Stayed at the Porto Bello Hotel and Spa. I will get the downside over with first in one sentence: The WiFI connection, in the vernacular, sucked. I mean, if you are required or bent on doing some telecommuting work (yes, some of us take these vacations because we combine some work with fun) from here, then you will have to go to the lobby to get a reliable internet connection.
Now for the upsides: The pool was nice, the buffet breakfasts and dinner does not leave you wanting, the rooms are well lit and have great views --pool side or ocean side, the sun is bright, and you are surrounded by a diverse group of people.
We had a great time; I even joined a pool exercise class where I was the only one who did not speak Turkish. Do not be shocked when you see someone in a fully-covered (almost pajama looking but fancier) woman in the pool-this is a Muslim country but of course, I was wearing my 2-piece bikini myself. I just told myself that when in Turkey, do what the Russians do:) This is because the tour guide told us that the blond girls in two piece bikinis are Russians. Having said that, the exercise guy was pleased to have me join and asked me where I am from because clearly I was the idiot (not necessarily savant) who did not speak Turkish nor Russian but I told him we can converse in Spanish and English, if he speaks them as well. He was pleased I am from Canada or England or Obama. That was really cute!
The board walk will remind you of the board walk in Costa del Sol and/or Rio de Janeiro. The traffic on the boardwalk at the time of our visit, which was last week, was not crowded. The beaches are rocky so wear appropriate foot wear. The sun is nice and warm and air is nice. One thing though--the Turks and its guests smoke a whole lot. I am not exaggerating - I saw teen-agers smoking while walking to somewhere.
I am sure one can request a non-smoking room.
We also took an evening walk along the boardwalk and that was pleasant; we felt safe. There is a nightly entertainment show by the pool and they have a band on the second night. All in all, it was worth the stay. Enjoy the food, the music, and the wine, of course. Turkish wine is actually good.
BTW, and most importantly--we used the hotel spa for Turkish bath (Hamam) and massage. What can you expect when you do this? (We did it previously in another hotel as well so I am now an expert!:)
My husband and I did it together. So here is the routine: they give you a sarong like "towel" to keep your modesty intact. You are asked to take a shower. Then you can go (or not) to the sauna or steam room. Then you can hang out by the pool. The staff will then lead you to the bath. You will then be asked to lie down on top of these marble (which I, unfortunately will be morbidly describing as like a top of a marble tomb), which at this point is covered by a cloth. The men will be given another piece of Turkish towel (like a madras print sarong material) for modesty and I, now smarter, wore a psychologically boosting thong so I was not given the towel this time.
They pour mildly hot water on you as you lie down on your tummy and they scrub you, you turn over and they are scrubbing you all over, no exception, forget your modesty. Then they take this cheesecloth "pillowcase," dip in very sudsy pail, blow air into it and run it over your body. They give you a massage at this point. Then they rinse you off with warm water. Some spas will ask if you like them to shampoo your hair. This one did not. But I promise this: You come out with skin smooth as a baby, exfoliated without anaethesia for under $100, wink, wink.
Our Turkish bath was followed by an hour of body massage. Their massage rooms are very clean, very zen, smells good and has relaxing ambience, (two thumbs up). The massage, which I would rate (mediocre or great) was great.
They leave you, without as much as a "see you later" after they are done with the body massage. They leave you so you can doze off and that we did. They come back after what seemed like a long time, who knows, just maybe 10-15 so that you are awaken by your own loud snoring :) :)
(Caveat: I did not get this at first--I have had massages before and always my masseuse would say : We are done. Or my regular masseur would say, "If you are still with us, you can wake up now..." They just leave you to wonder what was next....so I knew better by the time I got to Porto Bello.)
The only thing that might bother someone is that those two people giving the Haman kept on talking to one another, hello, I wanted to take it all in in silence so I can enjoy more but perhaps they are just discussing how these Americans (by our accents, not necessarily looks) are so hung-up we won't just walk in proudly naked. Anyway....
So it is now all up to you! Enjoy!