We visited from 6 - 20 August, with our 2 children, Emma and Lewis who are 10 and 8, and there were so many highs.
Apartments - We were impressed with our 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment which was luxury - spacious, modern, and well appointed. Great maid service, sheets and towels changed regularly. No toilet roll shortage here, and no dreaded bin for toilet paper, all flushable.
Out of town location - To any first timers, please note before you book this hotel that you will need to use dolmuses or taxis to reach Icmeler. The costs do mount up over a fortnight for a family of 4. But if this hotel had been at the beach front, we probably couldn’t have afforded to stay in it. By choosing to be at the back of the resort, generally you have gained a larger hotel footprint, i.e. larger pool area, better amenities. The dolmus are plentiful, and they run down through the beautiful Old Village which is a treat for the eyes. Being first timers to Turkey, we wanted the reassurance of 4 star accommodation and facilities. But if you are the type of guests who will want to be on the beach every day, you may find you prefer a more central location.
The weather – We had blue skies every day, never saw a cloud. Temperatures on the digital sign in Icmeler, outside of Azra Jewellers usually showed 42, 43, or 44 degrees. Hot just how I like it. It does make you sweat though. What we liked about returning to Julian Forest in the afternoon was that it was noticeably cooler, with a lovely breeze always there which was very much needed. Some of the other hotels are much more enclosed by shrubbery/fences etc, and seem to trap the heat, making it very hot around the pool.
The wasps – In August, we had a couple of bites, but you can't have this beautiful, unique location in the pine forest, next to the mountains without a few wasps. We only noticed them just after 6 ish p.m., for a little while. Don’t know about other months of the year.
Flexidine - See Hakan in the Restaurant about taking flexi dine, you can fully discuss with him any special dietary requirements, or reservations you might have about taking it. We took 7 days, and ate out the rest. The food is of a high standard, and the breakfast and lunch menus are both available nearly all day, so there is no set meal times, which appealed to us when we returned tired and hungry days out. There was never any pressure to eat in the hotel.
Price of drinks – Yes, they are quite expensive, but then we expected these hotel prices. We also looked forward to the 2 happy hours, from 5.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. Being a red wine drinker, I found it cheaper to buy from the bar by the bottle, and always found something on 'special' that I liked for around 20 Lira per bottle. Much cheaper than the same wine in hotel shop.
The hotel shop – We only ever bought water, milk and bread there the first day, as it is expensive. But again that is to be expected really.
Kidsland Sessions – The Kidsland Sessions are now run on more of a casual, drop in basis. There is a morning session, and an afternoon session, all ages in together. This suited my children as they are older. There wasn’t any signing in or out that I could see. My kids adored Servo (Sarah).
Waterslides – Sessions were 12 - 2.00, and 4.00 - 5.00 p.m. Great fun for kids and adults. Probably the highlight of the childrens' holiday. ‘Who can make the biggest splash’ competition was held in between the sessions for kids and adults.
Staff - It is the staff that make this hotel what it is, particularly the waiting and bar staff. Aykut is a very kind, and helpful young man, speaks great English too - his mum must be very proud of him! I have also had nice little chats with Ozy who always has a twinkle in his eye, the lovely Gizem, and fab Ismail. I'd also like to mention Suleyman, Goktug, and Inana who are so professional, sorry if I missed anyone. We love them all, and can only admire the way they keep smiling through 12 hour days in that heat How do they do it? What a great bunch of guys and girls! Whatever little minor problems I had, I would always go to them for advice from anything to wasp stings to tourist information.
Entertainment - We loved the high energy, entertainment team of Shrek, Effe, Servo, and Deniz. It compared very favourably with what we’ve experienced on previous holidays. When we were there, there was lots of fun and games around the pool, and a great mini disco, The evening entertainment was good, often a full house of guests. They brought in entertainers from outside, e.g. acrobats, Elvis, etc. We thought they were as good as you would find in town.
Thomas Cook Rep – Kat May was very helpful. She was around every day, and offered to make phone calls to book restaurants for us, and arrange the courtesy lift back to the hotel. Thanks Kat.
If I had to make some minor criticisms, I would ask if the kitchen could make more Turkish mezze available on the dinner menu. I enjoyed it so much, and only managed to have it once, as the other nights there wasn’t any for some reason.
I hardly dare to suggest adding to their workload, but would love to see a Waiting and Bar staff dance show. That would be fun.
We would also have liked more TV channels available, as the news and weather got very repetitive.
Thank you JF for an unforgettable time. The children sobbed when the plane touched back down in the UK. xx
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Looking for a relaxing holiday away from the noise of the town or easily reached if desired the Julian Forest Suites is a must. Situated 2,8 km away from the beach at the foot of the surrounding forest, Julian Forest Suites offer fantastic service set in beautiful scenery, ideal for families and couples. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Julian Forest Hotel Icmeler
- Julian Forest Apartments Icmeler
- Julian Forest Apartments Hotel Icmeler