The Maxx Royal Kemer Resort near Antalya is an ornate gem on Turkey's turquoise coast complete with its own beaches, pools, restaurants and chocolatier – for an all-inclusive hit of luxury | Courtesy of Maxx Royal Kemer Resort / Expedia
Antalya on Turkey’s turquoise coast is increasingly popular for its blend of ancient Lycian ruins and modern Turkish entertainment. The local word for Mediterranean – Akdeniz – means white sea, and when the sun shines through the brilliant blue water to the glowing sandbar beneath you’ll see why. All-inclusive resorts offer couples and families a great way to holiday for a fixed fee and while these destination hotels share similar features, each one has its own unique take on luxury – here’s our pick of the best.
Antalya’s heritage as a Roman port is visible in all the remnants of its ancient Lycian cities. Xanadu is a sort of carnival revival of that history: columns punctuate the vast swimming pool, there’s a castle with a helter-skelter waterslide and a fully-functional outdoor amphitheatre for the live entertainment. It’s not all communal space, however; a bridge separates the hotel from the beach and the secret garden stocked with picnic tables provides breakout space for calm and solitude.
Susesi means sound of water in Turkish and that’s the main feature of this luxury resort – not just waves crashing on the beach but the entire hotel is built around a meandering series of pools and canals, so you’re never far from a dip. Strong 80s Miami vibes reign here; all of the suites are dressed in tennis whites and the waiters are suited up with bow ties. Order cocktails to the games room or join in with the evening’s entertainment: shows, DJs and dance parties are programmed nightly.
If you pair a clean, modern look with a whimsical sense of humour you get Lara Barut Resort. Bright pops of colour punctuate this otherwise minimalist hotel – think red and turquoise bed linens and flashes of neon in the restaurants and bars. The beachside gym has free weights made from cross-sectioned tree trunks. The LOL Club for teens has a Playstation and foam parties. Bonus: Zestful Bazaar (the all-you-can-eat buffet) offers delicious vegan food throughout the day and evening.
This titanic resort towers above the beach in a great horseshoe, and its golf course sprawls into the Antalya forest for several miles, but it’s the small details that stand out: whimsical rainbow umbrellas at the children’s buffet and a thoughtful bottle of wine and gift basket waiting in your room on arrival. Opt for the Luxury Lagoon Suites and you can dive into the private pool straight from your patio.
Spanning 40,000sqm (430,000sqft) there’s nothing missing at the spectacular Kempinski hotel. Smooth white arches, a chessboard-tile pool, marble hammam and ornate bar straight from Casablanca(1942)all help you to feel like a sultan on your holidays. Each suite comes with expansive sea views and the hotel also boasts a premium golf course. As for food, take your pick from four restaurants offering fusion world cuisines and the Dome Café where cocktails can be enjoyed on the terrace at sunset for best effect.
Just south of Antalya, Maxx Royal Kemer Resort is tucked between a cliff and the turquoise sea on a private, secluded peninsula. A natural limestone promontory separates three beaches: the music-pumping Tangerine Beach, the relaxing Long Beach with its cabanas and Middle Bay for families with children. Four pools, a waterpark, an Ottoman-inspired spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant seal the deal.
Eco-conscious travellers will appreciate Regnum Carya’s all-natural, sustainable approach. The spa only stocks organic, bio-certified products while the pools are cleaned with ECT (electricity and salt) rather than chlorine. Natural wood textures and clean white linens feature in all the rooms and banana trees shade the walkways between buildings. If you get bored with all that rejuvenating you can play golf in the middle of the night (if you choose) at Carya’s floodlit course.
Elegant rows of tall poplars and bougainvillea frame Frank Lloyd Wright style villas at this pared-back restful resort. Man-made natural spaces with manicured hedgerows blend into pine forests with hammocks strung effortlessly between palms. Inside, the serenity pool is hidden behind jasmine and bamboo, emphasising the pure Zen quality this resort exudes from head to toe. With seven restaurants to choose from you can dine at a different spot every night. Glorious.
The most family-friendly venue on the list, the Rixos Premium Belek Hotel has a themed restaurant entirely for kids called (imaginatively) Yummy Restaurant. This is in addition to the waterpark and playgrounds. Drop the little ones off at various activity groups hosted by age group and enjoy a bit of playtime yourself with tennis lessons or a round of golf – or cocktails in the lounge.