I’d been dying to go somewhere for the longest time! I feel like Spring is always a good time to start your vacations especially if you’re looking to start off with something relaxed. But in this day and age it’s always difficult to find a travel partner, everyone is usually too “busy” or in “debt” therefore candidate auditions need to be held months in advance to avoid this disappointment.
For this reason I was more than elated to be invited to go on a press trip to Turkey with a group of influencers organised by PR Box, where we were to explore 5 cities in 5 days nestled in the southwestern province called Mugla. Now many wouldn’t consider Turkey to be a hot spot or on their top 10 list of places to visit, however coming from a cultural background, I’m always up for visiting new places and learning about different cultures so I thought why not!
Before setting off for our flight, we spent the night before at Radisson Blu London Stansted Airport Hotel to get a good nights sleep before our flight. The hotel was conveniently situated a short five minute walk from the airport, allowing for easy access if you need somewhere to stay before or after your flight. Which was perfect for me as getting to the airport on the day of my flight is usually a lot of hassle i.e cancelled trains, traffic or not hearing my alarm go off then having to make a 3 hour journey to the airport.
We then left Stansted Airport in the afternoon on Monday then headed to Dalaman Airport and arrived in the evening. We set off on an hours drive to our first location – the town Fethiye where we stayed at Orka Sunlife Hotel, one of the brands many franchises, a few minutes drive to one of Turkey’s main tourist attractions – Oludeniz Beach. I stayed in the De Luxe Suit which was insanely spacious and featured two balconies with one looking out onto the pool.
Our first days activities included visiting Babadag Mountain, well known for paragliding where thrill-seekers would take off the mountain overlooking Oludeniz Beach with breathtaking views. . We shortly went onto Dalaman’s hot springs – thermal crystal blue water surrounded by mud perfect for creating your own face or body mask.
For our second night in Mugla we stayed at the beautiful Dalyan Resort Spa, set on the bank of the Dalyan River. This boutique hotel was nothing short of a tropical setting, featuring a relaxing deck overlooking the river, 2 outdoor pools one including a poolside bar and their upper floor rooms decked with balconies looking onto the poolside courtyard. The rooms were quaint with a hint of a baroque feel.
Our morning excursions included a boat ride of the Dalyan River where we stopped at Turtle Beach set on the southwest Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
As we preceded with the boat ride, in the distance were the Temple Tombs – another tourist attraction, home to the ancient Lycian Tombs made by cutting rock during the 4th century. Within no time we found ourselves in the town Marmaris (Dalyan is nestled between Fethiye and Marmaris). Boats are a popular means of transport when getting around to neighbouring towns, allowing for a short and easy trip.
We then moved onto Green Nature Diamond Hotel for our third night, the biggest hotel we’d stayed in so far during our trip which was a short walk from Marmaris town centre. The hotel boasted a variety of rooms including king rooms, suites, connecting rooms and standard rooms. I had the pleasure of staying in one of their suites situated at the end of the block on one of the floors, making for an even better view as you stepped outside onto the balcony overlooking the pool with the nearby beach in the distance.
For our third day we visited Kizkumu beach, surrounded by a tonne of pine trees (I felt like I was in the film Twilight) with a few cute straw umbrellas in the chill out area. This beach was none like I had seen before simply due to the fact that you could walk in the sea! For someone that can’t swim this was quite intriguing to me. Our tour guide explained to us that the sandy underwater bottom divides the gulf into two parts therefore the depth doesn’t increase as you walk away from the shore. It was quite astonishing to see people far in the distance walking in the sea (talk about walking on water)
We checked into Dermicioglu Park Hotel for our fourth night, a fairly new hotel situated in the town centre with local amenities close by.
My favourite area of the hotel had to be the restaurant upstairs. From the soft pink decor, to the velvet chairs to the wooden ceiling beams, it had a cosy romantic feel to it.
This days activities were quite packed! They included visiting the mayor of Mugla Metropolitan Municipality Dr Osman Gurun, who was extremely welcoming and wanted us to experience the best that Turkey had to offer. We also visited The Mugla Museum/Old Town and the Lagina Temple which are the remains of the Lagina ancient sanctuary consisting of pillar like figurations and stone steps.
Leaving the temple we then travelled to our last city of the trip – Bodrum. We were told that it somewhat resembled Greece, specifically their white painted village houses, but I thought to myself nothing can ever emulate Greece or come close to resembling their architecture. Man was I wrong! Travelling through Bodrum we greeted by their white flat rooftop houses situated on hills and cliffs, in close proximity to one another, looking very Santorini-esque. I immediately fell in love.
We arrived at our final destination in Bodrum and this by far was the best hotel we had checked into during our trip (save the best for last). We approached the entrance, and written on a large sign there it was: Rixos Premium Bodrum. From that moment on I knew this would be my favourite accommodation of all. I had previously come across the brand Rixos while planning a trip to Dubai and fell in love with their Dubai division, not that my trip ever came to fruition! So I was elated to at least experience one of the Rixos franchises and it was breathtaking. With an Arabian feel from the minute you walk into the lobby, Rixos Premium Bodrum is grand, with close attention to detail shown in their elaborate decor. To top it all off my room was overlooking their private island, making the sunset to die for!
In the morning we even got a chance to do a quick shoot on their island, adorned with private beach huts and Cabana’s perfect for a zen getaway. I almost felt like I was in The Maldives!
Overall this trip was quite an experience for me! It wasn’t what I expected at all (in a good way). As when we hear about a specific destination, we immediately tend to have certain connotations about the place or associate it with what we’ve heard about it from secondary sources, and this trip proved to me that you’ll never know something until you experience it yourself. And let’s just say Turkey exceeded most of my expectations, I’ll definitely be back soon!