Thomson Holidays' All-Inclusive holidays in Turkey offer sunshine, entertainment, and as much food and drink as you and your kids could ever want.
Having just returned from a week's all-inclusive holiday in Turkey, though relaxing and a break from the cloud and drizzle of the previous few weeks, I can confidently say I prefer going down the B&B or the self-catering route. I like the idea of a well-appointed, luxurious hotel room where a Fairy Godmother comes in every day to make the beds and clean the bathroom. I even like the idea of being able to get up and have someone else sort the breakfast out but all-inclusive is just too much.
All Inclusive Budget
All-inclusive breaks have taken off bigtime in the past few years and I suppose with a precarious economy and household budgets being stretched to breaking-point, knowing exactly how much you're going to be spending on your annual family holiday and not being caught out unawares with those pernicious little extras, has got its plus points. But when I go to another country I want to experience a bit more of it than simply the confines of the resort. It's fun to go out for a wander, looking for little beach bars and restaurants. It's fun trying out the local delicacies and finding a different place to dine every night.
We were staying at the Hotel Bodrum Imperial on a Thomson Holiday and were it not for the whole All-Inclusive thing it would have been top-notch.
We had a smashing room overlooking one of the pools and we could just about see the sea in the distance too. The hotel was spotlessly clean with every facility going. The fridge with fresh bottled water was the first thing we used when we checked in and the next day, we were pleased to see fridges with water everywhere we went in the resort. Turkey is very hot, let's not make any bones about it, and you and your children need to be drinking water all the time. If there's one thing I really was grateful was included in the All-Inclusive element, it was the chilled water.
The main restaurant was cavernous and you could choose to either sit near the children's area if you had particularly young ones or in quieter areas if you didn't. The kids actually had their own food section where they could pile up their plates with whatever food they wanted from a buffet set at just the right height for the majority. It was funny seeing the little ones return to their Mums and Dads after a foray to the buffet with plates of Nutella and little else. I remember Megan once upon a time doing something similar after an independent visit to the buffet, comimg back to our table with nothing but a bowl of her favourite food sweetcorn! By the end of the week most of the little ones had kind of self-regulated and were actually choosing quite sensible foods.
A La Carte Turkish Dining
The food at the Hotel Bodrum Imperial was ok but nothing special. The salads and breads were lovely and proved to be the mainstay of our week but the best meals by far were the evenings we ate at the a La Carte Restaurants on the site. The Turkish restaurant was my personal favourite and it was probably the only evening in the actual resort that we actually ate Turkish food. It was a real change being served food at the table rather than queueing up canteen-style and the quality of the food was significantly better too. The food at the Fish Restaurant was pretty good but sitting outside by the sea looking out at the beautiful view made it feel exceptional.(The melted chocolate fondant pudding was probably the best thing I ate all week, come to think of it!)
The pools were brilliant and there were three of them - all clean, well looked-after and surrounded by plenty of sunbeds. One was a quiet pool for people without children, one was a massive family pool for all ages and there was even a special 'baby' pool. The centrally-located Parent and Baby room was lovely and clean and well-stocked with microwave, wipes and all the usual necessities. The water-slide running into the big pool was incredibly popular and was safely policed by lifeguards. There were snacks, drinks and ice-creams available by all pools so there was never very far to go for refreshments. On the third day there we discovered another snack-bar, a little hut down by the beach where a lovely lady was making the best ever Turkish Pancakes to order. It's just as well we didn't find this at the beginning of the holiday as I probably wouldn't have fitted into my seat on the plane back home. That's another thing with all-inclusive - you definitely eat more than you would if you had to dip your hand into your pocket every time you fancied a quick bite!
Thomson Kids' Clubs
The Children's Clubs at the Hotel Bodrum Imperial were well-staffed and children in all the different age groups seemed to be having fun. The Thomson Kids' Clubs even have parent & toddler sessions which is great for the less outgoing children who might need a bit more nudging before going off on their own to play with the Play Leaders. For those who wanted it, there was Family friendly entertainment quite literally round the clock - though why anyone would want to do aerobics at 11 in the morning when it's approaching 40 degrees, I don't know.
Throughout our stay at the Bodrum Imperial one thing that really struck home was the friendliness, efficiency, and overall helpfulness of the Turkish hotel staff. They really couldn't do enough for us and they were an absolute pleasure to be around.
We flew to Bodrum from our local airport in Cardiff. It's so much more convenient than having to trek down the M4 to Gatwick or the other London hubs.
And as it's a smaller airport your bags tend to arrive at the carousel faster too. We were genuinely tucked up in our own beds within an hour of landing. Fantastic! Even the parking at Cardiff Airport works out more convenient than at others as we just parked up in the on-site NCP and walked the 3 minutes to the Terminal. No shuttle bus necessary; none of the having to factor in extra hours for parking, and no high costs either.
Thomson offers seven night family holidays in Turkey, staying at the Hotel Bodrum Imperial, from Â£559 per person, Â£405 for the first child and Â£485 for the second, on an all inclusive basis, departing from Manchester on 12 September 2011. Price includes return flights, in-resort transfers plus all taxes and surcharges. For more information, visit www.thomson.co.uk or call 0871 2313234.