Turkey

26.06.2012-07.06.2012

The flight from London Stansted to Antalya lasted 3.5 hours. After getting off the plane we headed towards a queue that was waiting for Turkish visa – basically a stamp (€15) in your passport. After that we passed the passport control where we got another stamp – this one for free. It took about 20 minutes for our bags to arrive. Outside the arrivals hall there ware Thomson Reps waiting to tell us which bus to board. It did not take long and we left for Belek where our hotel was. After 35-40 minutes we finally arrived at a very modest entrance of Clubhotel Riu Kaya. 2 bellboys took our luggage and lead us inside. At the reception we were given the key cards, bracelets and a map of the resort. Afterwards one of the bellboys took our cases and we followed him to our room (that was located literally two minutes from  reception).  He explained us how to use the safe and left. This time he even got a tip (as we usually have no change on a first day of any holidays).

Our room has been the largest from all places we stayed at. There was a double bed, a single bed, desk with chair, armchair, minibar, fruit bowl and a balcony.  When we got to the room it was 1 am. We were hungry and were planning on going to have something to eat in a stack bar but we were so tired that after taking shower we had no power on doing anything  anymore.The following morning we had late breakfast at the beach bar and as we were really late, there was not much left to choose from. However, we did not leave hungry and that was important. Later on we explored the grounds and had also a meeting with Thomson Rep. Afterwards – we finally headed to the beach. There was always plenty of loungers and parasols so there was no need in getting up early to get some. The sea was a bit rough to my liking but I had a swim at least once that day to cool off my body as the temperatures were reaching 40 °C.    I cannot fault the hotel grounds in any way. Palm trees, plants and grass were everywhere you looked. Most of the things such as shops, internet cafe, wellness centre, gym, hair saloon and restaurants (main, Italian, Turkish, BBQ) were to be found within few metres from the main pool. Theme restaurants were absolutely superb. The Turkish restaurant was really a 5 star experience.You get like 7 courses and you only choose the main course. Italian restaurant was also very good, delicious food, again set menu (about 7 courses) and the main course of your choice. The service here was a bit slow and not up to scratch but the food was excellent. At the BBQ restaurant you can choose what type of meat you want to grill and you grill it by yourself right next to your table. The waiter keeps walking around, so if you need a hand he is glad to help you. I really recommend all three restaurants. As the temperatures reached every day almost 40°C we did not feel like doing much and so our days looked pretty much the same: breakfast, beach, swimming/reading/ activities, lunch, beach, dinner, evening program. The only excursion we booked with our Thomson Rep was a half day trip to Side and Manavgat Waterfalls. Side is a lovely town with Apollon Tempe ruins, Antique Theatre (extra 10 TL – here you need liras) and many many shops. We had 2 hours free time so we bought few souvenirs and visited the Antique Theatre. After we make a short stop (30 mins) at the Manavgat waterfall and headed back to our hotels. We also had a go at archery and Siim tried parasailing too. The whole animation team had tried very hard to keep everyone entertained. Every night had its own theme such as Black and White Party, Rio Night, etc. and you could also enjoy performances of various artists such as fire eaters, Brazilian or Turkish dancers.

Turkey as a country has a lot to offer especially sightseeing-wise and that is why I would really like to return back there to see a bit more.  I would also give the hotel only 4 stars not 5.

MORE INFORMATION:

  • Package holiday booked with Barrhead Travel (£ 1472.90=€ 1848.04/11 nights)
  • Extras – seats together  €43.79
  • Flights Cork-London € 153.96
  • Prices of watersports in hotel:  Parasailing €40, tandem €60, video €25, banana ride €9, trip to a waterfall €35
  • Side antique theatre – entrance fee 10 TL
  • We did not need Turkish liras as every place accepts euros (apart from Side Antique Theatre)
  • Flight : TOM 885 17:20-23:30/TOM 378  01:05-03:30
  • Food : All Inclusive 24/7
  • Accommodation: Clubhotel Riu Kaya, Belek, Turkey

GOOD TO KNOW:

  • Haggle everywhere, even in a hotel.
  • If you are after sightseeing then September, October or May, June are the best months for it.

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