We travelled from Leeds Bradford to Antalya, Turkey, the flight about 4 and a half hours long with a 3 hour time difference. Once landed, and before going for our luggage, you had to go through immigration. It's best to make sure you have all your passports ready with visas. I believe you can buy these when you arrive, but it's best to get them beforehand; you can get these online and print them off - it's a long process if you don't! You enter a massive hall with lots of different stalls and a sea of people.
I'd recommend leaving the toilet stops until after passport control, get to the front of that line. Try to get small children to use the toilet before the end of the flight, my girls waited until we were collecting our luggage and Dan was left waiting for the bags, and I took whoever needed the bathroom.
Chloe, my then 12-year-old, in the toilet was like, "eww Mum, what is that smell!" ( it was a bit smelly) I tried to shh her like you do when people are looking, you know, the embarrassing mum feeling. Off she went into the next available stall, to her horror or more so mine! She let out a big shout, "Mum, there is a hole in the ground, I'm not going in there," a lovely lady said "you go in this one, and I will use the Turkish toilet. I was probably glowing bright red by this time. Ha! It was a bit of a walk to the coaches; there was a sea of coaches. I have never seen so many in one place, with all your luggage and tired children, this was not much fun at all! I think it must have been about 9 pm, and the temperature was still in the late 30s! Once we had found the right coach and everyone were eventually on, the driver offered us a drink, and you can buy soft drinks for a few euros. The transfer from Antalya to Belek was about 45 minutes, and all three girls were very excited even though it was dark. All the buildings were very grand, like palaces and were lit up.
We stayed at a 5 Star resort, Ella Quality Resort; it was beautiful! Kayleigh, our youngest, the first thing she said was, "wow, Mummy. It's very fancy. The aircon was not great in the lobby or on the corridors, but in the room, it was amazing. I knew from the moment we got off the small, stuffy rickety coach and saw the hotel it was going to be amazing. The coach driver said we would love it and how beautiful it was.
The girls explored the room,
And chose their beds. On the youngest bed, there were a pink dressing gown, little pink slippers, and a lovely teddy bear - she was thrilled. We had a family Duplex, a twin, a pull-out sofa bed, and stairs leading up to up room. The resort was massive. I think it took us two, three days to get our bearings. There was everything, cinema, bowling, kids land, and this is where the kids club was. Kayleigh was not keen on going alone, and there were no other English children; I think this is what put her off. Trampolines, water slides, we couldn't keep them off the slides, even the hubby enjoyed them, me not so much! I tried to go down with Kayleigh and Dan but ended up slipping and dragging Kayleigh down the slide without Dad!
The private beach with pier had a lovely bar and plenty of sun loungers. You could get into the sea. Watersports, You name it, they had it! But, of course, you had to pay extra for the watersports, and we didn't try this because it was costly, and my girls had plenty to do without this.
There was even a nightclub ( we didn't visit this for obvious reasons). The Spa was out of this world! We used the pool in the afternoon to get out of the sun and tried the juice bar in the spa.
The food, we struggled with the little one. I can't believe there were lots of typical evening meal dishes at breakfast time, such as casseroles, mash, veg. Instead, we all chose pancakes, fresh fruit, and yoghurt, and we had this every day for the entire week. Our fussy youngest lived off pasta, chips and beef hot dogs! The poolside bar was excellent, and it had Pizza on the menu, which meant Kayleigh was happy! I swear my tiny girl ate her weight in ice cream and cake.
For an all-inclusive holiday, the entertainment was out of this world, fantastic! In an amphitheatre with a different show every night. It was still in the high 30's at 9 p.m. The children's entertainment was also exceptional, and we particularly enjoyed the dog show. It was also Kayleigh's birthday while we were over there, I told the entertainment staff, and they got her up on the stage, and everyone sang happy birthday to her in English and Turkish. She received a little Turkish barbie doll. The hotel also left us a beautiful pink cake and a bottle of sparkling wine.
We all spent a lot, if not most of the time, in the pool and the older kids. We hardly saw them as they spent most of their time on the water slides. We also got to experience a pool party with the podiums in the pool and massive balls and balloons! It was a big win for the kids with a live band on the stage, especially the older girls. The Beach party on the pier with a foam party was phenomenal! You are spoilt for choice with what 5-star resorts offer. All enjoyed it, and everyone went home feeling somewhat relaxed, not like we needed a holiday to get over the holiday. It can often be hard work with kids!
There are new rules for travelling into the UK from Turkey. Laptops, Ipads, etc., need to be in your hold suitcase, not in your hand luggage. There are also size restrictions in place on mobile phone size. I have an iPhone 6, and this was ok, though it has to be switched on, so make sure you have 100% battery. You wouldn't want this to be taken off you. The same rule applies to power banks, and they have to be a certain size. You do get the information when you land at the airport for travelling back.
The all-important security - I will say not once did myself, or my family feel unsafe. While driving up to the airport, there is a checkpoint with armed police or military, and I don't know if they were stopping anyone but seeing them was reassuring. Once at the airport, when you first enter, all bags are scanned, and you all go through body scanners. Once you checked in and got boarding passes, you then head up to passport control and then again through security, remember no liquid in hand luggage. Again, all luggage and everyone gets scanned. This was a quicker process than I first thought.
Then once you reach your gate, you have to line up with passports and documents out again. They split into two lines, woman and children, and men, every single person gets patted down, and bags searched, and then they check your phone. I don't mean they start reading your messages and apps etc., they make sure there is nothing suspicious or been tampered with, they swab peoples clothes and bags, then put them through analysis machines (not everyone). This was, again, a very speedy process.
The weather was amazing! If you're planning a trip to Turkey, you will need lots of sun cream, factor 50! We took about 4 or 5 bottles of the big boots soltan. The temperature reached up to 45 degrees, and it was soo hot!!
I received mixed feelings when telling family and friends we were holidaying in Turkey. However, I would recommend it to anyone, and the security is fantastic! We chose the 5- star resort and paid extra so that we didn't have to leave the resort and it had everything we hoped for and more! We were the only brits at the resort at the time of our stay. It was mainly Russians, and language was not an issue. There was always staff who spoke English, and if you found a member of the team who didn't speak English, they got a member of staff that did.
Where will our next adventure take us?