Prepare to be ‘enlightened’ this week as we focus on Sensatori Resorts. Penny was invited on a press trip with Thomson Holidays to Sensatori Fethiye, Turkey for 3 nights. This brand new five star resort (opened in 2015) is set in a stunning mountainous location on the turquoise coast in Turkey, a sheltered bay full of coves and tiny islands. Sensatori combines two words, sensory and satori, meaning ‘enlightenment’. Would Penny reach ‘sensatori’ in just 3 days?
When I packed for this trip I was fully prepared for an onslaught of taking photos, notes and busily moving from place to place, trying my best to relax and make the most of it, while battling to capture a week’s holiday in 3 days. Except, that didn’t happen, no, something entirely different unfolded.
Our itinerary was nothing short of blissful: arrival on Thursday, Boat trip Friday, Jeep Safari Saturday, Beach Cabana and Turkish Bath on Sunday. A truly authentic holiday experience. Much more on these activities later this week on Wednesday and Thursday.
Any stress I brought from home was dissolved instantly on arrival by the chilled fizz that was placed in my hand at reception, Turkish cider, much more like a sweet and fruity Prosecco than English Cider, became my new favourite drink. A scented cool flannel was presented for me to refresh and I was offered Turkish delight and dark chocolate. Simple gestures, but immediately I felt a change in myself. Sensatori resorts are located in some incredible and naturally stimulating places around the world, to complement this the Sensatori concept has fully embraced stimulating the senses.
I think I expected the sensory concept to be a token gesture, but as the friendly staff escorted me to my room I could smell subtle wafts of what I later learnt is the Sensatori fragrance, smell is such a powerful sense yet often underused. The toiletries have the same fragrance, so you really do feel cocooned in the most relaxing aroma. It appealed to the men on the trip as much as the women.
As we walked past the pool I was really taken by the mature planting, no expense is spared on the garden here and the foliage is lush and sensory – I loved the sound of the breeze blowing through the grasses and couldn’t stop myself brushing my fingers against them.
I stayed in a family suite, as soon as I walked through the door I felt as if I had arrived somewhere special, the design of the rooms in this new hotel is state of the art and so innovative. My taste buds were once again enticed by chocolate and nuts.
Oh how comfy this bed was, the pillows so soft and plentiful. Despite being on my own in a giant suite, I slept so soundly each night. There was a double bed room and a twin bed room of the same size, both with doors to the roof terrace.
The bathroom design is really clever, the twin sinks are in the large hallway, outside the two bedrooms, making getting ready as a family or couple much easier.
There is a separate bathroom, the bath has a shower and a rainfall shower and a separate shower, so again, easy for couples or young families to get ready more quickly. I loved the rainfall shower, a delicious way to cool off or to wake up and the complimentary scrub mit was a thoughtful touch.
My room was on the third floor, it is worth thinking what kind of outside space will work best for you at Sensatori – there are lots of room options to choose from, you can even opt for a private pool.
The advantage of the third floor is the generous sun terrace was walled up to chest height and therefore is not overlooked and impossible for kids to escape from. The amazing ground floor rooms have swim up pools, which could be great if your kids are old enough to come and go and swim safely, or if you are intent on maximising your pool time.
This was the view from my sun terrace. The resort is split in two halves, with ‘adults only’ and ‘family’ sides, which works really well – my room overlooked the family side. There is another huge pool out of shot to the bottom of this picture and a children’s area, out of shot to the right. Behind the resort is mountains. Although the drive into the resort goes through land that is still being developed, within the resort the feeling is wonderfully tranquil and enclosed, surrounded by sea, mountains and forest. You can take a boat to the local town of Fethiye from the resort.
The Playhouse and Nursery is like nothing I have seen at a resort. There is a whole post on childcare coming tomorrow, so do pop back for a full tour. I am really excited to share it, as a parent and an ex teacher I think it is a really exciting and innovative space, full of fun and free play, educational opportunities, fully geared to relaxing and make friends. The sensory theme is fully explored here too, children even get to do science experiments.
The beach is beautifully tranquil, due to the setting of the resort in a bay which is sheltered by a large peninsula and surrounded by forest and mountains.
I love a morning walk before everyone else is up, the jetty was a gorgeous place to be.
There is plenty for of all ages to do, Sensatori Fethiye has water slides, watersports, tennis, table tennis and a gym – so is really well equipped for those who want to stay active on holiday. There are yoga and sports classes, but only if you want to dip into them, that offering is absolutely there, but isn’t pushed onto guests, the emphasis here is on fuelling the senses.
The children’s paddling pool and shaded beach play area are great for toddlers.
It wouldn’t be a full introduction without mentioning the gourmet food. We dined in four of the five Al La Carte restaurants and in the main dining room, which is a stunning, and highly extensive self service buffet.
The variety and sensory pleasures on offer here are quite astounding. I enjoyed taking my time over choosing exactly what my taste buds craved. Here are just some of the things you can pick for breakfast. Of course if tea and toast, cereal or fried breakfast are your thing, they are there too, I just like to pick out the more special and local offerings.
Dining in the restaurants was always an occasion, the staff were attentive and the food a sensory delight. My favourites were the fine dining, Turkish and Italian restaurants. There is a supplement for the fine dining and grill restaurants, but apart from that the resort is all inclusive.
The advantage of fully inclusive is you can indulge your senses, and switch off from thinking about what things cost. My favourite moment of the day was a cocktail before dinner in the piano bar.
I saved my favourite part of the resort until last, if you go, do rent a cabana on the beach for the day, it will be the best 50 Euros you ever spend. This was the day where all that gentle work on my senses came together and left me in a state of blissful enlightenment.
It’s impossible not to feel pampered reclining on freshly-laundered, white-towelling-covered mattresses and cushions, looking out onto the sea. Plenty of shade, comfort, your own waiter to bring drinks and snacks. This is the way to do the beach as a family. You can just about see the buzzer to call the waiter, we never needed it, he seemed to know exactly when we needed him.
Admittedly I didn’t have my kids with me, but other people did, and I can absolutely see this being the best base for a perfect family beach day. You can buy pancakes on the beach, visit the watersports building and dip in and out of the sea and snooze, read or play games in the cabana.
During the day I was watched Turkish families further down the beach cooking dinner over bonfires in the woods and having a wonderful time splashing in the sea, and wished my family was there too. Although my press trip buddies were great fun too and child free time is always welcomed.
This Kaftan was designed by Jade Jagger for Sensatori, I absolutely fell in love with it, it was soft, silky and beautifully patterned, another sensory triumph for Sensatori.
The resort has an incredible spa, so while children enjoy the multi sensory, educational and extremely great fun Play House or Nursery, parents can treat themselves to a traditional Turkish Hamman. That was an incredible experience, one to fully explain another day. I thoroughly recommend you try it, you can do it individually or as a couple, or group.
I think Sensatori had me the moment I stepped into the resort, the whole three days was enlightening in so many ways, but it was here in the spa, as the last drops of soap were washed away by my attendant and she rinsed my hair, just like my Mum used to, conditioned it with rosewater, and placed a warm towel around me, that I felt tears of happiness prick my eyes and a sense of having truly reached enlightenment.
Returning home I felt I had achieved so much in 3 days it was hard to communicate, I would love to return with the family, I would love to see how my children found the Playhouse and to see how the Sensatori concept plays out in terms of soothing the stresses of family life. Sensatori is such an amazing concept; I felt truly enlightened, nourished and completely relaxed in such a short space of time.
Sometimes 5 star resorts can feel a little stifling, especially with children, but not at Sensatori Fethiye, I absolutely believe Thomson are onto something very clever with this concept. Combining 5 star luxury with a subtle but oh so effective massaging of the senses, stunning surroundings and attentive and friendly staff, means the whole family can truly relax.
Sensatori resorts can be found in Turkey, Crete, Cyprus, Ibiza, Eygpt, Mexico and Jamaica.
Sensatori Fethiye from £629pp fully inclusive.