‘I holidayed like royalty in Turkey and soaked up the sun in a private beachside cabana’

After February’s devastating earthquake in Turkey, the country is thankfully back on its feet and ready to welcome visitors back to its many and varied beautiful attractions.

Among those attractions is the classy Cullinan Belek, available on booking.com. Located on the sun-soaked Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the resort was apparently inspired by the most magnificent and largest rough-cut diamond ever discovered – the Cullinan Diamond.

Found in South Africa in 1905, the gigantic gem was presented to Edward VII on his 66th birthday in 1907, and several stones were cut from it – the two biggest featuring in the Crown Jewels.

It’s little surprise then that Cullinan Belek offers a holiday fit for royalty, with guests benefiting from top-notch extravagance during an all-inclusive stay.

It’s also worth noting that it only began opened in June 2021, so everything is glossy and new – and it shows. The 600 rooms range from more affordable superior rooms to villas offering top-tier luxury.

We stayed in a family suite, which has a main bedroom and a separate large living space to be able to accommodate two children. The suite boasted incredible views of the Med – the perfect setting for a glass of wine at sundown.

If you're after somewhere slightly different, try Hotel Belkon, on hotels.com or METT Hotel & Beach Resort Bodrum on booking.com.

Indulge in a cocktail

The resort has 18 bars, two of which are open 24/7. We fully tested the cocktail menu at the Azure Pool Bar, which is nestled among a maze of shallow water pools.

Top tip – ask the waiter to make you a spicy margarita. They’re delicious! There are seven restaurants that come under the all-inclusive rate, while an additional seven require you to pay concession charges ranging from £15 to £40pp. If you’re going to splash out on just one, opt for Teppanyaki.

We watched in awe as a chef gave us an interactive wok masterclass. We left very full and confident that we’d never be able to match his culinary finesse and crack an egg mid-air with a spatula.

Cabana heaven

If you really want to savour some luxury for a day, we can’t recommend the resort’s private beachside cabanas highly enough. Choose one on the sand or on the jetty from £220 for the day and you’ll be treated to private sunbeds and food and drink on tap, delivered by your own waiter.

We made full use of the service and ordered sushi platters and ice-cream sundaes. Our top tip is to stay right until 6pm when you’ll get uninterrupted views of the sun setting over the sea.

Feel sublime with some ‘Me time’

If you’re looking to treat yourself, head to the resort’s C’espace Spa where you can book in for fabulous treatments such as a hot stone massage or a deep tissue massage from around £100 for 50 minutes.

The spa also has a hammam, steam room, plunge pool, saunas and a free juice bar serving teas and smoothies. The gym next door to the spa is fantastically well-equipped – definitely worth checking out if you want to burn off the morning’s delicious buffet.

Family focus

Saying this resort is child-friendly would be an understatement. It’s fully geared up to offer both youngsters and adults their perfect holidays. There’s a kids’ club open daily.

Little ones can be safely dropped off there if parents want to enjoy a romantic dinner à deux – or even just luxuriate in a few hours alone on a sunbed.

There’s also a waterpark at one of the pools to keep the older children – and adults, as we found – entertained.

How to Book

A lagoon room costs from approximately £880 per night. A villa costs from approximately £3,515 per night. Flights to Antalya airport run frequently from major UK airports, with a return trip costing upwards of £82 in low season.

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