Head off for some late summer sun at the Regnum Carya in Turkey
Words Elizabeth Hutton
Sometimes in life you’ve just got to get away. Whether you need a break from your job or simply the stress of everyday life, R+R is, inevitably, necessary. Switching off so entirely is difficult but it’s also beautiful.
Waking up with nothing to do but eat, swim and sunbathe is, quite possibly, the only way to avoid burning out. The thing is, when you need to switch off everything has to be easy and it doesn’t get much easier than a week spent at the Regnum Carya on Turkey’s south coast.
Here, from the moment my friend and I step off the plane in Antalya and into a Jag, everything is taken care of. The huge hotel and its grounds, including the Carya championship golf course, cost an incredible 300 million euros to build and the fact that no expense has been spared is so blatantly obvious. While the hotel itself is jaw-droppingly ostentatious, our private villa, located a short buggy ride away, is an absolute dream with two bathrooms, a living room, walk-in wardrobe, bedroom and two bathrooms just for us. Initially built for the congressmen visiting Turkey for the G20, it’s really, really hard to imagine Obama and Putin discussing world politics in such a peaceful place.
With our own swimming pool outside our bedroom doors, our mornings consist of rolling out and into the water before heading over to the main building for breakfast. As an all-inclusive affair, each meal is served buffet style and with an entire hall full with different foods, we over-fill our plates daily. Turkish dishes include menemen – egg scrambled with tomato, green peppers and oregano – and borek – flaky pastry parcel filled with feta, spinach and chorizo.
If you like, dinner can be a more extravagant affair with the hotel also containing five other restaurants. For a little extra, we eat at the Japanese teppanyaki where the chefs put on a show while grilling fresh lobster and steak. The chefs are hilarious, the atmosphere is electric and the food memorably good, so it’s well worth booking for.
Another extra worth its weight in lira is a pavilion pier daybed. Hovering over the Mediterranean sea, these little gazebos come with butler service so that you can spend all day fully fed and well hydrated. If you find it hard to forget about the weekday going on back at home, lying here with an Aperol spritz in one hand and a book in the other, will make it happen. Somehow, the hotel’s wifi still reaches out this far, so if you really want to stay connected, you can.
For those with kids, there’s so much to do. While they go wild in the aqua park with its 2500m2 wave pool, crazy river and speed slides, you can escape to the adult pool. Here, waitresses on roller blades bring you raspberry sorbet every other hour while the pool boy offers to spray and clean the suntan lotion from your sunglasses. Yes, it sounds a little OTT but it all adds up to what really is a 5* experience.
Antalya itself is a beautiful place so while you may decide that leaving the hotel isn’t worth it, there is much to see with mountains and sea, architecture and history all around. The old-city district of Kaleiçi (literally ‘within the castle’) is a small historic place full of Turkish culture with restored Ottoman houses lining the winding streets. The yacht-filled Old Harbor is surrounded by Roman castle walls and has hazy clifftop views of the nearby mountains.
Temperatures reach the 30s in the height of summer but it’s a still a comfortable 26 degrees in October so it’s not too late to head off for some late summer sun now.