http://s481.photobucket.com/albums/rr175/Nephthys_photos/Cornelia%20Deluxe%20Belek/ (Link to photos of the hotel & grounds. More albums of the trips, Side etc will be added soon; navigate with menu on left.)
My husband & I spent 2 weeks here from 14-28 June ’09, having booked thru Thomas Cook. We only booked about 4 weeks beforehand & knew that it would be pretty hot but we hadn’t been able to commit to any earlier in the year. It was chosen mainly as a relaxing beach holiday & for the proximity of the various golf courses for hubby.
It was a great holiday with just a few niggles ~ mainly late checkout facilities (& insecure luggage room)…..you can’t get a courtesy room, or extension, for love nor money & it’s not good enough, in this day & age, at a 5* hotel. More details further on in the review, including a “generous” offer available to help with this situation!
At this time of year there are quite a lot of children, mainly the babes-in-arms to 11 years old (majority were 3-8yrs) with a few more teenagers appearing towards the end of the 2nd week. There is a good children’s club & the team seemed to work hard, from early till late; more information in the actual review.
During the 1st week it was 37-40 degrees in the day & was still the same at 7pm! This is more like July/Aug temps. Thankfully, during the 2nd week, it lowered to the more normal 26-29 degrees but the humidity was still high. We drank a great deal of water each day to stave off dehydration & headaches. We took dioralyte rehydration sachets with us as they don’t take up much room. We had a few spots of rain one afternoon & a few clouds on another couple of days but it was wall-to-wall sunshine really.
LOCATION, BELEK, TAXIS, DOLMUS:
Belek is about 30 mins from Antalya airport. The hotel is on a long stretch of beach, with hotels either side & the whole area is purpose-built with the little “town” of Belek, about 10 mins away. There are no shops or places to stroll, of any interest, around the hotel. There is a market every Saturday from 9a.m.-6p.m. We didn’t ever go into Belek itself, but passed by, several times. It always looked deserted & not very interesting. We did realise the relative isolation before we went but others may not. What we didn’t realise is the cost of taxis! It’s about £16 sterling, each way, from the Cornelia to Belek. There is the “wally-trolley” which is a tractor that pulls a series of carriages. That is every half hour & on the hour & reasonably priced at 1.5 lira; the last one back at night is 9.30p.m.
There is a taxi station opposite the entrance to the hotel with the fixed price board on view. Side is about 45 mins away & was about £60-£70 each way!
There is a once a day Dolmus to Side (10am) but it’s not reliable, apparently.
Quite a few available. If you don’t go into Belek then your rep has the monopoly on this. Thomas Cook uses a local firm at the time of writing, (Diana Travel) with whom they are having many problems; consequently, they’re looking for an alternative firm with whom to work. Problems include late cancellation of trips due to lack of numbers (as happened to us) guides whose English &/or knowledge is not up to the job, guides who take you to countless factory shops (for their commission on sales) when the schedule doesn’t include this & then don’t take you to Side, despite it being on the schedule! (We had a full refund on this trip). We did, however, enjoy a trip to the Roman ruins at Perge & Aspendos, plus a lovely, peaceful waterfall at Kurşunlu.
A “must-see” is the evening trip to “Fire of Anatolyia” which is truly like a Turkish version of Riverdance, only better! http://www.metacafe.com/watch/58816/fire_of_anatolia/ (Thomas Cook price £35 adult & £17.50 child)
There are a couple of 2 day trips to the salt lakes of Pamukkale & the strange, but fascinating “mushroom” houses of Cappadocia. Depending on how your holiday falls depends on whether you’d be able to do both in one fortnight as Cappadocia is on Sundays & Pamukkale on Fridays.
There is a “con” trip which you can do on the last day. Bear in mind that you have paid for 14 full days yet room extensions are a non-event. Thomas Cook will kindly let you book a trip whereby you go to visit ruins, experience a cable car up a mountain & then book into a hotel near the airport for your end of day freshen up. This is £39 per person for a 3* or £54 per person for a 5*; children are £19.50 & £27 respectively. The trip is also available (obviously without hotel) during the rest of the holiday as a normal trip to see the ruins & cable car.
White Water Rafting:
Thomas Cook prides themself on the deal / health & safety aspects of their white water rafting trip & says that it’s second to none.
CHILDREN’S AGES RE: THOMAS COOK TRIPS:
Up to 6 are free, 7-12 are usually half-price, Minimum age for scuba diving is 8, minimum age for Turkish Baths is 7 & white water rafting is 9yrs.
Lovely hotel; would like to pick it up & put it in Side (old town). The AI facility really is AI & doesn’t stop till you leave the hotel for your transfer home, no matter what time your pick up. The mini bar is topped up daily & free & 24 hr room service is also free.
There were 30 different nationalities when we were there, the majority being Russian or Ukrainian but the Brits were next in line. There were Scandinavian, Swiss, Dutch, German, French, Romanian, American,….a broad mixture.
There are plenty of places to sit & relax, quietly; the hotel was full when we were there yet it didn’t seem overcrowded, unlike some others we have visited.
There is meant to be a children’s pool, a family pool & quiet pool but children seemed to go in all of them. There is also an indoor one too.
The staff are (in the main) very polite, respectful & helpful. We liked to eat in the main restaurant at about 9p.m. (closed at 9.30p.m.) as it was quieter then but, very often, the staff were slowing down, the smiles had disappeared & the service was less than it should be, necessitating our having to get up & fetch our own cutlery to set the table & water on 2 occasions. I should stress that it was not all staff who mentally “closed off” at this time, some ran round like there was no tomorrow! Shame their colleagues let the side down.
There was plenty of choice in the main buffet restaurant & it was always well presented. I’m afraid we didn’t make many breakfasts but when we did, we enjoyed the variety available.
There was always plenty of fresh fruit at lunch & dinner, & it was edible! It wasn’t past its best or unripe; we didn’t hear of anyone suffering from an upset tummy & we were fine.
There is food & snacks available all day; one could really be a glutton. The cappuccinos aren’t bad, there is hot chocolate & lovely mint tea; far nicer then we have in the UK.
There was a Gala Night during our 2nd week (Thursday) when the buffet was transferred outside, all around the main pool area. There was entertainment on a stage, down near the grassy area, near the beach; it ended with fireworks.
The grounds are lush with wonderful flowers & vegetation.
There is a stock of free maps on here, which our Thomas Cook rep neglected to tell us & we didn’t notice till we no longer had use for one. There are several large map boards around the grounds which help considerably during your 1st few days.
The staff are helpful most of the time. However, I wasn’t impressed when I needed to speak to the Thomas Cook rep quite urgently, one morning, & he wasn’t in his designated spot. One guy (a porter) did go & look for him & then asked reception to ring his mobile or the Thomson base, so they could ring his mobile. Reception refused & wanted me to ring the Thomson emergency line. My turn to refuse! Why should I pay an international call to do that? Especially as it turned out that the rep was having breakfast in one of the restaurants, after all (food round his mouth betrayed him) & Guest Relations had his mobile number; they are situated opposite reception.
Greatly over-priced & do be careful when “rummaging” thru the clothes shop items; the guy can be grumpy! That is, if he’s actually awake; he was sometimes snoring in the corner, so I made the most of rummaging whilst he wasn’t looking. He actually lost my custom though, for his attitude & we bought clothes in Side & Manavgat instead.
The guy in the general store is sweet though & always polite. The 2 jewellery / souvenir shops are over-priced & nothing special.
There are 2 but we never saw anyone using them. There’s one upstairs, for sports & one downstairs for other channels.
POOL TABLES, TABLE TENNIS & GIANT CHESS BOARD:
Near the indoor citrus bar.
À LA CARTE RESTAURANTS:
There are 5; we tried 2, namely the Thai Pen & The Nazar (Turkish). One has to ring from the room between 6-8pm, but it’s advisable to ring as close to 6pm as possible as the Oriental one, in particular is booked very quickly. We didn’t try the BBQ, the Florian or the Hedera; we understand that the Florian does great steaks. I think you’re supposed to book only once for each for each week of your stay; that’s what was implied by the Thomas Cook rep.
The starters in each of the 2 we tried were lovely whereas the main courses were somewhat of a let-down & our local restaurants far exceed the quality of the main courses which we had. The service & setting of the Oriental & the Nazar are both excellent though.
Babies & children are allowed in the à la cartes.
No swimwear or short shorts in any of the restaurants & men must wear a top. Although the signs outside the restaurants show full length trousers, we saw men with ¾ length.
It was in the main building, 2nd floor & on the side, so we had a limited view of the sea & a little balcony, but that was fine. Our only stipulation, at the time of booking, was that it be a quiet room & it was.
The décor, everywhere, inside & out, even the animation team uniform, is green…..some of it VERY lime green!
No coffee / tea-making facilities so take your own travel kettle!
The room was plenty big enough. As you walk into the “hall”, there is a doorway (no door) off to the left, which leads to a little “ante-bathroom” with a basin, wardrobe with shelves & programmable safe. The loo & bath / shower are accessible from that in the “proper” bathroom with a door.
Carry on past the turn off to the bathroom & you’re in the main part of the room. There is a flat screen TV which seems to receive quite a few stations but we didn’t watch it for more than a few minutes here & there. Extra pillows are in the wardrobe; courtesy bathrobes but no slippers in our room, not that we were bothered.
There are large containers of Dove shower gel & shampoo in the bathroom as well as by the wash basin, fixed to the wall, so you can cut down on taking toiletries.
LATE CHECK OUT:
Late check-out rooms / extension are a nightmare & as rare as hen's teeth. You can’t get a definitive answer till the final day & your rep says that he’ll have a word for you as well, so you hope……
I know you can use the spa facilities etc but we found it irritating, as did several others, that no courtesy rooms or extensions are provided. It's many yrs since we have not been able to have a room extension or at the very least, a courtesy room at the end of a hol. If other hotels in other destinations can manage then surely a hotel of the Cornelia's caliber can sort it too? We pay for 5* facilities thru to the end of our last day so a room extension should be available. There had been over bookings & they were being placed in the Diamond but I understand that late checkouts are a continual nightmare anyway, over-booking or not.
You have access to a luggage room but, to be honest, when we returned to it during the late afternoon, there was no-one to challenge us & we could have walked off with anyone’s baggage or golf clubs.
We understood that lockable lockers were available in the spa centre; I don’t know how many or what size but we didn’t bother as it was no trouble to have our hand luggage with us as it wasn’t large or cumbersome.
THIS IS WORTH REPEATING!
There is a “con” trip which you can do on the last day. Bear in mind that you have paid for 14 nights & 15 full days yet room extensions are a non-event. Thomas Cook will “kindly” let you book a trip whereby you go to visit ruins, experience a cable car up a mountain & then book into a hotel near the airport for your end of day “freshen up”. This is £39 per person for a 3* (£19.50 per child) or £54 per person for a 5* (£27 per child). The trip is also available (obviously without hotel) during the rest of the holiday as a normal trip to see the ruins & cable car……….only Diana Travel cancelled ours at a few hours notice, due to lack of bookings.
This late check-out fiasco is one of the reasons we won’t be returning to the Cornelia.
Yes, there are plenty, judging by the number of people walking around with angry-looking bites! Avon Skin-So-Soft can help but what really helps us is taking Vitamin B1 whilst there (not much scientific proof, but it contains thiamine, a natural repellent. Check with your Dr. if on other meds that may contradict this).
Lovely! Most hotels have a roped off area in which to swim as the undercurrents can be strong & deceptive, Sadly, 2 people lost their lives when we were there; they were 8 hotels down the beach from us.
WATERSPORTS: Available on the beach; not part of the AI. It’s also very expensive, e.g. € 35 for 10 mins on a jet ski.
There is a nice grassy area, near to the beach, which we used for sunbathing quite a lot; be aware that some people are selfish & take several parasols between them instead of 1 between 2. Then they disappear in the pool, or goodness knows where, for hours! This leaves some beds without a parasol & it’s a shame that no member of staff seems to monitor this as they monitor the waterslides, beach etc.
There are plenty of beds around the pools, the grassy area & on the beach. It didn’t matter what time of day we went in search of a bed; we always found one….it was just the parasols that proved to be elusive!
TOWELS FOR SUNBEDS:
You’re given cards to exchange for towels in your welcome pack.
The animation team works very hard & we were pleasantly surprised at the standard of some of the evening shows. They were quite varied & usually alternated with the animation team doing one night & an outside attraction on the next, e.g. the Shaolin monks & a mini version of the Fire of Anatolyia. The team performed musicals (mimed, but did it well!) Grease, Moulin Rouge, Beauty & the Beast. The choreography was good & the costumes well turned out. There were the obligatory “Miss Cornelia” & “Mr. Cornelia” nights though, but even they weren’t as cringe-worth as some to which we have been subjected!
There was a wide variety of daily activities but they weren’t intrusive to those who didn’t wish to partake. We were sometimes aware of the microphone announcements of the aqua-aerobics, water volley ball, beach activities, afternoon games by the Daphne Bar or bingo, but they were not all day & not over loud. There was some music at times but, again, not intrusive.
CHILDREN’S CLUB: The team seems to be on the go with them all day, right into the evening. There is a specific children’s notice board, outdoor play area, some of it undercover with ball pool & sand area. There are also swings & other equipment in a little playground, that’s tucked away; photos on link above. Pony rides can be arranged.
Available in reception or thru the rep. However….after a few days, our rep told us about a guy whom he uses (not thru the hotel) & it was far, far cheaper to do so than to hire a taxi to Side, so we had a car for 24hrs. It was a Fiat Punto & immaculate. It worked out at €26 for the 24 hrs, plus a bit of petrol. We went to Side, then, on the way back to Belek, went out thru Serik, to the edge of the mountains, to see the stalagtites at Zeytintaşi Cave & hubby used the car to go golfing 1st thing next morning before returning it at 10a.m.
LOCAL SIM CARDS & HOTEL PHONE:
Usually I get a local sim wherever I go. You have to ensure that your phone is unlocked 1st & we ask folk back home to text us on our normal phones, then we reply, or ring, on our old spare handset. The rep told us that it’s not cost-effective in Turkey, so we didn’t bother. Local phone cards are reasonably priced, I understand, but we prefer the convenience of using our mobiles as & when we like.
The hotel phone is £3 per min to a landline & £6.40 per minute to mobiles.
2 in reception ~ unsure of cost as didn’t use it.
Take your own as it’s €28 for a bottle in the hotel shop.
Hooker pipes are available but chargeable.
Between €1 & €4 per item; didn’t use it though.
One can buy drugs over-the-counter that are prescription only in the UK; didn’t have cause to use one, thankfully.
They’re (i.e. pharmacies) called Eczane (pronounced like “egg sarni”)
CLEANLINESS ~ Hotel, Grounds & Beach:
Very good overall. Lovely, beautiful flowers, up the drive & in the grounds, well laid out, good swimming pools & water slides.
Didn’t use them & weren’t disturbed by the noise, so that was fine.
DOCTOR: 24 hour English-speaking Dr is available but he will charge € 70 call-out for starters.
SPA, HAIRDRESSER & MASSAGE FACILITIES:
Didn’t use them.
A few minutes away by bus / car & one can go round to view by shuttle bus at 4pm daily. We didn’t go.
There had been over bookings at the Deluxe Resort & they were being placed in the Diamond.
Shuttle bus to Cornelia Golf Course; not always reliable on return, as hubby found out, but ok going. Taxis are needed to go to the other courses but if you intend to play quite a lot, it may be worthwhile hiring a car. He was told by the rep & also a friend in the UK that the National golf course in Belek isn’t that great but all others are ok.
Hubby only went to the Cornelia course. The shuttle bus is every hour, on the hour.
Prices: If you tee off between 6.30a.m. & 7.30a.m. it’s €32; after that it’s €64.
OVERALL: A good holiday which served its purpose of rest & relaxation with some site-seeing. The Turkish people are very hospitable & we look forward to exploring more of their delightful country.
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- Also Known As:
- Cornelia De Luxe Hotel Belek
- Cornelia De Luxe Belek
- Cornelia Belek
- Cornelia Hotel Belek