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A different kind of Turkish delight

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Live like a God in the lap of luxury on the Dionysos Estate.

The sun comes up early over Kumlubuk Bay, so you can catch some rays well before 7am. But slap on the sunblock it’s hot out there, with temperatures above 30C from May to October.

Kumlubuk faces east, looking out from the heel of the Bozburun peninsula, one of the fingers of land that jut from the Turkish mainland into the Aegean Sea.

It’s only a 30-minute drive, on breathtakingly serpentine roads through cliffs and pine forests, from the beaches and bazaars of bustling Marmaris. But, boy, is it different.

There aren’t any neon-lit UK-style pubs, souvenir shops or curry houses here.

Perched on its hillside above the bay, the Dionysos Estate stands in glorious isolation among pines, lemon and olive groves and herb-scented meadows cluttered with hundreds of blue-painted beehives.

This collection of elegant guest cottages around a gorgeous infinity pool is the brainchild of Ahmet Senol, who combines an eye for style with an enthusiasm for the great tastes of his native country.

The estate’s own brand, Amos, has won acclaim from the Flos Olei guide to the world’s best olive oils (trust me, it’s delicious and I had a bottle packed in my case on departure).

Go at harvest time and you can join the hotel’s gardener, Isa, and a team of olive pickers as they gather the succulent green fruit using nets and small wooden rakes.

It’s hard work (you might need a session in the hot tub later I did) but you’ll be rewarded with a tot of almost luminous, pea-green oil, fresh from the press.

The hotel’s own oil, honey from the estate’s own hives, and yummy local wines, all feature on the Dionysos Estate’s menu, which is created by Ahmet’s daughter, Didem.

She’s a rising star on the Istanbul culinary scene, and her menu here emphasises local seafood and organic produce.

Look out for dishes such as sea bass carpaccio laced with dill and grapefruit, all drizzled with the estate’s own olive oil, or meze favourites such as herb-stuffed zucchini fritters.

Between meals, laze beside the infinity pool or in a hammock in shady gardens, or work off calories in the air-conditioned gym.

You may find it hard to drag yourself away from the poolside (I sure did), but make the effort. There’s plenty see and do in this part of the world.

A five-minute shuttle ride takes you to the hotel’s private beach, which has loungers, parasols and a bar-restaurant beside a pebbly beach where the water is as clear as vodka.

You can windsurf or kayak, or spend a day pottering along the coastline aboard an elegant “gentleman’s boat” (a converted ship’s lifeboat), dropping anchor in sheltered bays to swim, snorkel and enjoy a lavish lunch.

Or take a water taxi to nearby Turunc Bay or Marmaris for a day’s shopping in the weekly markets.

Get there early to see them at their best, and look for bargains such as leather bags, jeans, T-shirts and sunglasses.

If you’re the energetic sort, you’ll love exploring the hillside trails around Kumlubuk (go first thing in the morning to dodge the afternoon heat).

At Amos, you can see the remains of an ancient city dating from the 10th Century, complete with a 1,300-seater amphitheatre.

For a longer adventure, rent a car (there are plenty of rental outlets in Marmaris) and drive to a spectacular, but little-visited ancient relic, about two hours inland.

At ancient Aphrodisias you can wander around a square kilometre of ruined temples and theatres with only lizards and tortoises for company.

This once-great city reached its peak around 2,000 years ago, when it was famed for its sculptors, and you can see some of their work in the excellent on-site museum.

Or, if you feel like going international, you could take a high-speed catamaran from Marmaris to the Greek island of Rhodes (you can see it on the horizon on a clear day) to spend a day wandering around the ramparts, towers and alleys of the most intact medieval city in the world.

If your experience of Turkey so far has been the busy resorts of the Aegean and Mediterranean coast and you’re keen to escape from the crowds this summer, this is the place for you.

It’s a whole different face of the Turkish coast.

Exclusive Escapes offers seven nights’ B&B at Dionysos Estate from around £800 per person in May, flying from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and most other airports to Dalaman, about 90 minutes’ drive from the hotel.

Visit or call 020 8605 3500.