So, for those of you who don’t know, I have spent the last week in Turkey! Staying in Sentido Orka Lotus Beach hotel in Icmeler in Turkey! We went for a week, leaving on Sunday 12th at 7pm from Gatwick Airport, and then leaving on Monday 20th at 2am from Dalaman Airport! While we were there I got my hair done, we went diving, had a photo shoot, had a massage, swimming (a lot), and just generally chilling around the hotel! So I thought I would share with you my reviews and experience of everything I got up to while I was there!
First thing’s first, Thomas Cook! So I travelled with Thomas Cook – who for those of you who don’t know, are a package holiday provider and (to be honest) are always my first choice when it comes to holidays abroad. I (and my mother before me – when we used to go on family holidays) will always go in branch and speak to someone. They’re so helpful and that’s how you find a complete steal! This is a little how our conversation went;
‘Hi, how can I help you’
‘We’d like to go on holiday on the week of the 13th June’
‘Ok, what sorta thing are you looking for’
‘Ok, anything else?’
‘All inclusive, less than £500, away from drinking destinations, we’re thinking of Greece/Spain, but honestly we don’t mine and preferably near the sea’
And that was basically the end of that. She then found us some complete steals. Including this hotel for £466 (including travel insurance) when the holiday should have been £1500+!
They continued to be one of the best parts of the holiday, both our Thomas Cook reps in the hotel were lovely and helpful, their 24hr whatsapp helped answer questions we had in the middle of the night, and plus, I did some serious shopping in the aeroplane from their duty free magazine! ;D
The hotel! So the hotel is only 2 years old and has actually only been completely finished for 1 year. So everything is new and shiny, and modern and beautiful. The gardens are full of bright, fresh flowers and everything is so green – scrap that, Turkey as a whole is so green!
So the hotel has over 1000 rooms (though I’m not sure how many), a private beach (it’s literally right on the sea front), an activity pool, a chill out pool, a kids pool, a waterpark (with loads of slides), and like a kids wet play area, a buffet restaurant, 3 a la carte restaurants (one local cuisine, one Italian, and one Chinese), a spa, a gym, a hair dressers, a selection of shops, a sky bar, a beach bar, a selection of other bars… day time entertainment and a bit of evening entertainment – enough for you??
So the food was both amazing and not! Let me explain. When food was available it was delicious hot, and fairly varied. The a la carte menus were fairly limited, but delicious (seriously, the panna cotta was to die for, I could eat it forever and forever and forever!), and the atmosphere was amazing. There was a tapas bar by the pool that served chips, chicken nuggets, the best pizza in the world, pasta, and a few other things from 12-4(ish – depending how busy it was), and then it would serve biscuits and cakes thereafter (until 6). The main buffet restaurant has breakfast 7-10.30, and then left the pastries out for a little longer. Lunch was 12.30-2.30 and was more or less what you have at dinner (so stews, pasta dishes, various potatoes, curries, vegetables, etc.), and then dinner was 7-9.30. Outside of these times there was access to salad and bread more or less constantly from 7am-1am. So, occasionally we’d find ourself hungry at 6pm with nothing to eat for an hour… but other then that, the food here was great.
Ice cream. Now ice cream we struggled with, we’re simple folk! There is a bar right at the bottom of the hotel that isn’t part of the all inclusive, that provides ice cream. It’s 2.50TL (about 60p) per scoop. However, the hotel does provide ice cream from 3pm, it just took up till the last day to realise it was out near the main stage…
The hotel provides a number of services not included in the all inclusive packages, and we tried basically all of them.
The first, the photo shoot, is advertised in your room when you arrive. It takes place in the evening – with the intention that the light isn’t so blinding you’re squinting. It takes about 30mins, and you feel like you’ve never taken so many photos in your life, and your cheeks hurt, and you feel like you’ve taken some of the most cheesiest photos of your life. However, they do actually look really nice. So, you take your photos, then you head off to dinner while they edit (they do take about 2 hours to edit your photos….), and then you go down and select a load. They take about 80 photos and then present them to you in colour and black and white and leave you to make your decision. We paid 170TL (so about £40) for 8 photos. They placed them onto a disc for us. And it was as simple as that.
The hairdressers. Now, while this may be significantly cheaper than it would be in the UK (I paid £65 for my hair, rather than £120 i was quoted in Supercuts – I have a lot of hair), they take a lot longer than they would in England and their service probably isn’t as friendly. It is a professional hairdressers and they did do a really good job, it just took 4 hours…
Kevin and I spend £60 for both of us to have a Turkish Bath, Face Mask and Massage. So we sat in a sauna for 5 minutes, then we had a bubble bath/massage/thing while laying on a marble bed – a Turkish Bath. Then we sat and has a face mask with a drink, and then the massage. The whole thing took about an hour and it was very relaxing. Be careful here, because they can make it look like you’re saving a fortune when you’re not – as they put different prices on the various leaflets they hand out…
A short bus journey (costing 5TL for the two of us) is Marmaris, and in a short walk in the other direction is Icmeler. Now, for those of you who don’t know – I didn’t – Turkey is the capitol of the world for ‘Genuine Fakes’. As in you can by a real leather, good quality bag, that says Micheal Cors on it.. but it isn’t a real MC bag, hence why I only paid 65TL for it! Now you have to haggle for prices here, don’t accept any price as the final price (unless you’re going in a supermarket/restauant, that’s a little different). While there are some beautiful shops on the hotel, they are quite pricey (but beautiful quality…so..) and so if you can cheaper goods in Marmaris/Icmeler.
While we were in Turkey we also went diving with a company called Divers Delight. Kevin planned the day with them before we went on Facebook (using Facebook Messenger), and a lady called Tess picked us up from our hotel. Unfortunately Divers Delight weren’t going out the day we went, so we wen’t with another service. We had two dives, one beginners (sort of acclimatisation dive) which was about 4m deep, and a second dive, which was about 6m deep. Someone stayed with you at all times, and the water here is beautifully clear. You also got to feed fishes! You are supplied with a lunch, and while extra food and drink comes at a cost, it’s not that expensive really (about 6TL for a can of coke – £1.20ish).
Overall, the hotel and the holiday was awesome! I just wanted to share with you all my time, what I got up to, my thoughts on everything, and some photos of the week!