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).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits