After landing at Antalya Airport and driving along some fairly bland coastline and townscape, you know you've arrived in the right spot when you turn down a road of palms and imposing gates, each leading to one of the five-star resorts and a water park that back onto a prime stretch of beach. Guests are welcomed with the customary Turkish delight and refreshing cologne, and we were invited to wait at the bar while we were checked in. It's a huge lobby, with a water feature running through the middle. We found our own way to our rooms; the luggage arrived moments later.
The hotel has a neighbourhood of its own, with internal streets such as "French Street", fashion boutiques, restaurants and, oddly, a shop offering to airbrush and print your pictures onto plates. The grounds are green, and there's a canal with boats to take you as far as the Troy Aqua & Dophinarium Water Park, which is overlooked by a giant wooden horse and is free for Rixos guests. Beyond the resort are archaeological sites and secluded beaches. The old town of Antalya is a beautifully preserved mix of Ottoman, Roman, early Christian and early Islamic architecture.
While not remarkable in their decor, the rooms are a good size and inoffensively pleasant, with fantastically comfortable beds. All have sizeable private balconies, and mine overlooked the canal. A selection of baklava and a plate of fruit sat under cellophane, presumably to avoid attracting flies. The bathroom was big and glossy, with a large shower room and enormous bath.
Necessarily the size of this place - 769 rooms, as well as a VIP village - makes the service slightly less personal than you might find in a city hotel, but that's a quibble: the staff are friendly, quick to respond and efficient.
It's not exactly sophisticated, but top marks for effort. During the day, the kilometre-long beach is relaxed apart from the occasional interruption of exercise classes, while at night a traditional Turkish meal was enlivened by a trio of gaudily dressed belly dancers and musicians. The shisha cafe was next to a dance floor full of teenagers dancing with name-badged entertainment staff to a surprisingly good DJ and live percussionist. There was also a beauty contest. Enough said.
With a couple of exceptions, all food and drink is included in the price of your room, making restaurant decisions easy. There are eight restaurants. Among the best are the tranquil Pan-Asian restaurant Ying, perched on stilts on a woody hill, and the canalside spot La Rosetta, which serves modern Italian dishes and features a view of a musical dancing fountain show. More traditionally Turkish is Lalezar, which offers flamboyantly presented, historical Ottoman food such as Toyga, a cold yogurt and chickpea soup, and roasted sea bass.
The spa with its opulent hammam and outdoor flower-filled relaxation spaces, although parts of it, including the sauna, are mixed gender, which might put some off; and the VIP villas, reached by golf buggy from the main hotel, surrounding a nice pool and so exclusive you're not allowed to take photos in the shared spaces.
The tacky nightlife: in a spot this beautiful it's surprising there isn't a more relaxing spot for a shisha cafe and a more grown-up venue. The tiny, dark maid's rooms in the VIP villas seem mean. And the presence of a dolphinarium seems like an outdated cruelty.
Not one for culture vultures, but if you seek the sun, entertainment and activities to keep a family happy, this is a great all-inclusive option with that five-star quality.
The bottom line
A double room at the Rixos Premium Belek starts at €250 (Dh1,130) per person, per night. The Rixos Premium Belek, Ileribasi Mevkii, Belek 07500, Antalya, Turkey (www.rixos.com; 00 90 242 710 20 00).