Our time of playing house in Turkey was coming to an end and it was time to start travelling again. Our original plan was to resume our tour of Eastern Europe, but in discussion, we both decided that the time was not right for this little part of our journey. We opted instead to try our hand at a little Greek island hopping.
We were going to take the ferry from Marmaris first to Rhodes, then onto other islands in Greece. We knew that the islands were not going to be cheap; we looked to book a hotel online in all of these places to see how much the different places were going to cost us. It was clear it was going to get gradually more expensive as we got to Mykonos, but we managed with quite a bit of time spent online to bag good deals in Rhodes and Santorini, Mykonos proved more of a challenge.
But before leaving Turkey we decided to try something, we hadn’t done for quite a few years; a week in an all inclusive hotel in a touristy resort in Marmaris in Turkey. Would we live to regret the decision, some of our fellow guests almost made it that way?
The Marmaris Experience
Marmaris itself is a tourist favourite of the Russians, Northern Europeans, and to a lesser extent the Turkish. The resort has everything you need for a beach holiday. Beaches are abundant of course, bars, markets and the usual pizza and fast food joints litter the beach road if you get bored of the all inclusive food and the hotel animation team. It has the usual resort ‘Bar Street’ in town with a choice of music and dancing to meet anyone’s taste if you feel the need to stay up late and dance the night away.
Marmaris is only an hour and a half to Dalaman airport and a short ferry ride from Rhodes. You can visit Rhodes on a day trip if you are here only a short time.
It is close enough to Pamukkale or Ephesus, two of Turkey’s greatest attractions, if you want a little bit of culture to punctuate your sunbathing. If you want to see a more traditional Turkish village we could recommend Akyaka, whose stony beach backed by pine forests provides a much more tranquil setting than Marmaris.
The All Inclusive Experience
We got a good deal on the hotel; it was early season and for seven nights for us both we were provided with a very well appointed room with a bath, free wifi, flat screen TV with plenty of English channels, daily housekeeping service and the usual all inclusive meals and drinks. The week in the Grand Ideal Hotel cost us just £252 for two, just £18 per person per day for food, drink and accommodation.
The problem often with all inclusive is that the hotels normally slop out food that is cheap, bland and don’t really care much what it tastes like. This was certainly not the case here, the food was really good quality and while still served in the buffet format, it was tasty and varied. The place was absolutely spotless and really well managed with a great team of staff.
Sadly the same thing could not be said for some of our fellow guests. While we did meet some lovely people from the Netherlands, many of our fellow guests would put their country to shame in diplomatic circles.
We had the pleasure of a young Russian woman who could have been no more than twenty five, stick thin, bleached blond hair, tottering aloft a pair of six inch designer stilettos, wobbling under the influence of too many all inclusive cocktails. We saw her sashaying near to us in the bar but instead she decided to pick on these two large English ladies sat next to us. Without a hint of irony in her voice she announced, in an alcohol and Russian infused voice, that their heads were too small for their fat bodies and they should have more sex in order to lose weight. With the advice delivered she turned, wobbly on her heels and trotted off to find someone else to abuse.
We had another Russian group at 1am in the morning stripping off and skinny dipping in the pool which caused the security guards to be paged and small scuffles ensued before they left for bed clutching their duty free vodka bottles.
The most annoying group was a family of UK visitors. A group of twelve, five foul mouthed adults and seven children who all sported corn row braids, loud mouths and unruly behaviour. The children could be seen picking up anything that wasn’t fastened down and depositing it somewhere else in the hotel, running around screaming and shouting while the parents switched their ears to ‘children mute’ mode and carried on drinking while the kids caused havoc around the hotel.
The in hotel entertainment was also loud but more organised, but not to our taste. After the third day of the same music loop on the pool sound system we knew the order of the songs by heart. In fact the best day for us by the pool was the day the animation team had off, quieter music, no darts games, water polo or aerobics to disturb our drinking and sun worship. Bliss.
Our week was value for money, with pretty decent food and drinks that were definitely alcoholic but without any finesse and the hotel staff and general facilities could not be criticised. On the plus side drinks were served in glass instead of plastic, unless you were by the pool.
Had we been on a weeks holiday with a group of friends it may have been more to our taste. In the end though for the money it cost us, we can’t grumble, but we were very glad to be heading for the ferry when we left. The all inclusive lived up to its name, food drinks and entertainment from both the animation team and some of our more animated guests.