Head of Midcounties digital team Sukie Rapal recently returned from a heavenly visit to Antalya in Turkey, where she and her family fell in love with the resort’s food, weather, and water shoots.
Let’s hear about the lows and the highs, and the slips and the slides of Sukie’s hot, hot holiday.
Touching down in Turkey
My husband and I wanted to visit somewhere hot that was just a few hours’ flight away, with a good kids’ club for our 7-year-old daughter and great facilities. With this in mind, we went for a Jet2 holiday to Antalya, Turkey, where we stayed in a bungalow room at the Voyage Belek, Golf & Spa.
Our Jet2 flight was supposed to leave in the late afternoon and arrive in Turkey in the evening, but once we had all boarded and were sitting down in the plane, the announcement came and told us that the air traffic in Turkey was so busy we would have to wait another hour before leaving. The Jet2 staff were very down-to-earth and friendly, and they allowed people (adults included) to see the cockpit, so we were all kept busy until we finally took off and were on our way to our holiday!
Following our delayed flight, when we arrived in Antalya it was close to midnight. There was sadly a mix-up with our rooms, so on the first day we weren’t given the bungalow room we had reserved – however, the room we were given was spacious, the double bed was large and comfortable, and the shower and bath were nice. We did eventually move into the bungalow, which is next to the amphitheatre but amongst the trees, so it felt rather tropical.
What to do in the sun
The weather was over 40 degrees on our first day, which was a little too hot for us so we found some shade and a parasol. In the evenings the temperature would go down to the early 20s, and later in the week the daytime temperature fell to the 30s which was much more pleasant.
For those hot days there is an area on the private beach with the lots of free chairs. If you move further along there are two piers – one for adults and one for families – where there is comfortable seating and a beautiful sea breeze. We spent a lovely day on the pier and around the beach area getting served drinks and fruit pots by the circling waiters.
Not many people used the adults-only pool so it was pretty quiet, and the family pool is absolutely huge with a nice shallow end and plenty of space around it. On one of the days they had a pink party in the afternoon with balloons, inflatables and the entertainment team led the party.
Our favourite pool was the one with all the slides. You had to be over a certain age to ride The King Cobra, but it was way too scary for us! All the other slides kept us busy for hours every day, though – kids don’t seem to get bored of them. They were also clean and never really that busy, either.
Where to eat
On an All Inclusive package, you can eat at most of the restaurants for no extra charge. There’s a huge range of places to eat, with different dishes and fun themes galore, including a patisserie with excellent coffee and croissants, a BBQ and fresh fruit shack each day between the beach and main pool, a 24hr bistro, a Chinese restaurant (which you need to pre-book – but try the duck and pancakes!), plus an Italian restaurant and a juicy steakhouse (which costs extra but is WELL worth it) with very attentive waiting staff.
I couldn’t possibly list them all, so here are our top picks.
Adult main restaurant – This buffet-style restaurant offers a huge choice for each meal, with lots of breads, fruits, desserts, a themed dish for each night, and then the main staples of pasta, pizza, meat dishes, and fish. Top tip: if you go when the buffet opens for dinner it can be busy, so when you want a table, head down to the far end of the restaurant and you’ll find lots of seating. It’s not so busy at lunch time.
Mexican – Themed in an old Mexican tavern-style where the atmosphere is great and the waiters offer to take your picture wearing sombreros and holding tequila shots. The starters were a wide selection of potato skins, burritos, nachos, and more, and then for main I had chicken fajitas. All the classic main courses are on the menu.
Greek – This is very popular and took us a couple of attempts to get a booking. The restaurant is outside on a terrace area, a bit like a scene from Mama Mia. There is a live band that plays Greek music and you are given tambourines so you can join in. There are about 8 starters brought out to your table, so be prepared for a feast. I was really looking forward to some good homemade hummus and a moussaka and salad, but none of that was on the menu. However, this was real Greek food, which was very nutty and tasty.
Family pool restaurant – This was our favourite, as we often used it during the day for our afternoon snack: the best pizza ever! They have a salad and fruit bar that is open most of the day. There are beef and also chicken kebabs, though we couldn’t work out if they only had them on certain days. We had them whenever they were available, though!
My daughter only went to the kids’ club a couple of times, but you can leave them there from 10am to midnight. There are activities all day such as games tournaments, pizza baking, and card making. The kids also practise to perform in the show in the evening, and it is really nice to see them taking part.
The mini disco kicks off each evening at 8:30pm, then at 9pm there’s a show like Shrek, Trolls, or something similar. At 9:30pm there is another show, which is usually something like live dancing or magicians. They are not quite West End-style shows, but the performers certainly put the effort in and they are good. After these shows around the family pool or pier there is live music and even belly dancing.
The entertainment team works hard to get everyone involved as they organise events including archery, darts matches, and table tennis.
Overall, each of our requirements were met and more. The food and drink was better than we expected, as it was not just local beers and spirits, and the staff were really helpful and attentive. We did not really need the kids’ club as the slides kept us all busy – however, there’s no chance I’m ever going on the big slide again!
Many people that we met had stayed in the resort anywhere from 4 up to 11 times, so it’s clear that this hotel is a crowd-pleaser.
Our last day came and our flight was at 11pm. We had transfers but we decided to take a taxi from the hotel (40 euros) so we could leave later, which is another positive for the resort – we wanted to stay!
All back home now and we feel rested after having had a great time together. We’ve also picked up some fantastic sun tans.