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A traditional Turkish spa treatment, a hammam comprises two parts: a preparatory wash and a full-body massage. Being the unprepared guy I am, I have no idea of this so when my girlfriend and I are led into a wetroom and instructed to lay down side-by-side atop a tiled, raised slab in the centre of the room, I’m a little confused to say the least. What follows is a half-hour rinse that involves light massage, an exfoliating rub and a lot of bubbles. It feels amazing and if the treatment finished then I would be satisfied, if left wanting more.
Thankfully, the next half-hour is as good as the first. Turkish massage sits somewhere between the emphasis on motion favoured in Thailand, and the deep-tissue approach taken in Sweden. My masseuse asks me if I have any particular areas I want working on (yes: my upper-back) and how hard I want it to be (very, please) and gets straight to work. It’s not as intense as a sports massage, but has firmness rarely found outside of a physio’s workbench.
While I’m getting what amounts to a controlled beating, my girlfriend has opted for a gentler rubdown. Though our experiences are different our feelings are the same: absolute bliss. Only a few hours earlier we had been on a Monarch flight from Luton airport to Dalaman and already the bustle, grey skies and everyday stresses of London are forgotten. It’s for this reason – and the fact we both feel mentally and physically refreshed – that we instantly book ourselves in for another couple’s hammam during our four-day stay at the D-Resort Göcek.
Half an hour’s drive from Dalaman airport, the resort sits along a beautiful stretch of Fethiye coastline dotted with yachts belonging to people far richer than us who are also here for a bit of rest, relaxation and mind-blowingly good food. That’s not all you can do, though. D-Resort’s gym is fully equipped with shiny Technogym machines, weights and a personal trainer willing to show you how to use them, or suggest workouts depending on your goal even if you haven’t booked a one-on one session.
I visit each day I’m there, and he soon gets to know my strengths and weaknesses. Suggesting exercises and correcting form if needs be, he strikes the perfect balance between being attentive and annoying. Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re being watched, or worse judged, while working out, but he just made me feel like he gives a toss. He’s passionate about fitness and enjoys sharing it with other people. It’s a good job he is though, otherwise it’s unlikely I would tear myself away from the amazingly comfy king-size four-poster bed in our room to go and work up a sweat.
Four-poster beds conjure up images of dusty old stately homes with hideous oil paintings encased in gaudily ornate frames. Well, for me anyway. Thankfully, due its liberal use of light, white material the one in our room is nothing like that. In keeping with the rest of the hotel’s design, it has a luxurious modern feel that feels breezy and welcoming.
My girlfriend and I would normally mock the type of people who go on holidays and never leave their hotel, but that’s exactly who we become during our stay at D-Resort Göcek. There for less than a week with two incredible restaurants (one at the centre of the resort, the other right next to the ocean, complete with picturesque lighting) to choose from there is little reason to eat elsewhere and a private beach is only a few minutes walk away, shielded from the hawkers normally milling about on European beaches.
The only downside? Aside from the traditional hammam massage, there isn’t much in the way of Turkish culture on display. If that’s what you’re after, fly into Istanbul, spend a few days soaking it all up, get an internal flight to Dalaman, head to D-Resort Göcek (they’ll even pick you up from the airport for free) and escape the hectic, hustle and bustle of one of the world’s busiest and most vibrant cities.
Monarch, the scheduled leisure airline, operates flights to Dalaman from Birmingham, London Gatwick, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and London Luton airports, with fares, including taxes, starting from £69.99 one way (£111.98 return)
For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit monarch.co.uk
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