On the fourth day sailing onboard Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2, I stepped off the ship for a shore excursion that promised a leisurely morning — and boy, did it deliver. About a 30-minute drive from our port in Dikili, Turkey, and a brief boat ride along the town’s coast is Kalem Island, a privately owned islet that boasts just one property: Oliviera Resort.
Both the island and its sole resort are what I imagine to be textbook models of an island paradise. Immediately grabbing my attention was the turquoise water that, upon closer inspection, turned crystal clear with tiny fish swimming to and fro. Overwater bungalows equipped with gauzy drapes, lanky palm trees alongside indigenous olive trees and resort employees doling out ice-cold refreshments all contributed to the idyllic vibe. I lazed the morning away, alternating between dips in the Aegean Sea, sips of pina colada and chapters of a well-thumbed novel.
Though Oliviera Resort has 29 well-appointed rooms available for booking, non-guests (like me) can still enjoy its Marina Beach Club & Lounge for about $100 per person, per day. Booking must be done through an agency, such as by signing up for a cruise’s shore excursion.