Our flight was the 2pm Thomas Cook from Glasgow. I keep hearing how bad this company is but we have never had a problem. Maybe not the most luxurious of carriers but their seats are comfortable enough and both our flights left on time. Prices on board though are pretty ridiculous but the same applies to all airlines so they are no different in that respect. Arrived at Dalaman 8.15 local time.
I had obtained the new e-visas before we travelled and went straight to passport control. Queues were not too bad and there wasn't the chaos I was half expecting. Only saw one couple being turned away because they hadn't a visa. Pity they can't do something to speed up the time you have to wait at the carousel for your cases. And why if you check in your cases at the same time do they come onto the carousel 10 minutes apart. Anyway cases collected and off to find our transfer. We had booked the Speedy Shuttle through IcmelerOnline at £17.50 each return. The company they used was Mavisel and we found them pretty easily at the kiosks. We were told it was no more than 4 drop-offs but we had 3 in Marmaris and 2 in Icmeler but at that price it would be churlish to complain. We arrived at our apartments in 2 hours which included a 15 minute stop.
This year we stayed at the Faber Apartments. We had walked past them each year and always liked the look of them. However internally they are not as grand as they look on the outside. In reality they are just standard self catering apartments, although they are a bit more comfortable than most with plenty of storage space. The branded crockery is a nice touch and the balconies are a good size with nice comfortable seats. Outside areas, though are excellent. The pool is pretty big and although the place was full there was never a problem getting a sunbed when you wanted. There is also a nice pool bar and covered bar/restaurant. The staff were very good and apart from trying to get us to go to the BBQ night in our first week never pestered us to eat or drink there. Safes are £15.00 per week and aircon is £35.00 per week. We really enjoyed our stay and would happily return.
Restaurants visited : Lighthouse, Meryem Yemek Evi, Venice, Masala, Sidiks and Wine House. Average prices were : steak dishes 32 - 40 Lira, chicken dishes 19.50 - 24.50 Lira, Omelettes 8 - 12 Lira. We rarely have starters as bread is usually presented. We also rarely have dessert so, as we only have water during a meal, a very good meal for 2 can be had for under £20.00. Favourite restaurant this time - the Lighthouse. Really enjoyed the Sweet and Sour Chicken there and had it twice in three visits. Also enjoyed the meals we had at Meryem Yemek Evi.
Although prices have risen, because of the better exchange rate this year I noticed little difference. At the same time last year we were getting 2.74 - 2.80 Lira to the pound. This year it was 3.45 - 3.48.
In my opinion, there has again been an overall improvement in the resort. The new square next to Tansas is now completed and is a big improvement on what was there previously. I also felt some of the shops looked fresher and tidier although this might be because it is the start of the season. The promenade is not so cluttered looking with some of the kiosks removed. It seems there are more changes to come as the mayor tightens up on various things. On the forums all the talk seems to be about the lack of entertainment, although to be honest it wasn't something that seemed to bother anyone I spoke to. These rules have been in force for a few years and have been blatantly ignored. You will now see shops moving back into their allotted area rather than encroaching onto pavements. A typical example was the bag shop at the bottom of the square where they have not only taken over half the pavement in front of their shop but also of the shops on either side.
There are mixed views from the traders. Those most against it are those who have been acting illegally and are now going to have to change and probably have illegal buildings demolished. There are also those who are strongly in favour who feel the resort has deteriorated over the last few years and these changes are needed to take it more upmarket.
If tourists don't like the changes then they will go elsewhere but fundamentally I don't see the attraction being diminished and there will always be new first time visitors who like what they see.