How incredibly morbid that I am beginning to write this post on Tuesday afternoon, but we don’t leave our hotel and fly back to the UK until Thursday afternoon. However, by the time this post gets published, it will more than likely be after our holiday has ended.
I’m going to start by saying, although I am super sad our holiday is almost over, and we’ll soon be back to reality.. together as a couple we do feel that two weeks was the perfect amount of time to be out here. Last year we came to Turkey with my mum, and that was just for a week.. I remember the day we checked out of the hotel I was actually crying because I didn’t want to leave! 7 days was no where near enough time to fully enjoy it, & get comfortable enough to really enjoy your holiday. 10 days would have worked, but two weeks really has felt like a proper holiday. We’re relaxed, we’re suuuuuper brown and we are ready to get back home, to our comforts, to our favourite foods, to our darling little Gracie who has probably forgotten who the hell we are, who we are never going to leave ever again, who may even be grieving for us whilst we’ve been away, god only knows, but what I do know is, we’re buying her sooooo many treats once we’re home! I’m looking forward to getting back to our bed, because I mean as nice as this one in our hotel has been, I need to book a taxi every night if I want to meet Tazmyn in the middle, it’s that big. I’m looking forward to binge watching love island in bed with dominos pizza, and going out for a biiiiiiig Sunday dinner before we get back into healthy eating. We had a garden furniture set delivered to our house whilst we’ve been on holiday, so I’m excited to be able to sit out in the garden and eat breakfast and drink coffee & even do the laundry! God I really am old.
This entire blog is written from both Tazmyn & I, as I feel like for people reading this, it’s always better to get the perspective from both parties who have been on holiday, as we’ve both experienced everything together & may have different views on certain things etc. I hope this post is helpful to anyone who may or may not be thinking about holidaying in Turkey, I know a lot of people have reached out to me recently and asked me a lot of questions regarding our holiday, where we stayed etc.. so with any luck, you’ll find everything in this post, if not, please message me and I’ll try my best to answer any questions you have! 💗💗💗
Where did we stay?!
So we stayed at the Side La Grande Hotel & Spa in the area of Side, Antalya in Turkey. This resort is a 5* hotel & is all inclusive.
Why did we choose this hotel?
Last year we came to this hotel in Turkey with my mum, & we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday, we felt 7 days just simply wasn’t long enough & because how comfortable we felt in this particular resort, we decided to come back this year, just the two of us.
Who did we book our holiday through & would we recommend them?
I find this question always a really helpful one, especially when I’m meeting new people and asking them who they booked through. Last year we booked through travel republic & I must say, we couldn’t fault them. They were based in the UK, whenever I needed to phone them up with a query, they were always there on the other end of the phone to help me. This year, we found an amazing deal through a company called Alpha Rooms to decided to book through them. Our holiday this year was paid for mainly using compensation from Thomas Cook after our horrendous ordeal with them on our return flight last year – but that’s for another blog post! 😭 Alpha Rooms though, although the deal we found was an absolute bargain, I did soon realise that conversing with them via the phone was always very tricky. Their customer service teams are based in India, which of course I was unaware of at the time of booking, so whenever I had to ring them, I’d always find the language barrier to be a real issue & the phone calls would just be super difficult. I tend to find UK based companies provide me with more reassurance in the instance of anything going wrong, where as having a travel company quite literally the other side of the globe, is quite daunting. That being said, they helped where they could. Once we landed in Antalya airport, it took us a little while to find our shuttle transfer service, as it wasn’t as clearly sign posted like the travel republic one was last year. Apart from that though, we had no problems using Alpha Rooms & would most probably recommend them, once you’re aware that they aren’t actually UK based.
Who did we fly with?
We flew with Thomas Cook, most flights into Turkey are with Thomas Cook. They’re actually not as bad as a lot of people make out. We had no delays flying out to Turkey this year, the onboard flight attendants were polite and helpful, they kept you informed throughout the flight, which I found really good as I actually hate flying so to be kept in the loop was definitely a bonus. Flight time always gives you a proximity of 4 hours and 30 minutes, however both times we’ve been to Turkey the flights have been 3 hours and 45 minutes. Our journey home luckily involved no delays which was a serious bonus! Everything went smoothly.
How long did we go on holiday for?
What was the weather like?
So we flew out on June 13th, and came back on the 27th. Every day of our holiday it was at least 30 degrees, I think the highest it went up to was 36 degrees, which is hottttt. I personally love the heat and I could be out in it 24/7 but of course if you’re travelling with small children, babies or elderly people, the heat may be something you will need to be mindful of.
Best parts of the hotel?
The rooms are stunning, the actual interior inside the hotel is very grand looking & modern, the swimming pools are lovely, so are the sunbeds. The showers are also brilliant!
Worst parts of the hotel?
Repetitive food, but that’s the same with all inclusive hotels. The language barrier between the staff and guests. We found our particular hotel catered more for the Germans and Russians rather than the English, which was a let down at times. The German & Russian people would often be very rude, pushing in the queue in the restaurant, never saying please or thank you, expecting that they should get everything because they’re somehow superior, when actually, we’ve all paid the same amount of money to be here so we all have exactly the same rights as they do.
What’s there to do in the area & would we recommend staying here?
The area of Side is lovely. Directly outside of our hotel on the other side of the road is a big shopping mall which has only opened up a few months ago so it’s brand new. All the shops inside are lovely too, there’s jewellery shops, clothes shops, shoe shops, beauty salons, hairdressers & souvenir shops. There’s even a McDonald’s! If you walk for a little while you’ll find lots of bars and restaurants in Side. We went to a place called “Crazy” which was a shisha bar, restaurant and lounge which we absolutely loved. They did the best chicken fajitas and strawberry daiqiri’s if you like cocktails! Another great place is TimeOut, also very close to the shopping mall in Side, here I had a fillet steak which was amazing. As well as the bars, shops & restaurants, you of course have markets and people on the street trying to sell you just about anything and everything. What I didn’t particularly like was that whenever you walk down the street, some Middle Aged man who has never heard of antiperspirant would call you “lady” or “sweetie” or even try to impersonate your English accent in attempts to get you into their shop to buy something. When you’d say no, they would try to chase you down the street & to me that is super intrusive and borderline stalker alert so I’d much rather stick to the shopping mall or a cocktail lounge. There’s lots of day trips you can do too of course, a lot of the day trips are boat rides, there’s dolphin boat trips, a trip to see the markets, all kinds of different trips. Someone even told us about a safari trip you could do which sounded fun. All of these trips are super cheap so worth doing if you can, we decided not to do any of them and instead just do something ourselves, at our own pace and just us. We visited Side old town, which is full of so much character and history. Beautiful shops, bars & restaurants and a lovely marina too where you’ll see lots of boats all on the harbour. We had cocktails at Calypso beach bar which we would highly recommend. Very expensive, but perfect for drinks on the water.
Did we make any friends?
Despite the hotel being more catered for the Germans and Russians, we did make some lovely friends over the course of two weeks, all of whom have since added us on Facebook & we can’t wait to keep in touch with everyone.
Would we return?
To Turkey.. absolutely yes. To the same hotel? No, we’ve stayed twice now, it’s kinda just normal to want to experience different parts of Turkey, it’s a beautiful country with so much to see.
What have we learnt from this holiday that may help us with future holidays?
Get yourself a super organised wife who plans everythinggggg down to the very last detail. She’s in charge of all holiday & travel documents, so be prepared best you can. Get yourself a little travel document file. They’re super handy. Buy some scales for your suitcases because I was over the limit. The Turkish prefer you to pay in Euro, but it works out slightly cheaper if you pay in Turkish Lira. Read tripadvisor reviews as much as you can, but also don’t let them influence you to the point of not being able to form your own opinion. If you’re a female, don’t think that will give you a free pass with stop and search at security in Turkish airports. I’m female and they seem to love picking me out to search me. The passport control seems to love being difficult as well. 7 days isn’t enough. Two weeks may be too long for some people, not for me. All inclusive hotels are repetitive. Take more photos than you plan on doing.. you’ll be thankful you did one day. Keep your phone on airplane mode the entire time. Learn to speak German. Daytime flights are better than night time flights. Stay hydrated.
What’s it like to be home?
It feels soooooo good to be home. We arrived home at around 8pm last night, we were so tired. My mum had pre-made us a chorizo pasta bake & filled the fridge and cupboards for us. We ate & literally went to be (after squeezing Gracie to death!) This morning we’re currently drinking coffee & eating pain au chocolat, before we pluck up the energy to unpack our suitcases, put multiple loads of laundry in, & eventually get round to binge watching love island! 💗
I really hope you enjoyed this post, don’t forget if there’s anything I’ve missed out or anything you’d like to know, just drop me a message & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Lots and lots of love,
The Chalkes’ x
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