Take 20 golfers, all seasoned travellers with Algarve, Spain, Italy, France etc in their golfing CV. Fly them to Antalya and drive them just down the road to the Gloria Serenity resort at Belek. On the plane, listen to the speculation of the "Wonder how sorted they are in Turkey?" and "What does all-inclusive really mean?" variety.
Now watch their mouths hanging open at the sheer quality of facilities, service and value-for-money.
First things first - we are going back to Turkey which, believe me, is really giving the Algarve a run for its money. Climate? Perfect - hot and sunny for the week we were there. Courses? Five-star - and 14 within a 15-minute bus ride of the hotel (we played 4 different courses and five times in all).
Value for money? We paid just over £1,000 for our all-inclusive golf trip to Belek. We still cannot work out how they make a profit. Apart from the top quality golf, we drank a lot of beer plus the major gin, vodka, whiskey etc. brands as if they were going out of fashion. We dined in Italian, Aegean, and Asian restaurants as well as the main hotel restaurant and the separate barbecue area (entrecote steaks, grilled sea bream etc). Food excellent. We did not dine in the French Michelin-starred restaurant as it was an additional cost.
The campus? Just amazing. My guess is about 300 acres (NOT including the golf courses) with facilities of the very best standard - beach bars, swimming pools that wind around the villas, shaded lounge areas with waiter service, facilities that stretch actually further than the eye can see. One evening some colleagues went down to the vast amphitheatre to watch a ballet (Helen of Troy or some such). Those of an artistic bent were amazed at the quality of the performance and the staging - "As good as you will see at the Royal Opera House", said one.
At breakfast, the food hall is crammed with every conceivable type of food, catering for an international clientele. OK, the bacon was not the best but eggs were cooked on the spot and there were new delights to be found on every table. One morning we gorged on fresh honeycomb.
Running through all of this like a thread of gold is a superb service featuring young Turkish men and women who are a delight to talk to and cannot do enough to make your stay comfortable. On the day we arrived they asked us to sit in the spectacular reception area while they ferried unending glasses of beer to us before asking if it was OK if they upgraded us from rooms in the hotel to villas next to the pool.
The villas were superb. I had a large bedroom with a beautifully-appointed bathroom that included its own jacuzzi bath (as well as a shower). Outside, by the pool, in our own secluded villa area, was another, bigger, jacuzzi where we wallowed after our post-golf swim.
The courses are very like the Algarve, tightish in some places but with some wonderful holes and spectacular carries over water to island greens etc. Hugely enjoyable. All with great post-golf bars and facilities.
My extras bill after a week of wonderful golf, dining and drinking was about 40 euros. Our only complaint was that there were not enough buggies to go round during the busy periods on the courses and occasionally we had to use powered trolleys.
Hard to fault this holiday. This part of Turkey is beautiful and you find yourself often playing a shot to a green with a snow-capped mountain as a backdrop. Five-star hotel. Great value for money. Great golf.
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- Also Known As:
- Gloria Serenity Hotel Belek
- Gloria Serenity Belek
- Gloria Serenity Resort Belek, Turkey - Antalya Province