Went to Turkey some years ago. Loved it. Top marks. Had everything you could possibly wish for in a perfect holiday destination. Great food, great people, great views and, perhaps most important of all, great value.
Jet2Holidays are now offering indulgent escapes to Turkey and it all sounded too good to miss. So I decided to take a trip to Lujo Hotel, Bodrum. A fabulous five star, all inclusive, pleasure dome of a destination, to indulge myself.
Question is, how indulgent, exactly, is an indulgent escape? Hmm. Turns out, the answer is, more fairytale than fact. Far and away beyond my wildest dreams. In fact, still can’t quite believe it really happened.
Our flight left from Stansted Airport, which is long way from home. Since this trip was all about indulgence, decided to arrive a day early, staying overnight at, The Hampton by Hilton, a hotel conveniently sited right next door to the terminal. Was an excellent idea.
We left our wheels in the secure airport multistorey and got down to the serious business of enjoying everything the hotel had to offer.
Next morning a gentle, five minute stroll took us to check in, where we braced ourselves for the usual hassles of airport life.
But the happy holiday reps were way ahead of us. The indulgent escape package includes fast track treatment. We were whisked through every check and were soon enjoying a relaxing coffee and cake before boarding.
After a fab flight and short transfer, we arrived at Hotel Lujo. From the outside it looked impressive. Very nice. Beautiful buildings, lots of friendly staff waiting to welcome us, the whole place oozed calm, contentment and tip top style.
On the inside, things got even better. The floor to ceiling wooden doors closed silently behind us and we found ourselves in a whole new world of wonder.
Centre stage, an enormous circular staircase, cloaked in a sinuous steel web, led up to a brightly coloured sculpture on high.
The huge lobby seemed to more art installation than hotel. No wonder the motto for this place is, “Art and Joy.”
Before we had finished staring at the surroundings, our Joy Advisor came over and introduced herself. Every guest gets one of these helpmates. A sort of personal assistant, on call throughout the day. Always at the end of the phone if hotel help is needed.
Taking our passports off, in order to check us in, she ushered us towards the Chocolate Bar. Suggesting we relax and unwind with a drink.
Champagne & Chocolates
The Chocolate Bar offers Moet & Chandon champagne, along with chocolate enriched strawberries, 24 hours a day. For free. I’ll say that again. For free. Must admit, in all my life, I had never experienced anything like it. If this is how the other half lives, can quite see why.
After we finished the champagne flutes, and strawberries, the Joy Advisor led us to our rooms. The hotel covers a large sloping site, right next to the Aegean sea. Which means lots of ups and downs. If necessary, we could have used some of the outdoor escalators, or hitched a ride on one of the many buggies that roam the pathways.
Carrying guests here, there and everywhere. But we chose to stretch our legs by walking.
Arriving at the room, it dawned on me just how truly indulgent this place really was. The bathroom was exquisite, with a drenching shower, his’n’hers washbasins and toiletries courtesy of Bulgari.
There was even an ensuite dressing room, complete with the softest, cosiest dressing gowns and slippers ever. Plus complimentary beach bag. The bed was an enormous cloud of fluffy, yummy perfection, with a pillow menu and mattress menu nearby, in case you wished to chop and change, finding ones that were just right for you and yours.
The living area was joyously furnished with everything you could wish for and, as if to prove the point, also had a complimentary bottle of fizz on ice waiting for us. Along with a tempting tray of handmade chocolate biscuits.
In short, the room was a pleasure seekers paradise. But there was more. A whole lot more. Turned out, we hadn’t seen nothing yet. Baby. For the real star of the show, was outside.
Stepping onto the balcony, we discovered that our room had an en-suite swimming pool. That’s right, dear reader. We had a swim up room. Another first for me. By now, must admit, my mind was slightly blown.
There are a whole list of restaurants, cafes and bars sprinkled throughout the grounds, no matter what you want, there’s an eaterie for that. Amongst other foodie delights, I had sushi in the shade, a burger on the beach, ate superb steak whilst watching the sunset. Even had incredible black mulberry ice cream in a garden cafe.
One morning, for breakfast, ordered ham and cheese English Toast, which arrived with a side garnish of baked beans, plus a spritz of strawberry jam on top. Have to say, it was deliciously crazy.
When it came to drinks, the rule was simple, whatever you wanted, you could get. And, it was always top notch and tasty.
The 24hr, free champagne bar wasn’t the only game in town. The hotel grounds were dotted with swimming pools and hideaways. Seems like every single one of them had a bar offering cocktails to make your head spin, wines from all four corners of the world, and beers to bring a smile.
Once, I even stumbled across a juice bar, offering drinks in every colour of the rainbow.
Being on the waters edge, there are a couple of hotel beaches. Both are lined with quiet cabanas, gauze covered four posters and palm tree parasols.
At each and every lounger, is a buzzer which summons a friendly waiter. Who will bring whatever snack or beverage you fancy. Leaving you to get with the important business of sunbathing or snoozing.
If you feel like getting active, there’s a watersports centre. Offering, amongst other toys; catamarans, paddle boards and banana boat rides. My own fave, were the jetskis. But if all that sounds too taxing, the hotel even has its very own luxury yacht for hire. Because. Well, why not?
Was another first for me. Never seen, “luxury yacht hire,” on the menu before. Mind, they also have their own seaplane and, it was rumoured, a private jet, if any guest should wish to rent one.
Could go on, but expect you get the idea by now. This place had a bit of almost everything money can buy. The gym is great, the spa is superb, the waterpark is wonderful. (Seriously, they’ve got one of those too. As well as an entire Kids World, where children can play with pottery, woodwork or even chemistry.)
When night falls, there are fashion shows, live bands, DJ sets and arty stuff going on all over the place. You can always find something well worth watching as you sip away the hours.
One morning, we decided to escape the luxury of the hotel, taking a short drive to nearby Bodrum.
A cute little coastal town, with lots of upmarket shops, the remains of a fine old castle and a rather posh looking marina. In the mood for indulgence, we spent the day aboard a supremely fine gulet.
Visiting quiet coves, beautiful bays and swimming in the crystal clear, sapphire waters of the Aegean sea, before stuffing ourselves on a superb slap up dinner. Really was, ab fab.
If you are looking for a delightfully decadent escape, the sort you will, almost certainly, never have experienced before, then this is the holiday for you. It is beyond the stuff of dreams.
Beyond the stuff of fairytales. It is, basically, beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. Don’t know how they have done it, but clever old Jet2Holidays have discovered a decadent, indulgent Turkish delight to beat the best of the rest. Top marks all round!
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