THE joy of arriving at a hotel at night is the anticipation of pulling back the curtains in the morning.
And stepping out onto our roof terrace at the new Cook’s Club in Adakoy, Turkey, didn’t disappoint.
Our eyes were met with clear blue skies, sparkling seas and the dramatic mountains beyond, and the chic pool with its stylish wicker parasols.
The hotel is the latest in Thomas Cook’s drive to transform its offering for young travellers.
Today’s Instagram-obsessed millennials want style and substance over the cheap sangria and sunburn of the 18-30s days.
So with the emphasis more on healing than peeling, the hotels offer good food, cocktails and poolside DJs at seven locations across Turkey, Bulgaria, Majorca, Kos and Egypt.
The one at Adakoy, in a quieter bay around from bustling Marmaris, is a small, picturesque resort on a secluded waterfront that lends itself to lolling about — and you can laze in a quieter spot if the Ibiza classics being pumped out from the decks aren’t for you.
Those soaking up the Turkish sun are Brits and other Europeans, broadly in their 20s and 30s, with a few adult families mixed in.
The region has loads to do for those wanting to explore. We went on the Cleopatra’s Castaway day trip (£40pp) which begins with an open-top jeep ride up and over the mountain roads with sweeping views of the coastline, before boarding a boat to Cleopatra’s Island.
GETTING/STAYING THERE: Thomas Cook offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at Cook’s Club Adakoy Marmaris from £430pp. Price based on flights from Gatwick on October 21, including 15kg luggage and resort tranfsers. See thomascook.com, call 0844 412 5970 or visit your local Thomas Cook store.
MAGICAL BOAT CRUISE AROUND THE BAY
The beach there gets its name from the legend that Mark Anthony shipped the sand all the way from North Africa for his lover so she could have a secret slice of paradise.
It’s small and overcrowded but the turquoise water lapping up against it is gorgeous to swim in. There are also two other stops along the way to jump off the boat and bathe in the Aegean.
While 3.5 hours away on a coach — and worth it — is Pamukkale (£54), which means “cotton castle” in Turkish. The thermal pools in brilliant white limestone terraces, which line the mountainside, are a unique sight.
Visitors — by and large professional Instagram posers — are able to walk and sit in the dozens of milky and warm pools. At the top of the mountain lies the ruins of the Greco-Roman city Hierapolis, with a spectacular amphitheatre still very much intact.
Much closer to home is the lively harbour town of Marmaris. Boats from the resort run regularly throughout the day and take half an hour.
Once over the other side you can make the most of the shopping (its speciality is knock-off designer wear) and hammam baths, where masseuses strip away dead skin before covering you from top to toe in bubbles.
The marina is lined with bars and we had a delicious seafood dinner at Dede — the Juliet balcony overlooking the bustle comes highly recommended, as does the octopus and fish kebab.
From here you can watch the party boats with their garish lights and booming sound systems depart and — if you’re at dinner long enough — return to the dock.
Back at Cook’s Club there were none of the worries you might expect with a boring buffet that comes with some all-inclusive resorts.
All meals are served from “street food” stations at the hotel’s Cantina and are cooked fresh.
There are daily specials and local dishes, as well as burgers, kebabs, pizza and pasta — and the sublime stuffed calamari.
When the sun goes down, guests make the most of the cocktails and enjoy movie night from a lounger by the pool or head to the disco in the cave.
And the following morning, you can stretch off your hangover with yoga on the beach. The hotel has a small gym and a spa with a good range of treatments. I loved my mixed massage (£40 for 60 mins) — a combination of hot stones and an oil rub down.
A range of water sports are available — we whizzed round the bay on a jet ski (£25 for ten minutes) and water sofa dragged behind a speed boat (£10 for ten minutes).
For a more sophisticated water-based trip we took a magical private boat cruise round the bay at sunset.
Despite the hotel room’s clunky air conditioning keeping us up at night, Adakoy was a gorgeous spot to unwind and recharge.
Even the gaggle of ducks, which became holiday pets to cooing guests as they quacked their way from the sea to the loungers each day, wanted to get in on the action.
I’m just very envious that they’re still there enjoying it.
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