Splash down at gorgeous Gloria in Turkey
Posted on 02nd Oct 2013
Julie tells us about her stay at Gloria Golf Resort in Turkey.
“This year our summer holiday plans were practically the opposite of what we usually try and do. Past trips have been to hideaway corners of the world, where we self-cater and generally fend for ourselves. So an all-inclusive, entertainment-packed resort was quite a departure. But surprisingly, at the end of our stay the whole family agreed that this was definitely our best holiday yet!
So what made it so fantastic? First, I’d like to dispel any prejudices about all-inclusive holidays. This was a classy resort: spacious, chic, immaculate, with no sense of pile-it-high or drink-to-excess at all. As everything is paid for in advance, there is a rather lovely feeling of everything being ‘free’! As well as the lavish buffets, we enjoyed countless juices, hot chocolates, ice creams, waffles and apperitifs between meals. There is also the option for a la carte dining at three of the resort’s restaurants, but the buffet format proved too popular with our family.
We knew that this was going to be sensational when we were met at the airport promptly by a driver with an MPV stacked with chilled water bottles and a range of infant car seats. The check-in process was eased by some gigantic mocktails and we strolled to our room to the backdrop of spectacular fireworks.
Our family of 5 stayed in a Family Suite, which had a separate adjoining twin bedded room & bathroom for our boys (aged 11 & 9), whilst our 4 year old daughter had a camp bed at the far end of our large main bedroom. In fact, you could comfortably sleep two children within the parents room, as our 9 year old chose to sleep on the sofa when his brother annoyed him too much!
The Family Suites are all grouped together by their own pool, meaning families can meet each other with ease. They are also adjacent to the jaw-dropping Gogi Fun Jungle. This amazing play complex includes a miniature play village, a zip wire and climbing wall, several big screens for computer consoles and a top class indoor soft play area, replete with trampolines, ball ponds, slides and even a ‘step-on’ piano like in the film ‘Big’!
While there is a daily charge for the Fun Jungle, the supervised Kids Club is free and has a changing schedule of activities. My daughter adored the biscuit making and pony rides! My older boys often stopped in for a game of mini golf, a kick around in the Kids’ gymnasium or to sit out the heat of the day watching cartoons in the Kids’ cinema. The building is clean and incredibly well stocked with indoor and outdoor games. The adjacent creche is equally good, with a lovely little playground at the back.
The real ‘wow’ of the resort for us though was the water slides. Unlike most water parks where you have to queue and which can be rather grotty, this was an utter delight, with huge, adventurous twisting slides, supervised by lifeguards, and – joy of joy – no queues! Our boys couldn’t get enough of them, and eventually my husband and I sneaked a few go’s as well! For my little one, there were several mini slides into paddling pools which were wonderful for her.
The beach is golden, sandy and as immaculate as the rest of the resort. It is well stocked with sun loungers, with the added benefit of the stylish (free!) beach bar on the pier, trampolines, volleyball and (at extra charge) watersports. If this sounds hectic, it isn’t. There’s plenty of room to find a quiet spot, even in August. Camel rides are offered in the late afternoon – another holiday highlight for us and a great photo opportunity.
Our expectations were low for evening entertainment, but to our surprise, it proved something of a hit. There was a real sense of anticipation as we walked past the amphitheatre in the daytime, watching the performers rehearse. There were several impressive shows from circus performers, acrobats, dancers and even performing parrots. But the mini disco was the real star, with incredibly cheesy tunes which were ideal for the tiny tots who danced along with the Kids Club entertainers. It was impossible to stay cynical with so many happy kids around, and I did catch my 11 year old boogying along at the back where no one would see him!
For those with more adult tastes, there was a night club down at the beach (out of earshot but we loved seeing the moving ‘searchlights’ in the sky!) and live music at the pool bar. There was also a changing cinema programme, with recent mainstream films being shown.
Again, I’d like to emphasise that although this may sound rather full on, because the resort is vast and beautifully laid out, it is possible to avoid all the action should you want to. In fact, if that is your preference, I’d point you towards the neighbouring sister resort, Gloria Serenity. From what we could see, this lives up to its name, with quiet beautiful surroundings, just a longer walk to reach the action. But seeing as the many entertainments at Gloria Golf are rather the point of it, I shan’t be too apologetic!
For the sake of balance, I’ll try and provide some negatives, but it will be a struggle! At first we were a bit overwhelmed by the large size of the resort but we did soon get the hang of it. (If you’re undecided about whether to take a pushchair, definitely do, as it’s a big place to navigate. Golf buggies are available if you don’t fancy walking around.) The multiple entertainments for children meant that there was no single obvious meeting place for kids, so my children didn’t make any good friends until towards the end of the stay. Also, there was sometimes a fear of missing out: how could we do the kung fu and the table tennis at the same time?!
If you’re travelling at a busy time, you should book dinner at the a la carte resturants in advance, as these can get booked up. This is included within your all-inclusive deal so it would be a shame to miss out. My last tip would be to pack some trousers with an elasticated waist…. the food is all too good!”
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