I want to just start with the transfers side of things... In a word or two - don't book with A2B Transfers! We arrived in Antayla Airport at 10.30pm (Turkey time) and were kept waiting for an hour and 40mins before our transfer arrived to take us to the Grand Viking. To say the least we were well miffed after the already long journey & were not feeling very confident about our return journey back to the airport being on time. The transfer took approximately an hour and a half before arriving at our hotel (we should explain that we had one other hotel drop off so timings would be longer if you book a coach multi drop off).
When we eventually arrived at the Grand Viking Hotel we were happy to see it was just like the pictures we had seen previously. The man on reception was curt but efficient, checking us in quickly and telling us where to leave our bags after mentioning that we were very hungry. He showed us into the restaurant area where he found a number of plates covered in foil with various savoury and dessert foods. He heated up our food and I must say we thought if thats the best they have to offer we would be losing alot of weight during our week holiday! We are glad to report though that things did get better in this department (maybe the hotel reception worker just microwaved it to death). Note: English egg n chip fans - do not use this hotel! In fact why don't you guys just stay at home or visit Blackpool!!!!!! Reading moans about no CHIPS on the menu get a tad bit boring on sites like this.
Anyway..... Lets start with breakfast. This was geared to those that live in mainland Europe and you will not find full english breakfasts in this hotel. Breakfast consists of salads, olives, cheeses, spam, frankfurter type sausages - not our kind of thing at all. However they always had fresh bread, boiled eggs, cereals, natural yoghurt, preserves and honey. They also had freshly made pancakes, fried eggs, and a lovely rice pudding on occasion (rice pudding for breakfast?- a bit weird I know but you should try it at least once). The coffees, particulary the cappacino were delicious and you could have the option of having freshly squeezed orange juice (at an extra charge).
Lunches - much better than breakfast! Still geared to those from mainland Europe, consisting of salads, olives, cheeses, spam, frankfurter type sausages. On top of that there was always meat, vegetables, rice & pasta or potato dishes. One thing we did notice was their heavy handed use of dill - from meat, vegetables to even the salads! The benefit to this however is it acts like gripe water, sooo useful after a long flight & an empty, windy stomach!!! Dinner was very much the same thing, with the exception of two nights where there was a bbq by the pool. On the one night it was mackerel & on the other it was seasoned turkey kebaps & assorted grilled vegetables - such a nice refreshing change. There is also a lovely woman who makes chappatti type flat breads filled with either potatoe & herb or cheese & herb. As we are not fussy eaters and enjoy trying new foods this was more than acceptable to us though the menu did become a lilttle repetative.
As Grand Viking is all inclusive the local drinks were also free. These seem to include vodka, gin, raki, efes lager and a variety of soft drinks. As a couple who do not drink much, this was totally fine but can imagine if alcohol figures largely in your idea of a good time, this may not be acceptable to you.
Hotel & Staff - The hotel is rather small (as many hotels in Kemer are) but well maintained. Reading some earlier reviews, there seems to have been some improvements made to the indoor & outdoor pool areas. The 'artificial grass' areas around the outside pool have now been removed and replaced with nice wood decking-like tiles, and the indoor pool area has been freshened up in a contempoary style geared more to appeal to adults rather than kids.
As has been mentioned on other reviews here, there is a shuttle service to and from the beach (sandy), & centre throughout the day and evening, with the last shuttle leaving the centre at 11pm. As my partner had just gotten her leg out of plaster shortly before going on holiday, this shuttle sevice proved invaluable. The main driver (who happens to be the husband of the lovely lady making the chappattis) was always welcoming, friendly, polite, and smiling no matter what time of day your met him. The cleaning crew were always busy cleaning... not on the surface cleaning but REALLY, thoroughly cleaning. They took such pride in their work cleaning the ledges on the balconys, the tops of picture frames, and polishing the lifts twice a day. They clearly worked hard and also always had a smile for the guests.
Some staff, though a minority, were not quite up to scratch in this regard. Being an inter-racial, gay couple, we always get noticed (good & bad) but they made their views known in such an obvious manner it was often bordering on rude! Having thick skins and LOTS of experience with idiots like this it did not spoil our holiday. We must also state that these attitudes and behaviours were not shared by all staff. We were treated with respect & regarded in the same manner as other 'straight' guests by staff, particularly those working in reception, (& who were completely aware that we were a gay couple). To this end we want to say a BIG thanks to Semso nicknamed 'Sunshine' - you are a lovely man and they should give you a rise in pay! You always went above and beyond your duties to make our stay as comfortable as possible & treated us with the greatest of respect at all times! & to you Husein - my wife got you laughing with her quick witted comments didn't she?! ;-) Thank you for cracking a smile & not being so moody during our stay at the hotel.
Would we go again? - probably not as there's so much to see in the world. Kemer has natural beauty. Where else can you find great weather, a palm tree lined sandy beach surrounded by mature forrest with the Taurus Mountains as a dramatic backdrop??? Its definetly worth a visit and would recommend this hotel if you like quiet chilled out holidays by the beach & staying in a clean, friendly hotel, (and you don't mind being in the minority - you know, being the only gay... oooppps -.... I mean, being the only Brit in the village lol).
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Viking Kemer
- Hotel Grand Viking