Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A Stay At Alba Queen Hotel With Thomas Cook.

So I was totally worried about taking Tilly to Turkey, we have travelled so much in the past, but Turkey seemed so far away from home and I really wasn't sure how she would cope with the heat, how she would cope with the different way of life and how she would manage with the swimming pool that was 1 metre 40 deep. I started to wonder if I had made the right decision and anxiety set in, right up until the moment that we boarded the plane. So where were we going?

We booked 12 days in the sun with Thomas Cook, and we were going to stay in Alba Queen near Antalya. I have stayed there before with friends and Tilly has been asking to come to Turkey for 3 years now. Having been to the Queen before I was confident that we would be made welcome, but I always have my sidekick Lin with me and this time I was the only adult going. I was full of worry about getting things wrong, not finding the transfer and my luggage getting lost. I had booked a private taxi transfer as it was 9pm when we arrived, but none of the Thomas Cook reps could find my transfer and I was left with a random Turkish man walking up and down the transfer strip looking for a taxi. Finally, we got to the hotel much later than we should have done!

Tilly fell in love with the hotel from the moment she arrived, It was 11.40 by the time we arrived and she wanted to go to the bar, see the pool, go to the beach and do everything on the first night. It was 2 am before she settled down to sleep.

The staff in the hotel made us feel so welcome, we were upgraded to a fabulous room, like a mini suite and they put us on the ground floor because I was worried about Tilly and her sleepwalking.

The Staff? Well, I cannot give them enough praise for making Tilly feel welcome. Of course, I already knew some of them but they welcomed Tilly like she was a film star. The called her by her first name all the time and remembered her every time she spoke to them. The staff at the Alba Queen hotel all deserve recognition for the way they are with the holidaymakers, they make them feel special all of the time. There was a really rowdy English group, who made me ashamed to be English, they were rude to the staff and were eventually told that they would have to leave if they didn't behave. No staff in any job deserves to have rudeness and arrogance thrown at them. Even when I go there with Lin, we are never rude to the staff. They work such long hours to ensure your holiday is special.

The Room? It was lovely, there are no carpets on the floor as it is too hot, and Tilly kept falling out of bed. The bed was big enough for 3 people! it was huge and we had a tv and little lounge area. The bathroom was a little dated, but it didn't really bother me because it was clean and the room was beautiful. There is a mini bar that is stocked daily with bottled water and fizzy drinks and housekeeping go in every day. Sometimes we didn't bother having housekeeping in because then it gave them one less room to do. I actually found myself tidying up all the time before housekeeping came in. The rooms are fully air-conditioned too. As our room was so big, we had two air con units. The pictures were taken during the stay as I forgot to take them before!

The Food Areas? Breakfast is served in the main dining room, where there is adequate seating for everyone but you can choose to eat lunch at the pool bar or the beach bar too. They both serve food until 4 or 5 pm. Then the evening meal is served in the main dining room again. There is a wide selection of food and you can eat so many different courses, but there is a lot of German food and it does get a bit samey after a while. By day 10 I am usually bored with the food. There was a children's buffet where the food is plainer, this is a godsend because although Tilly tried the different foods, some of it didn't agree with her.

The Bar? I actually don't know how the bar staff do it! holidaymakers getting drunk on the all-inclusive alcohol and them having to keep up with the orders. They are all Turkish but have a good knowledge of German, not so much English or Russian - But google translate always comes in handy! And they always try to understand what you're saying. The bar staff weren't as bantery as they usually are, but maybe that's because I went with a child this time and not Lin. They never left an empty glass on the table and they would bring you another drink if you were getting low. The service in the bar was fantastic.

The Pool? The hotel has primarily German visitors so they invented the whole towels on sunbeds, didn't they? Anyway you're allowed to save a sunbed after 7.30am. So there I was between 7.30 and 8am every morning, going down to put towels on the sunbeds. Not once did my towels get moved, even when I left them there for 2 or 3 hours because we went back to bed and then straight for breakfast. The pool is very cold and deep. Its cold because the weather is so warm, it naturally warms the pool up through the day, but because its cold it is a nice relief to get in and out of the sun for a while. There are four slides to go down if you like the fun element, or if you just feel the need to scream all the way down - like me! There are 3 lifeguards around the pool and plenty of notices when the lifeguard isn't there.

The Entertainment? This seems to have a two-week cycle, so you don't see the same evening entertainment over and over again if you're there for a fortnight. They have a mixture of entertainment too, although I never saw karaoke this year. I played Bingo and although it costs 18 euro's, which can be a chunk of your holiday money it is worth it if you win. I did win and my prizes included a free photo from the on-site photographer ( he wasn't a very nice person and the photography team talk over you and giggle about you in Turkish). A  Turkish foam massage and body scrub worth 49 Euro's and a game of billiards worth 5 Euro's (we were able to change this for a game of bowling) as well as well as fashion jewellery, Turkish delight and a bottle of wine. There is daytime entertainment with water gym and Zumba, as well as water polo and darts. There are beach games too. The animation team all work hard, although we knew Ali, Nemo and Snejana from before when we visited, there was also new animation team members too. Tilly took a real shine to Agnessa, who ran the children's entertainment.

For Kids? Children are made to feel so welcome in the Alba Queen. Your child will never be bored! There is the mini club in the daytime and mini disco at night. There are also activities for children in the pool bar every night so you can enjoy a drink with new found friends. There are additional children's activities like t-shirt painting and banana boat rides in the sea. But this will all cost you because the t-shirts need paying for and the banana boat is an outside company. For older children, there is a game room where you can buy tokens and play the computer games. If you feel like taking your child out for the evening, it is a completely safe area to walk in at night.

I think we can say that my holiday to Alba queen was successful and full of fun from the Moment that we arrived to the moment that we left. Leaving is always sad, but I am going back there in October .....

This hotel is fantastic and it fully deserves its 5-star rating, it is so clean, its welcoming and they certainly look after you.

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