We booked this holiday as a last minute deal and on a whim. It wasn't till we got home and checked Trip advisor were we slightly worried.
Let me start by saying we booked at the end of the season so we knew it would be a quiet holiday and we did enjoy our time there as it was just what we wanted.
We flew with Jet2 as that who the holiday was sold through, in the brochure it is billed as a "Luxe" holiday which is supposed to be one of their higher end resorts/hotels.
The flight was good and so was the transfer.
When we got to the hotel at 23:00 we were checked in relatively quickly it was at this time that we were told that we were in the main hotel and not in the Villa's which we were grateful for after reading some of the reviews. There was no welcome drinks or food offered when we arrived for either us or the kids. We were put in two interconnecting rooms which were both very clean with the kids in the twin room next door on the 3rd floor facing Marmaris, we were OK with this as it still gave us the privacy from the kids. We got dressing gowns and slippers but only on the third day. also the rooms could benefit from Tea and Coffee making facilities for those of us that like to have a brew in the morning before having to get dressed to go and get one from the restaurant. The hairdryers were the type that's fitted to the wall and didn't have much power behind it.
We went to breakfast and immediately noticed that there was no cereal so you had the normal choice of cold continental food as well as the hot choices. Our youngest child (9) ended up just having toast and chocolate spread for every day we were there and my wife had to settle with toast and honey. There were two toasting machines but the bread had to go through 3 times before even looking toasted which wasn't too much of a drama when were were there but may be a problem during peak season. Lunch wasn't much better there were plenty of choices but mainly luke warm and after the second day we realized that it was the same choices as the day before.
We ate some lunches at the Pizzeria this food was OK and hot as its cooked to order (apart from the soup/chips and salads), however this isn't a buffet service its a waiter service system with limited seating again may prove to be frustrating during peak season.
We met the Jet2 rep the day after we arrived for our welcome meeting and he gave us all loads of useful information including some of the excursions that were on offer. We did plan to go to the ruins at Ephesus but when we found out that the pick up time was 06:00 with a 3 hour drive and returning by 19:00 we decided against it. However we did walk to the market at Icmeler which is an approximate 40 min walk.
We had a couple of evening meals at their other restaurants which have to be pre-booked, the pizzeria was good and the wine kept coming till we left. However the food at the Turkish restaurant was fatty specially the chicken dish and was quite tasteless. we weren't even given a menu to decide what we wanted we were basically told "Chicken or Lamb" even the starter was just given to us with their selection of bread and dips, when I asked what the dips were I was told "Spicy, Med Spicy and Not Spicy". Because the lighting was so bad (candle lit) we struggled to see if the food was even cooked through properly also we got the feeling that they were waiting for more guests to arrive before they got the main courses out. We ended up eating out quite a lot in Marmaris and found a lovely restaurant on the Marina called Gusto were they served us a proper Turkish Kebab mixed grill for 39TYL each and Pizzas for the kids.
The bars at the hotel were OK but there was no Diet Coke for mixers, I asked for a kids cocktail after looking at me confused we ended up with Sprite a dash of Orange and a splash of what looked like Blue Bols.
There was no entertainment as such, there was a singing duet which were in the Lobby Bar but the volume was so loud that it was uncomfortable to listen to and wasn't geared at younger people. There was a DJ that came in on one night and that made life at the Sultan bar a bit more lively.
The pool area was good and was quiet whilst we were there (end of season) and we genuinely felt like we had the pool to ourselves specially the last 2 days (as the hotel got emptier). The ice cream bar had very little choice, we think that this was cause of the end of season and they just weren't restocking it. We were then shocked to see them dismantling it and packing the whole thing away even though we still had 2 days left to run on our holiday, this was a disappointment for the kids mainly.
Towards the end of our stay the hotel staff were literally packing everything away round us which made us as holiday makers feel uncomfortable and that we were in the way, surely this should be done when there are no guests around! When we ate in the main restaurant on the last day it was like eating in the hotel staff canteen as there were more staff eating than there was guests.
The staff seemed OK at the start of the week but we quickly noticed that they were bored and sometimes un-helpful, even when we asked for a late check out were were told that we would have to pay (this wasn't a prob as we expected it) but we were asked which room we wanted to keep, we couldn't keep both rooms even though it was classed as a family room. Then the room key we kept out was deactivated so had to get that re-done.
Having said that we had a very nice relaxing holiday as we went just for the winter sun and to relax, the rooms we were in were clean and tidy and they were cleaned everyday. However we think that during the summer season it may be a different story with limited sun loungers; pool side lounging may be a problem.
If you go to the market at Icmeler or the main bazaar in Marmaris for your "genuine fakes" then stand by to run the gauntlet from shop to shop. There are some good bargains to be had but remember they're not real and the clothing shrinks quickly as I found out :)
We have been on holiday to Turkey before and have been spoiled rotten at the other 4 Star hotel we were at so we have based our review on that experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Previously known as Grand Yazici Mares, this 440-room, all-inclusive resort is ideally located on the beach within the pine woods of Içmeler, Pamucak and in close proximity to Marmaris center. With a wide range of recreational facilities including, 4 swimming pools, a tennis club, kids activities, and water sports, LABRANDA Mares Marmaris is an ideal resort for families and couples alike. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mares Hotel Marmaris