With no fewer than 14 championship courses within a short drive, including offerings designed by the likes of Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, Belek is a haven for golfers.
According to Tolga Tuyluoglu, director of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office, “Belek is one of the fastest-growing golfing holiday destinations in Europe.” And with courses inspired by the famous English courses of Wentworth and Sunningdale, British golfers will feel at home among the bountiful heather and fragrant pine trees.
Thanks in part to the Taurus mountains, which act as a massive weather barrier, Belek, situated midway between Antalya and Alanya on the Turkish Riviera, enjoys 300 days of sun a year. And it’s not just golfers who will appreciate the long season here.
Johnny Barr, director of Design Holidays, which markets the Cornelia Diamond Resort in Belek, says: “At first we thought it would be good for our golf market but it has actually proved a great winner for us with luxury family holidays.”
As Tuyluoglu explains, Belek is a purpose-built, designer resort with mostly four and five-star hotels. “As it is one of Turkey’s newer resorts, the standards are exceptionally high,” he adds.
Predominantly self-contained, the resorts cater well for families and couples, with a good choice of sporting and leisure facilities such as on-site water parks. As most have kids’ clubs your clients can easily nip off and play a round of golf while the children are entertained. Plus, many have their own private strip of beach and offer all-inclusive holidays.
Gemma Carroll, product manager at Cosmos Holidays, says: “Predominantly we focus on all-inclusive holidays for Belek and we have had to increase our offering in this sector to keep up with demand.” The same is also true for Olympic Holidays.
Hit the road
The town of Belek has lots to enthral visitors, from vine-covered squares and gorgeous beaches to the impressive remnants of the Roman occupation, such as the City Walls and the Hadrian Gate. Clients who venture further afield will discover an outstanding area of natural beauty. Tell your clients not to miss out on a visit to Manavgat and Düden, the most famous waterfalls in this region.
At the nearby ancient Greek city of Perge, visitors can explore the colonnaded street and the 2,000-year-old amphitheatre of Aspendos. The latter is spectacularly well preserved and hosts events such as the Antalya Jazz Festival and the world-renowned Opera and Ballet Festival. Alternatively, the nearby ancient city of Side was once home to Antony and Cleopatra.
In the city of Antalya, a 30-minute drive away, visitors can stroll through the narrow streets of the ancient town, stock up on souvenirs or dine in the seafood restaurants that line the charming old harbour.
New for 2011
Belek is more accessible this year thanks to an increase in airlift to Antalya, including Thomas Cook’s new summer services from Bournemouth, Edinburgh and Doncaster Sheffield. Cosmos, meanwhile, has introduced a new scheduled service from Manchester and plans to launch standalone flight deals on Monarch next year, making it easier to book breaks with flexible durations.
On the accommodation front, Sovereign Luxury Travel and Prestige Holidays have both added the Gloria Serenity Resort this year. It is home to three golf courses, a spa and tennis courts. Olympic Holidays has added the Dyadom Hotel Resort Belek, a four-star all-inclusive property, and the five-star Letoonia Golf Resort Hotel, offering 492-rooms, a spa and golf driving range set amid 75 acres.
New properties include the 445-room Maxx Royal Belek Golf & Spa resort, which opened in June, and Rezidor Hotels will open a Missoni resort in 2013. Going back to golf, Belek is gearing up to host the International Golf Travel Market from November 14-17. And with another course, the Belek Golf Club, set to open its doors next year, the resort’s future looks bright indeed.
A seven-night all-inclusive break at the five-star LykiaWorld Antalya Resort in early November costs from £451 with Thomas Cook MyStyle, including flights from Gatwick. The Lykia is home to a fantastic links course – the only one in Turkey. thomascookworld.com, 0871 230 2399
Cosmos Holidays is offering seven nights’ all-inclusive at the Sueno Hotel Golf Belek, which is set between two championship golf courses. Prices lead in at £695 for summer 2012, including flights from Gatwick or Manchester. cosmos-holidays.co.uk, 0844 573 0660
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