Plus a review of Simpson Travel’s Villa Hanedan.
June 2018 saw team Coco Bay flying out to Turkey for their Summer photoshoot. After some help from the experts over at Simpson Travel we were keen to book Villa Hanedan in Kalkan, south western Turkey. The stunning cliff top location of the Villa with it’s incredible views over Kalkan Bay promised to provide the most wonderful photoshoot setting. Most of the Coco Bay team were new to Turkey and were all particularly excited about this trip. We’d all heard good things about Kalkan, the beautiful beaches in the area and the cosmopolitan vibe of the town.
On arrival in Turkey we were greeted at Dalaman Airport by our driver which had been arranged for us by Simpson Travel and all proved nice and straight forward. By this time it was dark so we didn’t really get to appreciate the scenery on the way to the villa. We did read through the welcome letter from Simpson (delivered via our driver) which explained some of the interesting things we would pass along the way. This included the intriguing sounding ‘valley of greenhouses’ and when we saw this in the daylight it was really incredible. There were literally greenhouses as far as the eye can see (filled with Tomatoes, yum!)
We woke in the next morning to see the stunning views from the Simpson Travel website come to life and we were feeling pretty happy about the week ahead. Villa Hanedan is gorgeous, with it’s two master suites at the top of the house, each with their own balcony with spectacular sea views. Each of these rooms have a huge jacuzzi bath, taking full advantage of the incredible view. (Did we mention the amazing view??) The large living area on the ground level and well equipped kitchen means the villa easily has room to comfortably house up to 8 guests. There are two twin rooms in the basement with an interlinking games room. We all agreed Villa Hanedan would be absolutely perfect for a group of adults looking to get away in style. Or equally suitable for two families holidaying together with older children or teenagers.
Getting to Know Kalkan
Simpson’s rep Olivia visited the villa on our first morning to welcome us and show us the ropes. She explained about the grocery delivery service by a local man called Fiath. All we had to do is Whatapp him with our requirements and he will come to the villa with food, wine, water, or whatever you need. This proved incredibly handy, such a great service and we kept well stocked thanks to Fiath’s regular and prompt deliveries. Olivia lives in nearby Patara and we were all interested to find out about her life in Turkey and how she had come to work for Simpson Travel.
She also gave us lots of tips about the local area including which supermarkets offered the most choice (she recommended Migros at the top of the town). She was very happy to share her knowledge of the local beaches, and also pointed out the car we had originally requested – a mini-van, may not be the best choice for the steep hills in Kalkan. We swiftly asked to change our hire car for a smaller model with an automatic gear-box, (much easier on the hills!) and we managed to get about with no problems at all.
Making use of the hire car, we drove over to explore Patara beach, which is about a 30 minute easy drive from Villa Hanedan. Patara beach is a vast stretch of white sand backed by picturesque sand dunes. The beach was busy with families but being so vast we knew it would be easy to find a quiet spot. Patara itself is a small, pretty town with a few shops and cafes. In order to park at the beach you drive through Patara ruins where you pay a small fee to access the national park and slightly extra if you wish to visit the ruins themselves.
In search of further photoshoot locations, we explored the opposite direction which takes you along the high ocean road towards the town of Kas. The views were sublime, and we easily found Kaputas beach which we had been told was beautiful. Kaputus is a small bay with bright blue sea, backed by steep white cliffs and is accessed by quite a large set of steps. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but with a model who we needed to keep looking her best in the heat, and a whole set of outfits to change into, we decided not to transport all of this down to the beach but made a note to return another time when we were in the holiday mode. (Well, apart from one member of our team who has a fear of heights and wasn’t so convinced to re-visit the steep cliff edge!)
As it turned out we managed to do the majority of the photoshoot at the Villa. The beautiful pool, the pretty hammock, the balconies and sun drenched terrace were all keeping us busy. We spent an afternoon shooting on Kalkan beach (a 10 minute walk from Villa Hanedan, or you can use the boat which departs from below the Villa). We also took advantage of the backdrop at the Palm Beach Club, conveniently located underneath Villa Hanedan and which guests get complimentary use of during their stay.
The whole photoshoot ticked along like clockwork, thanks to our well planned schedule. The weather was kind (despite a rather heavily but short lived downpour on our first afternoon) and the sun shone all week. Our model Casey was Australian and hadn’t travelled much in or around Europe. She quickly admitted to being blown away by the landscape and after our first day shooting she went straight down to have her first ever dip in the Mediterranean sea (which she loved, despite being colder than she had anticipated!)
Some Most Enjoyable Downtime
Although we were in Kalkan to work, we managed to enjoy some really lovely evenings watching the glorious sunsets from the terrace at the villa. We also made sure we headed into Kalkan town as we were keen to experience the local restaurants. The food at the The Junction restaurant was really good and they expertly cater for a wide range of diets (including vegan and gluten free). There was a really fun evening on the rooftop terrace at Baharat Restaurant with delicious food and drinks. On our last night we celebrated with cocktails and dinner at Trio Restaurant enjoying it’s superb waterfront setting at the pretty Marina. The atmosphere in Kalkan town is very friendly and relaxed, and we really enjoyed the Turkish food and the charming hospitality.
It was always easy to communicate (our very limited phrases of badly pronounced Turkish were all well received with a dose of humour). Luckily for us the staff in the restaurants spoke perfect English. The local taxis were reliable and cheap meaning it was easy to get around. Olivia has already informed us that the first taxi driver you meet in Kalkan will most likely become your personal taxi service for the trip… Which did turn out to be the case!
Do we have to Leave?
Before long, the time came to leave and we were all reluctantly wishing we could stay on for a further week of relaxation. We did however manage to enjoy the last few hours of our stay by the lovely pool at the Kalkan Regency (another beautiful Simpson Travel property). Needless to say, we were all sad to leave when our transfer driver arrived but sadly our time was up…
We want to say a really big thank you to Simpson Travel for helping us find the perfect venue. Also to their pre-departure team and staff out in Kalkan for looking after us so well. We can absolutely recommended Villa Hanedan to anyone looking to experience the magic of Kalkan, and we really do hope we will be back!