Browsing Tag

Turkey

What did I manage to buy from Greece and Turkey?

The cool autumn breeze is here again so I decided to return back to the summer and gathered my favorite buys from our last trip. I was dreaming of eastern style carpets but managed to buy only one bracelet from Turkey. For a few euros, this bracelet was a find and has been next to my watch ever since.

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My traditional Korres buys. I found good offers for the shower gels (2for1) so I had to buy a ”few”. The Korres Olive hand cream is now competing with L’occitane for the top position as my favorite hand cream.

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Olive oil that had won some taste competition. Do I dare to admit that I bought it just because of the cool bottle?

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A Fouta that will serve as a picnic carpet as well.
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Greek wines and kefalograviera cheese. I believe I can survive with these until next year.

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Sentido Orka Lotus Beach – Icmeler, Turkey

This hotel left me a bit confused. It is outstanding in certain aspects and lacks basic things in many others. We were looking for an all inclusive hotel with a short stroll to the town and that’s exactly what we got.DSC_1738 (1)DSC_1943 (1) DSC_1940 (1)

Rooms

We had 2 seaview rooms. The other one was slightly bigger with 3 beds and big balcony on the first floor. The other one was on the second floor with smaller balcony and less space. The rooms are actually quite nice and fresh looking with wooden details. Bathroom is tiny with a shower only and there were only the basic amenities (shampoos and body lotion). There is a kettle in the room as well as coffee and tea. Minibar includes water, juice and beer. Or at least it was suppose to include. We had a problem when we arrived to the hotel. Our minibar was empty and the previous customer had taken all the coffees and tea bags, leaving only the ”blending sticks” behind. It was obvious that the maintenance hadn’t checked the room when we arrived. We had to ask three times and only got the water and other supplies to the minibar next morning. Unacceptable. Keep in mind that the minibar is filled with water only if you don’t specifically ask for juice etc.

WIFI is lousy, lousy, lousy. If a hotel advertises that a room includes WIFI, it has to work and the explanation cannot be that “there might be too many users”. It never worked in our room, not 2pm, 1am or 7am.Sentido roomDSC_1512 (1)

Food and restaurants

All inclusive was organized hassle-free. There was always something to grab and we specifically liked the beach bar where you could help yourself and take the juice/ice tea without the need to queue. Lobby bar is chic and the service there was good. The local red wine in the restaurant was surprisingly tasty.

The food unfortunately was quite disappointing. The quality was not very good and food was sometimes even cold. We weren’t sure whether there was drink service to the tables during the dinner. Sometimes we were asked what to drink and sometimes not, depending on the place where we were seated. The worrying part was that the food labels were not properly positioned. This is a bit scary for people who have severe allergies. I was however, able to find a couple of local flavours which I actually enjoyed.

There are 3 a la carte restaurants on site which belong to the all inclusive option. We tried the Italian one but were very disappointed. A restaurant doesn’t turn into Italian if you place mozzarella on the table. The buffet food was better (even if it wasn’t excellent either). We usually had lunch next to the main pool. They normally had fresh salad, pizza, hamburgers and other basics.

The upstairs bar had a beautiful view.DSC_1968 (1) DSC_1971 (1) DSC_1973 (1) DSC_1976 (1)DSC_1963 (1)Facilities and location

This is where this hotel is top notch. Fantastic facilities for children. The waterpark was our son’s favorite (I almost peed my pants when I tried one of the slides). There is also a kids club which we didn’t use and a separate splash area. There are multiple pool areas and a private beach and we never had to reserve any sun loungers. However, this might change when the hotel is fully occupied during high season. You also have the possibility to pay for a separate cabana. I never saw anyone using the cabanas..There are a lot of activities organized from beachvolley to zumba. We attended only the aqua fit session a few times.

Some people hype about the spa but for us it was really 2 star service. We had a couple’s massage (special price 50€ only for you my friend) and I had to ask the lady to use more pressure twice which never happened despite of my wish. They also kept the door open which meant that there was a lot of noise from the spa area and some dude kept on speaking in loud voice in the corridor. There was no water or drinks served after the massage and my massage lady didn’t even bother to walk me out of the room. If you decide to try the massage, ask for the Balinese lady but do not expect 5* star spa service. Perhaps we just got a bit spoiled with 5* spas in Dubai.

Location is fantastic. There is beautiful beach promenade that leads to Icmeler center (only a short walking distance away). The area is quiet despite of the public promenade and the scenery is absolutely stunning with pine trees and beautiful seaview.DSC_1967 (1)DSC_1950 (1) DSC_1962 (1)

Sentido 2 SentidoDSC_1952 (1)DSC_1946 (1)Service

Hmmm, where do I start. Let’s start from the stars. We got very good service in the restaurant from Ridwan and Ali. These two were the stars of this hotel.

The biggest problem with this hotel are the lingual skills of the personnel. If you speak Russian, no problem but their English skills, even the basic words are very limited (and I’m not a native English speaker myself, I don’t even expect anyone to know Finnish or Swedish). I had a problem already with the check in personnel since the lady didn’t know what number is “zero”. In the restaurant “green tea” was an odd word. I understand that most of the guests are Ukrainian and before that Russians, but if you market this hotel to other countries as well, English must be improved.

All in all, the stunning scenery of the hotel is definitely worth the visit but the service part has to improve to stand out from all the other hotels in the area. For families this hotel is a real treat since the kids are entertained almost 24/7.

Destination LOMA rates this hotel 3,5* (3,5* for the rooms, 5* facilities, 2* service).Sentido pier DSC_1486 (1)

Our thoughts in Turkey – Marmaris

I wrote the below thoughts already few weeks back when we were still in Turkey. Unfortunately after these thoughts, there was an attack on Tuesday 28th to Istanbul airport. My thoughts haven’t changed. I still want to travel back to Turkey which was a new destination and a very pleasant surprise to me.

One cloudy day, we decided to take a taxi from Icmeler to Marmaris (35 liras). The main purpose of the trip was to find kids shampoo and toothpaste which we couldn’t find from the tourist markets in Icmeler. Since we were there, we decided to check the Marmaris bazaar which was closeby. Same shit, different smell. We walked past the bazaar area which was full of same tourist souvenirs and fake items. The amount of fake items made me feel really annoyed. At least some of the shops were honestly selling ”genuine fake” but a Hermes bag doesn’t turn into real one if it is placed into a glass vitrine and a fancy looking shop is created around it. I was missing colourful carpets, herb scents and local products.

From the harbour, we were able to find nice boutiques. From Pologarage and Koton we found a few things for everyone. The harbour itself was charming with a line of wooden boats and inviting looking restaurants. The only thing missing were the tourists. We saw only a few other tourists wandering in the harbour. The wooden boats were empty. There was a melancholy look in the eyes of restaurant owners, a memory of a busy tourist season long time back. There had been two explosions in Istanbul previous week and this had an immediate effect on the amount of tourists. Russian tourists were gone already due to plane conflict last November. Now the last European tourists were gone as well.

Similar nostalgia could be heard in the voice of an older gentleman who was working in our hotel’s water sport center. When he heard our nationality, he started memorizing the time when Marmaris was full of Scandinavian tourists. He said he loved the Finnish tourists who were kind and calm. We sat into trendy looking Mama bar in the harbour for an afternoon coffee and were following the rain clouds whether they would reach us before we could find a taxi.DSC_1539 DSC_1533 DSC_1551 DSC_1569The weather started to get better so we wandered the old town streets for a while and found a lovely looking hidden alley. An old man was sitting there with a mysterious look in his eyes. When we walked past, there was an immediate smile. Small gems of a tourist place. Unfortunately we had to skip the Marmaris castle and museum but it did look inviting though. Somehow I’m able to locate the charm of Marmaris which managed to temp so many Scandinavians back year after year, especially when you wander the old town streets and harbour. At the moment those days seem to be gone and are moved into nostalgic memories. People, travel to Turkey. It needs us, normal, kind tourists.DSC_1991 hep (1) FullSizeRender (1) DSC_1586 DSC_1577