The merry month of May is when our generous trade partners kindly offer to whisk us away to view, discover and fall in love with new hotels and destinations.
I may be a busy travel agent, but I’ve long wanted to check out Hillside Beach Club in Fethiye, so when a kind invitation came from my fabulous associates at JG Collection, I had to accept by way of duty to professional education and my clients.
The resort has an extraordinarily high level of returning guests, most of the family ilk, and advance booking is essential to secure your place at this Turkish paradise and earn the ‘Hillsider’ badge.
It's not often that a hotel transfer gets a mention in one of my write-ups but the cream leather upholstered minibus, of which I was the sole occupant, was one I won’t forget...
The Hillside Beach Club, more of a tiny hamlet, has been built into the wooded hills overlooking the crystal clear waters of Kalemya Bay and is just an hour from Dalaman airport and 15 minutes from the small port city of Fethiye. Rooms can be reached by a short funicular ride, as well as by stairs for those with good cardiovascular endurance.
There are only three categories of room type making the site inspection fabulously concise. I had been upgraded to a Superior Family Room with a Private Terrace, which at 50m2 and with two bedrooms, provided more than enough space to scatter the contents of my suitcase with impunity. No matter where you are located, the view of the splendid bay is a sight for sore eyes and a soothing balm for the soul.
The pool and four beach areas are arranged to provide plenty of space, and I was pleased to be informed that bagsying sunbeds is frowned upon and is instead managed by attentive staff.
A common challenge for May or October half-term escapes is finding a hotel with a heated pool; I am delighted to report that Hillside is such an establishment. That said, I found the Aegean Sea to be the perfect temperature, and had I mustered the energy, I would happily have taken advantage of the two lanes that had been thoughtfully roped off to allow uninterrupted and safe sea swimming.
Love or loathe the continued march of technology, you have to admire a hotel app that enables food and beverage to be ordered directly to your sunbed without the risk of burning a single calorie in the process. I’m sure that someone would have fed and watered me had I asked nicely.
And speaking of food, just wow! I’ve partaken of a breakfast buffet or two in my time and it takes a remarkable display to grab my fickle attention. I could quite happily have moved into the cheese counter; it was bigger than my first flat in London!
And then there was the dinner buffet. Thank goodness I was on my usual “See Food” diet! 😉
Food and beverage are offered on a Full-Board Plus basis, which incorporates the breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, including selected drinks such as wine, beer and bottled water, and dinner at the two superb à la carte restaurants, The Beach and Pasha on the Bay. My cup runneth over!
We need to talk about the Hillside Kids Club, we really do. I don’t have children but if I did, I would book myself into this establishment permanently. The Club aims to provide a fun and engaging experience for kids aged 4 – 17, offering a wide range of activities from arts and crafts, face painting, treasure hunts and mini discos to sports activities and outdoor adventures. You’ll also find age-appropriate facilities and play areas, including a playground, a swimming pool with a splash park and an indoor activity centre.
An impressive commitment to sustainability is evident with biodegradable room toiletries and slippers, a specialist diving team overseeing sea activity, wastewater used for irrigation, and recycling sent to a biomass facility where it is converted into electricity.
In addition to the exquisite hospitality offered at the hotel, our hosts provided our small group with some super excursions and activities in the surrounding area.
These included visits to the abandoned village of Kayakoy and the Ancient tombs at Fethiye, a hill hike to absorb the beautiful views and a relaxing boat trip with a sumptuous lunch.
Hillside, it was worth the 12 years wait. Thanks for inviting me - I’ll be back!
Do NOT miss, under any circumstances:
A sunset cruise of the bay and surrounding islands
Walking tour of the abandoned village of Kayakoy