Pirili Beach by JaycB

Pirili Beach by JaycB

A great family holiday venue with some windsurfing thrown in.

Perili Beach Club by JaycB

I've just returned from a week at Sunsail's Perili Beach Club, and as I'd been keen to hear first-hand reports before I went, have decided to write down my own impressions of the place.
Sunsail holidays aren't cheap, but they promise a family-friendly (or partner-friendly) watersports holiday with the choice of doing as much or as little as you like.
The first thing to say is that the brochure has several inaccuracies, some as a result of improvements, others simply downright porkies! The brochure describes the coach transfer as "2 hrs approx". Well, believe me, it's 3 hrs and there's no approx about it.

Someone at the boatshow told me that the transfers are now quicker as a new road had been built, but the road is only half-finished and it's been done in an odd way - you drive along for a bit and then the road just turns to bumpy dirt track for a mile or so, then another new bit of road begins, then the dirt track again etc.... if you have kids this part won't be fun. To be fair though, they do try to make up for the awful journey by laying on fantastic hot soup when you arrive, and also keep the bar open late for you too.
The Club itself is a wonderful, enchanting mix of architectural styles. Rather than one big block, there are many buildings, all different, some big, some small. As the whole place is built on a small hill running down to the beach it feels very much like that quirky little village in Wales where they filmed "The Prisoner". The waterfront bar is spacious and there are loads of comfy chairs and sofas, as well as some huge armchairs that are great for chilling in with a book. There's also another bar a short walk along the beach that stays open later, with a more chilled feel - this is where the staff tend to hang out. The restaurant area is partly covered but open to the elements, so those staying here out of season should pack fleeces or hoodies for evening wear as it can get cold.
Generally the club is well laid out but you should be aware that some of the rooms are quite a steep uphill walk from the central bar/restaurant/swimming pool areas. The rooms themselves are simply superb. They pride themselves on no two rooms being the same and having spoken to a lot of the other guests this seems to be the case. The bathrooms are simply huge, with his n' hers wash basins. We found we had no shower curtain and no spare blankets but a quick call at reception led to a maid popping up with them right away. If you're lucky enough to have a balcony facing the sea then
you'll get some spectacular sunset views.
The food is great and breakfast was a truly awesome pig-out every day - there's just so much to choose from :) The meals are really a kind of mixed up half-board arrangement, with all breakfasts included but with either lunch or evening meal included on the other days. You can get lunch snacks from the bar on non-inclusive days.
The sailing area and general rules are explained on the first morning (this is also the time that you can book lessons or courses). Dinghies and windsurfers are allowed to sail in the large inner "lagoon" that's formed between the headland and the island just offshore, and out to an imaginary line approx. 3/4 mile out. Windsurfers who can waterstart are permitted to sail beyond the submerged sandstone causeway that links the island to the shore and out into the large bay of Datca, so long as they go in pairs. It's worth noting that apart from some annoying wind peculiarities (more about that in a minute), windsurfers and dinghy sailors need to keep their wits about them on busy days as the inner bay gets quite crowded. Also, the day yachts need to motor through this area in order to get to
the open sea.
For the first few days of the holiday the wind was NW, which meant it was cross-off. I was told that during the summer months this is the dominant direction. In the summer the wind builds gradually during the morning but while we were there it tended to be over F3 by 11AM, increasing to F5-6 in the afternoons. In the NW direction, this meant that the sea stayed relatively flat in the inner bay, although by mid afternoon I was struggling terribly due to my lack of "on-the-sea" experience.

There were about 6-8 really good windsurfers there who were having a fantastic time during these first few windy afternoons. I was told that the outer bay beyond the spit offered better bump 'n jump conditions as it is less sheltered.
Mid-week there was a bit of a lull , so great oportunity for a bit of coaching and some dinghy/cat sailing. Late in the week the wind turned southerly and while not as gusty as before, by the afternoon a huge swell would pick up coming right into the inner bay. I found this really frustrating as I just couldn't get any speed up, such was the depth of the troughs. The dinghy sailors had a whale of a time though, "surfing" lasers and Topaz's in on the waves!
A word of warning - when the wind is coming cross-off you need to stay well clear of the lee of the island, as it can produce some staggeringly strong downdraughts that can leave a windsurfer trapped and going nowhere. If this happens to you either get in the water and paddle out or wave for a nearby safety boat to tow you out. At this point I should say that the safety cover is excellent.
The windsurfing equipment will not disappoint. There are plenty of new Carves, Go's and starts, plus loads of last year's models too. There are a few smaller Bic's too but they're a couple of years old. The sail selection is good and there are plenty of them too, but on a good day they can run out of the popular 5-7m sizes so get there early! They have a good range of waist harnesses but I took my own seat harness. Wetsuits can be hired but they will get snapped up quickly - you get them from reception rather than the waterfront. I wore a 2-3mm shortie most of the week and this was adequate for May. I imagine from June onwards it will be boardshorts and rashers all 'round.
I don't have any kids but the parents I met were all very pleased with the quality of childcare. Parents really can have a break without worrying over the kids' safety. I believe you can get a babysitting service (which costs
extra) in the evenings if you want to have a night in the bar or a trip to Datca (best place to eat there is
"Captain's Place").
All in all I can recommend this club to all dinghy sailors but would hesitate to call it a good place for windsurfing beginners. I think of myself as a mid-intermediate but there were quite a few occasions when I just wasn't up to the conditions, so I'd say that those who can plane in the straps, can handle mild chop and who can waterstart will be
the ones who'll get the most out of this holiday.
The staff were all fantastic but I'd particularly like to say thanks to Johny Utah, Pixie, Paul and Bull for their
unending enthusiasm and encouragement.

 

Apart from the transfer journey and the terrible queues at Dalaman (which isn't Sunsail's fault of course), my only big complaint is the way you have to get out of your room by midday on the day you leave, then be separated from your baggage until you leave. I expect this on an 18-30 or Thomson cheapie holiday, but not from a premium brand like Sunsail. Mark Warner don't do this. Why can't people stay in their rooms until an hour before they leave? The combined outbound and inbound journey times still give over
7 hours for the rooms to be cleaned. In high season you'll pay the best part of a grand to stay here for a week and paying that sort of dough and then having to "doss" for 5
hours on your final day is an insult.

Would I go again? Definitely... just let me know when the road's finished.