Review of The Likya Gardens Hotel Kalkan, Turkey July 2012
The brilliance of TripAdvisor is that it gives people an opportunity to comment (and also discuss on the forums) their experiences first-hand.
TA's own 'about us' states, 'TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travellers'.
The slight issue that this 'freedom' brings, is that the reader must assimilate the (sometimes) masses of information and decide if the 'writer/s are being fair and 'speaking' honestly.
Ultimately, the reader must ask themselves if they can place trust in what they have read. One important point of note is that the hotelier is permitted to counter-argue any negatives, and rightly so. If this should be the case for this review, then if you wish, you may message me for my retort.
So I say to you dear reader, how can you trust me and my word and my opinion?
Well, you could take a little time to look at my profile. Read some of my travel reviews, perhaps notice that at times I like to write with (attempted) humour and hopefully from that you might gain a sense of trust. You are also at liberty to send me a separate message to ask a question. This will give you a further opportunity to (anonymously if you wish) further judge my character.
If you decide after reading the above that I'm not worthy of your trust, then that's perfectly OK, and I wish you a great and memorable holiday. Please accept my apologies for the melodramatic preface.
This property is pitched as a high-end retreat. It is located at the end of an unfinished dirt road about 5 minute drive or 20 minute walk from the sea-front ‘centre’ of Kalkan.
We arrived around 14:30 and were greeted warmly by the travel agents’ rep. There was a refreshing drink taken while we produced our passports and details were exchanged.
We agreed to meet with our travel agents’ rep the following morning to be advised about the area and receive general details about the hotel, their routines and the surroundings. We were then shown our suite.
On first impressions, the suite (Penthouse, Mihrimar) was what you might topically describe as shabby-chic. Whilst it was quite nice, I must say that to my personal taste I found it more shabby than chic. This is only my opinion remember, but my wife was also disappointed.
The fixtures and fittings looked quite good ‘on the surface’ as they do on the website but the attention to the finer details for a 5* residence was, again in my opinion, definitely lacking.
Examples to include, but not necessarily limited to, the wooden flooring all over the suite and decks was nice, but left as ‘bare’. It was as though there was no final sanding or ‘finish coat’. I understand they are going for the ‘bare wood look’ but as a result in our experience there were risks of splintering to the feet in several areas.
One of the four posts of our bed collapsed in the middle of the night. It sounds quite funny of course, but in fact woke us up very suddenly and in something of a panic as it was obviously quite unexpected. On inspection, it was held to the bed-base by only two tiny 1” screws and some old flattened paper as filler. Very poor indeed, and I think we were lucky that the post fell away from us and not on top of us. I don’t quite believe this was a new bed, I can’t imagine it would have left the factory with that sort of workmanship.
On the upper deck where the plunge pool is located, some of the surrounding wooden decking was unfinished and toes were stubbed on protruding wooden knots several times. There was an occasional smell that came from underneath the shower room – only occasional but still a little off-putting. I would contend it is reasonable to state that it should not be there at all.
Some of the paintwork around the property was clearly finished in haste, one presumes for the start of the 2012 season. On noticing some of these details, it put me in mind of a Kalkan forum discussion between one gentleman who offered his opinion 2 months ago in May, and then several responses from others, one or two I think from the agent, perhaps ‘acting’ on behalf of the property owner/developer.
I don’t think I need to go into any other details, I’m sure you get the picture but one last point to note is that directly adjacent to the property itself is what I can only describe as a small dumping ground. Some old rusted ironwork has been left by the wayside and I think I saw a discarded refrigerator and some other wood-type rubbish, etc. This is seen from the balcony of the penthouse and at ground-floor level and spoils an otherwise glorious view. This was evident up to when we left the property on Saturday 14th July.
Over our first 24 hours we put these details behind us after discussions between us around ‘are we being too picky’, are we asking a little too much of the place, etc? But for a holiday costing such a great deal of money we thought it wasn’t really good enough for a ‘so-labelled’ 5* hotel. Again, this is only our opinion.
I must say though it was nice to be there for the first three-and-a-half of five days. As mentioned previously, the view from both the penthouse and the balcony in our bedroom was lovely (apart from the dumping area). The amenities were good. The Bose iPod dock, the coffee maker (as yet unused), kettle, tea/coffee, TV/DVD player etc.
One of the two reps' (a lady) whom we met on day 2 who was utterly delightful - always smiling and helpful, forgive me if I get her name wrong, I think it was Sanem. The breakfast staff were always pretty much on time with good breakfasts, the cleaning lady was also a friendly person.
The suites’ cabana commanded ‘premium position’ a top the Cliffside overlooking the sea. It was glorious. One issue with the fridge in the cabana (and also in the penthouse) was that they could not cope with the outside air temperature. The drinks were not really cold, and at these drinks’ prices (and the Turkish heat) I think it’s fair to say you want ‘very chilled’.
The day-bed and sun-loungers (in the cabana and on our top-deck) were a little too ‘used’ and I think possibly second-hand. The day-bed showed real signs of poor workmanship. Because the sun-loungers are made from a soft velour-type material, former sun-worshippers leave behind their ‘oily suntan lotion stains’ having failed to cover them with a towel. Not very pleasant.
Ideally, they should be changed or at the least cleaned. They are quite comfy though and a nice change from the ‘typical’ lounger one sees in some properties.
The ‘service’ when we asked for it was quite good. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a ‘butler’ service as their web site states. We were almost never sought out to be asked if we would like something. Mainly, we had to go and ask. I suppose they could argue that this might constitute an invasion of your privacy if you’re constantly asked if you would like a drink for example, but this is again perhaps one of the finer points that should be reviewed. In searing heat, it’s not so pleasant to ‘go find’ someone to get you a drink. Perhaps an hourly visit by the ‘person’ on duty would suffice.
Very kindly, and presumably because the hotel had the availability (a spare suite), we were offered the use of one of the several swimming pools on the property. A nice touch actually as the plunge pool in the penthouse is limited in size. That is a given to be fair, after all, you are on the top floor.
The adjacent Yali beach club is a nice spot if you wish to socialise and one of the waiters there named Jan was an absolute gentleman. He is a young Turkish guy who spoke excellent English and was warm and friendly and a great waiter. He is a credit to the Yali property but I do not think he is directly associated with the Likya hotel. Also, his boss, a lady named Polly, was charming. Our dinner there (described as a BBQ) was very nice.
The day-out in the gulet was very nice indeed. The Captain and his crewman suffice and the lunch very pleasant. We had fantastic weather and the sea was not at all choppy.
So, with some debatable opinion, all went quite well until we experienced a dreadful ordeal 36 hours before we moved on to the second hotel in Kas (this was a two-centre holiday, see separate review of the Peninsula Gardens hotel).
Late at night, we discovered our room had been burgled. We were the third of three couples that were robbed (I believe in successive days). A hotel member of staff entered our suite with a master -card, then opened our safe with a master-key and removed our money. We were later told the issue had been dealt with by the police.
We felt that had the first and/or the second instance of theft been appropriately dealt with by the travel agents’ rep I do not think we would have suffered the consequences.
The travel agents’ (back in the U.K.) handling of the whole matter in my opinion was appalling. I quote directly from their email of acknowledgement of the issue, where it was stated, "The loss of your Turkish Liras was a blip that you could have done without."
I will say no more but I refer the reader back to my opening paragraphs. There are of course always two-sides to a story. I’m afraid I must leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
Suffice to say, this incident ruined much of our 14-days.
Thank you for reading.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Privacy and privilege at a gentler pace.Likya Gardens stands on the shore-side cliffs with wonderful views of Kalkan's lovely bay from every room. Likya Gardens has its own private beach club, at one of the most desirable locations in Kalkan. In a setting that recalls the Amalfi coast, you can bask under Moroccan-style cabanas, enjoying cocktails and snacks from the beach-side bar as you take in the fantastic views that this side of the bay presents. ... more less