Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort

TURKEY RESORTS: Sentido Orka Lotus Beach Resort

*** Pre-note: As I wrote over on my Top 10 tips for choosing an All-Inclusive Resort in Turkey post, all hotels are required to abide by strict rules for reopening and hosting guests. Please visit the Sentido Orka Lotus Resort website for this information as well as up to date prices.

Located in between the city of Marmaris and the beach town of Icmeler, Sentido Orka Lotus Beach Ultra-All Inclusive Resort is the newest kid on the block. Mountains are facing the entrance of the hotel and rooms facing towards the sea; the view is enjoyable either way.  

Built in 2015, the resort has a new and modern feel. Similar to the Grand Yazici Club Turban, the hotel boast of 441 rooms throughout nine blocks. Even though it is significant, the grounds seem smaller than the 31000 m property. 

Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort

While the price is more upscale than the other hotels in town, even more than the standard room at Grand Yazici Club Turban, I found the tastefully styled lobby design for the masses. Summer could mean that there are upwards of 1,500 guests. Most communal areas are high-ceiling, vast and monotonous in design with no pockets of privacy or coziness for reading a book in solitude.  The check-in counter and guest relation desks cover the entire right wall as you enter into the lobby. 

Sentido greets their guests and visitors the best with their welcome treats and drinks. We enjoyed our choice of water or lime drink and possible 10 different types of sweets, from cookies to the traditional Turkish baklava.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort

This bright, airy hotel prides itself on being a vacation resort for the ordinary working people – quality but affordable. Nevertheless, the rooms are all similarly arrange with Sentido colors of a light teal blue and white. The accommodations vary from one bedroom standard or superior rooms, and two bedroom family-style rooms, all accompanied by a balcony but unfortunately no sitting area. There are no luxurious suites or villa type accommodations, but several rooms connect to provide more space for families.  

Rooms:

The air-conditioned accommodations are relaxing, with streamline furniture, plush bedding and calm, neutral colors, phones with data ports, glass-topped desks, tea kettles, flat-screen cable TVs, minibars, safes, modern baths with hair dryers, toiletries, and large mirrors, and balconies. Robes, slippers, and free wireless high-speed internet access are in all rooms, but family rooms benefit from a second flat-screen TV in the additional room. All arrivals receive a welcome tray with snacks and fruit for their stay. 

Cuisine:

The dining room is large, cafeteria-style with colorful, art decorations thoughtfully placed. Breakfast starts from 7:00-10: am, and lunch is from 12:30 – 2:30 and dinner from 7-9, a plentiful buffet including house-made local specialties. For dinner, guests can enjoy one la carte meal of Chinese or Italian during their week stay. Turkish is extra and reservation-only dining. 

Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort
Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort
Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort

Family Friendly:

During the day, the kids club offers programs for ages 4 and up. The best part about a family staying here is the number of areas for kids to enjoy. The six slide water park, the small aqua park for small children, and the 650 meters of private beach. If couples or families want some privacy, for 50 Euros a day (check website for updated prices), they can rent one of the straw-roofed open-aired villas hovering above the sea.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort
Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort
Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort

Entertainment:

In the evenings, guests can enjoy a mix of entertainment, from live music three times a week, beach party, and karaoke. As well, live music serenade guests at the Roof Lounge which offers a magnificent view of the bay area. The mix of wooden archways and flooring contrast with the white chairs and cushion giving it a chic, jazzy feel. The bar is open in the summer months at 7 pm-1:30 am. 

All the extras:

A complete health club, with a hair salon, gym, bio-sauna, steam room, mood showers and treatment rooms for massage, supplements the pool. Like most all-inclusive resorts, doctor, spa, fitness area, beauty center are all available at an extra cost.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort
Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort
Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort

Room service runs nonstop, and the young staff is hospitable, helpful, and professional catering to guests as needed.

How to get there:

The Dalaman Airport sits 1.5-hour drive from the hotel, and the hotel arranges for transportation for a fee. While we had a car, buses to Marmaris run every 10 minutes for 3 TL that guests can catch at the entrance of the resort. For cars, free parking is available at the back of the hotel.

While Sentido is new to Marmaris, the Orka Lotus brand is not. This is the first combined brand hotel of Sentido Orka Lotus Beach Resort of their kind, working together to serve vacationers from all over the world. 

Some final and personal thoughts:

For $140- $200 a night for a standard all-inclusive stay, I felt that this hotel could have been overpriced for couples. But for families, this sounds like a deal! The water park alone is worth the cost of this hotel. Parents can enjoy their sun-bathing while watching their kids enjoy the water activities and never have to leave the hotel!

CONS

The location is just far enough outside of Marmaris that it would be a little frustrating to ‘hop into town.’ Expect a good 20-minute ride to the city center and 30-40 TL for a taxi.  For an inexpensive option, the buses can also take you as well.

High season means the hotel can get up to 1,500 guests and over 400 staff.

While the pool is a decent size, I found the largest pool to be smaller than other pools provided by resorts about the same size. However, there are several pools to choose from as well as the beachfront.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orka Resort

PROS

This resort has the longest private beach of 650 meters which means everyone can have a little piece of the sea to themselves. 

The hotel sits on the walking/bike path built from Marmaris to Icmeler. If time, guest can enjoy a run, walk, or bike ride to either city for a few hours. 

***Disclaimer*** For my travel article, I received a tour of the hotel and grounds. Other than a complimentary lunch, I did not receive any complimentary services, upgrades, or accommodations during our time at the hotel. I did not personally stay at this hotel. All opinions are my own.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

TURKEY RESORTS: Grand Yazici Club Turban

*** Pre-note: As I wrote over on my Top 10 tips for choosing an All-Inclusive Resort in Turkey post, all hotels are required to abide by strict rules for reopening and hosting guests. Please visit the Grand Yazici Club Turban website for this information.

After reviewing three all-inclusive 5-star resorts in Marmaris area, I can tell you without a doubt that my interactions with the Grand Yazici Club Turban and their staff were by far my favorite. 

Travel writing looks different in Turkey. Typical professional courtesy emails don’t always get through to the correct representative. I have considered translating my emails in Turkish (as not all ‘English’ speakers are created equal as well). Plus, Turkish hotels (unless they are a large chain), are more accessible and happier to communicate with over the phone. 

However, Club Turban had no issues responding to my emails. Jülide at guest relations was terrific, easy and quick to communicate with via email. 

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive
Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

On the west edge of Marmaris city starts a chain of beachfront resorts and hotels; the first hotel you will see is the Grand Yazici Club Turban. If you want the night-life of Marmaris with the privacy and luxury of a resort, this is the perfect location. 

Built in the 70s, it is the first resort in this strip of the area. Turban, the owner, asked to build on the once government protected land to host future conferences and governmental workers. Since Turban has passed away, the family business has continued under the brother and sister duo; the brother is owning the one class up Club Turban, and the sister possessing the nearby Grand Marmaris Palace. Both are only open seasonally, usually March to October. In the winter, guest can enjoy snowy wintery activities while staying in the family’s smaller 18-room hotel in Uludag.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

The hotel only looks like it has been here much longer than its 30 years because the hundreds of tall pine trees scattered throughout the grounds give it an earthy, old neighborhood feel. The hotel was very strategic about building around the existing trees, even to the point where balconies and roofs created holes and corners to allow for their lean into the buildings. 

The 459 room resort provides several types of accommodations; 224 of which are villas. Whatever style room, you would like, they most likely have. 

The Main Rooms: Our room was located in the main building which two years ago was considered the adult-only section of the resort. Now open to any guest, the main building rooms range from 40 m standard rooms to the 210 m Presidential suite: standard room, one bedroom Suites, two-bedroom suites for families, all with balconies facing towards the resort and thermal pool.

Villas are available as well.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

Arrival by car, we were greeted warmly in English by the gate staff, and our car was taken for parking. I am still unsure where the car was parked but there was no need to worry about it, and it is included in your cost.  After the quick check-in, we received our bracelets and information sheets with the services information and a map of the 41,000 meters grounds. The concierge, Huseyin, a 20-year employee of Grand Yazici who works at the winter hotel in Uludag and in the summers here, kindly showed us to our room. 

To our surprise, a beautiful arranged tray of fresh fruits, nuts, dried fruit and cookies accompanied with wine and whiskey were delivered to our room. For marine and executive rooms, extra included services are given such as breakfast to the room upon request, a baby buggy, and flowers upon arrival. For those living the ultra luxurious life, services such as a butler, golf car, and private pavilion are available for a fee. 

Guests have the option of 6 different pools located throughout the grounds; including a ‘relax pool’ for guests over the age of 14 years old, indoor heated pool, a thermal water pool, and a special children’s pool and slides. Otherwise, private 330-meter beach comes set up with sun loungers and umbrellas for guests every morning.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive
Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

One will never go hungry here. The main restaurant serves breakfast, late breakfast (which makes me think of the hobbits and their 2nd breakfasts), lunch, dinner, and even a midnight Soup (which we never stay up late enough for).  As well, there are snack bars, coffee breaks, and early lunch and supper options for children.

Outside of the central area, guests can enjoy the pool bar, beach bar, my favorite – the Coffee Corner, and the kids favorite, the Lemon Cafe, where they can get free ice cream whenever they want.  Week-long guest receives one included al la carte meal from either the Chinese Restaurant or the Kebab House. The La Pergola Italian Restaurant, Mavi Seafood Restaurant, and the newly opened Steak House are all extra cost.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive
Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

During the day, Mini Club programs run all day for ages 4 and up. Babysitters are available for younger ages at an extra cost. 

As well, entrance to the Turkish Baths, Steam room, and Fitness are included with additional services at a fee. In the evenings, guests can enjoy a mix of entertainment, from 9 PM entertainment show like magic or acrobatics, live music every night at 9:30, and on the weekends alternating Disco and “White dress” parties. Like most all-inclusive resorts, doctor, spa, fitness area, beauty center are all available at an extra cost.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

Repeat guest receive priority and perks like booking for al la carte restaurants and discounts for all spa services. 

The Dalaman Airport caters to guests heading to Marmaris area and this hotel. If needed, the hotel arranges transfers to the hotel. While we had a car, there is a mini bus to Marmaris that guests can catch at the entrance of the resort every 10 minutes for 3 TL.

If you are interested in this hotel for a large conference. The Club Turban has the largest in the area fitting over a 1,000 in the main area. The large room can be split into 3 smaller rooms and customizable services are provided as needed for your conference. 

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

Some final and personal thoughts:

For $110 a night for a standard all-inclusive stay, I felt that this hotel is worth every penny. 

Their goal is to make the guests “holidays unforgettable and happiest time by providing high-level service.” 

CONS: 

Being a large resort means that it also comes with lots of guests. Upward of 1,800 people can be on the property in the peak of high season. Other than the crowds of meal times, the noise around the grounds is minimal. 

While the colors were neutral tones, I found the sitting room set to be dated. Out of all that, it wasn’t a deterrent from going back, which we did by the way. Being a 40-year-old hotel, that is really impressive.

Most rooms do not have a view of the sea, but for us, it wasn’t necessary. 

PROS: 

Our suite was one bedroom and one sitting room with two bathrooms. The rooms were amazingly spacious with room for our clothes and bags to be tucked away out of site.  I love being able to unpack at a hotel. Always makes it homier when you can empty your luggage. 

The AC is self-regulated, and each room comes with a ceiling fans. I LOVE BOTH of these things, and I loved that BOTH of them worked well.

The showers have on-demand hot water and excellent water pressure. This gal with thick hair loves BOTH of these things when she has to wash her hair.

Travels Marmaris Turkey Grand Yazici Hotel All-Inclusive

Because of the trees, shaded sitting areas where plentiful given us space to work and relax outside and away from the sun (which my white skin does not like). 

The size of the hotel means they can provide the best entertainment and services for their guest.  This property is fantastic for families because the hotel offers suites with a sitting area for families to enjoy together. As well, the evening activities are for both families and couples. Heads up though, not all of the entertainment starts until late May or June.

Now I need to know…

Have you stayed at this resort before?

What did you think?

What is your favorite or not favorite part of staying here?

***Disclaimer*** For my travel article, I received a tour of the hotel and grounds. I also received a discounted stay with a complimentary upgrade to a suite in the main building.  As well, we enjoy an Al la carte dinner with the guest relations personnel, Jülide, at the Chinese Restaurant. However, regardless, all opinions are my own.

Marmaris Turkey Marti Resort

TURKEY RESORTS: 10 tips for picking an all-inclusive resort in Turkey

I hesitated to post this. It may seem an odd time to read about all-inclusive resorts but I wrote this series a while back and still find it applicable as hotels are reopening! Also, I have added an extra 11th tip just for the COVID-19 rules here in Turkey!

(ALSO, stay tuned for the 3 all-inclusive resorts I would recommend in the Marmaris location! Those 3 posts will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks!)

Maybe you got here by googling “Should I stay in an all-inclusive resort in Turkey?” If so, you are in the right spot.  Here I share my top 10 tips for staying at an all-inclusive resort in Turkey. Keep reading to see if you are the type of person that should even stay in an all-inclusive type place!  

If you are like me at all, a go-getter, maximizer, see all you can ‘vacationer,’ then this post is maybe not for you. BUT WAIT A MINUTE! If you are the yang to my ying, like my husband who loves to stay in one place for as long as possible, this could help you understand your other half a bit.

Staying at an all-inclusive hotel is NOT MY usual go-to vacation, but it is SO incredibly popular in Turkey with foreigners AND Turks alike. 

Marmaris Turkey Sentido Resort

The foreigners, mostly Brits/UK and Russian, want to come warm up from the eternal winter that should now be spring. They bask in the sun getting the worst sunburns I have ever seen.  They could care less about anything in Turkey except pouring mass amounts of vitamin D into their bodies. 

Turks on the other hand, women in particular, want to get away for the week and NOT COOK ONE SINGLE THING. While this stigma is changing, so many Turkish women still cook daily elaborate family meals FROM SCRATCH. My Turkish friend explains it to me, “I just want to go relax and have someone else cook for us.”

So, all-inclusive resorts are their salvation providing both non-stop sun in the summer and meals made by others.

But not all 5-star all-inclusive resorts are created equal… BY FAR. 

I spent hours making a list of 5-star hotels in the Marmaris region and then strategically went through them. I checked pictures of the room, the property, the services, and prices. I was also writing a couple of articles on the websites and my own. So I spent the appropriate amount of time researching. 

Now having stayed or toured four different resorts, I want to share with you my 10 tips for staying at an all-inclusive resort in Turkey:

1. Not all 5-star hotels are created equal. 

   Do your research. Ask your neighbors, friends, etc. In Turkey, you go on verbal recommendations. It is the best way to find the best resort anywhere. 

2. All-inclusive means food and drinks (plus the minibar). It does NOT mean all the services.

   Yeah, you are thinking, “of course, Catie, you should know that” but at the same time it’s hard to figure out what IS and IS NOT included on your ‘all’-inclusive pass. Yes, the mini bar in your room is included… no, room service is not. Yes, enjoy the sauna and Turkish bath…. but you must reserve your spot beforehand. 

But usually, there is a beautiful little tea time with, of course, tea, but also little treats to ‘tide you over’ until the dinner buffet.

Marmaris Turkey Marti Resort

3. Just to add to #2, you get all the alcohol you want. (***disclaimer, drink responsibly)

 Jason and I aren’t huge drinkers; we enjoy an occasional wine or beer. If you are a big drinker or just want to enjoy a cocktail any time of day without judgment because you can, this is your go-to place. Alcohol can be expensive in Turkey, so an all-inclusive stay is worth it depending on the amount of alcohol you wish to consume.  Although technically you could do that in your vacation, you just may not have all the ingredients to have a margarita one day and a martini the next.

4. All-inclusive does not mean secluded. 

   Yes, your resort may be on the beach and yes, the pictures may only show ten people enjoy a 1,300-meter pool. In reality, there are usually 100s of people at the same resort during the same time you are there. Fortunately, the resorts are well planned out and are good at creating space for guest to give the illusion of fewer people around. My advice? If you are not a fan of lots of people on your same vacation, a resort may not be for you.

Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orkas Resort

5. Check the kid programs. Not all kids program and activities are created equal.

   Depending on the ages of your kids and how much you actually want to see them, make sure to check out what the resort offers. Club Turban has childcare program most of the day and even night parties for kids such as Disco Night. Smaller resorts(like Marti resorts) provide shorter intervals of childcare – morning and afternoon 2-hour activities from ages 4 and up.  (P.S. – Maybe sure to check if ice cream is included!!!)

6. Heck. Check the general entertainment programs! 

   Lots of hotels provide movies, game rooms, and daily activities. Others provide dolphin shows and acrobatic/magic shows for all ages. Even better, the weekends usually mean there are themed dance parties for the guests!

7. Languages: But I don’t know Turkish!

   Who cares? About 90% of the guest don’t either. Most of the staff can communicate basic needs and requests in English (which I will say that other guests may also not know!).  Be brave, suck it up, and figure out how to communicate via charades, if necessary, what you need.

8. To Valet or not to Valet? 

   Out of the three hotels, only one of the hotels did valet service every time, and it’s generally because parking is so limited. I am not sure where we would even park, but thanks to them, we didn’t have to worry about it. We also did not tip them. GASSSSPPPP. Well one, they were so crazy busy that we hardly had time to say thank you before they were on to the next guest. Two, that is what they are paid to do.

Marmaris Turkey Marti Resort

9. Do I need to tip? 

   A tip is different in every country. In Turkey, it is only expected more in touristy places because other foreigners have come before continuing to tip like they were back home. It is usually not necessary to do so, but it never hurts to give the valet or bellman a 5 TL tip here and there. Generally, room service staff do not get paid as well and if you can leave a tip at the end of the week stay, it is much appreciated. However, I am never sure if it actually gets shared or given to the right people. I can almost guarantee this is a foreigner idea and not usually practiced by Turks. 

10. The laundry scheme. 

   Want to know what the most expensive thing is at the hotel? Laundry. At 4 Euros for pants and 2 Euros to clean a shirt, you are better off doing your laundry in town… or just bring enough clothes. Nope, laundry is NOT included. 

   Seriously, Jason and I try to pack light. We also pick apartment-style accommodations when we travel for the soul purpose of having a washing machine to use when we want. What can I say, I love some clean clothes. And so do you – even if you don’t like doing laundry. Our recent trip of one week was extended for three more days which is just long enough to push us over the edge of needed to wash clothes (think exercise, running, yucky clothes). So instead of using the resorts laundry service, I took a bag full of clothes to the local laundromat and paid for a load. One shirt and one pant cost the same as washing all my clothes in town. Not overly convenient? No, but I enjoyed an afternoon in town while saving some money on cleaning my clothes. If money is not an issue, just use the resort’s laundry service. 

BONUS: Bring your own snorkels and floaties! With our travel schedule, we didn’t think we would have time for it, but we definitely did! We regret not bringing our water stuff!

11. COVID-19 times:

Turkey has been one of the strictest when it comes to pre-cautions for preventing the spread of COVID-19. I should know – my family has now been until 9 consecutive weekend lockdowns. Our daughter is still only allowed out at certain times during the week…

As hotels have just started to reopen as of June 1, every establishment must undergo strict health and safety measures before reopening as well as continue to abide by government set rules. For example, each occupied room must go several days between occupants for thorough cleaning and airing out. Please consult your hotel of choice to see what rules must be followed, and/or check the hotel website for information (some hotels are still working on posting this information).

So those were my 10 tips for staying at an all-inclusive hotel in Turkey.  

Marmaris Turkey Sentido Orkas Resort

Final thoughts, is it worth it? 

– If staying at an all-inclusive place for a week is on your bucket list, there is no better place to consider than Turkey. The prices here beat any other tropical area resort, and the staff is extremely warm and friendly.

– If you are an expat living in Turkey, a resort will give you the feel of traveling to a foreign country without having to pay to leave Turkey. Score for not having to take a plane to feel like you left the country.

– If you are a large family with active kids that love being outdoors wanting to enjoy an easy vacation on a budget, resorts are perfect for you because there is something for every member. 

Are you an all-inclusive resort-type traveler?

What tips can you add?

Let me know why YOU love spending your vacation here.