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Travel review: Hillside Beach Club a Turkish paradise for adults and kids

Geoff Frazer discovers why so many people return to this slice of heaven year after year

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Hillside Beach Club

Hillside Beach Club

Elena and Noah

Elena and Noah

Hillside Beach Club's Sanda Nature Spa

Hillside Beach Club's Sanda Nature Spa

Movies on the beach at Hillside Beach Club

Movies on the beach at Hillside Beach Club

Children enjoy the water slide at Kidside

Children enjoy the water slide at Kidside

Wakeboarding at Hillside Beach Club

Wakeboarding at Hillside Beach Club

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Hillside Beach Club

This is officially one of the most difficult travel reviews I have ever written.

It’s not because my family and I didn’t enjoy our recent visit to the Hillside Beach Club in Turkey — quite the opposite in fact. The truth is it was so good I genuinely want to keep this place a secret.

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The walkway to Silent Beach

The walkway to Silent Beach

The walkway to Silent Beach

Situated just a stone’s throw from the small port city of Fethiye and only an hour from Dalaman Airport, this resort is hands down the BEST place I have visited in the last 20 years.

When I say the best, I honestly do mean that — the best location, best staff, best kids’ clubs, best entertainment and definitely the best food.

It’s no surprise therefore that well over 70% of guests who stay here are rebookers. People just can’t seem to get enough of this 5-star Turkish delight.

Hillside Beach Club curves around the stunning Kalemya Bay on the Aegean coast of the Mediterranean sea where the air is pine-scented and hundreds of silver fish glide through the impossibly turquoise water.

It’s genuinely picture-postcard pretty so be prepared for your jaw to drop when you see it for the first time. Not surprisingly it’s won a bucket-load of awards over the years.

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Sunbathing at Hillside Beach Club

Sunbathing at Hillside Beach Club

Sunbathing at Hillside Beach Club

It really doesn’t feel like a hotel complex, it’s more like a village full of friends and family. It helps, of course, that it is nothing like the usual beachfront hotels you’d see in Spain or Portugal.

Here 330 chalet-type rooms have been sympathetically built into the hillsides and slope steeply towards the bay. We stayed in a family room which had stunning sea views and was beautifully decorated.

It had a large walk-in wardrobe and a massive bed facing double glass doors overlooking a terrace with a sofa. A second smaller bedroom sits to the left of the terrace.

The bathroom had a separate shower and toilet which is accessed from the terrace area. It definitely felt more Thailand than Turkey.

Because all the rooms are built high above the resort, there are quite a few steps to contend with but most of these can be avoided by using the hotel’s two gondola-type lifts — a particular favourite with my seven-year-old son Noah.

To be honest, though, there are so many things going on at Hillside the last place you want to be is in your room. The beaches at Hillside Beach Club were far and away our favourite thing and it was here we spent most of our days.

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One of the family rooms at Hillside Beach Club

One of the family rooms at Hillside Beach Club

One of the family rooms at Hillside Beach Club

There are two adult-only beaches at the resort — each equally as beautiful as the other. Serenity Beach is an idyllic cove that’s just a 15-minute walk from the centre of the resort. The beach has a bar and restaurant and serves a BBQ-style lunch for those who fancy something lighter by the sea.

This smaller beach can be reached by walking through a forest trail past a watersports centre or by a little boat that travels back and forth to the main resort every half hour or so. Silent Beach is on the opposite side of the resort and offers a real escape from the hustle and bustle of life.

Beach users are encouraged to switch off their mobile phones and take time to unwind, relax and enjoy the spectacular natural scenery.

Here you’ll also find an outdoor yoga studio and one of the resorts two spas. Sanda Nature Spa has seven rooms, two of which are double rooms, and various types of massages and special body treatments are offered by Balinese therapists.

I was lucky enough to have an hour-long full body massage here and it was absolutely incredible how de-stressed I was afterwards.

For the full 60 minutes I was in heaven, with the sounds of nearby birds and the sweet scent of blossoming flowers offering a complete sensory experience.

Later in the week I also booked in for a traditional Turkish hammam treatment in the resort’s Sanda Day Spa, starting off with ten minutes in a sauna before being scrubbed and kneaded on a marble table by a therapist. I have never felt so clean.

As Noah was with us we spent most of our time on the main beach. This beach stretches the entirety of the front of the resort where the swimming pool and restaurants are so you are close to everything.

Technically Hillside Beach Club is full-board rather than all-inclusive, as you do have to pay extra for drinks outside meal times. I feel that I’m in the best shape of my life this year — unfortunately that shape is round.

So I quickly realised I wasn’t going to lose any weight at Hillside as the quality of all the food we tried was outstanding. There are three restaurants to choose from. My wife and I enjoyed a romantic candlelit meal at the adults-only Pasha on the Bay.

The food was fine dining standard and the views across the sea were equally as memorable. Pasha also does a very cool cocktail workshop where guests get trained up to mix their own drinks — and of course drink them afterwards. A family meal at the Beach Bar and Restaurant was top notch too as was the level of service.

The Main Restaurant may not have the most imaginative of names, but for me — and my dessert-loving son — it was our number one choice.

Buffet restaurants often fill me with dread, however at Hillside the quality is out of this world. Every day the food options are different with steaks cooked to order, a massive selection of fresh fish, Turkish, Italian and Asian food all on offer.

Honestly, the meals I had here over seven days would put a lot of expensive restaurants across Ireland to shame. Many people choose to stay at Hillside to enjoy some deserved rest and relaxation but the resort offers so much more.

A full range of watersports is available including banana-boat rides, kayaking, water-skiing, sailing, paddle boarding as well as fliteboarding — riding an efoil surfboard. We booked one of the amazing sunset cruises which tours the surrounding coastline with its little inlets and were so impressed we went on a second, longer trip two days later.

It gave us the chance to swim and snorkel in two coves where the water is crystal clear and full of fish.
There’s plenty to occupy sports fans too, with tennis courts, a gym, five-a-side football and beach volleyball. Or try your hand at archery, basketball, football, boccia, darts, water polo, electric biking, dance classes and pilates.

Trekking and cultural trips to the likes of Cadianda, Kayakoy Ghost Town and Dalyan Mud Baths can easily be organised and there’s also a wonderful selection of shows, movie nights, DJs and beach parties each night to make sure you don’t head to bed too early.

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Children enjoy the water slide at Kidside

Children enjoy the water slide at Kidside

Children enjoy the water slide at Kidside


Children are particularly well catered for in this resort with a feast of fun organised every day through the best kids’ clubs I have ever seen.
There’s a Baby Park for up to three-year olds which provides a sandpit, a water park, baby pool and playground, so that kids enjoy some quality time accompanied by their parents.

There is also a nursing room for breast-feeding mums and workshops specifically designed for babies.
Wonderfully friendly entertainers and child-care experts are on hand at Kidside to offer fun and informative activities and workshops for children aged four to seven years old.

From digging for buried treasure to tennis lessons and piano workshops, kids absolutely love it here.

Hillside Beach Club’s Activity Centre is the ideal place for eight to 15-year-olds to hang out and meet new friends from around the world.

Trust me, even the hardest to please youngster will find something to keep them happy.
There is great wi-fi throughout the resort and Hillside even has its own app where all the daily and weekly activities are listed in detail.

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Wakeboarding at Hillside Beach Club

Wakeboarding at Hillside Beach Club

Wakeboarding at Hillside Beach Club


How good the staff are during trips away often make or break a holiday for me. This is one thing you’ll never have to worry about at Hillside as they are in a different league to most other resorts.
Take the ridiculously talented Elena from Hillside’s entertainment team for example.

She — like all the other members of staff — go out of their way to learn everyone’s name, and by the end of the week you genuinely feel like you’ve made a dozen new friends during your stay.

Elena met Noah during a boccia game and went above and beyond to make sure that every time she saw him he was having the best holiday possible.

I think if we had stayed one more week he would have proposed marriage.

Perhaps the greatest complement I can give Hillside, though, is the fact that after one visit, we have truly fallen in love with the place and just like those thousands of rebookers, we are planning a return trip next year.

For more information about the resort and how to book, head to hillsidebeachclub.com


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