Just returned from an eleven day holiday at this hotel and I now understand the reviews both good and bad.
For most of our holiday we experienced all of the issues reported in the bad reviews and then something changed.
Basically the hotel was very busy (although nowhere near its maximum capacity at 886 rooms!) and the staff and facilities just cannot cope with that number of people. We obviously chose a bad week when it was school holidays in the middle east. No Russians to be seen but plenty of other nationalities that have no concept of queuing or consideration for other people.
The low lights were:
1. Food. Main restaurant is far too small and just could not cope with the amount of people. It was like world war 3 everyday with people fighting and pushing to get at the food and to get a table. No staff at the door taking you to a table and no table service for drinks. As mentioned in other reviews the amount of food people were taking back to their tables was crazy, basically having their own buffet at their table and wasting most of it. The staff are experts at clearing things away but haven't had the training about resetting tables or helping people, a couple of nights we gave up at 20mins looking for a table. To make things worse when they say it's open until 21:30 they don't actually mean that they mean at exactly 21:30 all food will be removed so basically you have to be there for 21:00 at the latest. The food is identical every day lunch and dinner so even if you are lucky enough to get a table and some food and enjoy the first couple of days you will be bored with it by the end of the holiday. The pool bars are OK but limited to meatballs, kebab, pizza and chips everyday and it's lying there all day. Everyone of us and all of the other people we spoke to had had some kind of upset stomach. Barely ate at all for a couple of days as the kids just didn't want to go into the battlezone it was so stressful.
Not what you expect with a 5 start all inclusive! There are no restaurants or fast food joints near the hotel either only a couple of clothes and trinket shops. Although the food in the theme restaurants was very poor quality we did manage to get into them without a problem (other nationalities not interested due to portion control I guess) and it was nice to get served at the table and to have some different food. The service in these restaurants was not bad but you could still see the waiters were not fully trained.
2. Drink. Efes on draught is fine (bottles extra), unless you track down the couple of barmen who care the cocktails are just various spirits and juice poured in a glass. No branded spirits or soft drinks and don't even think about the wine unless you like to drink vinegar. Bar staff on the whole are very poor, most have no concept of service and will quite happily talk on their mobile phone while you wait to be served. Again table service no go. On a plus side if you go to the bars that don't serve food you will actually find some respite from the war outside as the other nationalities don't drink so don't come in unless there is food to fight over! Mini bar in the room only contains soft drinks and was only restocked with water.
3. Peado animation staff - yes witnessed some very inappropriate behaviour and constant pestering of the young girls. Pleased I don't have daughters cos I wouldn't have stood for it and would be locked up by now. Enough said.
4. Gym and Spa: Gym is well equipped but my teenage sons were not allowed to use it, over 16 only, never had that problem in a hotel abroad before. Attempted to go to the sauna but went in and you basically couldn't move for people. Again no staff to be seen anywhere.
The not so low lights:
1. Rooms and cleaning: The rooms are nice and spacious and they are cleaned really well everyday.
2. Water slides: Excellent fun and the queues were not too bad although could be better staffed for safety and to prevent the fighting over rings.
3. Beach: Nice beach with plenty of sun beds and a pier for diving.
4. Pools: Very nice pools, very cold for some reason but refreshing. Got a sunbed not problem (again no food to fight over on a sunbed).
Well I said I could see both sides of the reviews and with two days to go on our holiday the crowds left and suddenly everything was peaceful and it was nearly like being in a 5 Star hotel.
No crowds in the restaurant, shown to a table, drinks brought to the table a choice of food without a fight (although no change in variety). Table service in the bar. If only we'd booked a week later !!!
So as mentioned above they have built far too many rooms and not enough facilities or staff to cope and whilst we got a very good deal I will not be returning.
There are just so many proper 5 star hotels in this area it's not worth risking your holiday on it being a quiet week. If you do good luck.!
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