I traveled to the Grand Cettia with my 3 children 4, 8 & 9 for 2 weeks on the 12th July. After so many contrasting reviews on here, (I have read them all!) I couldn't wait to actually get there and see for myself what was actually true. With that in mind I have spent a little more time on this review and tried to include information not in others, while clarifying some of the more ‘emotional’ posts on this forum. We arrived by private transfer (one of the best £60 ever spent) at about 3.30pm. The appearance of the hotel was impressive and everywhere very clean. As we were ahead of the coach we were checked-in straight away. I had emailed ahead and requested a room in the new block due to air con issues (reported on here) in the main building. I was informed that while we could have a room in the new block it was not available until the next day. So if we agreed, we could stay 1 night in the apartments and transfer across the next day which was fine with me. Once in our apartment it was a quick change, put on some sun cream and dash for the pool for the kids to burn off some steam.
The next day I re-packed our clothes and informed reception so the porter could move our bags to the hotel. We returned to the hotel later that day and received our new room card (you are only issued with one room card. If you leave a deposit of 30tl behind reception they will give you an additional one. For some reason you have to ask for this, it will not be offered). On arrival at the room I saw it was the same layout as advertised in pics, although maybe a little smaller. I went out to the balcony and had a view of next doors wall and had to listen to their very noisy air con unit. Also, as all of the air-con is individually controlled in the new block, the outdoor unit is situated on your balcony. This is absolutely fine if the unit is working correctly, but ours was extremely loud and in dire need of a service. I don't think the noise had anywhere to travel either. All put together, the balcony was a no-go area even to have a cigarette. As we had just moved rooms I wasn't keen to move again so didn't mention it. We stayed in the room for 2 nights but couldn't bare it anymore and had a word with reception. I was immediately shown 2 rooms overlooking the kids pool that were much bigger and with no noise. We moved into room 6011 straight away!
If anyone going here has a problem with their rooms, or indeed anything else, go and see the Guest Relations Manager Marta straight away. I am sure the reception staff will help in anyway, but if not, see Marta straight away and not wait or try and "put up with it" like I did for 2 days. Everyone who I spoke to who had a problem with there rooms were moved to another to their satisfaction like we were. Those who suffered on missed out. Each of the rooms we stayed in could have done with the carpets cleaning for sure. Smoking is allowed in the rooms so inevitability I saw a cig burn (as others have posted), but you can hardly expect the hotel to replace the carpet each time it happens; just give it a clean a little more often. I was also expecting to be kept awake by barking dogs, prayer calls & noise from being above the kids pool as previously posted on reviews here. Unless it is different in the main hotel, the only way this could have happened is if we slept with the balcony door open as the sound proofing was like something out of an Everest advert. I would wake up each morning/lunchtime to silence, then would slide open the balcony door to let the noise in to wake up the kids and get them out of bed. I only ever heard the barking dogs whilst on the balcony and didn't hear the prayer calls once!
The receptionists were very friendly and helpful, especially Seda, and Kenan the porter. As I was on my own with 3 kids I spent lots of my time at reception asking about something we had lost or misplaced. Or at least THOUGHT I had only to find it moments later. They were very tolerant with me to say the least.
The maids cleaned the room daily and did a fantastic job. They always had a smile if you met them in the corridor. I think they took pity on me, as each day they would fold up all of the kids clothes for me that they had strewn all over the place and put them into neat piles. Towels were changed daily if we left them on the floor and sheets changed every day. We had ipods, DS lites, Blackberrys, mobile phones, even cash left out in the room and nothing was touched.
The food at this hotel is a contentious issue on reviews on here. The best description is that on the whole the standard is very good. However it would be even better, and definitely exceed any realistic expectations anyone would have, (if they compare it sensibly to the price they have paid) if only the kitchen pulled up their socks little. That said, it is certainly a class above the meals you will pay a tenner for in pubs in my area. There is a wide variation of dishes to choose from and some were simply delicious. The salad bar is very good with a huge selection to choose from and there are plenty of vegetarian dishes to choose from. But in more cases than (in my opinion) is acceptable for any kitchen, dishes were over seasoned to the point of being inedible or were under-flavoured. There was also a little inconsistency with the same dishes; for example I ate the Turkish Kebab on my first night and it was very, very nice, but it it lacked flavour on the other occasions I tried it. I think the best description of the food I have read on here is that you will always find something that you like.
On the first night me and the kids made a deal; they could eat whatever they wanted during the day (go to the snack bar), but for evening meal they must try new things from the buffet. At the start of each service I would get a "tester plate" of from the buffet and we would all taste a little bit of everything as a starter, and then decide what we would individually like for dinner. Every night we all found something we found delicious by doing it this way. The food was always heated through when you put it on your plate, however if you have to get meals for kids or make trips for drinks etc then your food is obviously going to be lukewarm by the time you get to it. The trick is to make getting your own meal the last thing you do after everyone else is sorted and sit straight down and eat it. But don't worry if it isn't hot cause one of your little darlings is being demanding, you are all inclusive so go and get some more!!
I tried several of the soups and most of them were homemade and tasty, although I think they cheated with the tomato soup! A lot of people mention on here that leftovers served in other dishes the next day. In the main it is leftovers from the grill the night before. This is a perfectly reasonable practice to keep costs down and the new dishes were very nice apart from one they went a little too far with...... Meatball Soup!!
In addition to the buffet there is food cooked outside on the grill every night next to the snack bar which was very nice, especially on Turkish Night (Mondays). One week it was Chicken Doner on the spit, the next Kofte kebab cooked on the grill. I would have liked to have had traditional naan bread with the kebabs instead of the wraps.
The only disappointment with food from the grill was the worst example of over-seasoning of the whole stay. I had a seat by the grill prior to dinner and watched the chef's cook off what was to be beef goujon's served in a wrap. I walked over and had a chat with the chef and it smelled lovely. Once service started, the initial hungry mob fed and queue gone, I went to get one for our tester plate. First bite I has to spit it out; someone had surely knocked the tub of salt into the marinade mixture. It was inedible and completely unacceptable that a chef of ANY standard let that dish be served. I think it may be isolated incidences like this that have led to some bad reviews. But apart from this one instance, just about everything that came from the grill was either very nice or delicious.
There was a wide range of impressive desserts to choose them. Reports on here stating they are just different colours of blamange in different guises are very wide of the mark. I ate dessert every day and only ate blamange once. I did notice that the larger desserts served in glasses didn't seem to last long and were never there when we went for our dessert. Until I realised, that in the initial dash for dinner people were taking them and putting them on their tables before going for their starters!!!
There are only a couple of rows of tables put together in rows in the dining room, and I would guess this caters for the large groups that are in the hotel at the time. After reading the reviews on here I was expecting to walk into a school canteen! The eating area is very nice with tables of all sizes, but it’s just not quite big enough. We only ate in there once.
The snack bar is open from 12.30-5pm daily (as well as meal times) and serves chicken nuggets, sausages (frankfurter type), Turkish pizza (without tomato sauce) and chips (frozen, thin McD's type) for the first couple of hours, then the chef cooks burgers for the last couple of hours as well. You can have burger with a choice of cheese and salad on top if you wish. The chicken in the nuggets is processed as you would expect but quite nice as chicken nuggets go, always cooked properly and always served hot. My kids loved the sausages. I tried them once and they tasted like I thought they should. The pizza tastes a little more like garlic bread with cheese you would buy from the supermarket but without the garlic. The burgers are very small (1oz) but tasted ok. I am sure if you asked for 2 burgers on your bap they would oblige.
Turkish breakfast is served at the buffet, cold meats, cheese etc.. You could also get an omelette (very nice) or fried egg from chef outside if you wished. While I can understand if some things are added to the breakfast menu, (such as a full English/Scottish etc) the prices would have to go up, surely they could throw a few boxes of cereal out for the kids. Not that we cared as we only made breakfast on time once! If you want full English then either go down to the apartments (not the biggest or best but you will meet Cookie & Ozzie) or go across the road, both £1.99.
I asked Marta what was it that guests are complaining about when they say the food is awful? as I cannot see from any angle or viewpoint how it could be described this way. She answered "they want T-bone Steak"! So let’s do the math:
Price I paid per head for 2 weeks = £500
Minus flight £200
Minus x2 T-bone Steaks a day @ Great Corner Steak House prices (£12 x 2 x 14) = £336
Even though I appreciate we paid a good price for the holiday and other people may have paid slightly more, when you add the cost of the rest of your all inclusive holiday you will clearly see that T-bone steaks are an impossible expectation. The food they serve represents excellent value for money when compared to the overall cost of your holiday.
Drinks are served at 3 bars in the hotel at different times and there is also a self-service area. The main bar (My Favourite Bar) is open all day and night, the pool bar in the day & Sherlock Holmes bar (inside) at night. The service is super efficient although queues can form at night at the main bar. As there is a limit of 2 drinks served at a time, the queues move quickly and you should always be served within 2-3 mins. I must admit though, by the time the second week arrived and the heat had sapped my energy somewhat, my motivation to queue for another drink diminished somewhat. Instead I went inside to the Sherlock Holmes Bar where there were never any queues before 11pm.
The pool bar is open in the afternoons serving Efes, draught soft drinks, water and orange.
The self-service area has 2x hot drink machines (tea, cofees, hot choc etc), & 2x water & orange dispensers
The Sherlock Holmes Bar has Karaoke on nightly at 11pm. It gets really busy but you can sit outside. As you had to pay for drinks at this time I preferred to go down to the Ege Bar in the apartments.
The draught Efe's beer was very nice although Turkish Vodca is rubbish. The barmen give you very generous measures but the effects aren't the same as with Vodca sold here. The spirits aren't watered down as you can taste it but it doesn't get you merry as quick. The orange juice is the powdered type so I went for Fanta as a mixer.
The bar staff are far from miserable, especially Sercan & Zafer who I enjoyed a banter with daily. Although I will say that people should give them a bit of a break from smiling at night as they are working like the clappers to serve people quickly. Two barmen serve in the evening, not one. One will be serving the beer (Efes) and the other will be serving the spirits and mixers. There is the issue of the 2 drink limit but if you are getting kids drinks they are flexible with this.
Kids Club - There are 2 kids clubs and this should be noted for people reading reviews on here; on is run by Thomas Cook and the other by the hotel. My kids used the Thomas Cook club and loved it. Emma, Roxy, Laura & Tracy are fantastic entertainers and are extremely professional. The kids hid under the table when it was pick up time. There are some sessions are chargeable:
Slumber party on Saturday nights. 6.30pm-11.30pm - £10 per child. They are taken down to the apartments for their tea
Chocolate Party on Tuesday nights. 7-8.30pm - £5 per child. Enough said
Dizzy's Birthday. 3-6pm on Wednesdays - £10 per child.
There is another £5 one but it has slipped my mind.
The deal is that if you book one of the £10 sessions then you can have one of the £5 sessions for £3.
In my opinion it should all be included in the price, but it is a welcome break and 9/10 of the sessions are free. I paid for the slumber and chocolate party for £39 in the first week, then just the slumber party in the next. The kids really wanted to go to Dizzy's Birthday Bash but for the price of it for 3 hours in the daytime I thought it a waste. We went to the best beach in Marmaris that day and ate the best food and drank all day for £35. Correct decision methinks. All children must be signed in & out by someone 18 or over, they are limited to 8 children per rep and they are always in an air conditioned room. If the session was full you would be given a guaranteed spot for the next session. A very special thanks to you guys, especially for being so good with my son Toby, who was a little over excited for 2 whole weeks, and giving me a welcome break!
The hotel run kids club is situated at the back of the hotel, below Kidsworld. It has a play area with a climbing frame, slides etc..and a shelter where the kids can colour, draw, colour, or draw. We visited this one on the last day with an hour left to go. All I can say is thank goodness. It is run by Natasha and Jessica, although xxx left due to homesickness during our stay. I have no idea why or how these people have been employed as children's entertainers! They also did the kids mini-disco each night, and although my youngest loved it every night, the older 2 quickly got bored as the entertainers just looked like they didn't want want to be there. When I dropped the children off to this club, and when I picked them up, Natasha was just sat there listening to her ipod! Good job my kids never get bored of monkey bars.
Once a week Emma takes charge of the mini disco on the stage. It is a different class from the other 6 days, apart from when the parents have to get up! LOL.
The rest of the entertainment team were really good. Cocoa and the gang were class but I must admit we spent much of our daytime's down in the apartments (seperate review).
Pool - The pool in the hotel is definitely a fun pool and not for relaxing in. It gets quite busy with inflatables (especially when the slide is on). I would advise that you take a permanent marker and write your child’s name on to avoid any ‘confusion’.
Don't use the hotel shop, you will be ripped off. Go through the apartments and across the road to the Supermarket and see Philip. If you buy your inflatables there, you can take them back on your last day and he will exchange them for crisps and sweets for your journey back.
Laundry - The hotel will charge you £10 for 1 wash and dry and you have to do it yourself. If you go through the apartments to the front door and turn left; 2 doors up is a launderette that will charge you 10tl per wash and do it for you!
Spa - I didn't use the spa as I booked my turkish bath at A&S Travel for a fraction of the price. The guy that patrols the pool all day is a little pushy and in your face. That said, everybody that used them said it was brilliant, but it was too over priced for me.
Tattoo shop - The tattoo shop is in the appts but he comes around with his books. I was going to get one done before I ran out of money at the end of the hol. A small design would have cost me £40.
The photographers are good guys who are not 'in your face' and take some great pictures. By chance, one was there when I took my 4 year old's arm band off for her first swim and got some outstanding pics (my profile pic is one of them). The only thing with these guys is to haggle because they start very high (about £100) but can be haggled down to about £50.
Hairdressers - I didn't use them as I got to know the guy at the hairdressers across the road (next to the supermarket). They are cheaper but be sure to agree the price you will be charged before they do ANYTHING as the owner will put up the price as they work. They advertise hair braiding for £8 but when I had my youngest daughters hair done he explained that the price was for a half-braid and that a full braid was double that. I went along with this as for the time it took it was worth it (and because my eldest daughter was coming down next with much longer hair it evened out). Turns out he wanted more for my eldest (as they were doing it) but he accepted it would have to be the same price as I had warned him before to tell me of such things. With the hair braided I had to apply sun cream each day to the scalp which clogged in the hair. Not wanting to spend my hols in the bathroom scrubbing kids hair I sent them down to get there hair washed and dried for £1.80 a time. I also had a couple of Turkish shaves there for £3 each and were great.
Excursions – If you book with Thomas Cook you will have your pants pulled down. Fact. One poor guy I spoke to was relieved of 600 Euros on arrival for just a couple of activities. The ONLY place to book your excursions and exchange your money is with Alpacino at A&S travel. Search for A&S in the TA travel forum and you will see the thread yourself (including my posts while out there). I was gutted when I got home and had lost the disc with the photos of our best day on the Memories boat. I needn't have worried though as Al Pacino contacted the photographer and he had made me a new disc which is currently on its way back to the UK courtesy of our 1 and only StevieDebz (Marmaris destination expert and all-round great guy). I can't believe there is another travel agency that would come close to the prices and services this place delivers to EVERYONE (even when you are back in the UK!!!). It is just around the corner from the Cettia (8-10 mins walk). I promise you that it will be the first time your travel agent experience is one of the highlights of your holiday.
All of the trips booked through A&S and the places we visited were on recommendations from TA and they all came up trumps every time. I will be posting a trip report on the forum in the next few days.
The hotel is without doubt overcrowded but it is not nearly as bad as I expected. A new block has been built that has no doubt caused this. You need to be up at 7am to reserve sun beds and be showered, changed and outside by 6pm to get a table for the evening entertainment. This didn't affect us much because I am not much of a sunbather (and there a loads of tables to sit at) and I was showered and ready for the evening when I picked the kids up from kids club at 6pm anyway. I don't know what the people did who ate in the restaurant as all of the tables outside were already taken for the entertainment. Waiters did put additional tables out for people and took tables, chairs away that weren't being used, but surely that wasn't enough.
We had the best fun we have ever had in Marmaris and at the Grand Cettia Hotel. Yes, there are niggles as I have tried to explain, but if you are on a limited budget, in the right frame of mind for a good holiday, and remember there are plenty of people who can’t afford a foreign holiday or have had theirs cancelled, you will have a ball here. All being well, we will be going to Marmaris next year and will definitely be going back to the Cettia.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This 4-star resort in the heart of Marmaris is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, mountains and pines trees. It offers tennis courts and indoor and outdoor pools with water slides, aqua-tower and splash pad.The bright rooms at the Grand Cettia Hotel are decorated in warm colors and have a private balcony. They also include free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and a seating area with a couch.Recreational facilities at the Grand Cettia include a gym and a relaxing Turkish bath with Sauna. A range of massages can also be enjoyed at the spa. For younger guests, there is a children's playground with a range of facilities.The restaurants serve international cuisine prepared with fresh products. They offer children's menus, as well as room service. Meals can be enjoyed indoors, or outdoors on the terraces.The hotel is 2.5 Km from the city center. Free private parking is available on site. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Cettia Marmaris
- Hotel Grand Cettia