First impressions of the hotel were very positive, considering we arrived at 5am and were shattered! We had a large room with a massive double bed for us, and a camp bed for our child and there was loads of storage, wardrobe space and although the decor could have done with a bit of an update it was spotless and light and airy. We had a corner room, with a lovely sea view (most rooms would have a sea view, except those on the ground floor so ask for a higher floor if you want a better view), and tucked away from the main drag of the corridor whcih meant no-one walked past us so it was super quiet. It was cleaned thoroughly every day, with towels and bedding changed every other day. There is a fridge with water thats restocked every 3 days.
The setting is gorgeous, on a hill (there are lots of steps, but there are also ramps in parts so its not all that hard on the knees!) and from everywhere in the hotel there is a beautiful view of the sea and the fantastic sunsets over Greece. They work hard to tend the gardens and keep them nice. The beach is small and packed with beds, and the walk into the sea is stony but its quite sheltered and not that deep in the water so feels safe. The new beach bar is very nice, especially in the cushioned chill-out bit.
The kids pool is fab, and thats where we spent most of our time, its a bit away from the adult pools, through a gap in the hedge, and feels quiet and secluded. THe water was waist height to our 3 year old, and there was a slide and some toys around the pool to play with. Also there are two childrens toilets right by (handy!) and thats also where the kids club is. I say kids club, but really its a shaded area for kids, that has some tables in that they get out 4 hours a day, and is run by 3 girls - they do colouring, face painting, kids darts, some other games, but its very simple, and really catered for younger children - I don't think any kids over 6 or 7 would be that interested as its very low key. But it kept my son occupied for a while when he got bored of the pool so it was fine for him. It does get busy on the sunbeds by about 9.30 but if there are none by the pool there are plenty in the gardens.
The pools for adults/older kids were superb I thought. There is a deep pool that is bigger than it looks on the pictures, and then another one that its possible to stand up in (I'm 5'6) They do aquagym here every day (with the same songs every day, my first niggle...) and then group dances round the deep pool which are fun. In the afternoon I think they also did handball. There is a swim up pool bar at the lower pool. My only criticism is that it looks a bit worn in places - tiles missing off the floor and around the sides of the pool - my husband cut his finger quite badly on a broken tile at the edge of the pool, I dread to think what could have happened to a child's hand. But it was handled well by the staff and I think it was taped up (the tile, not the finger!). There also needs to be more anti slip mats around, as the tiles do get very wet and hot! The spa is also a bit grubby, and the stairs down to the toilets are precarious with all the wet feet traipsing on them all day. The treatments offered are also VERY expensive.
Food was excellent, although the restaurant did get incredibly busy and one night there was all sorts of chaos when they ran out of plates! There's an outside grill but the queue for whatever is going on there is always enormous and not helped by people pretending not to know how to queue.... Over two weeks there was some repetition - breakfast and lunch tended to be the same every day, but there was a lot of variety at night - always some sort of potato, rice, couscous, with meat and fish dishes, a vegetarian option or two and turkish pizza. Sometimes what appeared at lunch would appear in a different format at dinner, but that was ok, it was always good and none of us had any tummy trouble. The pancakes for dessert are to die for! The waiting staff work hard to turn tables over quickly and were very friendly (unlike the bar staff...) and made a big fuss of the kids. The Italian a la carte restaurant is superb - you can visit once per stay, and its well worth it. Its a 6 course meal (the menu is confusing, just let them bring you whatever!) and its in a beautiful location on the beach with a sunset to die for. There are 2 other a la carte's which we didn't try as they didn't accept under 12s. Two flavours of ice cream are served at 5pm for an hour, be warned the queue gets HUGE. And the coffee bar serves pastries at 5pm, also for an hour. There is also a burger bar that was open all afternoon, and Turkish pancakes served from a bar in the gardens all afternoon as well. So you won't be hungry!
My biggest criticism of the place was the entertainment at night. It was really poor. It was run by the staff, all the performers were the staff and they weren't professional at all though they did try (some staff are better than others), and there are a variety of different acts they put on, but none of it really works. There's a kids disco at about 9.15 every night, then a kids game, then quizzes, a variety show, turkish dancing, or whatever is on, but watching little bits here and there we could see it wasnt for us - the Russians and Iranians seemed to love it however! So that meant the evenings were a little quiet, as there isn't music or much atmosphere in any of the bars, but as Turkey was mega cheap, we didn't mind walking down to Ladies Beach after dinner (about a 5 min walk away) and having a drink down there - there's loads of bars and really nice restaurants and the competition between them keeps it cheap and fun down there! PS in the hotel they don't tell you what drinks are included in the all inclusive - not all are, for example rum is extra but you have to find out by trial and error!
I was surprised at how few English there were there - out of a hotel full of 900 or so people, there were a max of 30 at the time we were there. I don't mind this as I come abroad to meet people from elsewhere but if you are looking for a big Brits-abroad experience with full english breakfast, The Sun and chips you'll be disappointed. Most of the guests are Turkish, Iranian, or Eastern European and sometimes not the most considerate of people esp at mealtimes, but there was never any trouble or drunkeness.
Overall the holiday was superb, and the Grand Blue Sky was a lovely place to stay with good food, rooms, and a stunning location.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At The Grand Blue Sky International, you can feel the breeze of Aegean Sea in your room and enjoy the gorgeous sea view to the full under the shades of Palm trees. The Grand Blue Sky International offers service with its qualified, self-disciplined, good-humored personnel and professional management board under the concept of customer satisfaction and good quality service based on years of experience. Our aim is to help you experience a joyful holiday full of unforgettable moments. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Blue Sky International Hotel Kusadasi
- Grand Blue Sky International Kusadasi