Apologies in advance for what will be a long review but I feel it is necessary!
Booked through First Choice - flew out with Thomson and seats were tiny and very cramped – its about time they did something about short haul leg room space!!
Transfer took an hour and a half being the third drop off.
You do have to walk to reception with your cases but it only took about 3 minutes.
We were greeted by night staff that spoke to us in English and did the check in quite quickly but then gave us German Hotel info sheets. After being assured we were all in double rooms (party of 6 adults) were greeted with a twin bedded rooms. Not impressed, as were neither of our daughters with their boyfriends!! Wouldn’t have cared but the twin beds were very narrow and of different heights. No amount of arguing at 3 in the morning would we get any help from the staff, nor the reception the following morning who told us that these are the only rooms they have unless you upgrade to a suite and pay extra.
Please bear in mind that all the First Choice rooms are in the block at the back which overlooks the road, which is very very noisy. If you want a sea view you need to upgrade before you go, but you will still get twin beds as we checked in the rooms on the opposite side to us.
The other thing you also need to be aware of is that it is a good 20-minute walk from these rooms to the beach/pool and there are 54 steps and that includes using the lift!!
If you have disability problems in any way – this hotel is not suitable for you as some areas you have to use steps/stairs.
The room itself (we were in 967) was reasonable – looked quite newly refurbed – modern twist of the bathroom having a large glass window looking directly into the bedroom. Flat screen TV, fridge with soft drinks and water etc as you would expect. Plenty of storage space.
Beds were very hard and pillows terrible!
Others have mentioned the Air-conditioning problems on trip advisor, and I have to say I am so glad I was there in September and not in the summer! It is nothing worse than useless in the bedrooms and in the public areas they don’t put it on hardly at all. We couldn’t open the doors due to the road noise and the ineffective air con meant we hardly slept for the 2 weeks were there. Plus the hotel controls which hours it actually is on !
The hotel itself is massive and a bit of a maze spread over a large expanse of land and heights. Loads of different bars although the German guests tended to frequent the bar with the live entertainment on at night. There is a large indoor pool, and gym, large Internet café free of charge to use, pool tables, massage etc, beach bar, lobby bar, asteria bar, the list goes on.
First choice guests can use the a la carte restaurants free of charge supposedly once during your stay but some managed to get into the others as well when they weren’t busy.
We tried the Chinese whilst our daughter went to the Italian. I have to say her meal was better than ours but that is probably personal choice (I found my Chinese too salty to eat.)
The drinks on the all inclusive are great-
Sparkling wine (you order champagne otherwise they don’t understand you) white, rose and red wine. All spirits cocktails etc including their version of Baileys and Cointreau which was reasonable, Efes beer of course and any numbers of different teas, coffees etc. No hot chocolate though!
The food was another matter.
We travel to Egypt fairly regularly so are quite used to eating Middle Eastern cuisine without pork products but I have to say this was the worst selection of breakfast and lunches I have ever had. This I don’t think is due to the clientele, but the chef’s menu choice!
The lunch by the pool bar was served from 1230 – 230 pm and the amount of tables was far too small for the amount of guests eating there so you could not get a table very easily unless you waited till 2 pm.
Every day there was a choice of chips, rice, pizza, pasta with a tomato sauce, flat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, curried potato salad, and a soup. Then there would be one hot ‘stew’ style dish and then either whole grilled fish or chicken, chicken burgers or lamb burgers.
We were expecting Turkish kebabs etc with dips etc or at least some tuna fish perhaps?? But no that is the staple diet each day. Not conducive if trying to eat healthily!
For sweet, there is fresh fruit and plain yogurt. Stat.
If you go up to the main restaurant for lunch there is a better choice of food but it is indoor and so you really are required to cover up and in 33 C and no air conditioning it was not a pleasurable experience.
We found at night the seating / capacity was always an issue. There were never enough seats for the guests and the queues for the hot meal went around the dining room. Plus there is no headwaiter so no one organises where people are seated and there a strange table plan where they have tables for 6 people and then expect 3 couples to sit alongside complete strangers, which I did not like at all. It seemed to be a case of which waiter had been tipped the most by you would find you a table. Unless of course you showered very early and went and sat at your tables before it was open! On our last night we resorted to the same tactic and got a prime place to watch the sunset and sit outside where it was cool enough to eat!
Having said that, the food at night was very good with a good selection of all courses – many different salads, olives, entrees etc, beautiful breads and desserts such as baklava - especially enjoyed the pancake nights with sour cherries, cream and brandy!!! You can have as many as you like!
The gardens and the grounds are absolutely immaculate and one of the cleanest hotels I have ever stayed in.
The pool area was the same – blasted with water every morning and no sunbeds to be reserved before 8 am and no swimming until pool cleaned. The water slides are open at dedicated times a couple of hours in the morning and then in the afternoon till 4 pm. The pool towels are changed frequently and they never ran out which was great.
There are however communal toilets/ showers by the pool which was a bit of a surprise – again usually very clean but I have to say something I am not used to having men and women all using the toilets together !! Plus open aired so feet on show ! Not very private !
The entertainment team were absolutely fab getting all the guests involved in something during the day – also putting on shows at night. Really could not fault them at all They worked really hard.
The beach we felt was a bit disappointing – the sand was a very coarse dark brown – and not very kind to the feet.
The sea was very clean – and there were shaded areas over the sunbeds but predominantly the European guests used this area as a lot of them preferred to be topless.
Side itself was quite small and quaint- do get a taxi and see the sunset at the temple of Apollo - it is very romantic- shopping was a bit of a nightmare and I was not expecting the attitude of some of the shopkeepers who were positively aggressive if you would not pay the extornionate prices they wanted for the fake handbags- excuse me but £175 for a copy !?
We were advised to go to Manavgat market as it was cheaper than Side but to be honest there wasn’t a huge difference in price. We visited the waterfall and it was lovely. Party of 6 adults - took the taxi from the hotel and the driver was with us all morning took us to the market and then to the waterfall and return and it cost us the princely sum of 30 euros. The same trip with Thomson was £25 each !
We found that if you walked out of the hotel and turned left and walked up to the shops (past the nightclub) that these shops were much cheaper even from those across the road from the hotel e.g. Diesel tops charged 20 euro across from hotel but 5 Euro in these little shops. Football shirts were approx £8 UK. Food at Fuzz bar to be highly recommended beautiful fillet pepper steaks for £8 and we ate there about 6 evenings as football shown there and staff speak very good English !
Well that’s about all except to say there were some excellent staff serving in the outside bar who my daughter has probably mentioned in her review – however there were some very rude mannered staff who never stopped to let you pass when carrying your plates of food from the buffet in the dining room – consequently they constantly walked into guests knocking their plates out their hands – we have never witnessed this anywhere else in the world and something I would not expect in a 5 star hotel.
Our return was uneventful but duty free at Atlanya is a joke – do not wait to buy your goods at the airport- buy it on the way out on the aircraft ! The prices were the highest I have seen – Baileys was 22 euros a bottle – and with the poor exchange that is almost double what the supermarkets sell it for in the UK ! Tabacco also dearer than on the plane.
Please note that the majority of the guests are German at this hotel and in Side and they for some reason received better service than the few English who were there - mind you we did not tip as heavily ! Something to think about !
If there is anything I can help you with please contact me.
See you soon
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rooms are separated in 3 categories: “Standard Room“, “Suite Room” and “Family Room” which are designed in modern style. Room features are detailed below.Standard RoomCarpet Floor, Twin bed or French Bed, Air conditioning(timed), Balcony, Mini Bar, Electronic Safe Box, Satellite-TV, Music Channel on TV, Telephone, Bathroom (with bathtub), hairdryer, cosmetic mirror. Standard rooms are at land side or seaside.Family RoomOur Family rooms consist of two floors. On the ground floor; living room with a large terrace and a sofa group, WC/bathroom, 1 double, 1 single bed & on the upper floor; toilet/shower-Jacuzzi bath and a bedroom with double bed. Other features are the same as standard rooms; a TV on each levels, mini bar and air conditioning exist. In addition to standard room’s features, there is coffee maker.Suite Room Our suite rooms, which consist of a bedroom (double bed) and living room, are located on the upper floors. All have a direct sea view. In addition to standard room’s features, there is coffee maker. ... more less
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