Simon Dent enjoys a blissful beachy break with his daughters Ellie and Charlotte in Dalaman in Turkey
Impatient for an adventure, Ellie, ten, Charlotte, eight, and myself jetted off to Dalaman, Turkey for a long weekend at the end of October half term. An enjoyable four hour EasyJet flight later, we were dropped in the heart of southwestern Turkey.
Upon landing in Dalaman, we were shuffled on to a stylish minibus transfer to the full board plus Hillside Beach Club a quick 45 minutes away. The girls were pleased to see a large video screen inside the minibus, in which I promptly lost the movie choice in a game of rock paper scissors and had to endure the girls pick, The Little Prince, on the ride to the hotel.
We unloaded into our spacious two bedroom suite – perfectly equipped for a family with two children. Our suite boasted a lovely patio area that connected the two bedrooms, as well as unobstructed views of the bay and beach.
Our first stop was, of course, the beach. Inspired by the name, Hillside Beach, the girls took it upon themselves to count the steps from the room to the beach upon our descent. Some 57 steps later, we found ourselves at the shores of the horseshoe bay. From there, we explored the pool and restaurants along the bay.
Hillside’s beach is a picturesque paradise of deep, clear blue waters, sunshine, and pebbled shores. Just as we were about to dive in, the girls happened to notice the school of tiny fish darting near the shores.
In fear of becoming fish food, the girls refused to join the fun until I jumped in to prove them them wrong.
Once the girls were satisfied with the swimming conditions, we swam our way over to the nearby diving platform. Charlotte announced her dives with a sweet impression of Dory chanting, ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming!’
Later, back in the safety of the swimming pool, I set up an introductory scuba diving session for us all. The instructors led the children on a scuba demonstration complete with junior scuba tanks, mini fins and goggles. Ellie decided she liked the idea of being a mermaid, so we signed up for the introductory diving experience the next morning.
Decked out in our fins, wetsuits, and tanks, Ellie and I set out on our first diving experience bright and early. With the help of our lovely instructors, Ellie got the hang of breathing fairly quickly, later on declaring that she wanted to be a marine biologist.
Back on land, the girls enjoyed the Kidside Club (for four to 10 year olds) and Young Club (for 11 to 15 year olds). The girls were kept busy with table tennis, basketball, chess games, and even a kids hot tub. The clubs also featured crafts tables where the girls made paper airplanes and painted emojis on stones. To top-off the kids club activities, the girls took part in the children’s show as dancing reindeers.
While the girls were busy, I took the opportunity to book a massage at the Sanda Spa, which was a fabulous addition to the trip. The hotel also reserves two beaches, Serenity Beach and Silent Beach, and the Pasha Restaurant for adult guests.
Stomachs growling, we made our way to the hotel buffet. The food is wonderfully setup to serve and handle children, even featuring an option for a ‘kiddie chef’ activity. Despite the grand display of options, my little creatures of habit tended to stick to Nutella crepes for breakfast and buttered pasta for dinner. I enjoyed snacking on the kebabs and fresh sea bass at the beach bar for dinner.
This was nothing compared to the dessert selection, where the girls discovered their eyes were much bigger than their stomachs.
After three trips to the dessert buffet, Ellie and Charlotte were ready for a night of chocolate-induced slumber.
Hillside Beach Club is a great family holiday destination, boasting stunning views, incredible beaches and friendly staff. The hotel caters for guests of all ages and it is a tremendous family full board plus option.
With the majority of families we met on their second and third visit to Hillside, the girls and I felt we would have to do the same. Hillside Beach Club, we will be back!
Top tip: Turkey requires a visa for all visitors. Travel e-visas can be purchased online for £20.
How to get there: EasyJet flights from London Gatwick take four hours and start at £78 for adults and £13 for kids in June
Price: Two bedroom sea-view suites for families of four in June start at £754 per night