Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Holidaying with twins in Antalya, Turkey

For our recent holiday to Turkey we had a few specifications, the main one being a kids club which would take children from age three.  (It turns out most of them are form age four but it is possible to find them for three year olds, although it's not always easy to find out this information!)  We also wanted a bit of luxury, we needed it after the hard work - Nik's exam study and my PND flare up and a few months of extra hard work plus it had been almost 2 years since our last holiday so we decided to spend a decent amount on a really great trip.

We started off looking for a hotel room with a separate area for the kids to sleep in, as we thought this would be best for their bedtime but after having to compromise on this, we actually found them being in the same room as us meant they were better at staying in bed as they couldn't be sneaky.  Plus they were always pretty tired anyway after staying up for the hotel entertainment so they usually crashed out pretty quickly, unlike at home!  The other thing we ended up compromising on (after I got my heart set on this hotel but the deal we found wasn't actually available) was changing from 10 nights to 7.  I had to be back in time for my photography workshop so we were limited on the dates we could go and we'd left it far too late to book (having so many requirements) after Nik's exam was over and we were running out of time!

Luckily Nik managed to find availability in that hotel for slightly different dates and reducing our stay to 7 nights.  We had to compromise on flight times too with less than ideal timings but we were getting desperate and I wanted that hotel so we booked it via Baldwin Travel in Uckfield as they'd been very helpful in helping us search when we were struggling and they matched the Thomas Cook online deal with £100 off for booking late.

So in the end we booked a swim up room, all inclusive, flights with Thomas Cook, kids club from age 3.  The Trendy Lara hotel had its own water park for kids and adults, multiple restaurants and a spa.  It was totally worth it and a week later, off we flew!  Turns out we did get a good deal too as when we looked up how much it would be for the same room, same time next year it was a lot more expensive!

I'll talk more about the actual travelling with twins part as I've learned from this experience yet again and have a few tips in case you're interested.  It was definitely better than when we flew to Malaysia though and much quicker being just 4 hours away, phew!  My next Uckfield Matters article is all about our experiences flying with the twins and a few top tips in August's issue.

We didn't arrive at the hotel until after midnight but were immediately impressed when we walked in, the lobby is beautifully decorated, clean and modern.  We were checked in swiftly and taken to our room in a golf buggy which was perfect with the tired bobbins at almost 1am!

Our room was stunning, I loved the decor and we had so much space.  The bathroom was fully stocked with toiletries, robes and slippers for us and we had a huge super king bed with the other half of the room being set up ready for the kids to sleep on the two sofas.  We also had a lovely fruit platter and plate of baklava and bottle of red wine set out on the table for us and a vase of fresh flowers on our desk which was a lovely touch.

Of course, if you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a lot of what I thought of the hotel already as I shared a lot in stories as I lounged by our pool.  Our pool being one of the best bits!  We booked the swim up room because we thought it would be ideal when the kids were sleeping, for us to be able to sit outside or dip our feet in while enjoying a drink in the evening.  (Plus the cheaper duplex room with 2 bedrooms wasn't available.)  We actually only did this a couple of times but it was lovely to have that option rather than just being stuck in our room while the kids were in bed or napping but I did also enjoy sitting outside by myself, dangling my legs in while everyone else was still sleeping, enjoying the peace & quiet before the day.

The other reason the swim up room turned out to be the best thing was that it was situated in an area with just these few villas around the pool which was separate from the main area (without being far away) and only 3 of them were occupied while we were there so we effectively had our own private pool!  There was a locked gate by the villa bar so this whole area was just for us and our neighbours and our barmaid came around the terraces every day asking if we'd like anything, Sibel was amazing and brought us coffees, cocktails, chocolate milk for the kids and ice cold water whenever we needed it.  And of course, it was all included - nothing was extra so we were properly able to relax and enjoy ourselves and not worry about food or drink costs.

I don't think I would have enjoyed the week as much had we been in the main hotel, even in a duplex room, as we would have only had the choice of the four busy main pools all situated in the middle with the very loud entertainment and pumping music going on all day.  It was so much more relaxing being a bit more secluded in our peaceful area by ourselves.  Pure bliss!  And having our room right there meant we didn't have to pack up a bag and head out to secure sunbeds - we had our own on our terrace and we could just nip into the room if we needed anything.  Also VERY handy when the kids needed the toilet as they just went into our own bathroom instead of us having to take them to the public ones or if we needed to reapply sun cream, we could just do it inside.

We did venture out of our room/pool often though, the kids loved the Lollo & Bernie Kids club which is English speaking only and run by Thomas Cook.  The hotel kids club was actually great as well and seemed more structured with activities like making clothes out of paper and plastic bags which were then featured that evening at the kids' disco on stage in a fashion show special.  They also did an Olympic day where they made medals which were then presented to them on stage after the disco.  Priya particularly loved this nightly disco which played the same songs every night so she learned the dances and relished joining in with the train song.

The kids club wasn't on every day and some sessions we had to stay for but we did enjoy a few mornings and afternoons with a couple of hours off parenting duty and there were even a couple of evening sessions (which did cost extra as they involved things like a party with face painting and T-shirt painting but £10 was totally worth it) so we got to enjoy a couple of dinners on our own and booked the a la carte restaurants for £7 on those evenings.  I have lots to say about the food at the resort (pretty much all good) so I've kept that for a separate post!

Nik and I enjoyed a morning trying out all of the adult water slides during one of the kids club sessions and had a great time!  It's only open for a couple of hours each in the morning and afternoon, as is the kids' water park area.  I loved this part too but the twins were less keen so we only went once.  They didn't like all the spray which you had to go through in order to get to the slides and water guns inside so there was a lot of whinging and asking to be carried.  K was NOT at all impressed with the slides and didn't really enjoy it at all but Priya loved the big flume once she got used to all the water.  I think this part would be great once they're a bit older.

The whole hotel resort was very well maintained with gardeners out pruning, grass cutting and tidying up and our cleaner came every day and always asked if we wanted our sheets changed (we usually said no so she just made the bed for us).  The hotel is pretty new (I think 2 years old) and still looks it.  The pools were cleaned every night and we never saw any rubbish lying around.

We found almost all the staff to be very friendly, especially Sibel our villa bar maid and Nuran our cleaner - they loved chatting to the kids even though they went all shy.  The only thing we weren't keen on was some of the waiting staff (one in particular) at the food court where the pizza, kebabs and waffles were in the afternoon which was where we usually had lunch by the fountains.  They were so keen to take plates away, it could be swiped from under you while you lifted your pizza for a bite, without asking.  Kalyan became quite upset about this a few times and held onto his plate tightly whenever he saw the man nearby.  He even hid Nik's sunglasses and wallet under the table one day to protect them as he thought they might be taken away too!  Bless him!  It seems silly as they were just giving themselves more work to do as we then had to fetch a new plate which then added to the washing up required!

There was a great play park which the twins loved and asked to go to every day, especially as we walked past it on the way to and from breakfast and dinner and hammocks were dotted around all over the hotel grounds including next to the park which I liked to lounge on while they played, ideally with a cocktail!

The hotel also has it's own private section of beach with loads of sunbeds and another buffet restaurant and bar, the free hotel wifi even worked over there and there was a DIY beer tap and big fridge full of bottled water and freezer full of ice lollies.  There was a park there too but it was empty, likely due to the heat as it had no shade.  We only went there once as the sand was SO hot it burned my toes just walking down to the sea, even with my flip flops on!  Definitely take closed beach shoes if you prefer the beach to the pool.  I liked the pool area more anyway so we just stayed there after that.  The beach was fun to get to though with it being a very short boat ride away.  It was open until 7:30pm so we might have enjoyed an early evening trip more.  K loved the hotel boat taxi which was super comfy and there were three which travelled back and forth all the time so we only waited around 5 minutes on the shaded dock for our 3 minute ride back across the river.  Again, the beach was very clean and seemed well looked after.

As for the entertainment at the hotel, you can probably tell I wasn't impressed with the daytime entertainment at the main pool, it was so loud and OTT.  The evening entertainment was great with the kids disco first on its own dedicated stage and then the main show on the stage by the fountains.  We really enjoyed the magic show even though it started off a bit cheesy, it was very good - Priya was very impressed and wanted to see it again!  We also enjoyed the band we saw another night too and one night they set up an huge inflatable party with a stage and loads of bouncy castle slides, light up robots and podium dancers.

There were a few shops in the hotel too on the basement level by the main restaurant.  The general shop seemed to do a roaring trade in inflatables with a HUGE choice but I don't know what the prices were like.  They also had a couple of fashion stores and a jewellery shop as well as a hair dresser which I would have been tempted to use for Priya and I to get braids and K is in desperate need of a haircut but we just never really had time as we were just enjoying chilling and playing.  Ditto with the spa, I thought I'd definitely treat myself but as it turned out to be the same sort of prices as spas here I didn't bother.  If we'd been there longer I might have been more tempted with both of those options.  We never even went to the indoor pool, there was probably a lot in the main hotel we didn't explore fully, I wish we'd discovered how amazing the patisserie was before our last day!  I loved it in there!  (See more about that in the food post too.)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs