“ Address: Tilkiler Mevkii / Erhan Demir Boulevard / PO Box 6 / Colakli / Turkey „
In August my friend and I spent a week in Turkey in an attempt to top up our tans after the disappointing British summer weather here. We booked the holiday back in May in order to give us something to look forward to and selected Turkey as it was the cheapest place to visit during the rather highly priced summer holidays. Neither of us had visited Turkey before and as we wanted a quiet and relaxing holiday we weren't overly fussed about where we stayed as long as the hotel was of a high standard and it wasn't too expensive. We ended up staying in a resort called Colakli which is located around ten miles to the west of the larger tourist resort Side. Colakli is found in the Antalya region which overlooks the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey and it sounded ideal for our holiday. The resort itself is very peaceful and quite small; it's mainly dominated by hotels which are located right on the seafront. The transfer time from the airport is around an hour and you would fly into the Antalya airport from the UK.
The Alba Queen hotel belongs to the Alba chain of hotels which is a very small chain as it only has four hotels. The Alba Queen along with the Alba Resort and the Alba Royal hotels are all located next to each other on the seafront in Colakli. We selected the Alba Queen hotel as it's the newest of the three hotels, having been open for less than two years. The hotel consists of one two large buildings which are connected to each other and it's a medium sized hotel; it has 112 standard rooms, 48 superior rooms and 100 family suites. In terms of appearance the outside of the hotel is quite grand, as seems to be the case with the majority of the hotels we saw during our visit to Turkey, and is predominantly white in colour. The two main buildings run parallel to each other with a large pool in the centre and if you're lucky enough to get a room at the back of the hotel you'll find you have a beach view as we did. The outside of the hotel was really new looking and there were no signs of wear and tear.
We were lucky enough to get a superior room during our stay (due to a problem when we first arrived which I'll go into shortly) which meant that our balcony overlooked the Mediterranean sea. The room had a dark wooden floor and cream walls with expensive looking bed spreads, curtains and pictures giving it quite a modern feel. It was very spacious with two twin beds, a small seating area, a large wardrobe, a large dressing table, a wall mounted flat screen television and a free mini bar that was restocked everyday (soft drinks only). The bathroom was very modern and looked brand new with all the usual amenities. The electronic safe was available for a small charge while the air conditioning was free and we'd have been lost without it! The air conditioning was absolutely superb; within about ten minutes we could get our room to resemble a fridge very nearly! Overall we couldn't fault the room at all, it was probably one of the nicest rooms I've ever stayed in and the maids kept it spotless everyday.
The main restaurant was located on the lowest level of the hotel and was probably just a little bit small for the number of guests in the hotel. As it was all inclusive it meant that all the meals were included and a couple of times we found we had to wait a few minutes for a table. Breakfast consisted of cereals, fresh fruit and hot options (although the hot options consisted of gruel, deep fried broccoli and other delicacies most days)! Lunch and dinner were very similar with there being a large salad bar, soups, pasta options, fresh fish, fresh meat, vegetables, etc. everyday. The food was the only area this hotel really fell down on as it was very repetitive, with chicken being the fresh meat on five of our seven nights there. By the end of the holiday we were definitely ready to come home and I'd have to say that the food only really deserved three stars. The restaurant was always kept spotless but we did find some of the waiters to be quite rude and that you had to wait up to fifteen minutes to order a drink too!
There were also two a la carte restaurants which you could visit once a week for every week of your stay. The outside one was a fish restaurant which we didn't visit but we did visit the Thai restaurant and it was lovely. We found the service to be excellent and the food to be absolutely delicious and freshly cooked in front of you too! In addition there was a pool bar which served drinks throughout the day and hot food (chips, burgers, pizzas, wraps, etc) as well as salads and a beach bar that did the same too. We preferred to eat lunch here as actually found the food to be better, one day I had a delicious Mediterranean vegetable wrap which was far nicer than anything in the restaurant! Drinks could be obtained from these two bars as well as the main bar in the hotel which was open throughout the day and located near to the pool. All soft drinks and typical alcoholic drinks were on offer and I'm glad to say that they had proper coke and sprite too which was a bit of a relief from what I've had before!
The pool was surrounded by sun beds and the area was kept spotlessly clean. The pool itself was always really warm and there were four water slides which could be used for free by both adults and children. We absolutely loved these and went on them nearly everyday! The only downside to the pool was that there weren't enough sunbeds and people got up as early as 6am to reserve them, you had to stay with your beds until 8am but after that they were yours for the day. If you left towels on them the night before the hotel staff would remove them before 8am. We got up one day at 7.30am and found there were hardly any beds left at all and no parasols so we didn't bother again! The beach was accessed via a path through landscaped gardens; it took about two minutes to reach the beach from the hotel so it wasn't far at all. The hotel had its own area with sun beds and parasols, there were always plenty available here and we opted to come down to the beach due to the slight sea breeze during the day.
In general the staff we encountered during our holiday were really friendly and always helpful. The only exception to this were the staff in the main restaurant as they appeared to be quite brusque, especially as it was meant to be table service in the main restaurant as there was no bar in there to help yourself - we ended up waiting for ages some nights to be brought our drinks! Apart from that everyone was really nice, some of the barmen were a little "overly" friendly should we say but that never really bothered us. The cleaners kept the hotel spotlessly clean throughout our stay and the same with our room, we really couldn't find fault with them. The only issue we had with the hotel was on our first night when we arrived at about 2am to be told that our room wasn't ready and we would have to stay in a family room for that night and then move the following morning. As you can imagine we were far from happy but the staff really were most apologetic and gave us a free upgrade, free safe, free bathrobes, etc.
We didn't tend to have much to do with the animation team, evening entertainment or the kids club but there did seem to be things going on throughout the day and night. There was a fully functional kids club that kept children busy from lunch time through to late evening while the animation team seemed to offer the same for adults with some beach and pool games going on everyday. As for the evening entertainment we only ventured to the "amphitheatre" once and can't say we were overly impressed but there again they were catering for a range of nationalities and I wouldn't want there job one bit! The only other thing to mention about the hotel is the spa which is one of the largest spas I've ever seen in a hotel. It wasn't overly cheap but we did haggle and managed to get about 20 euros off our treatments; we opted for a Turkish Bath on our first day there to exfoliate our skin and it was amazing! I'd thoroughly recommend it; we had four treatments for just 35 euros each so quite a bargain!
The hotel is situated about a five minute walk from the nearest bars, restaurants and shops. It was only a small area and there wasn't the largest amount to choose from, mainly because the majority of the hotels were all inclusive so there wasn't much demand. There were quite a number of shops selling leather goods and jewellery at very reasonable prices, but the tour rep did tell us to haggle as they would often knock around a third off the set prices. There wasn't really much in the way of culture or nightlife, if you wanted those then you had to take a small trip to one of the nearby towns such as Side. There were a number of shops offering different excursions would take you to the surrounding area for quite a small price. We did two trips during our stay, one into Side (which I would not recommend due to the heat in August) and a boat trip as well which was wonderful and that we both really enjoyed. We booked ours through the travel reps although it would have been cheaper to do it directly.
In conclusion I can't really fault the majority of the hotel's features in terms of cleanliness, location and amenities. The only place it really falls down is the food which we didn't think was anywhere near the five star standard it claimed to be, more like a basic three star at best. We paid around £500 each for a week at this hotel on an all inclusive basis but it was during the school summer holidays which probably increased the prices quite dramatically. I personally wouldn't go back to this hotel as I feel we've seen all the area has to offer and I didn't really rate the food. If you could get this for around the £400 mark then I'd say you were getting a good deal, but I wouldn't expect too much in terms of the food. This hotel gets three stars from me, it looses one and a half for the food and another half due to the lack of sun beds around the pool. Saying that, right now I'd give as many stars as I could if it meant I could go back there for another week of relaxation away from the impending winter!
Thanks for reading.