My girlfriend and I both paid €666 to Budget Travel (BT) to stay for two weeks at the Altinbaş Apart Hotel which as it turned out was a very appropriate price for this earth-side outpost of hell. Even by the flexible standards applied by BT this place falls beneath an acceptable minimum in value for money as well as other terms.
Turkey is no longer the inexpensive destination that it once was. No better an example can be found of the avarice that now pervades the Turkish tourist industry than at the Altinbaş Apart Hotel. Upon arrival we were faced with paying a “deposit” of €20 for the room, €30 for the safety deposit box rental and then there was the air-conditioning charge for the two weeks, €33, (given a very generous price of €0.10/KwH incl. VAT at 18%, running a 2 KwH unit for 7 hours a day for two weeks would still be under €20!). Note, all payments were demanded in euro, as there appears still to be little confidence in the lira and every opportunity is taken to acquire foreign currencies as a store of value against inflation/devaluation.
Then there were the petty charges for items like toilet roll (YTL1.50 for the a rather low-grade double roll), demanded cheekily by a rather petulant female receptionist. The external mini-shop charged YTL 2 for a 500ml bottle of water (try a quarter of that price or less in a supermarket). The bar charged YTL 4 for a glass of coke poured out of a 2-litre bottle. Ice was rationed out like it was a scarce commodity that one had to beg for.
We were assigned a room on the sea-facing side of the top-floor. The tiny antiquated lift (door on each floor style) was at least less hazardous than the treacherous spiral staircase. The bathroom was very basic with hole in the floor style of shower – no glass enclosure or shower curtain. Water pressure was extremely poor and warm/hot water supply erratic. As another energy saving measure the quirky air conditioning unit was wired to every door and window.
A so-called “Turkish night” (€10) had to be abandoned to a small indoor location from poolside, after some inexplicable failure of a sound system, which rendered it farcical (try doing a human pyramid with a low ceiling!).
The only thing positive that can be said was that the bar staff (N.B. Bayfun and Gökhan) were very hospitable and insanely good fun and did their best to liven up the place on their long shifts.
Altinbaş is Turkish for “Golden Head”, but as they say, all that glitters is not gold, and as the pirate said of iron pyrites, there be no treasure here.
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