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Cleansing waters and filthy lucre

· Marmaris Turkey spas

Marmaris is on Turkey's appropriately named Turquoise Coast. The water is warm and inviting and the coastline is utterly beautiful. It is also in the summer filled with carousing tourists who spend their days turning lobster pink on the beach and their nights on one particular street in the old town that is devoted entirely to bars, clubs and tattooist artists. They will have some tales to tell. 

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So I'm relieved to be here in late September when the crowds have gone but it's still warm (it usually is till the start of November when the rains come) and the old town reveals itself to have twisting narrow lanes and bijou hotels like 8Oda above (it means eight rooms - which is all they have). Vines grow between buildings shading the street and providing plenty of the small sweet green grapes that grow here. And then there's the castle.

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The castle goes back a long way and while most of the present-day building is Ottoman, remains have been found that go back to the Romans, the Greeks and, earliest of all, the Lycians. The Lycians were contemporaries of classical Greek society and beat them to it in establishing democracy. They also had a very early coinage system, again pre-dating their Greek neighbours and some of these have been found around the castle.

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Today, though, it has to be said you spend fewer of your own coins when visiting Turkey. Not so long ago, there was an exchange rate of around 2.4 Turkish lira to the pound. Now it's close to 5. Staying at the D-Resort Grand Azur, I looked at their spa menu with some amazement. Their most expensive massage comes in at £35 while you can have the whole hammam experience for around £30. And this doesn't mean sitting around in a steam room. Oh no. You are scrubbed (I use the word advisedly) and cleansed to within an inch of your life. Afterwards you are oiled and massaged until you are undoubtedly the cleanest human on the planet. I admit there is the odd moment when it feels like you're coming a bit too close to being waterboarded but, like so many things in life, you realise it's all been worth it once it's over.