If you know me at all you will know that all-inclusive package holidays just aren’t my thing. While the idea of my pasty skin turning a lovely summery bronze is very much welcome, the thought of lying still on a beach for days, eating the same repetitive buffet food all week and not seeing more than the walls of the resort for the entire trip, makes me shudder.
But when Mr Ayla pretty much begged me for a relaxing summer holiday this year without all the constant sightseeing, the tiresome walking for hours and the endless research and explorations, I kind of felt like I should indulge him for a change. Trust me when I say this doesn’t happen often.
Of course I still put in hours of research – because I’m not just going to go to any old place – and despite my initial horror at a break that involved nothing more than slapping on some sun cream every day, I eventually came across the Sensimar Marmaris Imperial Hotel. This picture perfect hillside resort along the Turkish coast jumped straight out at me as somewhere that looked like it would suit us both. There were sun beds galore and food and drink on tap for the Mr, while still looking beautifully traditional for me with the most beautiful views (obviously I have to consider my Instagram pics when I book any trip) and a nearby town for exploring for when my feet got fidgety as they no doubt would.
As our trip got closer, to my surprise, I found myself looking forward to a relaxing break more and more and as soon as we arrived, all I felt was pure bliss when I stepped out into the sunshine as we were offered a complimentary welcome drink at check in. A little buggy took us on a ride up the hill to our room where our clothes were thrown straight off, swimwear thrown on, and the cool blue sea jumped straight into.
It wasn’t until after we’d cooled down considerably (because Turkey is so ridiculously hot in the summer) and spent the rest of the afternoon sunning ourselves on the beach, that we actually headed back and took a proper look at our room. The thing that had first attracted me to this hotel is that it’s not your typical all-inclusive beach resort. It’s not a big garish block of rooms with balconies all looking out over the pool but instead is made up of small brick cottages covered in colourful flowers that are dotted around the peaceful hillside.
The cottages are split into four modern spacious rooms but we didn’t hear a single peep from anyone the whole time we were there. This made the entire place so tranquil that it was hard to believe it was fully booked.
Our balcony looked out across the blue sea to the harbour beyond and looking out at sunset after an afternoon nap (because afternoon naps are always allowed on beach breaks) was just the most beautiful sight.
Over the ten days we had here, most of our time was spent chilling by the pool where I did my aqua aerobics in the morning (I figured I should probably get at least a little bit of exercise to balance out the copious amounts of all-inclusive food) and Mr Ayla joined in with water polo in the afternoon which always seemed to get extremely competitive.
Just chilling with Freddie in the pool! Pool floats from Big Mouth Inc
Sun beds lined the private beaches and the dock as well as hammocks that we stumbled on dotted around the quieter areas of the hotel creating many spaces for some quiet relaxation.
And the bonus of this place is that it’s an adult’s only resort which meant no screaming kids while we were trying to read a book or blissfully fall asleep in the sunshine.
One of the many many things I loved about this hotel is that it was so huge there was always something to explore or a peaceful place to hide in. From giant chess sets surrounded by palm trees, a fitness centre where you could work out overlooking the sea, a Turkish hamman and spa for some ultimate relaxation, and abundant pretty areas to discover.
For the first time ever I felt as if we didn’t even need to leave the resort to do any exploring. We did venture into town a couple of times though and Marmaris is a much lovelier city than I was expecting it to be (post coming up about Marmaris soon!) with its plush harbour area as well as the old town with narrow alleyways leading to cute and quiet restaurants.There was even a cat café in the hotel that provided food, shelter and toys for any cats who fancied their own little relaxing holiday. Clearly somewhere that looks after cats is going to win my heart!
The food at all-inclusive resorts is often a bit hit or miss which is why I prefer to eat out and get a taste of the local cuisine, but here it was a definite hit. Our first night was timed perfectly with a Turkish theme so we got to taste some of the local foods (including the best Turkish moussaka and kebabs) as well as watching a traditional Turkish dance show which was a lovely welcome for our first trip to Turkey. The nightly entertainment was some of the best we have seen on these types of holidays with everything from exciting dance shows and live music to more relaxed quizzes and casino nights so we always had something to enjoy after dinner.
But back to the food, because that is way too important just to warrant a couple of lines, there were also other themed meals including an Asian evening, a fish dinner and a black and white gala evening when all the staff (who were all amazingly friendly and helpful) came out to say hello and meet the guests at a cocktail reception before an incredible and extremely entertaining African Acrobats show.
Most of the other lunches and dinners were an international buffet but I never found the food repetitive and there was always plenty to choose from for both fussy eaters and the more adventurous. And, quite unusual for all-inclusive hotels, the desserts were actually proper desserts!
If we ever did get bored of eating in the main restaurant (which we didn’t) there were other options available too including a quiet bar by the water that served up quick and simple lunches such as pizza, burgers and salads, a pancake stand by the beach with different daily toppings, and two a la carte restaurants for a more fancy evening meal. Afternoon tea was also served every day by the pool which was a welcome snack after lots of lazing around and some fun in the pool.We both absolutely adore our usual jam-packed trips around the world and I wouldn’t change them for anything, but I have to (begrudgingly) admit that Mr Ayla was right in this case. A relaxing holiday was just what we needed and the Sensimar Marmaris Imperial was the perfect place for this. It was the most wonderfully chilled escape and we came back feeling relaxed, refreshed and with a lovely golden glow to top it all off.
Have you ever been on a trip that wasn’t your sort of thing only to be completely surprised? Let me know in the comments below or at:
A big thank you to the Sensimar Marmaris Imperial Hotel for hosting us and making our first relaxing break in years one to remember for all the right reasons!