If you're thinking of a golf break, make sure Antalya is on your radar. Barry Plummer talks us through his Jet2holidays experience
Have you ever considered a golf holiday to Turkey? Me neither. But, following an extraordinary trip to Antalya, let me tell you why you definitely should.
My perception of the “traditional” golf break has always been a short stay in your standard European golf location like Portugal or Spain, perhaps with a group of friends, but after recently experiencing an Antalya golf holiday, I am certainly reconsidering. While I appreciate the quality and enticement of these other iconic European destinations, Antalya felt different, and opened my eyes to the possibility of a holiday that can combine a golf break and a traditional all-inclusive family holiday. After all, when your Jet2holidays package includes your accommodation, flights, transfers, luggage, food, drinks and even your golf, what else is there to think about?
For many, the prospect of a golf break becoming your main holiday may sound ludicrous, but the proposition of a luxury 5-star hotel and amenities that cater to requirements of each and every individual may start to sway your opinion. Now, don’t get me wrong, golf is king here. So let’s start there, at Gloria Golf Club – some of the best golf courses I have ever played abroad.
From the moment we arrived at Gloria Golf Resort, one thing was clear: golf was the beating heart. Delicate touches such as the golf buggies to transport you around the resort, to having Sky Sports Golf included in our room, highlighted loud and clear that these are golf people. It helped that the Masters was in full flow when we arrived, as the percolating murmur of excitement and conversation around the tournament was present in the bars, the lounges and the restaurants.
Every Jet2holidays golf package comes with golf included, and we were lucky enough to play 18-holes on the Old Course and the New Course during our stay. We had perfect mid-morning tee times on all of the days, allowing us to take full advantage of the seemingly infinite breakfast offering before we took to the first tee. Upon arrival at Gloria Golf Club, after a short complimentary shuttle ride from reception, we walked into a golfer’s paradise. A vast, well-stocked pro-shop, provided a very tempting backdrop as we picked up our buggy voucher, and after a couple of indulgent purchases we made our way to the practice facilities.
You really have no excuse not to play well by the time you reach the first tee, as Gloria Golf Club gives you the chance to warm-up every facet of your game. A double decker driving range, equipped with Trackman technology in every bay, stretched towards the starters hut. Flanking the structure stood numerous putting, chipping and bunker practice areas with the standard of greens you’d expect to see on the 18th rather than the warm-up area.
When out on the course, the well-designed layout of both championship courses certainly keeps you on your toes. Vast bodies of water lay centrally, with meandering fairways and perfectly manicured tee boxes framing the scene. Speaking from experience, make sure you pack plenty of balls as you will be expected to use all of your strategy and precision to negotiate the risk-reward dilemma posed by many of the holes.
When finding dry land, the fairways undulate towards the green complexes that are guarded by pristine bunkers. It would be easy to assume that something this beautiful couldn’t possibly bite back, but let me tell you Gloria Golf Club is no pushover and will provide challenge for golfers of all abilities, or in my case lack of.
Despite the disconnection from the world that you feel when strolling through this tranquil treasure of a course, you cannot escape the feeling of luxury that is provided by the all-inclusive package. A couple of times in our rounds, the relief of the Gloria Golf Buggy Bar arrived to offer a chance to refuel. Ice cold drinks, a variety of snacks and an opportunity to pause for a moment provided us with the perfect reminder that just because you are out on the course, the resort has not forgotten nor neglected their aim to pamper you at every opportunity.
Gloria Golf Resort is available to book on Jet2holidays, and in my opinion this is the perfect destination for any golfer looking for a luxury golf getaway.
The resort: a haven to rival anything a non-golf holiday can offer and more
It would be foolish to assume that golf is the first priority of everyone when booking a holiday. While the prospect of playing golf in the sun is something that I actively seek, I am conscious that for others the hotel and amenities are also high up in the order of importance. Fortunately, that isn’t a predicament you need to concern yourself with when booking a Jet2holidays golf break to Turkey, as all of the hotels are as five-star luxury as you could ever hope for.
Upon arriving in our comfortable, spacious room, with complimentary mini bar and a beautiful balcony overlooking the vast complex, we knew we had made the right decision. A lounger-laden private beach, with a pier bar that overlooks the beautiful turquoise waters, and a series of swimming pools provide plenty of options to sit back and relax, while an on-site aqua park offers a high-octane alternative. For younger members of the party, Gloria Golf Resort also provides an on-site entertainment centre fitted with bowling alley, pool tables, arcade games and even a cinema.
A series of a-la-carte restaurants, buffet restaurants, bars and a charming little patisserie generate a level of choice that I have rarely experienced at other hotels, but while still managing to maintain the highest level of service and quality that you would expect from a five-star resort. There is also no need to ask about the price, or reach for your wallet, because when they say all-inclusive they really mean it.
The travel: VIP treatment for every customer
Despite living a few miles from the airport, travelling always seems to be the most stressful part of going on holiday, but to be honest I needn’t have worried at all. From the minute I dropped my golf clubs and luggage off at the Jet2 check-in desk, the entire experience was very pleasant. The trust and familiarity that I felt when boarding my Jet2 flight to Antalya helped to get my holiday off to a positive start, and before we knew it we were wheels up and cruising.
As we walked out of the arrivals building at Antalya Airport, a friendly face greeted us with a sign bestowing my name and quickly whisked us off to our fancy private sports transfer. In fact, after handing my bags over outside the arrivals building, we didn’t see them again until they magically appeared in our hotel room and the only thing we needed to worry about carrying was our welcome Mojito.
Antalya: a rising star in the golf destination sphere
Although I have travelled across Europe numerous times, to many cities and destinations that I would happily revisit at the drop of a hat, Antalya really left a mark on me.
The serene backdrop, the hospitable welcome and the level of luxury is unparalleled to anything I have experienced before, and the golf courses are there to rival any resort course I have played in the past.
The truth is, a holiday here can be anything you want it to be and can cater to the individual needs of all guests. If you want to play golf, play golf. If you want to relax on the private beach, relax on the private beach. But really, the flexibility to do all of the above and enjoy every moment while doing it is the main reason I would book another package holiday to Antalya in a heartbeat.