I have reviewed our stay at the Mavruka hotel separately; these are general observations about Olu Deniz, where we stayed from 13 to 27 June.
Transfer time - Im afraid we were the 8th drop off from our seriously underpowered minibus (2 ¼ hours) – unlucky start but never mind! Some people found it only took around 1 and a half hours, particularly if they arrived in the wee small hours. Swings and roundabouts…
Olu Deniz is well laid out and easy to get round, it is also easy to find taxis and the dolmus terminus down by the sea front. There are many many places to eat and drink. The resort has a friendly relaxed atmosphere and the Turkish staff everywhere were polite and have a brilliant sense of humour.
In no particular order here is some info about restaurants, trips, paragliding etc….
Joseph’s Restaurant – hugely popular not least because of the very pleasant chap Simon (front of house) and owner Joseph who strides around wearing a panama hat and has a wicked sense of humour! We ate here 3 or 4 times and were not disappointed by the food. Particularly nice chicken kebab
The Secret Garden - This is run by a lovely Turkish gentleman – Osman, whose wife is English. He was lovely to chat to and incredibly helpful. Following reading reviews, we went to find his restaurant one morning and to book a table, (when we arrived in the evening the table had been strewn with petals – a nice touch). We enquired about Turkish baths in Olu and without further ado, he walked us back through Olu Deniz, introducing us to various people along the way, and pointed us in the direction of Sky Sports for paragliding, and Michael who runs the Turkish baths down the escalator next to Azda (yes I know it sounds weird!)…
The food at the Secret Garden is fresh and nicely presented. I had some delicious sea bass one evening and we enjoyed a meze one lunchtime when it was just too hot to eat a large meal. Osman’s staff are equally pleasant and friendly and I would recommend this restaurant wholeheartedly.
Blue Star hotel – this is a lovely small and friendly hotel with a very good restaurant attched (in fact we would look into staying at the hotel because the staff were so friendly – we often stopped off here for a beer and were always warmly welcomed) The food was excellent, particularly the kofte special that I had one evening. Reasonably priced also.
Other good meals were at the Bella Gusto (more expensive, enormous portions!) and an entertaining evening at the Hot Wok which somehow manages to be both Chinese and Indian – we found the food average but the waiters floor show very entertaining!
Sky Sports - Umit and Nicolette at Sky Sports are very welcoming and friendly. We found the company to be totally professional throughout. They have the latest technology so that if you wish you can watch your friends take off live from the office! – and their pilots are fully licensed and experienced.
They appeared to have a knack for matching you with the right pilot according to whether you were nervous or confident. I enjoyed the flight so much that I repeated it in the second week and even managed to get a discount!
A special mention of the ever pleasant Umit. He knows loads of people and will recommend places to go and tell you how to get there easily. We went into Hisoranu one evening and ate at his friend Ata’s restaurant (Swallows) where we were very well treated having mentioned Umit! Its all about networking and business … but paves the way for some very good experiences…..
Turkish baths and shave - The Turkish baths are great fun and we had a very good massage afterwards. The whole experience is both relaxing and energising and you feel squeaky clean! My husband really enjoyed his Turkish shave also, which he had at the barbers close to the Irish bar up at the ‘top end’ of Olu Deniz.
Boat trips - Our boat trip was disappointing – partly I think because we booked at the weekend and it was extremely busy, but also as we did not get quite what we asked for – we wanted to go on a small boat (max 20) but were allocated to a rather larger vessel and there were around 60 people on board. Unfortunately the sea was rough too, which did not sit well with some people – luckily we were ok … but it made getting on and off at the stops rather difficult.
The downside to popular locations is that we are spoiling what we go to see, and the scent on the beaches was diesel from the jet skis rather than the wild flowers, it was a pity.
It seemed also that each stop carried extra charges – for example – there was a charge to walk 1km through butterfly valley and in real terms it was not practical to do in the heat – nor would the boat be stopped long enough.
The lunch on board was excellent – fish or chicken barbecued on the boat served with excellent cous cous, bread and salatd.
Landrover Safari (booked through Sky Sports with Evergreen) - This was a very good, fun day out – although be prepared to be shaken about a lot and alternately get dusty and wet! Our guides were excellent. We visited an inland Turkish village and learned something of the history, saw the crops that are grown and how the villagers live. We then had a lunch stop at a trout farm with plunges afterwards into the very cold (trout free) water if you were brave enough. The mud baths weren’t the ‘official’ mud baths at Dalyan, but much hilarity ensued around everyone sitting in muddy puddles and then having to wash off the sulphurous mud in the very cold mountain streams!
The final stop was most strange – it was a petrol station with its own showers and swimming pool, plus a pleasant cafeteria. One of the guides did his ‘party piece’ here – he learned and recited the names of everyone present – there were 47 of us altogether!
Beach - We are not particular beach lovers and it was so hot during our stay that we spent most of the time at the pool. However, on recommendation we took a taxi to Billy’s beach one day – it was good to get in and out of the sea easily but we found the number of sunbeds a bit offputting. I suspect that the beaches are a bit of a victim of their own popularity. They do offer a free bus service back to OD, which would have been useful to know before we went! – and they have a weekly beach barbecue which I imagine would be fun to attend.
Getting around - We used the dolmus to go to Hisoranu which is a brasher, livelier and larger version of Olu Deniz. We went to Fethiye also, which has a lovely harbour and marina, it was too hot for us to contemplate the market but would go there another time. The covered bazaar in the town was full of shops and stalls and worth a visit if you want to hone your haggling skills.
We also managed to find our way to the ghost town of Kayakkoy which involved a dolmus to Hisoranu and another one on to Kaya (Kaya village posted on the board at the front of the bus). The restaurant owner where we stopped after visiting the eerie and beautiful site, was quite happy to hail the return dolmus for us and we were able to sit in the cool of his bar with a can of drink, rather than getting hot and bothered at a bus stop – just another example of the generous nature of the Turkish people.