If you are looking for a half-board package and considering Turkey, you may find that most of the deals are listed as bed and breakfast holidays. Fear not! Most of the Turkish hotels allow you to upgrade to half-board basis, and this can be done in advance, with a few mouse clicks.
It tends to be assumed that, when booking a holiday to Turkey, people have a preference for bed and breakfast basis, due to the high number of top quality eateries found in most resorts, and therefore the packages are mostly advertised on that basis. However the hotels themselves do stunningly good meals, and you can cut the cost of your holiday in Turkey dramatically by booking half board in advance. This usually costs around £6 per evening meal per person, added onto the overall package cost, which represents exceptional value for money. For this mere six quid you get the traditional Turkish all-you-can-eat meze, which is a range of fresh and healthful salads, including hummus, green salads, carrot salad, cheese, egg, aubergine salad, bread, and so on. You will easily find that this is a meal in itself, and you have to be careful to save room for the main course! The main is usually a meat or fish dish, served with rice or potatoes, and then you have a delicious Turkish dessert, such as baklava made from pastry and pistachio nuts.
Going half-board means that your meals are sorted already, (with the huge breakfasts and dinners you don’t really need a lunch), allowing you to keep your holiday well within budget, and you are not spending half the night trying to decide where to eat. However, you can still have the odd evening meal out, if you feel like it. The downside might be if you are not keen on the hotel food – but to be honest, I have yet to come across a Turkish hotel where I did not like the food! And I have stayed in a few of them. I find that the hotels have the resources to lay on a really great spread – they each have their own resident chefs, most of whom make bread and sweets on site as well.
And what’s my current top tip in terms of a package to Turkey? If you happen to be in the north of England, flying from Doncaster-Sheffield Airport, then one of the best deals around at the moment is two weeks at the Oykun Hotel in Calis Beach, on Turkey’s Lycian coast, on a bed and breakfast basis, for £358 per person. When you have added in supplements, in-flight meals, etc, this comes to a staggering £744 for two people, not including insurance. Make it half board, and it comes in at £912 for two people, for two weeks, which I think is pretty good value for money.
This is definitely the hot deal that I would go for at the moment. I have stayed in the Oykun, and found it to be an excellent family run three star hotel. It has the benefit of two swimming pools, plus plenty of areas to sit in either the shade or the sun. It has a cool and comfortable café/bar area that is open most of the time. It’s also brilliant to have a pool table, where I took the opportunity to brush up my game, and even beat my partner who thinks he is pretty hot at pool. The hotel even has a bowling green! The Oykun is about a ten minute walk to the sea – up the road, over the river, and there you are on the promenade of Calis Beach.
The only glitch about the Oykun which we found was that you can’t adjust the temperature of the air conditioning yourself – you have to get the staff to come and do it, so this meant a couple of nights sleeping with the cooler set too low, which necessitated getting in and out of bed like a jack-in-the-box to turn it on and off.
The Oykun is owned and run by a very friendly and professional couple and their son, and the staff are a really kind and helpful bunch too.
If you take the same holiday from a London airport, it is about £100 per person more expensive! Supply and demand, I guess.
Calis Beach is just a ten minute dolmus ride away from Fethiye, with its fabulous shops and market, and from Fethiye it is just a short hop to the mountain resort of Ovacik, lively Hisaronu, the seaside resort of Olu Deniz, with its blue lagoon, or the exciting ghost town of Kayakoy, with Bohemian shops and boutique cafés about its fringes.
Anyway, I hope that the credit crunch is not dealing to badly with your holiday budget – Good Luck in your search for great deals this summer!