Stayed for one week at the end of June with a child aged 8. Lovely clean and spacious rooms with 2 bedrooms and kitchen area and good sized balcony (we were upgraded to a suite which was possibly a self-catering unit in past times.) The food was of a good quality HOWEVER we went to book our restaurant reservations on Day 2 and there was no availability for either restaurant so please book early. ALSO the Thomas Cook brochure claimed the galas were weekly. Technically they are but actually alternate one week for the hotel, one week for the apartments so we missed out. So, coming back to the food, yes it was good but it did get rather tedious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If we'd managed to break this up with the restaurant reservations then I'm sure I'd be singing from the roof-tops about it as there was a good choice and it was fresh and plentiful! The beach was lovely and, the hotel's section was of a far better quality that the stretch leading up to Side, and sunbeds were ten-a-penny with lovely powdery sand. It shelved out very gradually and there were life-guards on hand. There are a few rocks around though so I'd recommend sea shoes. I didn't and hurt my toe quite badly! The pools were nice and clean (including the pool loos which always seem to take a hammering). One pool at the "back" of the complex was a fun pool with slides and lazy river. The slides are guarded and any mis-behaviour is picked up instantly. This area was very easy to get sunbeds at. The slides open at 10 and close at 12 ten re-open at 2.30. If you arrive at anytime before 10 you pretty much had your pick of the beds (which, are very good quality and all come with decent matresses). This pool has a bar serving beer, soft drinks and help-yourself juices. At 12, they also serve amazing ice creams. The other, larger pool is near the beach and has a bar serving a full range of alcoholic drinks, ice cream and snacks. This is a very busy area however, and if you want to get a sunbed then Best of British to you because guess who got there first... every day. I've never really subscribed to stereotypes but blimey what a nuisance those Germans can be. If you want to get up and join the pack of bed hunters then you're looking at getting there for pre-8 (poss earlier). The frustration is the beds are often not used ALL DAY LONG so it really is not fair and I feel the hotel should have a policy regarding this. We had a count up and regularly about 75% of the beds were not used. Along the same lines, you will find a lot of barging into the food queues. I just joined in in the end - sad though it is, in certain situations, if you can't beat 'em join 'em!! All staff we met were very friendly and courteous - certainly didn't find anyone rude in the slightest. We always learn the very basics of the language though so that might help a little bit. Some we saw were a bit lecherous towards older teenager girls though so be ware if you're 16+! The evening entertainment ranged from bearable to dire but our German *friends* seemed to think is was outstandingly hilarious so I guess they're going with the majority of clients. On the upside though, there was no late-night rowdiness and kids screaming and running wild that you'd associate with popular British hotels/family resorts. We didn't hear a single person on any night which was good seeing as we used to return to our room earlier than most. On our final night we took a walk out and there is a huge variety of other entertainment going on along the prom towards Side. I was disappointed to have discovered this so late. Finally, there is a little lady who sits at the rear of the beach near the loos and a bar who makes little sweet and savoury flat breads between 12 - 4. These were lovely and a great snack for beaching days. Out and about: it takes about 40 mins to walk to Side. We did this on a hot day but walked most of it along the shoreline which was nice and cooling. We also took the dolmus (1.75 lira pp (no reduction for children) to Side then walked back on the last night which was lovely. We had a traditional "break the pot open" meal in one of the restaurants looking over the sea and watched the sun set and the party lights to start to twinkle. Side is great for gift shopping but Manavgat market is signifigantly cheaper (and highly recommended - I browsed on my own and had no hassle whatsoever) and you can get a really good bargain there. We went on an organised tour which cost TL29 (for all 3 of us) from a guy called Mohammed who has a little shop in Side. You walk right along the prom into Side, past some restaurants with turtles outside (to attract tourists!) and the slope rises up a hill. He's on the left and the cheapest around for all tours. The tour we booked was a boat trip with swim stop, lunch, Manavgat Market, coach to the water falls (cost another TL5) - these are very nice especially on a hot day as there's a standing platform in the river - then boat back. All with transfers. The tours available to book through the hotel are signifigantly more expensive (at least twice if not 3 times the cost for exactly the same thing! In fact, even worse than that, we know some people who went on one and everything was more expensive on their tours even crisps and sunbed charges and these were the same boats, just chartered by the big tour operators!). Traditional Turkish ice cream can be bought in the square directly in front of the harbour in Side and the little cobbly streets house a lovely mix of little shops. Many are all the same but the further towards the temple, the more authentic they seem to be. Regardless, it is an idyllic place to lose yourself wandering around. Back at the hotel, we were told there is a well-stocked shop in the lobby however please consider using other local businesses as the huge waft of all-inclusives is having a detrimental effect on the local economy. There are plenty of shops and a couple of pharmacies just outside the hotel. There is now a law preventing shopkeepers from agressive selling so you should find no-one badgers as they had done when I visited Turkey 12 years ago. Currency: we took Lira but they really want Euros. Everything is priced in Euros and the Dutyfree at the airport doesn't advertise anything in Lira - a pain when you want to get rid of the last few bits of currency. If you plan to eat at the airport do it before passing through security - there is very little option and what there is is extortionately priced - we ended up with a Burger King - 2 adult meals and a child's meal came to £28!!!! All in all, a lovely holiday in the main - plenty to do for adventurous types, lots of history in the area and a lovely beach and pools for sunworshippers.
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- Also Known As:
- Melas Holiday Village Side
- Melas Holiday Village Hotel Side