I stayed at the Mardan Palace for 9 nights in August 2010. I was travelling with my wife and two children, age 4 and 2. Initial impressions were favourable in terms of the grandeur of the exterior and the lobby, which is extravagant by any measure. The only room option available for those travelling with children is the 2-bedroom Grand Deluxe Duplex Suite, 90m2 at a rate of about €800 per night. We were shown to our room on the pool level and I immediately noted that just a few yards from our open terrace area was a canal for the gondola that occasionally passes, with no barrier whatsoever. Not ideal with young children.
The room, in the European wing, was modern in styling and the decor was much simpler (slightly Ikea-like with plenty of light coloured wood) than the ornate interiors presented on the hotel's website. The room was stiflingly warm and the air-conditioning was struggling given the 30 degrees night time temperature outside. This was a continuous issue during our stay. The two bedrooms and bathrooms were upstairs with a wooden staircase on either side of the room, which proved to be a problem as our children regularly slipped on the steps with wet feet.
Food quality across the resort ranged from poor to excellent. Our first meal was via room service on our night of arrival. The food on this occasion was exceptionally poor (stale bread, chewy lamb kebabs, soggy salad, warm mineral water). A subsequent room service later during our stay was no better. The restaurants were generally better and very expensive. However, they were also mostly empty, with most guests seemingly opting to eat at the fixed-price buffet restaurant rather than at the themed restaurants (seafood, Japanese, Thai, Turkish, Italian, American). We tried them all and the Japanese was the one restaurant that stood out as outstanding and worthy of the prices being charged. The Thai food, on the other hand, was particularly disappointing. The flagship restaurant is the Aquamarine seafood place, which benefits from an impressive aquarium. The food and service, however, do not live up to the surroundings. The waiter's tales of having spent six years on a cruise ship, etc. became tiring as I tried to enjoy my £50 sea bass main course. The daily breakfast buffet was extensive, but it seemed to some extent to comprise leftovers from the previous evening's buffet offering.
As many other reviewers have documented, drinks are extortionately priced. The cheapest wines are Turkish, £15 per glass upwards and entirely undrinkable. Low end French wines (only two options) are £30 per glass. Bottles start at £100 and labels are unrecognisable. Turkish bottled water is £6 per bottle and awful, San Pellegrino is £11 for a 750mm bottle. Meals were generally £150 for two without wine. Add to that €60 per night for babysitting (€15 per child per hour) and it mounted up nicely. Food for children is, however, free in all restaurants.
The biggest shock was left until our last night. At 2am, I heard a fairly loud noise and loudly exclaimed this to my wife, waking her up. I turned the lights on and next we heard the front door of our room shutting downstairs. I raced down to check on our younger child, whose cot we had placed in the living room and then on our older child in the other bedroom. Thankfully, they were both fine. I then noticed the sliding door to the terrace was open. I closed it, but could not lock it as the lock was broken. It became clear that someone had forced their way into the room and then run out when they heard our voices/saw the light. My wife and I were quite shaken and I proceeded to cautiously look around the room to make sure that nobody was still downstairs.
I called reception, but the member of staff who answered showed little concern. He said that he would inform security. I assumed that someone would come to the room pretty quickly. 15 minutes later, I called again. The same chap answered and I asked him for an update. He said that hotel security was looking into it. I stated that I wanted the manager to come to the room immediately. 20 minutes later the night manager turned up. He noted the broken lock, spent quite a while making calls and then called a maintenance man to repair the lock. I observed from their hand gestures that the maintenance man was indicating that the lock had been forced. The night manager confirmed that there were "kinetic" rotating cameras by the poolside that would zoom into any movement. He had spoken to security and the footage showed someone in the vicinity of the terrace to the room prior to the break-in. However, it was dark and the individual was apparently unidentifiable.
The night manager assured me that the room was now secure and that they had asked a security guard to patrol the area near to the terrace to the room. As might be expected, we slept little for the rest of the night, remaining quite shocked by events. We moved our children into our bedroom. A key issue was that we could not work out what it was the intruder was after. Was it simply our laptop, iPad or similar item or, more ominously, one of our children, who had become well known in the resort during our stay. All of the other items could have been stolen while we were out of the room during the day.
After breakfast on the next day, I went to the reception desk to check out. It was 10.45am and we needed to depart for the airport at 11.30am to catch a 1.30pm flight. I fully intended to ask for the cost of one night of our nine night stay to be deducted from the bill. The reception staff, who were fully aware of the break-in, seemed incredulous that I should be seeking any refund. I pointed out that it was not unreasonable for me to seek not to pay for a night in a hotel during which my room was broken into. I was told that the general manager was not available and was asked to wait. No copy of the bill was provided.
After some prompting, the front office manager (Mr Kalagan I believe) eventually appeared and noted that they would be conducting an investigation to assess whether it was a member of staff or a guest that was responsible. He proceeded to suggest that I had been responsible for forcing the lock and had faked the break-in to obtain a discount from my bill. He noted that guests regularly did this at other hotels in Antalya. At this point, the discussion became more heated. The accusation was not only offensive, but entirely lacking in credibility given that some form of crow bar would have been required to break open the lock. It was by now 11.45am and we had no option but to leave for the airport. The hotel staff had evidently sought to delay the situation as far as possible to avoid resolving it in an appropriate manner.
As I got into the car, where my family were already waiting, the front office manager ran out of the hotel, phone to one ear, and stated through the open window that he would be reducing the bill by 1000 Turkish Lira, i.e. c.£440 versus the £700 nightly room rate and the total amount I had incurred of c.£9000. I asked him to process the refund and email to me the invoice. Nothing subsequently arrived by email and the full amount was charged to my credit card. When I followed up via my credit card company, the hotel claimed that another guest had mistaken my suite for his and mistakenly forced open the door. A nonsensical explanation, of course.
In summary, an extraordinary end to our stay and highly disappointing. This was certainly not the level of service or manner of departure I had expected from a hotel that styles itself as being a super deluxe property. The Mardan Palace is definitely not a "7-star" hotel, even ignoring the problems relating to the break-in to our room. The quality of the food lets it down as does rustic, albeit well-meaning, overall service levels. Ultimately, the approach adopted by management in response to a major security/safety issue was entirely inappropriate and reflected inexperience and arrogance. We will, of course, not be returning and would not recommend the hotel to discerning travellers.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.