My fiance and I recieved a trip to this hotel as a gift from my mum as she knew we'd both been very stressed recently, so we were so excited to get away! However, I came back more stressed than I've been in years, feeling physically sick, with my anxiety playing up and took several days of relaxing at home to feel peaceful and happy again!
On the holiday, I was sick every single day from stress, and was constantly starving from not keeping food down. In case you're wondering, I was fine by our 2nd day of being home. Definitely the holiday.
I think it was a combination of lack of sleep, the constant 'on edge' feeling, which I'll explain more and maybe they put something in the food, like a spice that doesn't agree with me, I don't know. But I'm fine now, which is all that matters really.
I'm going to write about the hotel and the area, because sometimes places aren't what you think and I'd hate for anyone else to waste their money on something they won't be happy with.
MAJOR POINT FOR WOMEN - IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ - COULD SAVE YOU.
I'm putting this first as I think its the most important part of my review with regards to safety in the area for women.
I only used the bathroom in three places. The hotel room (obviously), the downstairs toilets by the hotel's pool bar and one other restaurant by the beach.
The hotel room bathroom had no lock.
The pool bar bathroom had no lock FOR WOMEN. The Men's had one.
The same in the restaurant we visited - NO LOCK IN THE WOMEN'S, locks in the mens.
This is either a huge coincidence, or something very dangerous is going on in the area. Please be careful. If you're near the hotel, I'd highly recommend using your hotel bathroom where you can lock the main door with your room key, even if the bathroom doesn't have one!
Now for the rest...
Arrival and staff:
We arrived at about 5am after a coach journey we weren't sure we'd get through alive (100mph in a 25mph zone?!) and were greeted by a man who seemed pretty unhappy and barely spoke English. Originally we thought he might just be tired, but his attitude was the same the entire week. I handed him the reservation and he took us to our room, but he demanded our passports. I gave them to him, thinking it was a routine check, but he left. We got them back around 12 hours later. Being without a passport in a foreign country is scary!
Some of the staff seem hostile. Some nights we didn't feel comfortable being in the same building.
Some of them of course are friendly enough though. Its not fair to generalise!
There is a major lack of communication between them though. If you have a problem, you might have to ask more than one person. For example, one day we wanted to use the pool, but there were sunbeds placed around it as if to say 'back off'. We asked one staff member if it was open and he said it was, and that we should move the sunbeds and go in, however when we were back at the pool, a technician was there adjusting the chlorine levels!
One thing that did almost made me cry was the fact they were using two young girls as cleaners. I don't mean teenagers, they were literally about 8 or 9. I think that's disgusting, they should be having fun playing with toys or swimming at the beach or something at that age, not cleaning hotels! This wasn't every day (I guess because they had to go to school?) and two women were used the rest of the time. One of them stole my pencil (not a special one in particular, but it annoyed me all the same). It was a mechanical one, I'm wondering if they don't often find those. Makes me wonder what else they'd have taken if we hadn't locked our valuables in the suitcases. The room didn't have a safe, like many hotels do.
The rooms were not bad at all. Air conditioning worked very well. Bathroom was clean but very slippery - I've seen this on other reviews, must just be the way they're built. The balcony was a nice place to sit, but don't bother paying extra for the 'sea view' like we did, its NOT on the seafront! Our view was a restaurant garden and a big tree. My fiance is 6'1 and he could only just see a glimpse of the water.
One downside - we booked a double and got a twin. Apparently they're the same thing to the staff. We thought maybe they were all twin, but we saw a double bed through a door that had been left open.
All Inclusive or not issues:
There are so many reviews on the hotel's 'all inclusive' policy and they all differ, so I'm hoping me posting a recent update will be of use to someone...
On the first day we were told the 'bar' is all inclusive. We went to the bar, they said no. Turns out, the 'bar' is the hotel reception - very strange. Drinks are all inclusive from 10am to 11pm provided you order them from the front desk. Choice is limited - beer, wine, vodka or raki. There is no service for tea, coffee or juice - you get it yourself from a machine. One evening we were going to have a cup of tea, but the water in the machine was cold. The coffee one is a little different, so its always hot.
After reading the reviews (too late to switch hotels), we really didn't want to eat here, and we didn't, but I can give some information on how it works.
At dinner time (I think 7 until 9), you sit in the restaurant area and they assume you want to eat (happened to us when we were just having a drink). Some reviews say there is a buffet - this must have changed because there is no choice. They tell you what you're going to eat. There is a board but most days they don't bother. They bring whatever they feel like to your table, and tough luck if you don't like it. Luckily, there are a few nice enough restaurants around the area with a range of food styles and prices, although going all inclusive then having to pay for all our meals elsewhere was not what we had in mind.
Same goes for lunch and breakfast.
Some hotel sites are advertising the area as the 'quiet alternative' to Marmaris. I actually want to find whoever started that rumour and wedge earphones so far into their ears they can't be removed, then turn on the loudest, most obscene music I can find.
On average we got around 5 hours sleep per night due to the ridiculous amount of clubs and bars that play loud music that comes into the hotel. We actually took to going for walks up the beach and sitting by the sea until 2am to drown out the noise.
I'm also not sure about the safety here. Walking around after dark was a little scary. I was constantly thinking I was going to get mugged by some drunkard from one of the clubs or hit by a 100mph bus (that isn't an exaggeration, so many people in the area insane drivers. One of the first things we saw on the trip to the hotel was an overturned, completely wrecked car. The thing is, he hadn't even hit anything - he was just going so stupidly fast he must have flipped.
If you're not into nightlife, noise, or being on edge constantly, don't even bother with Icmeler or Marmaris - go to Gumbet or Bodrum. There's nightlife there if you want it, but I found them both to be a lot quieter, pleasant and safe!
The area itself is pretty to look at. Not so much the town, but when you're on the beach, you can look out to lots of islands, all covered with greenery. No-one seems to play loud music regularly during the day.
One concern a lot of people have about places like Turkey is the hassle. Its normal to the Turkish people and they don't realise they're doing anything wrong, however it is worse in some places than others. As I mentioned above, I've been to Gumbet and Bodrum and the hassle was tolerable. The people here, however, are just plain rude and agressive.
You will constantly be asked if you want to rent sunbeds (you pay to use the beach here - 2.50 lira each for a sunbed/lounger for the day - no space for towels on the sand), even though they can clearly see you're walking down the street. The sunbed vendors also fight over customers. One guy threw a rock at another because a family didn't choose his sunbeds. They're all exactly the same - a sunbed is a sunbed!
The also interrupt you whilst you're on the beach, asking if you want a massage on a table in front of everyone from a topless man with a bottle of oil. I think not. A lot of women seemed to be getting them, and the man seemed to enjoy slapping their bums (clothed) and thighs whilst getting them all oily. Not sure how impressed their husbands/boyfriend were. So inappropriate to see that kind of thing on a beach though, especially as there were families around with small children!
A lot of the workers in the area also seem to have a hard time keeping their opinions to themselves. Apparently I'm an 'alcoholic woman' for ordering one lager and my fiance 'looks like a girl' because he has shoulder length hair. They also tended to laugh at him in the evenings when I pulled out the money to pay for dinner. We tend to split meals etc, but as I'm a woman and usually carry a handbag, its more convenient for me to hang on to it, rather than risk the money falling out of his pocket. The waiters think this is ridiculous and a lot of them did question us out loud. Women don't seem to work, except as cleaners! One waiter even stated that the man is expected to be 'the boss'. Turkey - please wake up, its 2011, not the 50s.
You will get endless amounts of hassle from people asking you to go on their boat trips. I'm sorry to bring the places up once again, but the ones I went on in Bodrum were lovely, peaceful, worth the money, and a good day out.
We bought our boat trip from the stand at the beach entrance closest to the the hotel (that should make sense once you're there!). It was a nightmare. Whilst the English waitress/host person (from Bristol, or so she said) who thought she'd become Turkish, putting on a Turkish accent in all seriousness was hilarious to begin with, after 7 hours of her offering drinks every 20 minutes and talking to everyone on the boat in a patronizing, demeaning manner, I wanted to throw her overboard. Especially when she charged us our 19 lira bill, then when I handed her a 20, she said 'and I can keep the change as a tip' and walked off. I'm not confrontational, but one angry German man wasn't taking it when she tried it on him and demanded it back. Had to respect him for it!
The boats also don't connect very well. We ended up stuck for almost an hour, in the middle of nowhere, not even at a designated stop, because another tour was where our boat had planned on going. Terrible communication!
If you get the chance though, if you try a boat trip, don't be scared when they give you the chance to swim in the sea. Its warm once you're in and an amazing feeling to swim in deep, clear sea surrounded by beautiful cliffs and greenery.
One thing I would REALLY recommend though, would be taking a pedalo out. After all the stress on land, it was lovely to have peace quiet and the sea, at our own pace.
There's also the pool at the hotel. Its a good size and very clean. Nothing wrong with it, except being fairly close to the road.
I'm not sure I have much else to comment on...
I would say my favourite parts of the holiday would be the pedalos (we took 3 out!) and the tortoises that live at the hotel. Look in the flowerbeds. There are two, a big one and a smaller one, and they are so beautiful. We named the big one Speedy and the small one Cheeseburger haha. They're friendly, to the point they even try to climb up you when you're giving them attention and I have several pictures of us picking them up, cuddling them etc. Just lovely, and they brightened each day after all the stress I mentioned above!
A few other points -
This has happened to me in some countries but not others - the local network will charge you to receive calls on your mobile, so be warned.
Most of the travel companies that offer a bus service will wait until AFTER you get there to tell you that you'll need to phone them 48 hours before they're due to pick you up to go back to the airport. Apparently they like to change their schedules. Don't trust them. Ours told us 2:20 but turned up at 1:10 and we had to rush.
Weird smells on the beach. Its not bad in the day, but at night the smell on the beach will range from egg/drains to gas leaking to the smell of the zoo. No idea what caused any of it.
Buy your food before you go to the airport. At the airport, we had a packet of crisps and a coke each. It came to around £9. There was also a McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut... Have you been to a McDonalds in the UK? If not - you can get a meal consisting of 6 chicken nuggets, a medium portion of fries and a regular sized soft drink for £3.99. At this airport however, we noticed that 6 chicken nuggets ALONE cost 16 lira, which currently converts to £6.16!
To top it all off, the airport was as disorganised as the boats, and our plane was an hour late leaving.
Never been so happy to be home! Although I do want a pet tortoise now...
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.