We should have felt a little guilty. Our daughters were on their own, 15 minutes’ walk away through the pine trees, as we lay on sun loungers at the adults-only Serenity Beach.
But Marina, 14, and 11-year-old Sofia had been more than happy for me and my wife, Montserrat, to leave them at one of the two other coves (yes, there are coves galore here) at Hillside Beach Club on the Turkish Riviera.
When we returned on the half-hourly ferry boat laid on for guests who’d prefer not to walk along the coastal path, Sofia looked somewhat disgruntled. ‘Why are you back so early?’ she asked.
Turkish delights: The Hillside Beach Club on the Turkish Riviera
That’s just one attraction of this family-oriented hotel: it’s in a private estate as big as 17 football pitches and secure enough for us to have no worries about the children’s safety.
And it appeals just as much to couples. Adults have the Silent Beach, where they’re encouraged to switch off their mobiles and read or try their hand at pebble-painting or origami.
Meanwhile, children have the main beach and a sea pontoon they can swim to, where I also enjoyed watching shoals of small fish in the bluey-green water that helps give this area its nickname, the Turquoise Coast.
The girls felt grown up as they hired their own kayaks, while we used paddleboards in a separate section of the bay (both free of charge).
When they tired of the sea and shingle beach, they leaped into the huge pool or visited the activity centre, where they made friends playing table tennis, pool and computer games.
Around an hour’s drive from Dalaman Airport, the hotel, near Fethiye, has 300 rooms with a view of the Aegean. We had a family suite featuring a terrace decorated with pretty flowers fallen from bougainvillea.
Shamefully, it was my first visit to the country, so a Turkish bath felt almost compulsory. The Sanda Day Spa offered a one-hour ‘luxurious hamam pleasure’ treatment for 375 Turkish lira (£50).
Many top hotels seem to look down on evening entertainment — perhaps regarding it as a little vulgar — but not Hillside, which employs an international troupe of performers
After a five-minute sauna, the masseuse asked me to lie spread-eagled, tummy up, on a warm stone table, before she scrubbed me down with a rough cloth.
‘Dirty!’ she exclaimed, as she pointed to the grey, dead skin she had scraped off my arm. She seemed to be enjoying herself a little too much as she hurled pails of water over me, before giving me a bracing ice massage.
Parents are, it seems, still useful for some things, though. So I agreed to pay 81 Turkish lira (£11) for each of the girls to have a ride on Lift Off, an orange inflatable they hung on to for dear life as they were dragged by a speedboat zig-zagging round the bay.
All guests are full-board, but charged extra for drinks at the six bars, so be warned: you can still face a hefty bill on check-out.
The main buffet has a wide range of salads, grilled fish and meats and a scrumptious selection of baklava — small, sweet pastries filled with chopped nuts and honey.
Children can have fun in the pool. They also have the main beach and a sea pontoon they can swim to
We could also eat once a week at the two a la carte restaurants. One is an Italian no better than chains found on most British High Streets, but the other served a splendid four-course Turkish feast.
Surprisingly, I never saw the only local dish I previously knew: kebabs. Have they gone out of fashion?
Most guests were return customers, with one Dutchman telling me: ‘It’s like the French Riviera, but cheaper and friendlier.’
Many top hotels seem to look down on evening entertainment — perhaps regarding it as a little vulgar — but not Hillside, which employs an international troupe of performers.
Among the musicals staged in the 350-seat amphitheatre was a version of Cleopatra with costumes dazzling enough to suit Elizabeth Taylor.
Evening concerts were also held on the pontoon.
The highlight for the girls was undoubtedly the Beach Party, with a display of light, water and pyrotechnics, followed by a disco, where they danced with new pals while pretending we weren’t keeping a watchful eye from the edge of the dance floor.
To savour the last rays, we took a two-hour sunset boat tour along the coast. A bushy-moustached captain offered chilled prosecco and plates of cheese, walnuts and dried apricots as we boarded, before taking us to a hidden cove on his two-mast yacht. There, he anchored and encouraged us to jump off the boat, where we watched the sun fall gently below the horizon.
Many guests feel no need to leave the resort, but we wanted to explore, so visited Kayakoy, six miles away.
It’s a ghost town left abandoned after its 8,000 Christian inhabitants were forced to leave as part of a population exchange with Greece in the Twenties. Walking around the roofless houses and ruined Orthodox church provided a haunting end to a memorable week.
Richard and his family stayed at Hillside Beach Club, which has doubles from £305 a night full-board. Pegasus (flypgs.com) flies from London to Dalaman via Istanbul from £149 return. See visitturkey.in.