Winkleman finally succumbed to the hype and booked a family holiday to the Turquoise Coast, she immediately fell in love
“Have you been to Bodrum?” “Did you know that Kate Moss is practically living in Turkey these days…” 
“Forget France, it’s full of jellyfish and people from Chiswick – you have to go to the Turquoise Coast.”
First off, huge congrats to the ­people in charge of slowly and masterfully convincing other people to go to Turkey, who gradually got me to believe that alternative holiday destinations just weren’t worth bothering about. It was a slow drip feed by word of mouth over about two months, so that when we sat down as a family and said, “We haven’t been away for years; where shall we go?” there was sort of only one answer. 
Yes, my husband fancied kayaking in Norway (see also: a biking and camping holiday in Slovenia, changing the furniture around in the living room and eating more aubergines). We solemnly nodded at his suggestion and quietly muttered “That’s worth considering” before getting up from the sofa and turning the telly on. Sure, baby, the kids and I will really think about it and get back to you pronto. Ahem.
We flew to Dalaman on Turkish Airlines. And what an airline it is: lovely seats, amazing people, but absolutely no snacks available on our flight. Definitely – and I can’t be forceful enough about this – buy crisps before boarding. 
Our first stop after arriving was the D-Resort Gocek. The hotel is lovely. Very modern-looking but also cosy. Yes, I realise this doesn’t make sense. I am allergic to modern. I come out in a rash if I see a table made of glass, and I have very little interest in a wall being flush (weirdly it doesn’t mean rich, it means flat – I am constantly perplexed by this) but D-Resort manages to mix comfy and functional. The rooms are spread out in oblong dark-slate two-storey buildings and some have direct access to long, slim, beautiful pools. 
The people who work there are ridiculous. And when I say ridiculous I mean ridiculous. They are so kind and welcoming I felt they might have confused us with someone else. It was only when I saw they behaved like this to everyone that I relaxed. They are brilliantly organised and everything is just easy-peasy. Please could we play some cards and get some chips in that little back room? Sure. Would there be any way we could book that restaurant but pathetically early as the little one is tired? No problem. Do you mind if we get extra towels because our 16-year-old somehow uses four every time she brushes her teeth? Absolutely, they’re on their way.
It was my first time in Turkey and I turned to my husband and said: “We must stay here permanently.” It’s a 15-minute walk to the beach but there are bikes you can just jump on or lovely humans in navy polo shirts zipping about on golf buggies who are happy to take you. You pootle through the port which is awash with boats – creaky ones, massive ones, old-fashioned gullets. 
The beach is thin and is more like a long corridor but is beautiful and there are enough sunbeds to lounge on and, again, dazzling and speedy people hand out towels and water and buckets of pistachio nuts. We were having a jolly time, had just landed and looked around and thought this is smashing… and then we decided to go for a swim.
The water in Turkey is the best water I have ever, and I do mean ever, swum in. This is why Kate Moss now lives in Turkey (I mean, I’m genuinely not sure she has ever visited, but let’s not get bogged down with facts). The sea in this part of the world is 95 per cent H20 but the other five per cent is entirely made up of silk. I’m not making it up. If you are sitting there shaking your head saying, “I bet this orange lady has never been to the Maldives, or Greece, or Indonesia”, I’m afraid I have. I’m as lucky as they come, and the headline, the main “take out” from Turkey is that the sea is the best in the world.
There are no jellies but instead happy and friendly brightly coloured fish and little octopi who swim around you. 
The hotel has different restaurants and all have magical views. I wouldn’t worry about D’Breeze, which is by the beach; the menu consists mainly of fajitas and burgers so it can be skipped. Q Lounge, however, is an absolute must and is sexy as hell. It’s the Cindy Crawford of restaurants. Sushi platters, delicious grilled fish, cocktails that are bonkers good and the best service in the land – we loved it. 
Gocek the town is very meh. Absolutely get a fake Chanel bag for 20 quid and have a lahmacun (Turkish pizza – better than actual pizza) but don’t buy ice cream (it’s expensive and really sticky – I can’t explain it other than by saying it’s like caramel-flavoured glue). And go back to the hotel and have a drink in the bar to avoid the bright lights and tat.
After three nights we went to Hillside which is an all-inclusive about half an hour away. It has won 19 million awards for value and I can see why. 
The whole place is built around a very beautiful bay. Rooms are split into blocks and hang over the sea. There is everything in this place and if you don’t believe me go on their website and click on resort map: your eyes might fall out. There is a baseball court, a full stage for shows at night, a plethora of restaurants, at least four bars, beach volleyball, two kids’ clubs, a nightclub, an ice cream parlour, a hairdresser, two full-blown spas, water sports jetties, three separate beaches, a mini shopping mall, tennis courts and some chickens (we loved the chickens). The rooms are clean (I adored housekeeping – they turned our towels into swans) and some have outdoor balconies and showers (get one of those) and everything is on offer, all the time.
Let’s begin with the beaches. There’s the main one which is full of small kids (I love small kids) and is boisterous and bouncy and very, very loud. If you feel particularly strongly about where you sit on the beach (front row, next to the bar, near the pool, not near a speaker etc) then please set your alarm for 6am as these get taken. I’m being perfectly serious.
There’s a silent beach a five-minute walk away which is more glamorous than Beverly Hills. Humongous day beds sit atop teak floating platforms and no music or chatting is allowed. If you like kids but, you know, don’t love them, then this is the place for you. You can see the mayhem and the inflatables and the splashing but you can’t hear it. Magic. You can also take a boat to Serenity Beach which is one bay along and also delightful and not for anyone under the age of 16. Smart if you don’t mind a bit of music and a strawberry daiquiri but are less interested in walking past a beach full of swimming nappies. 
The restaurant is large and brilliantly run by a smiling staff who deal with thousands of people asking for a high-chair now/some grilled fish immediately/extra Coke Zeros five minutes ago/and excuse me but do you have any mustard? The food is delicious and you can get absolutely anything you want. 
There’s an Italian restaurant right by the sea but with only four tables on the water (these get booked up months in advance so get involved if watching fish while you eat is your thing) and Pasha is at the other end and serves delicious cocktails. There are shows or parties or some form of entertainment every night. This is fine if you’re young and cool or if you like noise. If you, like me, are 50 and want to go to sleep early then I suggest asking for a room that’s in block 400 so you’re slightly away from the hubbub. 
My kids tried water sports, they ate 12 different baklavas and they declared it was their best holiday ever. We watched excellent shows at night and played beer pong (don’t panic – it was water) in the day and the 19-year-old discovered a love of beach volleyball. All was great. They also loved it because, and here’s the truth, you use your phone all the time. I realise I’m old-fashioned but when we go away it’s phones off, or phones in the room or phones (this was magnificent) back in London. 
At Hillside you do everything on their app. You want some water? You need to go on the app. You want to book a class? It’s on the app. Not sure what’s happening later? Don’t worry, just get your phone out. Everyone at Hillside is on their phone. The glow of the screens literally lit up the pool, the bars, the restaurants. My kids were delighted as they thought it meant they could squeeze in a bit of TikTok. Obviously I was evil and banned it but if you don’t like devices beeping all the time be warned. 
The absolute magic jewel at Hillside are the spas. There’s a Balinese-inspired collection of rooms on the silent beach run by people with magic hands – but if you only have one treatment, then make it the hammam in the central spa, and if you don’t think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you then please call me. I was scrubbed, sploshed (I’m not sure that’s the term) and then foamed and it was the greatest.
So then… Turkey. Even if Kate Moss hasn’t been, she should.
Abercrombie & Kent (03301 734 712; offers a six-night stay in Turkey from £1,899pp based on two adults sharing. The price includes three nights full-board at Hillside Beach Club and three nights B&B at D-Resort Gocek, plus flights and private transfers. For more inspiration, read Telegraph Travel’s guide to the best hotels in Turkey.
Explore hotels that have been tried, tested and rated by our experts
Explore hotels that have been tried, tested and rated by our experts
Explore hotels that have been tried, tested and rated by our experts
Explore hotels that have been tried, tested and rated by our experts
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