9 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Certainly Better Than Expected, Would Recommend, Just Go With An Open Mind
"We booked this as a last minute one week holiday in late June and reading the other reviews before we went we decided to go with an open mind and make our our minds up about the hotel. OK, i'll say it definately ain't 5 star but its nice, its clean, it was very enjoyable and we would certainly go back. The hotel has a nice reception area, we arrived in the early hours, and there was only the two of us checking in, which was fast and professionally done. We were offered a drink and food if we wanted it but we didn't, but the offer was there. We were in the main building, with a lovely sea-view, which we hadn't paid for, which was an added bonus. The rooms were clean, admittedly not the largest room, there is a mini-fridge which contained water and a few soft drinks which were refilled every day. There is a safe which is free of charge and you get to pick the safe code which is great for security. The bathroom, was again clean and quiet large. The room did have air conditioning, althought his wasn't the best!
We read on here that the hotel didn't have many english guests and yes this is true but that didn't really bother us and this hotel is new in the thomas cook brochure so hopefully more english guests will soon start to go and enjoy it. We soon made friends with the Customer Services Manager who came to dinner with us and explained all about the hotel and how he hopes that more english people will visit the hotel soon. The staff were very friendly and always helped when and where they could.
The hotel has a number of pools, which we used daily, although you do need to be up quite early if you require a certain sunbed, the other guests did tend to out their towels out early!!!!! The loungers around the pool are comfortable and a number are under shades, which is great during the midday heat.
The entertainment staff are great and work really hard, they start work early in the morning and are still dancing into the early hours with guests in the hotels disco.
They have a daily entertainment programme, which you can choose to join in or not, they play games and most afternoons they had fun in the pool with games, which was very entertaining to watch.
The shows at the night in the outdoor theatre was good, although due the different number of nationalities staying at the hotel the show often took longer as they had to repeat everything in each language, but they tried their best to put on a good show each night, from international dancing to Mr Iberostar competition, which was really funny!!!
The hotel has a number of bars and been all inclusive you can nearly have anyhting you want. most cockatails are included, apart from a few which have to be paid for but this is clearly posted at the bars.
The hotel has a main buffet restuarant, which has lots of choice, the only downfall is that it is very very busy at peak times but wine and beer is on tap, you just help yourself and like I said the food was lovely, ok, there maybe a few odd choices but they have to cater for a number of nationalities, sprouts may not be our idea for breakfast but it is perfectly normal to some people. You can get omelettes freshly made for breakfast, fresh bread and lots more choice.
The hotel has five speciality resturants, a turkish, which I have to add was our favourite, a chinese, we which also enjoyed, a italian, which unfortunately we didn't have time to visit, a mexican, we also really enjoyed this, and the other was a meditterean, which again we didn't get around to visting. We highly recommend the turkish, the chicken kebabs are gorgeous and the turkish bread which dips are to die for!! We found these resturants less busy and more relaxing than the main buffet resturant, you just have to make the reservations for these in the reception area but definately worth taking a few minutes of you time to do.
We can't really comment on the beach as we only went down one night for the beach party which was laid on by the hotel, which was fun and enjoyable.
I do have to say that this hotel is in a quiet area, although some guests went into Belek by taxi but this isn't a clubbing, lively place. There are a few bars in Belek but we found that the hotel was just as good at night and the disco which goes on until about 2 in the morning is quite good.
The only trip we went on was the catamaran trip, which was enjoyable and relaxing and you can do some snorkelling, it takes you along the coast which is very pretty and has some interesting points to see.
As I said before this we were very unsure about this hotel as some of the reviews on here are very negative but all in all we had a plesant surprise and although we only booked for a week we could have quite easily have stayed longer.
It certainly isn't the best hotel we have ever stayed in but it certainly isn't as bad as some of these reviews make it out to be, I would recomend that you do like we did and just go with an open mind, we did and we enjoyed it and would definately go back."
- Travel date: Sun 4th of October 2009
expected the worst , got better
"A last minute booking read 2 revues 1good 1bad so we were not expecting too much but we had a very good holiday . we sat round the activity pool most days watching pool games joined in aqua arobics with bocheen very good teacher,went on waterslides morning & afternoon.food good in all restaurants & alacarte very good service from Adel head waiter on left side of restaurant he spoke very good english and made you very welcome finding you a table if needed we recommended him for staff of the month.we stayed up till 12. 12.30 every night because there was music at outside bar either groups or dance music with entertainment staff joining in making it very good 1 night there was a beach party . This is the first holiday we have had just the 2 of us for about 7years as we normally go with sons & families , more english people than we expected Lynne& Alan from Leeds 2 ladies Karen & Terry ,Matt & Steff & more coming enery day.All in we had a very good time. Jenny & Neil from Sheffield"
- Travel date: Wed 30th of September 2009
Very nice - with some small issues.
"To begin with, this hotel has had some slightly unfair bad press since it opened earlier this year. So I shall give a general breakdown of what we think the good and bad areas of importance most people would consider:
Location: Not that great. Belek is just a beach stretch comprising of a bunch of hotel resorts. There is a small town nearby (Kadriye?), which has the normal mix of shops selling you stuff that will probably end up in the attic or bin within a few months! Fun none the less, and a few nice bars/restaurants if you fancy a day out of the resort which is only 10 mins by taxi. Iberostar Bellis itself though is quite close to Antalya airport, so the transfer is only about 40 mins.
Hotel general: The staff is very friendly and helpful. We had a problem with our room air-conditioning, and it was fixed almost immediately. Iberostar have taken over this hotel from another chain this year, and therefore have inherited some issues. The air-con in the hotel is not always on as it is centrally controlled (a rumour was that this was a management cost saving exercise, which is false economy in my book as surely this is a basic hotel requirement in hot places), and this can cause some discomfort. This was the only real thing that stopped us from given the resort a 5 rating.
But on another positive, the garden surroundings are very beautiful and extremely well kept. Didnât see any nightly entertainment, so cannot comment.
Rooms: Overall very clean. We got a sea view upgrade, so were lucky. The room itself was big, and had 2 showers in the bathroom. Small balcony, but we only really used it dry our towels/clothes. Mini fridge was only big enough to hold a couple of bottles of water and a carton or 2 of juice. No alcohol in the fridge, but didnât bother us as bars are plenty, and open long hours. The usual CNN and BBC news channels only, so donât expect big-time TV entertainment.
Food: Very good for an all-inclusive resort. One of our holiday highlights. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner was always good. A good variety of all types of food. Grilled meats were lovely, fresh vegs â breads â cheeses etc. Wine not bad (red not as good as the white we thought). Desserts nothing amazing except some cakes (and the ice-cream was very nice). Watch out for the Russians who love to queue jump!
We visited the Mexican restaurant which was ok, but the Turkish restaurant was the best. You would pay top dollar for a meal like that back home I am sure.
There are a number of bars dotted around this large resort, and you can grab some nice snacks in each such as: freshly baked pizza, sandwich rolls, chopped fruit, and pancakes.
By the way, the beer is pretty good in our opinion.
Beach/Pools: The beaches in this area of Turkey can tend to be a bit pebbly. But the sand around the resort area was still good quality, as is the water (not super clear, but a designated blue flag area). Generally the beach front was taken up by Russians (there are a few about!), but if you want a sun bed you should usually find one. We preferred ourselves to walk down the hotel pier, and swim off there.
Pools are superb. There are 2 large pools, one with activities and music, the other much more quiet and relaxing. There is also a kidâs pool under shade, and another pool with water slides.
Summary: Overall the resort is excellent we think. There are many other nationalities at this hotel, but this is the case in much of southern Turkey, so live and let live. The food and drink were well above average, and more than plentiful. Main hotel/rooms/restaurants/outside grounds are all kept clean and maintained very well. Staff kind and helpful (and yes most of them DO speak English).
We visited for 9 nights and paid around 1300 pounds total for my wife and I, so good value also.
The only downside was the erratic function of the aircon system in the rooms and main lobby. The Iberostar chain has a very good reputation currently, and having stayed with them before, we understand why. It would be a shame if this were to tarnish because someone has decided to gamble with the residentâs comfort by occasionally closing down the AC. If it was such a successful method of cost saving, then why did we never see or hear of this before at other resorts.
We really enjoyed our stay here, and may even return in the future. But beware Iberostar; giving the management total aircon control is NOT a good idea!"
- Travel date: Fri 18th of September 2009
Sky too blue, sun too strong, plenty to eat and drink; what else could you want.
"It took 30 minutes form the airport to reach the terrific setting of the Iberostar. Our room was on the 3rd floor on side of the hotel, had a mini bar with water and cartons of fruit juice and from our balcony we could see the mountains to the left and the sea to the right; perfect. Breakfast offered plenty of fresh bread, lots of fruit and various yoghurts as well as omeletes, fried eggs and continental cold meats and salads. Lunches in the main dining room were self service buffets with a large variety of salads, pasta dishes, rice, vegetables, chicken, meat and fish dishes. Loads of fresh fruit; which was very popular and a selection of sweets everyday. Dinner was again varied and you had a choice of going to an Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Turkish or Fish restaurant; we went to the Italian and Mexican which were both good; these have to pre booked on the day between 10-12. There are plenty of swimming pools to choose from; our favourite was at the front of the hotel and never had more than a dozen people there. The hotel has it's own stretch of beach which was perfect for lying around in the afternoon. There was plenty of places to get a drink of your choice, afternoons offered fresh made pancakes, there were waiters wandering around throughout the day with iced lemon tea with mint leaves; very refreshing. The Turkish bath and massage was a little more expensive than we've paid in previous years but was still good value and a great start to the holiday. As we wanted a relaxing holiday this hotel was perfect; 95% of the guests were either Russian, Ukranian or Khazikstan and it was a little embarassing that lots of them could speak English and as typical Brits (of the Scots variety) we only know our own language! We did meet a couple of British couples who moaned about the lack of English being spoken and that everything seemd geared up for the Russians; we preferred to focus on the positives i.e nobody drunk out of their head, though on our last night I did hear a bit of a carry on in one of the bars; surprise surprise a young English lass out of her head and being stupid and loud. The hotel is very much geared towards families and yes it is full of our eastern europe friends; but they know how to behave and we didn't see any kids throwing tantrums; perhaps the lack of British kids! There was entertainment on offer for both children and adults which wasn't our cup of tea; but we wanted a relaxing holiday and got what we wanted."
- Travel date: Wed 9th of September 2009
"When me and my family arrived in the hotel, the room wasn't ready. We waited all day long for the room and finally got a chance to go and enjoy the sea and the swimming pools. The rest of the vacation was OK. The animation team was average (they all spoke Russian, but not German or English) , so were the restaurants and service.
P.S. I don't speak russian"
- Travel date: Sat 5th of September 2009
I'll never come back
"no air conditioning on the night, temperature over 27 degree in room,
no air conditioning in the loby
no outdoor restaurant
no air conditioning in the restaurant in the morning - very hot inside
very poor food
very bad beer - Pera nobody heard about it"
- Travel date: Fri 14th of August 2009
Don't forget your Russian phrase book
"This is a large, busy hotel catering mainly for families with small children, of which there are a very large number. The vast majority of guests are Russian, Ukranian or Kazakh and the hotel is geared up to fulfil the expectations of these clients. Although rebranded recently as an Iberostar following "refurbishment", it has little in common with the excellent Iberostars we have enjoyed previously in the Caribbean, which is unfortunate. I have summarised good and less attractive points below (I have tried to be objective) and I hope this information is useful:
Location: Belek consists of large, concrete all-inclusive hotels along a stretch of unattractive beach (the beach at Side, further South is nicer). On the plus side, it is only about 30 minutes drive from Antalya airport. The hotel is set back from the road in pleasant grounds. There are many golf courses in this area although the heat in June/July would mean a very early start if you wanted to play a round.
You will need to take a taxi from the hotel to visit the local tourist towns of Belek or Kadriye (estimated time to walk from the hotel about 45 minutes) - but be warned. The Bellis reception quoted us 15 Euros each way for a taxi into Kadriye, so we decided instead to take the bus (there is a bus stop immediately outside the hotel gates). Whilst waiting, a taxi stopped for us and did the round trip for 12 Euros, and waited whilst we visited the pharmacy. I do not know if it is the hotel or the reception staff that are pocketing the 18 Euros difference in taxi fare. Kadriye is slightly larger than Belek and has the usual selection of tourist shops selling fake designer t-shirts, hand bags, etc. The best day to visit is on a Tuesday when there is a large market and far wider selection of goods on sale. On other days these towns are VERY quiet - I have never known anything quite like it in a tourist resort. Perhaps Russian visitors who predominate in this area of Turkey choose to stay in the hotels rather than venturing into town. As a consequence, you are constantly hassled to look/buy as customers are few!
Reception: Mixture of helpful and unhelpful staff. One young lad in particular was very friendly and cheerful. Money exchange rates only slightly below that in town. The hotel shops and town accept Euros and US dollars as well as Turkish lira but pounds/sterling are less useful.
Rooms: We stayed in the "hotel" rooms. On the plus side these were clean and not too noisy, although on the small side, with small concrete balconies. The beds were clean but somewhat uncomfortable. Please be aware that "5 star" does not mean the same as it would elsewhere. There are no tea/cofee making facilities (I picked up a bad cough/chest infection and not being able to make a hot drink was very disappointing). Sometimes you don't feel like traipsing around the hotel grounds in your pyjamas trying to find a coffe machine late at night or in the early hours! (No room service). Only water and a couple of small cartons of juice are provided in the fridge - again, very different to what is provided by Iberostar in the Caribbean. This was nothing, however, in comparison to the daily lack of air conditioning. This is turned off every day as it is "centrally controlled" (a money saving exercise I assume, but not what you would expect or want in a "5 star" hotel in the Turkish summer heat) so you will bake if you like to relax in your room during the day or if you are unwell. There is a small/portable sized TV showing only 2 English channels: CNN and BBC World News. The "bungalow" rooms are slightly cheaper and are spread around the grounds (they are three story buildings despite the name - no lift in the bungalows if you have mobility difficulties). Some are closer to the beach than the main hotel, but require a longer walk in to the main dining room/facilities.
Food/Dining: The main dining room is huge, bland, very busy and self-service. We did not try the cooked breakfasts as we did not want to queue for omelettes, etc., in the heat - there is no air conditioning at breakfast so you will not want to linger too long. There is a good selection of fruit (the water melon is excellent) and bread although you have to slice your own fresh bread - many of the guests did not seem too concerned about hygiene issues when handling the food. You will need to be quick/light on your feet to dodge the children running around when you are carrying hot food/drinks all the way back to your table, once you have been able to find one that is clean/available. You will have to pay if you want freshly squeezed fruit juice. There's no EarlGrey/English breakfast tea - only fruit/herb tea bags or Liptons yellow label t-bags, or black tea from the big samovars that you fill yourself into glasses rather than tea cups. No tea pots either - as I said, it is geared up for Russian visitors. Plenty of high chairs everywhere. The main dining room also offers lunch and dinner. This is the only 5 star hotel we have visited where men are not required to wear long trousers for dinner. In fact, many male guests seemed to prefer the vest, swim shorts and thongs/flip flops look at dinner.
All inclusive - not 24 hours - if you arrive after midnight, you won't be able to eat anything until breakfast starts!. Good range of food in the main dining room, although most is luke warm. Lots of pasta dishes, but no grated cheese to go with this.
There are 5 "a la carte" restaurants. You have to queue in the main reception area from 10am on the day you wish to book these and are entitled to one visit at each per stay. We tried all of them, just to escape from the crowds in the main dining room despite having to queue to book. The Turkish restaurant, unsurprisingly, is the best and had very tasty kebabs. The Chinese and Mexican are poor, the Itialian is average. The fish restaurant is in a nice location by the beach (outdoor). For all of these there is a set menu, with a choice of two main courses, so the description "a la carte" is rather misleading. We avoided the main dining room as much as possible for lunch. Instead, we used the beach cafe which served fresh, oven baked pizzas every day and a small selection of salads/pasta (again, no grated cheese!). There is also a lady who works very hard making fresh Turkish flat bread flavoured with cheese or meat - this is delicious. Local alcoholic drinks are available in various locations - there is a charge for international brands, some cocktails and any wine other than the house variety. Dough balls are served up at tea time!
Swimming Pools: These are generally good. The main pool has a large area which you can't stand up in - this was a bonus as it meant it didn't get too busy. There is also a childrens' section which is covered - a good idea in the sun/heat. There is a separate "quiet/shallow" pool. Sun beds next to the pools are at a premium, with the usual problems of being reserved all day with towels, but we were usually able to find sunbeds further afield in the gardens, although this might be a problem in July/August. Pool towels are exchanged daily with towel cards that are available from reception. The slides are open for limited hours during the day and were very busy as there are so many young children in the hotel. Several people we spoke to picked up ear infections so don't forget the ear plus/drops and watch your children as H&S doesn't seem to be a priority.
Beach: Unattractive, in need of cleaning in places. Be warned if you have small children - there is a steep drop into the sea and there are sharp pebbles by the sea's edge. If you are a strong swimmer, however, there is a jetty extending from the hotel into the sea a good distance from which you can swim, although it can get quite rough. We enjoyed swimming from the jetty. The sea is clean (Blue Flag standard) and pleasantly refreshing compared to the warm swimming pools. Jet skis/paragliding are also available for an additional charge. There is no board walk/promenade along the beach so you can't really walk anywhere - just along the beach in front of the adjacent hotels which all appear very similar. The beaches are all owned by the hotels so there are no alternative restaurants/bars in walking distance, so no other option for evening meal/entertainment unless you take a taxi somewhere.
Entertainment/"Animation" - Several of the entertainment team spoke very little English which discouraged the younger members of our party from participating in some of the events/entertainment particularly in the first week of our holiday. The lady running the childrens' club seemed to speak only in Russian/Turkish and the long haired male compere for the formal evening shows seemed to spend ages introducing everything in Russian/Turkish and would then struggle to say two words in English - not good enough. Other members of the entertainment team running games/activities by the pool and the informal evening shows made more effort to include English speaking guests towards the end of our stay. Evening shows are in a large concrete ampitheatre in the hotel's grounds. There are belly dancing lessons/step classes, which could have been good fun but were conducted in Russian.
To escape the crowds, at nights they uncover the outdoor Turkish seating areas - cosy chairs with nets for privacy, lanterns and the opportunity to smoke a hubble bubble pipe - good fun but you will pay extra for drinks/smoking the pipe.
The pool bar had live music several nights a week and several team activities such as a water gala were organised. The pool bar tended to be very busy but at least the staff were reasonably pleasant, unlike in the disco where a barman was extremely rude to several of our group.
Hotel shops: Prices are extortionate - $6 for a pack of crisps! If you are travelling with small children and they like crips/sweets, stock up on these before you arrive. Also, bring plenty or reading material as the vast majority of books on sale are not in English. There is a small exchange book shelf, but no English books were on this until we left 3 on departure. By the time we left, the shop began stocking the Sun and the Daily Mail (one day behind - cost about Â£2.50).
There are three tennis courts - these are well shaded in the early evening and next to the beach which means there is a pleasant sea breeze. The rackets/balls provided by the hotel are useless, so bring your own if you want a proper game. There is no charge to book courts (at reception).
Spa: You will be approached with regularity to book spa treatments. The massages are excellent (range of different treatments available) and the facilities offer a welcome escape from the noise and bustle of the rest of the hotel, a chance for some peace, pampering and relaxation. Prices are expensive, but in line with other hotels in the area.
Excursions: If you are reasonably fit/adventurous, the white water rafting trip and quad bike safari are good fun, although not cheap. There are several interesting historic sites within easy driving distance if you prefer more sedate activities.
There is a games room with computers/internet for a fee and an indoor pool which we did not try. There is also a small zoo adjacent to the hotel and a riding centre, neither of which we tried. There is a small gym with a few basic pieces of equipment although you will not want to use this until later in the day when the management decided to turn the air conditioning on.
Overall: If you are travelling with young children and are happy to stick with the pool rather than the beach, this busy hotel offers reasonable value for money (2009 rates) as long as you are not concerned about the lack of English speaking guests. I would not advise singles, mature couples or those seeking a quiet, relaxing break to choose it. It is not equivalent to U.K. 5 star standard. We have stayed previously at the nearby Gloria Resort where facilities/service were of a significantly higher standard. Some of the staff at the Bellis (e.g. customer service lady at the a la carte restaurant booking desk) were friendly and polite, others were not (e.g. disco barman - extremely rude). Some spoke reasonable English, others spoke little or none. The management will need to address the expectations of ALL nationalities, not just Russian guests, if they are to encourage a more diverse customer base. As a result, I wouldn't recommend this hotel to friends at the present time but hope the management will try to adapt what is on offer more in line with what Iberostar provide in the Caribbean..... Turkey is lot easier to reach!"
- Travel date: Sun 19th of July 2009
Holly smokes !
"This resort could hardly be rated 3 stars, and I do my judgement based only on other Iberostar resorts I experienced in Cuba, Mexic, Dominican Republic.
Somehow refurbished, the hotel standard rooms are very small (we asked for a baby cot and almost had no room for our luggage). The bungallow rooms are even worse and/or very far from beach and main restaurant.
Air conditioning is turned on for 10-12 hours a day if you are lucky (while 36-38 degres outside). Lobby area , halls, lobby bar, etc, have no a/c at all.
Main restaurant is overcrowded at all times, almost no room between tables, no service at the table (you will be happy to get a clean table, cutlery and napkins). Unmotivated personnel, sometimes unapropriate attitude (one id_ot - cannot find a better word - tried to litterally/phisically stop me while trying to get my food, motivating was allready 9:30 pm - the time that main restaurant stops serving dinner). Lots of personnel with running nose, cold, serving in restaurants and having no hygiene knowledge for such situations.
Crowded beach (at 8 am you cant find sunbeds at te beach or garden). Beach is not cleaned every day, as I expect at a 5 stars resort, so you have all the chances to step on yesterday garbage.
If you drink natural coffee, better bring it with you, because they only 'serve' instant coffee at the coffee machines. Also, if you drink bottled beer, bring it with you :) as they only offers you SIVA beer-self serve (a bit sour, and low alcohol no name beer. Even 4 stars resorts serves at least bottled Efes.
The list could go on but I think it would be enough to get a conclusion...Ah, almost forgot, if you intend to go on waterslide bring your watch, because this is turned on for an hour a day
Beautiful garden and soccer field.
Ah, something else you choose is a plus or a minus:
Lots of russian people who keep the standars down and prices up."
- Travel date: Mon 29th of June 2009
Fabulous family friendly resort
"We booked a family room (separate sitting room with dining table) and were not disappointed by it's size or situation. Our balcony overlooked the sea, the swimming pools, tennis courts and the beach. The rooms were modestly decorated, having been recently refurbished, comfortable and very clean.
Meals in the main dining room was sumptuous and varied - obviously no pork on the menu, but the many different types of salad offered more than compensated for that and the option to be vegetarian was easily achieved if desired. All the food was freshly prepared, with lots of fish, turkey and other meats on the menu. Only gripe was that they charged 1.50 euros for a freshly squeezed orange juice - which let down it's otherwise 5 star all-inclusive rating. All the soft drinks were on tap - but they were more like syrups than juices. Pepsi and beer tasted fine though.
The animation team were young and enthusiastic trying to get us all involved with a host of sporty activities on an hourly basis. Their evening entertainment was also good catering for young (kids' disco) and old alike (caberet).
The Kid's club were very friendly and had a lot of arts and crafts organised - however, due to a lack of staff the more exciting things like pony riding and banana boating were cancelled which was a bit disappointing.
Strangely enough there is also a small zoo on site - mostly birds and tortoises, a couple of ponies, horses, but also a couple of chimps - who although looked well cared for, seemed very out of place.
None of the shops, spa or hairdressers are anything to do with the hotel - so you have to haggle, haggle, haggle to get a great price on all the services as well as the goods. They even accept US Dollars as the Russian holiday makers prefer this currency to Euros. However the "tip boxes" found in every location possible will happily accept any coin or note I'm sure.
We had a very good experience with this hotel and the Iberostar chain have had consistently great reviews - throughly deserved."
- Travel date: Sat 30th of May 2009