Palm Beach by JaycB

Mark Warner Beachclubs – Palm Beach, Turkey


Mark Warner have been very successful in pioneering a more laid-back type of watersports beach club, with several such destinations in the Med.  Palm Beach is the name of their only Turkish beach club.   Outside of the August school holidays this is an adults-only resort and this explains the youthful, fun and friendly clientèle that make this resort so unique.
The resort is approximately 1 hour's drive from Bodrum airport and lies between Turgutreis and Gumusluk on the edge of a tiny hamlet called Kadikadesi.  It's quite a small resort with just 80 rooms - this, and the compact layout of the club, makes the whole place much more friendly and intimate than the larger resorts.  
          Next to the reception area are the tennis courts.  A few metres further is the restaurant block which overlooks both the sea and the pool.  Next to the pool is the bar, nestling next to a huge cluster of palm trees that give the site its name.  There is a grassy sunbathing area between the pool and the beach and behind the bar are a mini football pitch and a volleyball area.  The beach itself is a mix of sand and fine gravel.   
Accommodation is organized in two blocks, both of which feature rooms with balconies or patios that overlook the sea.  One of the features I like about this destination is that single travellers are well catered for.  Palm Beach features several smaller rooms that are set aside each week for singles at no extra cost.  Just request one at the time of booking and if they are available you'll be allocated one.  Of course, you can also share a twin room with a fellow single if you wish.   Volleyball
The rooms themselves are simple but clean and well decorated.  Each room has a separate shower/toilet room.  Another welcome feature is an air conditioner/heater in each room.     
          The main activities included in the price of the holiday are windsurfing, sailing and tennis.  The staff also run free keep-fit classes, water polo and volleyball.   There is also waterskiing, wakeboarding and scuba diving available but these must be paid for separately. 
We arrived at the resort at 8:30PM and were provided with a hot meal and wine.  I was pleasantly surprised when two waiters came up and greet me like a long-lost friend;  they'd remembered me from last year and their warmth was completely genuine. 
          Also during this welcome meal I met up with four other regular guests that I'd met on previous visits.
Afterwards we all made our way down to the bar and had a gloriously hedonistic night enjoying drinks, meeting new friends and sampling the mystical pleasures of the hookah pipe.  
          I've had reason to criticize this resort in the past for the limited range of windsurfing equipment, but Charlie Falconer, Mark Warner's new waterfronts manager, has kept his word and restocked the resort this season with a full range of new Starboard Carves, Go's and Starts, along with a wide range of Tushingham sails.  The sailing fleet consists of Lasers, Picos  and Dart catamarans as well as a couple of RS2000's.   Hardcore windsurfers might still find the choice of boards limited but for most intermediate windsurfers and sailors there will be plenty of gear to keep them occupied. 
  It's worth mentioning at this point that the safety boat cover is excellent and this gives one the confidence to push one's abilities to the limit. 
          The wind during the week was predominantly cross-onshore.  The first couple of days saw very light winds, then we had three very windy days, with the wind gradually dying down again for the remaining couple of days.  This was during the last week of October, and it's worth bearing in mind that at this time of year there are no guarantees as far as wind is concerned.  During high season the wind is much more predictable, with the regular Mediterranean pattern of light winds in the morning building to F4-5 during the afternoon.   
Regarding nightlife, the resort bar stays open all day from 10AM until approx 1AM.  The resort operates a “no cash” policy, with bar drinks, beauty treatments and shop purchases being made using Dallas Key wristbands that are obtained on arrival.  The accumulated bill is paid off at the end of one's stay.   After the bar closes guests can carry on the night at either Kikits, an isolated disco-bar just down the beach, or Pito's, a fantastic outdoors bar located behind the hotel that features a bar built around  huge eucalyptus tree, comfy sofas and a roaring fire-pit - words just can't describe the atmosphere of the place.
The holiday price includes full board and wine with lunch and dinner, and the food is simply fantastic; I found it hard to understand how Mark Warner can afford to offer such a wide range of food for the price until I learned that the hotel has its own mini market-garden and farm that ensures the fresh, plentiful and varied menus on offer every day.  Sunset

  My only criticism of this great spot is the steep prices charged at the resort's  bar – well above the going rate.  
          This was my sixth year at Palm Beach, and hopefully it'll continue to be my autumn getaway for many years to come.  For young couples and singles especially, I really can't recommend it highly enough.  

J.C. Baracas
November 2005.

Additional photography by Duncan Self and Nicole Winters