Kalkan Turkey Forum - EnjoyKalkan.com

Kalkan Discussion => Holiday Reports and Reviews => Topic started by: Sarah S on October 06, 2018, 08:51:10 PM

Title: Two Timers
Post by: Sarah S on October 06, 2018, 08:51:10 PM
As someone who has used the EnjoyKalkan forum to gain lots of advice and tips when planning our recent holiday, I was disappointed to hear rumblings of it coming to an end. In between our two trips to Kalkan I have loved reading about the adventures of others. Until now I have never contributed, so I’m being brave and joining in instead of lurking!

I’m afraid it’s not one of those daily reports that lots of people have done. We have now (sadly) returned home from our two week break, so this is more of a synopsis. I will do it in sections so as not to overwhelm/ bore you.

Background: we are a couple (no children) in our mid forties- let’s call us S (me) and J (him). I read about Kalkan  many years ago and always had it in my mind to visit sometime, but only made it there for the first time last year. Obviously having been once, we had to return! – hence the name ‘Two Timers’

Getting there: we flew BA from Gatwick. Flight times weren’t great, but the flights were on time and our transfer’s arranged via the villa manager were comfortable.

Accommodation: last year we stayed in a beautiful penthouse apartment by the bus station. We loved it, however thought that the outside space was a bit lacking. This year we secured accommodation via the ‘Friends of Kalkan’ Facebook page. It was an excellent way of doing it – we just typed in requirements and in flooded the offers! We left it quite late by my standards in the hope of getting a bargain for our limited budget and the downside of this was that I only had three months of anticipation, I was also getting a bit fraught fearing that the good places would all be booked up. It all worked out in the end and we stayed in a lovely villa in Kalamar Bay. It was perhaps a little shabby and worn in places, but the homeliness of the accommodation and the fact that it was so well equipped (every kitchen gadget you could imagine and it even had sharp knives), more than made up for this. Better still the outside space was amazing- our own pool with loungers, a day bed, a hammock, outdoor sofas and chairs, a built in BBQ, outdoor shower and a shaded dining area – not to mention the two balconies, the larger one on which we enjoyed our early evening G&Ts whilst watching the sun set and playing Scrabble or Rummicub (I know what you’re thinking - we know how to enjoy ourselves!!). I almost forgot to mention the roof terrace with Turkish cushion seating.
Sleeping 8, it was of course far too big for the 2 of us – but well worth it for all the outside space it afforded us and the amazing views of the whole bay including Mouse & Snake Islands.

Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Enjoy Kalkan on October 06, 2018, 09:01:38 PM
Welcome to EK, the rumblings are wrong we are going nowhere and it’s lovely to read your holiday post  :)

Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Lynne T on October 07, 2018, 08:03:23 AM
Great beginning two timer , now we need info where did you eat / drink and what’s open later end of the year . Thank you for keeping us involved with Kalkan
Lynne 😁
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Sarah S on October 07, 2018, 01:20:17 PM
Restaurants: of course Kalkan is renowned for its great food- and the food on offer was one of the (many) things that drew us back for a second year running. This year with the exchange rate, the food was even better value. We tried some of our favourites from last year and several ones that were new to us. So first the one tiny negative (before I rave about all our good experiences): I’ve often read ‘you won’t have a bad meal in Kalkan’ , and last year I would’ve agreed. This year we tried Gironda and didn’t rate it at all. We had tried to book a table for 8.30pm but were persuaded to make it 8pm so that we could enjoy drinks in the courtyard before we ate. This seemed sensible since I had read about the courtyard and was keen to experience it. We arrived just before 8 and having ordered our drinks were told we must order within the next 5 minutes as that was the time that our table was booked for. We didn’t get to enjoy our drinks in the courtyard as we were whisked upstairs to our table. Starters were unremarkable, a bread roll was on our side plates already when we got to them, my seafood medley was pretty dire with an overcooked prawn and thick rubbery calamari wrapped haloumi. We had chosen a night when there was live music but perhaps because we were there for such a short amount of time due to being rushed, and during our dining, the musicians took a break, it meant that we didn’t get to hear very much of that! I also had a completely inedible main course at Kaya restaurant- however I think that I chose badly – we had a lovely starter of duck but my main- Chinese style beef with fried rice tasted  really strongly of sesame oil and the beef was tough and chewy. They handled it very nicely when noticing that it was hardly touched and offered to make me something else- however my this point I had shared J’s chicken and was completely full, so had to refuse. I loved this restaurant last year and my experience this time wouldn’t put me off trying it again.

Now onto the great restaurants – our favourite this year, same as last year was Alternatif, this was the only place we went to twice during our stay. I’ve heard there have been some negative comments on other forums about Bora – the guy outside who encourages you to go in – but I’ve only got good things to say about him. Every day whether we were eating there or not we had a nice chat with him when we passed and I found him to be both kind and funny. Other highlights were leerfish at Smyrna Ramis and the flaming clay pot lamb dish (can’t remember its name) at Coriander.  Free entertainment was laid on at Marina Restaurant when we saw two Russian women having a fully blown fight complete with hair pulling at the taxi rank!! I was very relieved that they weren’t British. The waiter said that it happened often as they had a tendency to get very drunk during the daytime – his generalisation not mine!!! Along the Kalamar Road we enjoyed Aqua, The Brothers and Café Vita BBQ night – which was better than I had anticipated given how cheap it was, and it was very entertaining too. We also got a takeaway from Fotos: great pizzas with a thin crispy base that came promptly and customised with some toppings added some removed as ordered, plus a salad – very reasonable.

Our most expensive meal was Baharat: 2 cocktails, complimentary meze, 2 starters, chateaubriand for two and a dessert pancake to share – all for less than fifty quid? Bargain!
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Lynne T on October 07, 2018, 01:40:33 PM
Well done, we too found the front man at Alternatif amusing, I just gave him banter every time we pasted. When we finally ate there ,it was one of he best steaks I’ve had in Kalkan and the place was full , I don’t really understand why he has to be so pushy
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: keith on October 07, 2018, 05:21:56 PM
Hi Sarah.....welcome to the forum as a contributor. Loved reading your two posts and your honest assessment of the restaurants that you visited. As you say you don't always get a good meal and I don't think that it's bad to provide constructive feedback. It's important that the 'more popular restaurants maintain their standards otherwise visitors will vote with their feet.
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Alibobs on October 07, 2018, 08:25:07 PM
Lovely to read your posts Sarah - i love hearing other people's comments about restaurants, good or bad
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Lizilu20 on October 08, 2018, 10:58:20 AM
Hi Sarah, thanks so much for sharing your holiday with us. Hope there's more to come?
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Chris_S on October 08, 2018, 11:40:29 AM
Although Alternatif is good, the problem is people walk straight past, seeing the bars and heading for the (apparently) street level restaurants.

Being on the top floor, up a zillion steps, it's easy to ignore and instead go somewhere else, sometimes not as good.

I would have thought being a 'greeter' is akin to selling double glazing on the phone!  Having said that, I've come across people who don't know where Mussakka is (because it's upstairs?), Seaport and Fener (because you have to turn left at the end of the hill, instead of turning right for taxis).

Most of us here on EK have read reports and follow them up, or we try to find places.  Many go, wander round, and don't see anything, apart from what's in front of them.
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Sarah S on October 09, 2018, 07:18:39 PM
Thank you for your lovely comments and for welcoming me to the forum. Here is the next installment:

Drinking: interesting that you mentioned Fener Chris_s as this was a favourite- whilst it was still light or just getting dark watching the lights starting to twinkle. It is such a lovely setting overlooking the sea watching the boats. We also enjoyed our last drink of most evenings at Bezirgans where we could watch everyone coming and going (I’m nosy I admit). We thought Marley’s was best for cocktails, although we found the music there a bit odd- given the name I would’ve expected some reggae perhaps? However what we experienced was more REM and Alanis Morissette all mixed together quite badly by a dreadlocked DJ who took his job very seriously- never ever saw him smile. Last year we really enjoyed a cocktail making class at Black & Gold and this year intended to do the gin tasting – but never got round to it. I suppose there is only so much drinking you can do in a holiday!

Beach clubs: Palm Beach was still our favourite – loved all the space at different levels, the service with a smile, the menu for lunch, the table tennis. I also really enjoyed getting to the harbour and travelling there by boat- it felt like a proper day out. Loved having our lunch overlooking the sea with views of Kalkan too. Not quite so keen on the cold patches in the water.
Our one trip to Yali, which we enjoyed and went to quite a lot last year had a bit of sting in the tail. We asked for a bottle of white wine with our lunch and didn’t specify which one since we hadn’t seen a list anywhere. When the bill arrived – it was higher than expected because the wine had cost 160 TL! If I’d known that I was having one that was a bit more special, I would perhaps have appreciated it more. As it was, we ended up putting ice in it as it wasn’t even chilled. As a point of reference, the perfectly palatable white wine we’d had at Palm Beach was 65TL. Our mistake I suppose as we could’ve asked the price beforehand – we just felt a little bit duped.
We found Kalamar Beach club, our closest one to be a bit tired although the lunch we had there was lovely, pizza and salad at outside rather than in the restaurant under the shade of a big umbrella with a bottle of white wine. We also appreciated the free transport home.
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Alibobs on October 10, 2018, 01:55:24 PM
I think I would have felt the same Sarah - interestingly our 'rip off' moment was felt at Indigo......I wonder if staff are encouraged  to upsell at places such as the beach clubs and hotel bars?  i didn't experience it in any family run restaurants this time
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Sarah S on October 14, 2018, 09:05:33 PM
Days out: had an fab boat trip on Yildiz 3. Hired a car and visited Saklikent, Tlos, Yakapark and Kas. It was good to explore and see things outside the resort but if I’m honest, quite a bit of the time when we were out and about, we were pining for our pool or the beach club! The weather was just too lovely and hot not to be have the close proximity of water to dip into.

Beauty: ventured for my first Turkish blow dry  at the place next to Black & Gold this visit - and it was the best one I’ve ever ever had. I went back two days later to have it done again. It cost seven pounds… Also had a great pedicure there for a similar price. Word of warning though – don’t opt for the Shellac for nails. Last year it took me three months  after returning home to get the final residue of it off my nails. I think it is a different formula or base to the ones offered in the UK.

Next year..... to be honest I felt absolutely bereft leaving Kalkan not knowing if and when we would return. J feels strongly that we shouldn't limit ourselves to one place to return to year after year when there are still so many places we haven't explored yet - and I tend to agree, but it made my heart hurt a bit to do so.

So anyway, we have decided upon Greece for next year's summer holidays. However, this evening when we were just about to book flights for a fortnight in Greece - I tentatively suggested that perhaps we could make it a week that we spent there and also have a break in Kalkan  in October. I then added that I'd managed to find a bargain package that was actually 10 days more or less for the same price and with convenient flight times - and he went for it and we booked it!!!

It will be a different holiday for us. We have always travelled independently and flown with BA staying in either a villa or penthouse- however it does mean that we get to come back to wonderful Kalkan. The one compromise is that I agreed we would have a year off Kalkan in 2020 - which I accepted, however I will work on that!

I know that this forum is largely property owners, but if there is anyone who has previously stayed at the Samira Exclusive, where I've booked for next year, I would be hugely grateful if you could share your experiences.

Many thanks
S x
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Alibobs on October 14, 2018, 10:01:01 PM
I have enjoyed reading your posts - much more succinct than mine , I need to work on less rambling!
We stayed at the Samira Excludive in 2015. I liked the comfort of the hotel, the room we had was on the top floor with a plunge pool, huge space with great bathroom that looked out on to the Rose restaurant! We booked a package through Thomas Cook on that occasion as it was a great deal. We normally travel independently but it was too good to miss. The downside of the Samira for me was the pool. Too many beds, too close together, loud music and lots of noise from the bar staff. We used the Indigo beach club most days instead. Saying that I definitely would stay there again as the plusses far outweighed the negative - I’m just giving my opinion, it certainly has plenty of repeat customers
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Kevin Norwich on October 15, 2018, 05:16:45 AM
Thanks for your holiday summaries, which were extremely entertaining!

From our personal experience, I do not think you will have many regrets about booking the Samira Exclusive for your Kalkan holiday next year. As you know, the hotel is in the perfect location and is spotlessly clean. The hotel staff are friendly, without being overbearing, and take tremendous pride in their work. The rooms and apartments are both modern and comfortable. Breakfasts are tasty and plentiful and very relaxed. The bar prices are extremely competitive too!

The one possible ‘niggle’ is that I did notice some ‘reserving’ of both a subbed and a day bed by some guests. Although not a problem to ourselves (we love to go out exploring most days), it would annoy me if I did want to spend a day by the pool. Saying that, the pool is lovely and the ambience is chilled and the hotel staff would definitely find you a bed from somewhere or perhaps have a discreet word with the ‘offenders’.

I will look forward to reading your reports next year!
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Chris_S on October 15, 2018, 11:34:52 AM
Succinct is fine, Rambling is more insightful and entertaining!

Rambling also gives an excuse to maintain hydration, which is important!
Title: Re: Two Timers
Post by: Sarah S on October 17, 2018, 07:35:42 PM
Thank you for your insight re Samira Exclusive. It wouldn't be my first choice to get a package deal, it was just when looking at flight prices this Thomas Cook bargain seemed like a bargain in comparison. I know lots of people have commented upon flight prices before but for our two visits we have used air miles to secure flights so they have come in at under £100 for the two of us - so it was a shock to see that a charter with terrible flight times and without luggage was £500+. This meant that, as Alibobs said the package bargain felt too good to miss - and it meant that my holiday was all arranged for me to look forward to. I love researching locations to stay and accommodation - but to be honest I'm already trying to do that for our independently booked trip to Greece - and I work as well which tends to get in the way!
Thanks for your insight about the pool, I'm hoping that as it isn't peak season it might not be so busy, but to be honest apart from maybe the odd morning or afternoon, I suspect we will go to our favourite Palm Beach or one of the other beach clubs.
I will be eagerly looking at other peoples experiences on this forum in the lead up to our return visit to Kalkan- so thanks to all those who contribute!
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