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  • Writer's pictureChloe

Ali Bey Resort, Side: a Turkish delight or disappointment?

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by Chloe Green @SharedBucketList

To mark our first official couples' holiday (and the first all-inclusive holiday each of us have had in over three years), we decided to travel to Turkey. Both of us had visited Turkey a few times before, therefore knew our needs for sunshine and relaxation would be met. However, it was the first time we had ventured to Side, Antalya, which added a little bit more excitement to an already well-anticipated trip. In particular, we were looking forward to a 10-night stay at the Ali Bey Resort in Sorgun. Usually, I opt for just a week but, on this occasion, I am glad I listened to Connor - it was certainly a game changer having the extra few days away!


In this review, we have outlined the pros and cons of this well-established resort, a seemingly popular choice, and summarised our overall impression of our stay. For a short snippet of what to expect from the hotel, check out our reel here.



Pros:


  • Vast and well-kept grounds - acres of foliage helped to create a tropical feel throughout the resort and provided some necessary shade at times; the beach was stunning - definitely the best along the seafront (and not littered with rubbish like others we saw nearby); there were also plenty of pools to choose from, with areas available for families and children or adults who wanted to relax in more secluded spots

  • Well-presented hotel rooms (we stayed in the Deluxe room) which were cleaned every day and replenished with amenities. Everything in the mini bar was free which isn't often the case at all-inclusive hotels

  • We were given a complimentary beach bag which was reasonably sized (large enough to put two beach towels in and other necessities)

  • Towel cards could be exchanged for fresh beach towels every day


  • English-speaking staff (in most cases) made communication easier

  • There was a pattiserie on site which served fresh cakes and tea/coffee. Branded ice creams were also available at most bars (we treated ourselves to a Magnum most days). They also had a beach shack where you could order different flavoured ice cream - they were very generous with their portions too! Winner.

  • The waiters, waitresses and bar staff were generally very pleasant and provided good service. The 'beach boys' were especially attentive when it came to serving drinks, which we were grateful for because it was a little bit of a distance to walk from the beach to the nearest bar

  • Showers and changing rooms are dotted around the site

  • We thought the quality of food at the beach restaurant was much better than the food served in the buffet restaurant. Unlike the buffet, food is freshly prepared according to each guest's individual order and doesn't require self-service. The views are also joyous! We'd strongly recommend getting a table at the front before they open (around 2pm)


  • The beach umbrellas were excellent because they gave you adequate amount of shade and distance from other sunbathers; there is also a hook for beach bags and a table to keep your drinks cool


  • There were a variety of activities to keep you occupied throughout the day - if sunbathing got a bit onerous, you could help yourself to crazy golf, archery or tennis; watersports were also available on the beach at an additional charge

  • The resort has its own water park which we thoroughly enjoyed - it was safe, had a range of different slides and provided hours of entertainment!

  • If you have children, there were plenty of events put on by the entertainment team for youngsters during the daytime and evenings

  • Live shows were performed on a professional stage and the choreography for these was impressive (a Michael Jackson tribute, in particular, was of a very good standard)



Cons:

  • The large scale of the site does mean that there is a lot of walking involved (although they provide free shuttle services, these are not always easy to come by or well-advertised to guests)

  • On our first evening, we were told our room wasn't ready and that we would have to stay in a standard family room for one night instead. Despite complaining about this as we had paid extra for the room we had booked, reception were not forthcoming with an apology/refund/goodwill gesture; we were told they couldn't do anything about it and that our room would be ready the following morning. The inconvenience this caused at the start of our holiday was far from ideal as it meant we couldn't unpack or fully settle until midway through our second day. In the end, we demanded a free dinner reservation at one of the hotel's à la carte restaurants which they did reimburse

  • The à la carte restaurants were a massive let down. Firstly, whilst most all-inclusive hotels provide a complimentary à la carte experience for their guests, Ali Bey charged for reservations made at all of their à la carte restaurants (around 60 euros per person per meal). This was surprising to us but we figured they would be well worth it if the owners deemed it fitting to charge additional fees to dine there. How wrong we were! When we sampled the steak restaurant, which looked more like an extension of the beach bar we were accustomed to having an informal lunch in during the daytime, we couldn't believe how dreadful the food was. Starters were abysmal, the main event (steak) was completely average and we weren't able to order any drinks besides beer, raki or water to wash it down with. The only positive we could take from this evening was the sunset, which made it look ten times more spectacular than it was. It put us off booking any other à la carte meals during our stay. Instead, we opted for the local town (which we'll write about later)


  • Not quite ALL-inclusive: having forked out a fair amount for this holiday, we were shocked to discover that only certain drinks were free to us with our all-inclusive package. Perhaps this was a fault of our travel agent rather than the hotel itself, however we weren't aware there was an 'ultra all-inclusive' package and the disparity between these was quite significant. For instance, most mainstream cocktails you'd expect to be 'all-inclusive' (pina coladas, mojitos, daquiris, etc.) were exclusively for ultra all-inclusive guests

  • Evening entertainment: although I mentioned earlier that we enjoyed the shows, we felt that there wasn't much to do after they ended. There would often be music but the atmosphere on most nights was rather flat or, if the DJ was doing a set, the vibe quickly turned 'clubland Ibiza' with non-stop EDM and on-stage dancers behaving provocatively; it seemed to us that the hotel failed to grasp its clientele (largely families with young children or adult couples)

After listing each of the above, it would appear that there is more delight than disappointment to delve into as a guest at Ali Bey, Sorgun. However, personally, we were expecting a lot better from this resort and we did come away slightly dissatisfied overall. We would suggest that this hotel would be better suited to a family with young children and strongly urge Ali Bey management to consider expanding their all-inclusive package so that all guests can benefit. We also appreciate that mix-ups with rooms can happen but we witnessed the same scenario taking place with another guest moments after we checked out. If this is a regular event, management should also consider their guests' first impressions, as this is usually difficult to rectify later.


Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5

Our overall rating: 3.5/5





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