Club Med opens in Belek, Turkey

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TO many people, holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance. — Philip Andrew Adams

The drive from Turkey's Antalya Airport to Club Med Belek took us nearly 45 minutes. Just being in Turkey evoked a sense of the exotic, from the array of food served and the people to the music heard around us. The country is culturally and historically rich.

A sense of anticipation and excitement was in the air that sunny Thursday afternoon as large groups of guests and media representatives were escorted from the airport to the resort. It was the beginning of the three-day, two-night grand opening celebration of Club Med Belek — the group's 40th 4-trident Club Med resort. The Club Mediterranee group has 80 resorts worldwide and Club Med Belek is its fourth resort in Turkey.

Mention Club Med and all-inclusive holidays with fun-filled activities, numerous facilities and good food come to mind. Back home in Malaysia, we have the beautiful 4-trident 200-acre Club Med Cherating in Pahang, which opened in 1980.

The almost 260-acre Club Med Belek has a lot to offer and City & Country had the opportunity to experience firsthand the beautiful property facing the Turkish Riviera. My first glimpse of the resort was the edge of the almost 150-acre Lykia Links Golf near the main entrance — the first 18-hole golf course located within a Club Med resort.

Lykia Links Golf was ranked the No 1 golf course in Turkey and the No 22 in Europe by Golf World Magazine last year. It said that Lykia Links Golf's sandy terrain and exposure to wind and sea is a test of a player's technique. The course was designed by award-winning American golf architect Perry O'Dye.

When we arrived in the lobby, we were greeted warmly with big smiles and friendly handshakes in true Club Med fashion. The reception area, decked out primarily in purple, had a rather contemporary look with a beautiful blend of tradition and modern.

Club Med Belek comprises 433 rooms, 16 recently built Belek Villas by Club Med and a whole range of facilities — such as a business facilities and convention centre, gym, restaurants, swimming pools, aquatic park, bowling alley, 7km jogging and walking track that goes around the golf course, circus activities, tennis courts and water sports.

As for non-golfers, they can spend time on the beautiful beach along the Turkish Riviera. The 2.5km stretch of sandy beach is also where loggerhead turtles (Caretta Caretta) come to lay their eggs between April and September.

While the Club Med group owns most of its properties worldwide, this resort is actually leased from the landowner. The group had taken over an existing resort on a long-term lease, refurbished it and developed what is now known as Club Med Belek.

There is also the 14,000 sq ft Club Med Spa by Caritas offering a range of wellness facilities, including Turkish baths and quiet pools. The hamman or Turkish bath is a relaxing experience, as you are given a bath (and a scrub) while lying on a heated platform — think luxury!

We also had the opportunity to walk around the lovely Belek Villas by Club Med, which were built recently to accommodate guests who desire an even bigger living space with their own private pool or holidaymakers travelling in bigger groups. Guests who stay at the villas have additional privileges on top of those enjoyed by the other guests at Club Med.

The Villas and Chalets is a separate, and also the most luxurious, range of products offered by Club Med. It is currently available at three destinations — Mauritius, the French Alps and Belek. The group's products start from 3-Trident and 4-Trident and go all the way up to its Villas and Chalets range.

The Belek Villas by Club Med experience is like having a holiday home with all the activities and facilities offered by Club Med. Aside from the beautiful accommodation, there is a dedicated butler (for each villa) to help guests with their daily requirements, such as serving a custom-made breakfast and tea in the villa.

These guests also have access to the spa and Japanese pool in the spa area, their own pool in the villa, an exemption from green fees at the Lykia Links golf course and meals at the Golf Restaurant Clubhouse (other non-villa guests pay for the a la carte food in the clubhouse). Villa guests also have private cabanas on the beach and have the option of hiring a chef for a private BBQ in the garden.

Each duplex villa with a built-up of about 2,152 sq ft, comes with a private garden, an outdoor and indoor pool, and a sauna. These villas can accommodate up to four people and are located between the golf course and the sea.

The resort has been custom-designed around two zones — a family zone and a quiet zone. This suits all types of guests, from those with families to those looking for quiet, adults-only areas. This includes the beach as well, which has a quiet area and an activity area. There is also an organised tour to the ancient theatre of Aspendos, just minutes from the resort.

While my Club Med experience may have been short, it was an unforgettable and exciting one with so much to do and see. I can hardly wait for my next Club Med getaway.Wellness Cluster

This cluster will cater for four different needs in the market:

i.Complementary — wellness-oriented retail destination consisting of elements such as fitness centres, organic food shops, cosmetic surgery, dermatological services, spa, detoxification centres, stem-cell bank, IVF specialist, ophthalmology lasik services, and alternative medicine providers such as acupuncture and medication using natural herbs.

ii.Preventive — integrated medical screening facilities such as X-ray, CAT scan, blood testing and laboratories.

iii.Curative — primary, secondary and tertiary medical facilities such as general practitioner clinics, specialist consultants and hospital surgeries.

iv. Hospitality — serviced apartments, hotel and resort to cater for medical tourism and people who need accommodation while visiting or caring for sick family members or friends.

This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of Jul 29-Aug 4, 2013.