Booked a package holiday through Thomas Cook after reading reviews about this hotel and was cautiously optimistic.
We booked a taxi for the airport transfers as Thomas Cook was going to charge over £50 for their coach transfers which stop at a dozen other hotels and take forever. Private taxi booked online was 80 euro return. A little more expensive but quicker, more pleasant and you can choose your own timetable.
Anyway we arrived at the hotel shortly after 1am on Monday morning, were quickly checked in and taken to our room. I could've cried. The room was barely big enough to hold a small double bed and the 'balcony' was smaller than a shower cubicle. The next morning we asked reception to be moved and were told they were fully booked and come back tomorrow; we called the local Thomas Cook number and reported the problem, saw the rep that evening and was told we would be moved the next morning. Several trips to the reception later to check on progress, we were moved to our new room (room 627) on Tuesday afternoon. It was perfect- just like shown in other people’s photographs. Huge bed (2 small doubles together) was firm but comfortable, bathroom was twice the size and better finished and the full sized balcony overlooked the quiet no children allowed Silence Pool.
The hotel is more of a mini village or large complex. Each apartment block sits well apart in the forested grounds and the grounds themselves are immaculate. There are 3 pools, a pond with hammocks, 4 bars, 2 restaurants, and a mini theatre with shows every night and the hotels own private beach. When the sun got too much we would snorkel and watch the fish. There are also boats trips and activities available from the pier. Sometimes we would just wander about the beautiful grounds with beer or wine in hand and enjoy the views of the mountains in the background, or the sea to the front. It really was a perfect spot.
The staff were unfailingly pleasant and helpful and there were a small army of them there to make your holiday perfect. When I sat in the bar with my head in my hands after losing my iPad, a young waitress came over to make sure I was ok! How sweet.
The week’s holiday was amazing. I couldn’t fault the room, the entire complex or the staff even if I wanted too. I would definitely return.
The only thing that marred the experience was on our final day. We checked out at 11am and were told we could use the showers and towels in the spa to clean up that evening (our flight wasn’t till 1am). But the staff there (apparently it’s operated independently of the hotel) wouldn’t let us use the facilities. I marched up to reception to complain, was told I couldn’t use the Spa. I then marched down to the guest relations manager who wasn’t in the office, marched back to spa to get my partner, marched back to the relations manager who eventually made the spa relent. At this point the spa was closing so we rushed in to shower and leave. A male member of staff opened the door 3 times (to hurry us along I presume) even when he saw that I (a female) was trying to get dressed. The final time he simply marched in. To say I was angry was an understatement, but we rushed to dress, grab our bags and go. In all this to-do, I left my iPad behind and only realised later when the Spa had shut. My partner spoke to the Relations manager when we returned home this morning, and it’s been located. I just have to get it shipped back. I hold the Spa staff (not hotel staff I stress) accountable for the loss due to their behaviour before and after the shower.
But the staff relations manager was incredibly helpful in trying to, and eventually resolving the matter. My thanks to him- he is a great asset to the hotel,
A few comments/handy hints:
• If you want sun throughout the day the best beds are either along the side of the main pool nearest the kid’s water slide, or along the top of the pool on the other side, up top of the few steps. Going mid-Sept meant that we were always able to get a lounger even with our late starts but if you want a lounger by the sea- get up reeeeeally early. We didn’t.
• Russians do get up early to book loungers amongst other things. If this is going to bother you or you go at a busier time, just accept this as a fact of life to reduce your stress levels. And set your alarm for at about 7am.
• Make sure you try the Gozleme made beside the bar nearest the sea- a lady makes them from 11-16.15 and you can get sweet or savoury. Tip the lady a few lira as it’s a hard job sitting in the heat all day frying pancakes.
• If you want to do a fair bit of sight-seeing I would consider hiring a car. There is so much to see and the drive along the coast is stunning. We didn’t but will next time. A trip to Termessos took 2 buses and a taxi. Bus from Beldibi to Antalya bus station, another bus from the station to the bottom of the 9km road to Termessos, and a taxi up the 9km road. We were told there were lots of taxis that would be waiting, but there wasn’t a sinner to be seen apart from an elderly woman shelling peanuts. A brief moment of panic was followed by a pantomime with the peanut lady who spoke no English and we no Turkish, which was followed by a larger moment of panic when no taxi arrived for another 15 mins and we wondered if we and the lady had been talking about the same thing. Taxi arrived and cost 50 lira return, not 16 lira as we noted on another site. Termessos itself was, for me, more enjoyable than other more developed sites- less people and very often shaded and cooler. There isn’t much info on site so if you enjoy actually knowing information and history about the ruins you are looking at- print from the internet and take with you. It’s not a difficult walk, but I would advise good enclosed shoes or trainers as there are a lot of loose stones underfoot that can make footing difficult. You are also walking on the carved rocks from the ruins which are smooth and can be slippy. If you are not the fittest or surest of foot, walk back down the way you came up as its easier than the return path. The walk can be done in well under 2 hours but allow yourself 3 so you can have lunch sitting in the Theatre and watch the world go by. The bus/taxi return journey took us 2 hours 40 mins and with buses not having air-con- it was hellish.
• We also did a tour with Thomas Cook which involved a boat ride to see sunken ruins, the church of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) and the ruins of Myra. The drive along the coast was stunning. The boat trip was a slow cruise out to the island, showing the sunken ruins along the way. Then we were promised an hour of swimming in the sea, but got about 20 mins before they raised anchor and took the direct route back to harbour (it took 5 mins and didn’t even give you enough time to dry off). So we felt somewhat cheated. Myra was lovely to look at but there are hoards of other tourists there too and walking about isn’t shaded- I think thats why I preferred Termessos with its cooler walk and less people. The church was nice but I could’ve lived without seeing it. From pick-up to drop off we were gone 10.5hours and about 6 hours of that was travelling on the coach. If I was to do it again I would use the hire car to fully appreciate the coastal drive, and see other things. Possibly do a longer boat trip along the stunning coast.
Final note- in my opinion this is a great spot for young families or anyone wanting a quiet relaxing holiday in a beautiful spot. If you are after foam parties, cheap shots and young people sprawled drunk in the streets then its not for you.
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- Also Known As:
- Champion Holiday Village Hotel Beldibi
- Champion Holiday Village Antalya Province/Beldibi, Turkey