Turkish Golf. Turkish golf vacation infrastructure rivals Spain, Portugal, and South Africa. The Belek Antalya region on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast is known for its beaches, thermal spas and challenging championship golf courses. Apart from the fabulous golf here, there are a plethora of luxurious beachfront five-star golf and spa resorts – offering ‘all-inclusive’ packages which include sumptuous accommodations, three meals a day in a variety of restaurants, open bars serving top-shelf libations and complimentary daily golf rounds.
North American golf travelers can expect to find seven-night salivating deal examples from US$1,265 per person double occupancy during the low season, mid-November to mid-December at this writers’ personal favorite Turkish golf hotel – the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort. This seven nights Regnum Carya package comes with inclusive unlimited golf rounds on the resort’s Carya Golf Course and National Golf Course; 7 nights all-inclusive accommodation; golf course shuttles and airport transfers; free room upgrade (subject to availability); and for Regnum guests, all food & drinks are included in the Club Houses at the Carya Golf Course and National Golf Course. Divide US$1,265 per person double occupancy by seven and you’ve found a golf travelers bargain at US$181 per person per night.
November is the last month of autumn in Turkey – expect 60°F to 70°F sunny days with the chance of a little intermittent rain and low humidity in Belek Antalya. Do pack your swimsuit – the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort has a huge heated swimming pool.
More about the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, host to the Turkish Airlines Open, later. Symphony of Luxury – Regnum Carya Golf & SPA Resort VIDEO
Flying to Turkey from North America aboard a Turkish Airlines Boeing B777-300ER for your Turkish golf vacation is a no-brainer. Based in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines carries over 60 million passengers a year on 328 aircraft, with direct flights to 301 destinations in 121 countries – including the San Francisco to Antalya via Istanbul route.
Many golf travelers would be surprised to learn that Turkish Airlines flies to far more international destinations than any other carrier on earth – and from a dozen different North American cities: Chicago; JFK; DC; San Francisco; LAX; Miami; Houston; Boston; Atlanta; Toronto, and Montreal. North America to Antalya via Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines – Lounge Istanbul. Turkish Airlines’ flagship Istanbul Lounge was named the World’s Best Business Class Lounge VIDEO
When you fly Turkish Airlines Business Class your golf clubs fly free! Turkish Airlines has one of the best Business Class cabins in the world and participates in the biggest and best frequent flyer global alliance.
Typical November airfares range from US$4,704 Business Class round trip San Francisco to Antalya, Turkey via Istanbul. (Economy Class from US$1,078). Call your Star Alliance partner airline – typically it will require 105,000 each way Star Alliance frequent flyer mileage points for Business Class ticket redemption San Francisco to Antalya, during the month of November.
So why should you give serious consideration to flying Turkish Airlines Business Class to Turkey for your Turkish golf vacation of a lifetime?
Unique in-flight chefs have helped Turkish Airlines win Best Business Class Food in the world awards. Turkish Airlines Business Class cabins have lay flat seats (beds), top-shelf entertainment systems, and award-winning cuisine with touches like the onboard chef and battery-powered candles on tray tables to simulate a candlelit restaurant dinner.
World’s Best Business Class Food was one of just four different categories the airline won in the 2017 World Airlines Awards.
Another area in which Turkish Airlines excels for Business Class travelers is their flagship Istanbul lounge, two levels with an open-air atrium, grand piano, Turkish and international ethnic cooking food stations, standalone cafes, Turkish coffee, tea and even olive stations – and heaps of different Turkish Delight sweets.
It boasts amenities like a golf simulator, pool table, video gaming stations, as well as lounge necessities like free massages, showers, and private baggage lockers with built-in USB chargers, easy to see why it was awarded the title of 2017 World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge. You’ll be spending a couple of flight connection hours in the lounge between layover flights from Istanbul to Antalya and on your homebound flight from Antalya to Budapest to board your flight back to San Francisco. For smokers, there is a quick exit from the Business Class Airline Lounge to an outdoor smokers’ deck at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
The flatbed was spacious and the legroom, with an ottoman at my feet, provided more space to stretch out. The cushioned lidded ottoman was a nice amenity since I could store my shoes, backpack, laptop and other things I needed access to, voiding the necessity of constantly having to get up to retrieve them from my luggage in the overhead compartment during flight.
The seat controls, light switches, flight attendant switch etc. are a bit confusing at first. Evidently, I kept inadvertently pressing the tiny flight attendant call button instead of the equally tiny overhead reading lamp button after takeoff. The result of my folly produced a scowling stern-faced male flight attendant. I apologized for my misdeed, he turned the reading lamp on for me and for the remainder of the flight I put my reading glasses on before touching or pressing switches and buttons.
After a chef-prepared candlelit dinner, Mr. Grumpy flight attendant had chilled out enough for me to pluck up the courage to ask him to press all the right levers, switches and buttons to convert my very comfortable Business Class recliner seat into a lay flat bed to which he added a comforter, blanket, and real full-size pillow. Once tucked in under the blanket for the night I was very pleasantly surprised to find that when fully stretched out my 6ft 3” frame still had a couple of inches to spare between my feet and the bulkhead.
The Turkish Airlines Business Class dinner turned out to be exceptional. It’s not just that the food was delicious and probably some of the best I’ve ever had on a plane, but its overall presentation made it a memorable experience. Instead of just handing each passenger a menu, one of the flight’s Sky Chefs introduced himself, explaining the dining options that evening and offering his recommendations for dishes to suit personal tastes.
A thoughtful wine list, including some of Turkey’s own delicious wines, along with a wide selection of spirits and cocktails, assorted teas, coffee, fresh juices were offered accompanied by mixed nuts. Pistachios are grown in Turkey, they were in generous supply onboard the plane and at all the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort bars and lounges.
Dinner service started out with a selection of warm freshly baked slices of bread served with butter, a bottle of olive oil and mixed spices.
Appetizers included chicken Caesar salad, creamy soup, and a Mediterranean seafood sampling all served on china plates.
A selection of meats, seafood with pasta and a vegetarian dish were offered for the main course followed by desserts.
Turkish Airlines flies a route over the North Pole to and from San Francisco. The fourteen-and-a-half-hour flight to\from Istanbul was smooth and comfortable. After my pampered dinner I slept until two hours before arrival at Istanbul on the outbound and two hours before arrival in San Francisco on the homeward bound. I awoke on both occasions to the delicious smell of freshly brewing coffee and a first-class Business Class breakfast.
Big open seating plan with tons of personal storage space on the Turkish Airlines Business Class Boeing 777-300ER.
About the five-star Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, Belek-Antalya, Turkey.
Inspired by the reflections of nature, the splendid lobby and the smiling faces welcoming you will herald an unforgettable all-inclusive golf vacation in Turkey from the moment you arrive.
From bellhops to receptionists, housekeeping staff to waiters and bartenders, I found the staff at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, without exception, to be warm and welcoming and extremely proud of their beautiful country.
Introduction – Regnum Carya Golf & SPA Resort VIDEO
Over the course of my week stay quite a few of the Regnum hospitality team pointedly asked me to tell American golfers to visit Turkey and stay at the Regnum after they learned that I was a golf travel writer from America. I was given plenty of opportunities to practice saying “thank you” in Turkish at the Regnum Carya. Although not a perfect pronunciation on my part, my efforts to say “Tesekkurler” roughly pronounced “Teh-shay-koo-lahrd” went over well and always elicited a broad smile!
Just one illustration of the countless thoughtful service standards at the Regnum Carya – the morning after my arrival – I happened to mention to a manager from the Regnum corporate communications team that I’d been unsuccessful in my search for an English language newspaper in the hotel. There was no short-supply of foreign language newspapers in Arabic, Russian, German, Dutch, Japanese and Mandarin available in the hotel gift shop, lounges, reception desk and business center – but nothing in English. My comment was noted apparently – the next morning and every morning for the remainder of my stay a complimentary copy of the New York Times was delivered to my room.
The spacious and superb rooms are beyond expectation, world-class restaurants and bars, each decorated meticulously in accordance with their theme, the stunning beach with golden sands, inviting indoor and outdoor pools, including an adult pool and more, ensure you will have a unique golf vacation experience here. Poolside cocktail waitresses deliver complimentary libations on roller skates.
Adult Pool – Regnum Carya Golf & SPA Resort VIDEO
Besides its top-quality service and beyond the luxurious all-inclusive concept, the resort has direct access to the adjoining Carya Golf Course and easy access to the National Golf Course. To crown it all, Carya Golf Course has the first and only 18-hole floodlit golf course in Europe for night play.
Night Golf – Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort VIDEO
All accommodations are spacious and luxurious, the rooms at the resort range from standard to suites and golf villas to suit all budgets. As well as the classy rooms in the main building, the golf villas come with private pools. A mirror LED TV, telephone, internet connection, minibar, coffee & tea setup, iron and ironing board, dressing room, hairdryer, bathtub and shower, bathroom toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers are the minimum amenities in the rooms to fulfill your needs throughout your stay.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served buffet style in the stylishly decorated Gourmet Restaurant. The A’la Carte restaurant options (included) will satisfy all tastes with their rich menus. For lovers of Italian cuisine, Ristorante Tramonto offers an exceptional service in a warm and energetic ambiance. Chufang Restaurant is a unique experience of Far Eastern dishes with its exotic atmosphere and Teppanyaki shows by real Teppanyaki masters. The Seahorse Restaurant is where delicious seafood and the sound of the sea meet in a magnificent decoration that makes you feel right in the heart of the ocean. Order the Grilled Mediterranean Prawns. Offering the delightful tastes of traditional Turkish cuisine, The Ottoman Restaurant serves its guests in great hospitality – with some mouthwatering lamb dishes. Elegantly decorated with shades of white, Macaroon Patisserie serves top quality international patisseries and ice cream. In the summer season, you can try Forest Shack, The Beach House, Aqua Eleven and Gusto Snack Bars for quick bites. Grill do Brazil and Sandal A’la Carte restaurants are also available during the summer season.
A wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the all-inclusive concept of the resort. One Lobby Bar is open for service 24/7. Sports fans can follow their favorite sports in the Score Sports Bar while sipping their drinks. Specially decorated with a golf theme, 19th Hole Golf Bar serves in a warm atmosphere from morning till midnight. The Shamrock Irish Bar is a familiar and cozy place where you can take a break for a drink. Open all day long, The Zing Bar offers healthy options such as fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
This writer’s favorite spot for a quiet sundowner was the oceanfront facing balcony off the Shamrock Irish Bar overlooking a pine forest with the best Mediterranean sunset views.
As one of the most uniquely designed Spas in Turkey, the Green Door Spa & Wellness makes you feel the tranquility of your first step inside. Using organic certified products for your health, the facility offers many treatments including beauty therapies and massages from the Far East. The traditional Turkish Bath, steam room, sauna, ice room and the indoor pool are all here for you to relax and enjoy, de-stressing you from your hectic daily life. Ask for the golfers’ therapy massage.
Belek has become one of the most preferred golf destinations in Europe and attracts more and more golfers with its championship golf courses surrounded by beautiful eucalyptus and pine forests. Situated on a 20 km strip of pristine Mediterranean coastline, Belek is only 35 minutes from Antalya Airport.
- Book Alexa Golf & Travel Agency Turkey – https://visitantalya.com/
- Book Golf Ahoy Travel USA – https://www.golfahoytravel.com/
- Book Turkish Airlines – https://www.turkishairlines.com/
- Book Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort – http://www.regnumhotels.com/en/default.html
About Turkey – Where East meets West
Meeting place of the Eastern and Western worlds, Turkey has always been a land of contrasts. Cosmopolitan Istanbul stood at the head of the Byzantine Empire for a thousand years, while its Islamic successors, the Ottomans, ruled the Mediterranean and beyond for six centuries. This long Christian and Islamic history has left a legacy of historical sites. Istanbul is one of the world’s great cities.
For about as long as there’s been a Europe, transcontinental Turkey has been its opposite. Though the late Roman empire moved its headquarters to what was then called Constantinople – on May 29, 1453, there was a split. That’s the day a 21-year-old named Mehmed led his Ottoman army into the city that from then on would be called Istanbul.
Visiting Istanbul for the first time is like learning about Cahokia, the massive indigenous city across the river from modern-day St. Louis, Mo. It’s a place where things were happening long before you thought possible. But unlike Cahokia, Istanbul is still going. It’s the longest continuous center of civilization in the modern world, picked as the new Roman capital by Constantine in AD 330, and not relieved of its imperial mantle until 1923.