Tur­key shoot

An­talya’s lush land­scape is the per­fect place to play golf and en­joy the Great Out­doors, but just stay out of the wa­ter

Irish Daily Mail - - Travel - BY SE­BAS­TIAN HAMIL­TON

TO me, it was the per­fect metaphor for an ex­tra­or­di­nary hol­i­day. My pris­tine white golf ball rep­re­sented the three stun­ning, im­mac­u­late­lykept cour­ses we had been priv­i­leged enough to play.

The azure blue wa­ter of the swim­ming pool spoke to the lux­ury of the re­sort, the end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­lax­ation among the spas and pools

and wa­ter­parks amid glo­ri­ous sun­shine. And the fact that the two had met in this way re­flected the glo­ri­ous sym­bio­sis be­tween a stun­ning va­ca­tion re­sort and a sump­tu­ous feast for golfers.

Yes: in other words, I had hit my ball into a swim­ming pool. But in

truth it was hard to be too both­ered. So fab­u­lous had the trip been, so filled with culi­nary ex­cel­lence, rev­elry and re­lax­ation, that I was happy enough to of­fer up my ball as a wa­tery sac­ri­fice to the hol­i­day gods who had trans­ported me to this lit­tle slice of Mediter­ranean heaven.

Of course, in re­al­ity it was Turk­ish Airlines who had trans­ported me to this lit­tle slice of Mediter­ranean heaven: but given that the jour­ney was mostly like be­ing wafted away on a magic car­pet, I think the com­par­i­son stands. Cer­tainly be­tween the on­board hos­pi­tal­ity, the food and the en­ter­tain­ment and the fab­u­lous re­clin­ing seats in Busi­ness Class, it was as re­lax­ing and en­joy­able as any hol­i­day flight I’ve ever taken. And see­ing that Turk­ish Airlines of­fer the low­est-cost Busi­ness Class seats you can get, it’s not as un­reach­able as you might think.

And then, just a short hop down the road from An­talya Air­port, was our own lit­tle nir­vana: the Glo­ria Seren­ity Re­sort, a stun­ning five-star ho­tel com­plex where your every need is catered for.

The all-in­clu­sive model means that every bite of food, every re­fresh­ing beer or late-might mo­jito is al­ready paid for in the jaw-drop­pingly low price. And it’s not just any old food or drink: as well as the usual gi­ant buf­fet restau­rants you might know from else­where, Glo­ria alone has three stun­ning a la carte restau­rants of­fer­ing dishes as good as you’ll find any­where (the Ja­panese meal in the Sha restau­rant was one of the best I’ve had in years, pe­riod).

THE drinks are all top brand im­ported beers and spir­its, with no wa­ter­ing down or skimp­ing on mea­sures. This, frankly, is how the other half lives: and you can live it your­self for a frac­tion of what you’d pay any­where else.

An­other ho­tel guest – orig­i­nally Ir­ish, now liv­ing in Cheshire – told me he’d flown in from Manch­ester with 23 friends. Flights, ac­com­mo­da­tion, five rounds of golf plus un­lim­ited food and drink had cost him £1,100 he said. “We’d never go any­where else,” he con­fided. “Why would you?”

Why in­deed. The re­sort has every­thing you could want: a su­perb kids club and on­site water­park: a 2,000 seater arena with nightly en­ter­tain­ment; bars with live mu­sic, but not enough to keep any­one awake at night; a stun­ning spa with sauna and (of course) Turk­ish bath and ham­mam; and a va­ri­ety of swim­ming pools. The ser­vice is im­mac­u­late, with an ar­ray of ever-smil­ing staff only too happy to at­tend to your every whim. Across the prop­erty are sprin­kled a va­ri­ety of vil­las, many of which will suit fam­i­lies with shell chil­dren bet­ter than a ho­tel room.

The re­sort also of­fers three lev­els of lux­ury: the best value is the Glo­ria Verde, fol­lowed by the Glo­ria Golf ho­tel and then the Seren­ity. But even the Verde was so sparkling that I can’t bring my­self to use the word ‘cheap’: it’s ac­tu­ally just a fan­tas­tic re­sort at an ex­traor­di­nar­ily low cost. All three ho­tels are be­side each other and you can wan­der be­tween them as you like.

If you want a break from re­laxa- tion and golf, you can cy­cle into nearby town and check out the bazaar and the shops (and maybe

come away with what look like ut­terly au­then­tic branded clothes… at a very in­au­then­tic price). If you’re a golfer, though, you’ll be too busy for any of that. The

three cour­ses of­fer a truly sensa- tional feast for play­ers. This isn’t the sandy-brown scrub­land of Spain or the Al­garve: these are lush, tree-lined cour­ses that look more like Woburn or Au­gusta than Al­bufeira. They are kept in ut­terly

im­mac­u­late con­di­tion, too: and al­though I per­son­ally found that the trees (and the odd swim­ming pool) ap­peared to ma­neou­vre them­selves di­rectly be­tween me and the hole, I’m as­sured that the fair­ways are equally pris­tine, and

Let’s club to­gether: The club house at the Glo­ria Golf Club, and be­low, Se­bas­tian, left

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