• The Holiday Bug

Topaki Palace, Antalya, Turkey

We stayed in the Topkapi Palace a fab complex with plenty to do. Check in was easy and we didn't have to wait too long to be shown to our room. The room itself was quite dark and dated and was not a pool view as we had hoped for, however it was clean and spacious. Maid service was good and if you leave a small tip you'll find the cleaners extra helpful.

The complex was great, a large area with lots of little places to eat and a large restaurant (which could get very busy). When you're in the main restaurant make sure you look around the room as you'll find little areas with food away from the main buffet area. There is also food cooked outside on the terrace so have a look outside before you start to make sure you don't miss anything. We found them cooking pancakes in the morning and had barbecues in the evening. We booked all inclusive and it was well worth the money, plenty to eat and drink all day. As well as the snack bars, there is a crepe bar, cooked and made freshly in front of you, you will find this bar if you walk towards the beach front and look on the right hand side just before the beach. There is an ice cream bar and cake bar which are hidden out of the way to the right side of the hotel reception (opposite side to water park) and a pizza area near the back of the main pool. If you can't find them ask another guest because they aren't easy to find initially. There is a snack bar by the beach which is turned into a fish restaurant by night, lovely food and good service.

There's plenty of pools to choose from and a lovely quiet pool where you can relax away from the hustle and bustle of the main pool and activities. The waterpark is only a small area, with a lazy river and some bigger slides, enough to keep children entertained and in a small enough area that you can keep an eye on them. There was also activities in the main pool and a water play area for toddlers. The pool is lovely and big with plenty of sun loungers available. Activities included a trial dive and inflatable water sphere for children.

On route to the beach on the left hand side is a games room, with pool tables and ten pin bowling, good fun for all the family, it closes at midnight and can get quite busy after the entertainment has finished so if you want to do this we'd say get there early.

Evening entertainment varied, there were some shows, dancing in the amphitheatre and singers opposite the shop area which were quite good and there is also a market held one day a week by the main pool, make sure you haggle for the best price. Staff were friendly, however did not interact much with us except for one waiter who also worked in the fish restaurant. The biggest problem we found at this hotel was the amount of Russian guests, who lack politeness and can come across as quite rude at times. Although it's difficult at times, it's best to just ignore them and carry on with what you were doing, if they push in front of you then just do the same back as they don't see it as being rude.

There is a bus stop (a bus is called Dolmus) outside of the hotel and fares are quite cheap, communication with the drivers is not easy and getting directions is a nightmare, but there are some friendly people out and about who will do their best to help you. We travelled by Dolmus to Antalya and went to the harbour, you will get hassled by the shop keepers on the way down to the harbour but just be polite and say no thanks and they leave you alone. When you reach the harbour you'll find lots of boat trips on offer, again you may get hassled to take a trip so my advice here is 1) If you do want to go out on a boat, haggle with the price, you can get the trips really cheaply if you try and 2) Don't take the Antalya Harbour Trip (1 hour long), we made this mistake and it was a complete waste of money. We sailed up the coast for half an hour and then back again, nothing spectacular to see and I certainly wouldn't recommend it. You can book longer trips through the hotels which appear to have better reviews.

There is a Turkish Bath/Spa at the hotel, when you first go in they try to get you to book a weeks worth of treatment and will give you an individualised plan, it's very expensive to do this and I would recommend you book one treatment and see what you think before committing to more. I had a Turkish Bath, full body scrub and massage which was lovely and would definitely do again if I visited. The body scrub exfoliates the skin which apparently helps with sun tanning, my skin felt lovely and soft afterwards and whilst I'm not sure if it really did improve my tan or not, I did get a lovely sun tan whilst I was there so I'm keeping an open mind on that one :)

In reception you'll find a nice bar and there is also an entrance to the rooftop where you can admire the views.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at the Topkapi Palace, there's so much to do you don't need to leave the site if you don't want to and we would definitely go back again. One other thing to keep in mind is that you can go into the sister hotel The Kremlin Palace which is accessed by a side gate, you can even eat in the restaurant there if you want to.

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