Saturday, 29 October 2016

Third visit to Icmeler

Listening to the news it's understandable that people are nervous about visiting Turkey, no-one wants to be in a troubled place, but it's a very large country and Icmeler is at it's most south west point. You only go to that part of Turkey to get to the town, it's not a through way to anywhere else.

We have been to Paris and Brussels, both much nearer to home, and we were not far from Nice this summer, no-one knows what will happen. That being said we were quite prepared not to go to Turkey should any warnings be given but we are so so glad we did - it really is a beautiful place.

This was our third visit to Sentido Sea Star hotel - the first in 2014 when the hotel was new and last year when the hotel was 100% full as it was an immediate 'must stay at' for many Icmeler visitors. Many people who had been staying in the town for years soon chose a holiday at Sea Star.

View over the pool to the dining area - our
room was second balcony down on the left
You can read about those holidays here;  2014 Icmeler the place to relax  -  2015 Beautiful Icmeler

As we travelled the same week each year we knew the flight and transfer times which made our journey quite smooth and easy - although I think the pilot on the way out was new as every turn he made he then had to compensate a little the other way, It was the same with up and down in altitude - I wasn't feeling my best for the last hour in the air !!

Landing at Dalaman it's just under two hours to Icmeler - mainly due to dropping other holiday makers off at hotels in Marmaris which is a bigger town just before Icmeler. The first part of the journey is through Dalaman passing shops, schools and beautiful mosques. After which the road passes through countryside as far as the sea at Akyaka before turning south over the mountains. The view into Marmaris is spectacular, the town being on the east side of a bay with Icmeler on the west. The bay is curved 240 degrees with mountains all around and just one sea route in and out for boats.

From the air - Icmeler is the bay around the small island in the centre of the
photo, Marmaris is where the light dots are and you can just see the sea at
Akyaka in the distance on the right - lovely to fly over on the way home.
This year we had room 421 - one of the end rooms looking straight out to sea. It has a beautiful balcony with glass panels so you can see all the pool, the promenade, the beach and the town. The room has dual aspect patio doors with the balcony wrapping round to join both, perfect as the sun goes down to move round too.

View from our sea facing balcony
Sea Star is an immaculate hotel, everywhere is clean and the staff work so hard. Our room was cleaned every day with fresh towels and a restocked complimentary minibar. The bathroom has an amazing walkin shower with rain shower head as well as the conventional hand held/wall mounted shower hear. The decor, the facilities and the shower certainly help to make it a relaxing holiday.

A welcome from our room maid
Our welcome gift


We were greeted like family by Melis and the hotel staff, it really felt like coming home. As we checked in the lounge barman served everyone with refreshing non-alcoholic cocktails and the bell boy seemed to take everyone to their rooms without anyone waiting in reception. We certainly felt looked after from the moment we arrived.


There was a welcome gift in our room with a lovely letter thanking returning guests. Turkish wine is not at all like wines we are used to, it can appear to be a little 'rough' but is quite enjoyable if chilled first.


We certainly enjoyed our welcome bottle, accompanied by nuts, and dried fruit, whilst enjoying the view from our balcony - relaxed already!


We are not really beach or pool holiday makers, I find it quite uncomfortable to lie on a sunlounger to read and being in the direct sun for long doesn't suit me either. Mehmet is an absolute star looking after the beach and the pool area; sunlounger cushions appear as soon as you arrive and he is an expert on when to put the umbrella up, very much appreciated even on our short visits to the beach. As this was our third trip to Icmeler we had no reason to do lots of sightseeing either. However our week flew by and was quite busy.

To the side of the pool is a covered area with tables and chairs, perfect for sitting in the shade reading (or sewing) whilst enjoying a morning coffee. In the afternoon this is the snack bar area where pizzas, burgers and other snacks are served. The bar is always with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks served non-stop; the mornings often flew by with lunch being served in what seemed like five minutes since breakfast.

The dining room and pool side dining area are kept so clean, the staff are always cleaning, dressing and setting the tables but as with the bell boy you don't notice, it's all done so efficiently and quietly. Breakfast is served 6 - 10 with a late breakfast after, lunch 12- 2 followed by dinner at 7 (with the snack bar open all afternoon) so it is a consistent set up and clear down - our waiter for the week was Sercan, a lovely young lad who remember everyone's preferences which for me was to enjoy a Turkish coffee after lunch and dinner.


Over the week we enjoyed an Italian themed dinner, a Turkish themed dinner and an A La Carte dinner. The first two were as all meals served buffet style but with additional dishes.

I love Turkish night as the tables are laid with beautiful Turkish cloths and the food includes wrapped vine leaves, kofta, baklava and Chef has a full kebab cooking on the outside grill.


The A La Carte meal was available to guests for one of their dinners per stay, we decided to enjoy ours mid way through our holiday. The A La Carte tables are set up on the opposite side of the pool to the main restaurant and is a served meal. It was a four course meal with a cold, then hot starter, a main (we both chose beef and it was superb) and dessert, all served by the lovely Sal who is a credit to the hotel.

It was 'wine tasting' on the night of our special meal, a little surprising in being just one bottle of rose for guests to try, but a very nice aperitif for our dinner.

Wine tasting
Our hot starter
Olive oil cake dessert
Icmeler is a stroll away, along a wide flat promenade past the other large prestigious hotels, although we noticed this year some had already closed for the seasons and most were also quite quiet. The restaurant, shop and boat hire chaps are so friendly, always asking if you'd like a drink or to buy but never pushy if you refuse. I do feel a little sorry for them as it must have been a tough year.

This year we wandered a little further into the town to Old Town, although I think there was still more further down the road. I just couldn't resist two new handbags and new slippers but this year we did resist buying more mosaic items, they are beautiful but we have quite a few pieces from our previous holidays.

We also took the small ferry boat to Turunc, a smaller village just round the bay. It's lovely on the little boat sailing along though the cliffs. Turunc is like a very small Icmeler but closer to the sea with variety of bars along the beach, a row of shops behind and hotels climbing up the hills, one even has it's on vernacular railway.

View from Turunc beach
Looking out to sea
The hotel has two cats, or rather the two cats have the hotel as they are in fact wild. They wander around the pool area and the outdoor dining tables, however they do not jump on the chairs or tables, and they do not enter the actual hotel. Some guests give them tip bits and if invited they will sit on the outdoor sofas for some fuss. Last year the ginger cat seemed to be my constant friend if I was outside. He even arrived the morning we left to say good bye.

We'd been outside no more than two hours before he came to us, no noise just sitting by, another warm welcome back. At night he'd find us and sit on the sofas, or if I called he'd come running. He did have a few other favourite guests and some nights chose their company. Our last night he at with us all evening, the next morning whilst enjoying a final coffee he just appeared, let me pick him up for a few minutes fuss then calmly walked away. He's a lovely creature who I hope will stay safe over the winter (he already has a few bits missing on his ears and this year had a scratch on his nose)

My hotel friend
This holiday really is our chill down before coming home for the winter. The view from our room is something I will never tire of - the way the hills roll into the sea, the sun coming up, the sky turning red reflecting the sunset behind us and in the moonlight. It is just stunning.

Even on a cloudy day the view is amazing 
Sun rise 
Sunset
Moonlight


Thank you Sea Star for another amazing holiday - we are missing the hotel, the view and all the staff already. It certainly is a special place where time doesn't matter and we can really relax.

Another great time in Turkey 

5 comments:

  1. A lovely looking hotel, Clare and it sounds as if you and Nick had a great relaxing stay.

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  2. It is lovely, and yes we did, thanks Mary

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  3. Your photographs are lovely of the trip, the towel swans are spectacular... hope you are practicing doing them at home!!

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  4. Thanks Julie, the towel art work is amazing, we had hearts, a dog and swans. It's always such a shame to spoil them when we wanted a shower!

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  5. we had a lovely 2 weeks at the Sea Start,this may 2016,,have booked a return,for 2 weeks may 2017 cant wait..

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I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment