Go beyond the eurozone, try Turkish luxury ...

This eastern outpost has a cheap and cheerful reputation. But now the boutique hotels are arriving. Paul Gogarty reports

Looking up from our broad terrace at Beyaz Yunus, I see a dozen paragliding pterodactyls drifting gently and silently on thermals. One hundred metres beneath me the sea sighs contentedly, while out on the horizon the sun blazes a fiery farewell.

As the cicadas commence their early evening concert, I abandon the scattered debris of our completed chess game and move my glass of wine from the table to the side of the Jacuzzi. Having inelegantly clambered in, I turn to musing on what Turkish delicacies our chef will dream up for us tonight.

For far too long, holidaymakers to Turkey have been willing to put up with decidedly average hotels because of the backdrop, the cuisine, the value, and the friendliness of the people. But that is all changing with the opening 18 months ago of Beyaz Yunus in Oludeniz and the Deniz Feneri Lighthouse on the Kas peninsula.

Following an evening stroll and sundowners in Oludeniz, we return to the blue door of Beyaz Yunus that conceals its wonderful riad-like oasis. Oil lamps have been lit in alcoves and the bright Turkish colours of the day have now softened and become more muted, like the landscape.

We chat with a couple of guests at the pool bar and then drift down to yet another terrace where other guests are staring equally dreamily seawards as they await their first course.

There is no menu at Beyaz Yunus, only pleasant surprises. Mustafa, the attentive and brilliant manager, checks ahead that each guest is happy with that night's suggested dishes (and always provides an alternative if it isn't greeted with wholehearted enthusiasm). Notwithstanding the advance warning, each evening is still a revelation as to what Turkish cuisine conjures from "barbecue meats", "grilled red mullet", or "a lobster dish".

Having spent a week doing very little at Beyaz Yunus, we transfer to do very little at our second new oasis, the Deniz Feneri Lighthouse, where we exchange the stylish rustic of Beyaz Yunus for contemporary minimalist.

The villa-style, local limestone apartments are scattered across a precipitous grassed hillside just a slingshot from Turkey's prettiest coastal town, Kas. The suites closest to the water are circular, designed like lighthouse towers, and come with balconies upstairs and wrap-around terraces below.

There are no TVs at Deniz Feneri: a holiday here is all about feeding the eyes a healthier diet. Waking, you fling back the curtains to watch from your balcony the sea gently waking in the protected bay. Over breakfast on the al fresco terrace above the infinity pool, there's as much time as you want for staring up into the riven gorges of the Taurus mountains. The rest of the morning can then be spent watching fellow guests swimming, snorkelling and canoeing from the rock platforms; you may even snatch a glimpse of George, the veteran local turtle, visiting from its nearby cave (we did, twice). And finally, as the day wanes, you watch spellbound as the sun slowly sinks out at sea and signals your ascent back up the stairs for cocktails and dinner.

The Deniz Feneri seems to attract a younger crowd – late twenties and early thirties mostly – who take it in their stride to be offered a glass of champagne with their first breakfast and cope manfully with the sometimes brutalist minimalism of the rooms (I would have preferred paintings and some Turkish colour in rugs and cushions). It is, however, stunningly beautiful: sensational vistas, rock walls, geraniums, hibiscus, rose, scrub olives, and nooks and crannies to disappear into for another angle on the sublime meeting of land and sea.

Nasrim, the Turkish Cypriot manager, and his Dutch wife, Linda, take Turkish hospitality seriously, as if inviting you into their own home. Nothing is too much bother.

The food, meanwhile, is Turkish with a gastro-pub twist. The chicken kebab with roasted beetroot on a bed of lentils was excellent and the appley custard dessert tasted like the very best strudel with a cinnamon twist. The salads all make use of the freshest local produce and tangy dressings; and there are plenty of clay oven and barbecue dishes – succulent lamb casseroles, sea bass and bream, calamari and prawns.

While Beyaz Yunus is more intimate, Deniz Feneri has a chic beauty and the additional advantage of having Kas on its shoulder with its artisan and clothes shops, as well as a bevy of impressive restaurants. Deniz Feneri and Beyaz Yunus both have perfected the art of transmitting a sense of enormous wellbeing.

I swore I'd never become one of those homing holidaymakers who annually return to the same destination but I am already beginning to feel a strong pull eastwards.

Compact facts

How to get there

Exclusive Escapes (020-8605 3500; www.exclusiveescapes.co.uk) offers one week's half board at Beyaz Yunus Olu Deniz from £900 per person and a week's B&B at the Deniz Feneri Lighthouse from £500 per person. A two-centre fortnight's holiday costs from £1,025 per person. All prices are based on two sharing and include return flights and transfers.

Further information

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office (020-7839 7778; www.gototurkey.co.uk).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor