Side, Turkey: Voyage Sorgun – hotel’s review

Hello after a New Year!

I complained a bit in the last entry, so here, in turn, I’m gonna admire 🙂

Last October I went with my daughter for a “womanish” break to the „Voyage” hotel in Side. In Antalya province, there was still pretty warm – during the daytime the temperature used to reach 30 degrees. Nights were a bit colder than in summer. Then we shouldn’t be surprised, that  the season in Southern Turkey closes in the middle of November 🙂

„Voyage Hotel” is recommended by the whole family of my Husband. It has its headquarters in various strategic places of the seaside:
Belek (Antalya province);
Bodrum (Muğla province);
Torba (Bodrum, Muğla province);
Türbükü (Goltürbükü, Bodrum, Muğla province);

… and the one I’m gonna write about – VOYAGE SORGUN (Side/Manavgat, Antalya province).

voyage

First of all – how to get there?:

For traveling from abroad and those who constantly live in Turkey, I recommend booking a flight to Antalya Airport. In AYT the various Turkish airplanes land, such as Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, OnurAir, Sun Express, Anadolu Jet or Atlas Global. Many foreign airlines use to arrive there as well, for example, Germania, Nordwind Airlines, Norwegian, Singapore Airlines, SAS, Royal Air, etc… If you travel from Poland, you can enter the website of travel offices, such as Rainbow or TUI and choose your charter ticket. Rainbow used to sell tickets just in the season (April-October), but TUI offers charter flights throughout the year.

However, if you live too close to Antalya to get there by airplane, you can take your car or use the popular bus companies, such as Pamukkale and Kamil Koç (unfortunately, the websites are only in Turkish). Sometimes the buses go directly to the hotels (but in this case you need to deal with a driver in advance!).

But after a flight, you need to get from the AYT airport to Side! The journey takes about one hour. It’s hard for me to recommend the best transfer company, but we ordered Kıraç Turizm. Their webpage is led in Turkish, English and German. You can type, how many adults, kids, and also babies will go with you and order a specific amount of car seats. The places are quite convenient, we didn’t have any problems with a lack of space for legs 🙂 In the screenshot below you can see the exemplary prices for each car. In brackets next to the type of transfer, there’s written the maximum amount of passengers to be taken.

screen kıraç

About a hotel…

„Voyage Sorgun” is situated near the beach – 15 minutes by walk from the historical center of Side (or 5 minutes by a special bus taking passengers directly to the hotels). Although, because of their facilities, you don’t even have to exit the hotel, I highly recommend taking one day for walking around. To those, who aren’t enough after Side, I can offer taking minibus which will pick you up to the waterfall in Manavgat. The journey takes around 45 minutes.

Why have I told, you don’t have to exit the hotel while your stay? There’s actually everything, what you need. Let’s start with gastronomy. Here we have:
– the main restaurant with a buffet changing the menu depending on the time of day;
– „Cuisine 24” restaurant opened 24/7 with very friendly staffs (Mr. Ömer is able to speak in virtually any popular language 😀 );
– and other theme restaurants, eg. Turkish, Greek, Chinese, Italian…
Moreover, there’s also confectionery, summer cafe, and a beach bar. The interesting thing is, it doesn’ matter how much you eat or drink. Everything is included in a price (except Japanese restaurant and Steak House).

From the entertainment, there’s a wide choice of swimming pools. You can use also a free gym, hammam, or take a part in fitness classes or aqua aerobic (led by a nice instructor called Eylem). Various events, animations, and concerts are organized. You can find some shops nearby the hotel (but they’re illogically expensive) and a mailbox. You may also take an extra paid massage or order professional photos, eg. with parrots (one digital photo is “just” 20 euro).

The rooms are in a high standard and regularly kept clean. There’re single rooms or family suites available. Each of them has their own toilet, shower, balcony with a table, access to WiFi and TV. Everything in your fridge (unlike in most of the hotels) is included in a price.

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And for children? 

1) Baby cot: The first facility, which should be the minimum in hotels, is the infant bed. A travel cot set by staff is brought to your room up to one hour after arrival. The bedding is kept clean regularly (although the housekeeping staff took my Daughter’s duvet away twice and they forgot to give a new one – so, you’d better keep your eye on it).

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2) Serving the table: It doesn’t matter, where you decide to eat your meal with the baby beside – the staff offers a highchair with disposable bibs and wet wipes included. In the main restaurant and „Cuisine 24” you can also take a baby jar with a meal or a dessert. However, as I mentioned in the „Baby shopping in Turkey” article, the choice of those jars is very poor in Turkey. If your child turns one soon, you can choose proper food from the menu of the restaurant. I highly recommend drinking an orange freshly squeezed juice together.

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3) Kiddie pools: There are three swimming pools, your Toddler can swim in (with parents) – two outdoor pools and one indoor. The first outdoor one is bigger, divided into two parts. A shallow area is around 30cm deep, and the deeper area is 40cm. Usually, children make their first contacts there sharing toys (or not 🙂 ). Another outdoor pool is located near the Mini Club. It’s smaller than a previous one, but there are already slides, mushroom, and dolphin flowing down the water. The indoor swimming pool is situated inside the SPA area. Its depth is 40 cm. A very nice facility for parents is the possibility of taking a few swim diapers for free in the beach towel collection point. The blue ones are in the 3/4 size, and the yellow ones – 5/6 size.

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4) Mini Club: The place, where Bibi could spend the whole day 🙂 You can enter Mini Club (after calling by intercom) through the outdoor part surrounded by three buildings. In the first building, there’s a trampoline, a ball pool and a variety of toys, eg. kitchen set or blocks. In the second building, there’s a TV room. The third building is two-storeyed. On the ground floor, the various workshops take place, for example drawing or modeling with play dough. There are toilets next to the workshop room. Upstairs, children can take a nap in the bedroom. There’re a few beds available and there’s also a changing table for infants. Outdoor you can find a mini-reception of the Mini Club, in which the animators have the equipment to lead workshops, paints for making masks, and a computer they play music from. There are also toys like cars for riding, basketball court and tables with chairs. The child up to the age of three/four (depends, how independent they already are) can enter Mini Club only with the parent/guardian – however, you can count on the help of friendly animators. An elder toddler doesn’t have to be accompanied by a parent anymore. Last year the animators spoke Turkish, English, Russiam, Ukrainian and some of them even Polish and German. Here I’d like to greet Natalia, Oksana, Masha, and Kübra 🙂

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The little gift, Bibi has gotten from Animators before her departure

5) Playground: Nearby Mini Club you can find the outdoor playground. There’re common toys, such as sandpit, swings, slides or ponies.

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6) Amusement park: Hotel has also mini lunapark available. You can find there, eg. Ferris wheel, train or carousel with horses. Kids attending to Mini Club go there with animators at 5:00 PM.

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7) Other facilities:
– You can find changing tables at any “public” restroom of the hotel;
– You have a possibility to rent a baby stroller from the hotel’s reception for the whole stay of yours (I’m just warning, they’re older than the seat-strollers from shops, so they don’t have such steering wheels). Furthermore, you can ask, eg. about an additional blanket for your child, warm milk, or water with mint, lemon and honey (for sick guests and not only).

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What to take for the journey?

As you’ve probably noticed before, there’s almost everything at VOYAGE SORGUN… Almost. Here’s the list what to pack into the luggage of your Toddler:

1) DIAPERS – seriously, take at least one package of disposable diapers (or the bag of reusable ones with washing agent). Pampers in local store is VERY expensive. It’s just a bit cheaper at the pharmacy cooperating with the reception. And the closest market like Migros is in Manavgat. In the last day I already knew, we don’t have enough diapers for the coming back way. The animators from Mini Club saved our day and gave us a few.

2) COSMETICS FOR BABY CARE – the hotel provides hair shampoo, shower gel, hair conditioner and body balm… but for adults. Make sure, you took the cosmetics to wash, wet wipes and baby moisturizing cream.

3) SUN CREAM – same reason as in case of diapers.

4) CHANGING PADS – well… I think nobody wants to risk having their linens dirty and waiting the whole day for changing them. Furthermore, it’s much more hygienic, if you put your own pad on the changing table.

5) SUMMER AND “TRANSITIONAL” CLOTHES – I think, I don’t have to remind it, but… In Side, in October, the temperature reaches 30 degrees during the daytime. However, in the evening or while the rain it gets chilly. My daughter used to wear summer dresses during the day, but her pajamas had already long sleeves and trouser legs. Time to time you’ll surely take a part in some evening events and you’ll wish to dress up more elegant. And that’s completely ok – just remember to take something covering your shoulders 🙂

6) BEACH TOYS – very useful stuff! As I’ve mentioned before, in the local shop they’re very expensive and I don’t think, you would love to go to another town just to reach a market. And other kids usually don’t like to share 😉 So I highly recommend buying a set before a holiday.

And finally – contact:

Adress: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VoyageHotelsTR/
or
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hotel-Voyage-Sorgun-Resort-Side/174344515954164

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/voyagehotels/
or
https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/240187384/hotel-voyage-sorgun-resort-side/

CONTACT TO OTHER VOYAGE HOTELS: https://www.voyagehotel.com/Contact

The best period you can start reserving your room is December-January. You can find some interesting discounts then. The cheapest places are to reserve for May or October/beginning of November.

 

TRAVEL OFFICE IN TURKEY COOPERATING WITH VOYAGE: https://www.etstur.com/Voyage-Otelleri?

 

WORTH KNOWING: Voyage Hotels have their application for smartphones available on iOS and Android. You can find information, for example, about incoming events – when and where it takes place. You can faster reserve a table in the theme restaurant as well. Just type „Voyage Hotels” in the store on your phone and download the application.

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POLSKI

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Let’s go to Istanbul! Part 2 :)

Hello again!

In today’s entry I’ll talk about moving around Istanbul – I mean especially the way from the airport. Because we got to Istanbul and what’s then? We need to handle with it somehow 😀

Before I get to the main point, I want to remind you about buying e-visa for you and your toddlers before journey. The official website describes the whole process step by step and it’s available in many languages. Buying visa online is much better option than stucking in additional queues to get your visa at the airport.

 

Taxi

There are many different transport companies in Istanbul, however I will mention here the one I used while traveling with Bibi. I highly recommend Bitransfer as an transportation from/to the airport. You can book a cab through the Internet according to the planned arrival time, choose the car and pay online in the end. For example (like in the attached picture) the way from the Atatürk Airport (Europe) to Göztepe (Asia) by Mercedes Vito is here 143 TRY per car (around 30 euro). I admit, it’s not the cheapest mean of transport, but I think, it’s worthy to use it traveling with baby.

Vito

Each car contains a baby-seat (which is hard to get in other taxis) – you can order additional one as well. This cab is perfect for a family of six. The rear windows are tinted, there’s air condition, and, in case of thirst, various drinks are available. The seats are really convenient! I confirm also the rest of described facilities 🙂 Although it’s written, you should get to your destination in around an hour, we got to Kadıköy after 20 minutes! It’s because of Avrasya Tunnel, through which cars quickly get to the other continent 🙂

I obviously realize, ordering Bitransfer everyday could make you a bancrupt. Standard taxis in Turkey are inexpensive and you don’t have to order them in advance. You can just stand beside the street and stop any available yellow car (mostly Fiat or Hyundai) 🙂 Unfortunately, they don’t guarantee baby-seats – baby below the age of one can simply use their own portable car seat, but with elder child it can be problem. Turks usually don’t care so much about it, because this case isn’t specifically sanctioned and kids often  sit on parent’s lap. However, for foreign tourists it can be a discomfort. Another case we must pay attention on is, that taking a taxi to home/hotel… it’s better to know the way and show it to driver, preferably in Turkish (that’s why you must remember: “sağ – right”, “sol – left” and “düz – straight”) 😉

Podobny obraz
Source: aturquia.com

Public transportation

To move around Istanbul by public transportation you must obtain the Istanbulkart. You can buy it in specific points. I paid for it around 10 TL (2,50 euro). It’s the magnetic card, you firstly recharge with chosen amount in the Biletmatik machine or in specific newsstands. Then, while entering the vehicle, you validate it in the special reader. HERE you can see the prices for the passage. In case of anonymous card (the one you can give later to someone else) the month ticket is 200 TL (50 euro), so it makes a sense, when you stay in Turkey more than two weeks. A bit cheaper (180 TL – 45 euro) is month ticket with MaviKart – but you need to give a little bit effort to make it and you must attach your photo as well, so it’s rather the option for regular visitors 😉 Btw. With Istanbulkart you can pay not only for transportation, but eg. for public toilet or parking area.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania istanbulkart anonim

But firstly, how to get to the other continent? (Istanbul is situated in Europe and Asia)
Marmarayit’s the kind of subway going through the tunnel under the Bosporus strait. It departs approximately every 10 minutes.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania marmaray schedule

Marmaray

Metrobusa special fast bus going on the separate lane to the other continent,  usually avoiding traffic jams (unless you cross the Boğazici Bridge at the Bosporus strait – there everyone goes slower). During day metrobus comes approximately every 3 minutes. During night – every half an hour/ one hour (and it’s usually crowded). Btw. In case you go by Metrobus up to three stations, you can be given back a part of the fee putting your Istanbulkart onto the reader at the exit.

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Source: iett.istanbul

Podobny obraz

Vapurthe ferry departing every 20 minutes. On the Asian side you can enter vapur at the harbors in Kadıköy, Üsküdar and Bostancı. On the European side you can catch the ferry in Beşiktaş, Eminönü and Karaköy. The average length of journey is 20-30 minutes. For me it’s the most pleasant mean of transport in Istanbul 🙂

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Atatürk Airport (Europe)

The place you can buy Istanbulkart is situated at the “Atatürk Airport” (tr. Atatürk Havalimani) metro station. If your place of residence is at the Asian side, the most reasonable solution would be exiting the terminal station called “Yenikapı” and change to Marmaray. Then you exit in the closest station to your house/hotel or where you have a direct connection.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania haciosman yenikapi metro
Metro line Atatürk Airport (Havalimani) – Yenikapı. The Yenikapı station has an access to Marmaray.
Metro-Marmaray
The map of specific metro lines in Istanbul with transfer from subway to Marmaray 🙂 Source: metro.istanbul

Sabiha Gökçen Airport (Asia)

You can buy Istanbulkart in the newsstand by exit at the departures zone. This airport doesn’t have an access to subway (however, I heard, it should change soon), but there are plenty of buses going to many destinations. There are standard buses (with numbers on the front or “SG” letters) and also fast, but more expensive ones (with letter E in the beginning). To go directly to the European side you can take the express bus E-3 (terminal station – 4. Levent Metro), standard 122H bus ( 4. Levent Metro as well)  or SG-2 (going even further, to Taksim, but the mentioned station Levent is on the way). All the written terminal stations have the access to subway. Another option is taking bus number 16S going to the station called Metrobus Uzunçayır (still in Asia) and then entering the mentioned metrobus. However, I don’t recommend this mean of transport at rush hours (between 7:00-9:00AM and around 3:00PM), because they’re very crowded then.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania haciosman yenikapi metro
Metro line Yenika-Hacıosman with transfer opportunities. As I’ve said before, the first station has an access to Marmaray as well.

The full maps of subway, Marmaray, trams and Metrobus together you can find HERE

Application to download: Moovit

You can also check schedules through the official website of IETT, but I’ve noticed, it hasn’t been updated for a while. Google Maps handles with this issue quite well 🙂

 

In the next entry I’m going to talk about the places in Istanbul you can go for a walk with baby 🙂

 

Polski

Malta – what and how?

Happy New Year! I hope, everyone is in a good mood 🙂

As I’ve promised before, today I’m going to write about Malta. Bibi spent her first Birthday there, that’s why I have a huge sentiment to this place 🙂 However, to find any nice place to explore with your Family, you must firstly get there, right? That’s why today’s entry will be about how to get to Malta and how to move around the island 😀

1) How to get there?

We went there by WizzAir airline from Warsaw. We departed with Bibi on Saturday at 6:20PM and arrived three hours later. I’ve chosen this option, because it was a direct flight, inexpensive (a little over 140 euro with checked luggage), and furthermore the time of departure suited me. Unfortunately, Polish Airlines LOT and Air Malta didn’t have any direct connections between Poland and Malta. However, Air Malta offers flights from and to many European destinations and three Middle-Eastern countries (such as Italy, Germany, Turkey or Tunisia). I could have chosen RyanAir as well – however, the distance from the airport, departure time (eg. RyanAir departed very early in the morning) and also price decided on the final choice. You can also check the offers from the national airlines of your country – they sometimes organize some discounts.

wizz

WizzAir is a typical lowcost, that’s why I didn’t have many expectations towards this air carrier. Don’t expect free sandwiches, tea or any gadgets for infant. For a checked luggage up to 20kg you have to pay around 35euro/flight. However, it wasn’t a bad journey. The plus of this airline was, I could check-in even four weeks before journey. I could choose any place during reservation and (by a nice coincidence) we had a whole row of three seats for ourselves 🙂 On the boarding card the entire preparation process is nicely described. (Do you remember the post about packing baby bag? I reminded you to print a boarding pass. WizzAir is one of those airlines, where you need to have printed card not to pay extra.) Moreover, cabin crew was very helpful, passengers too and it wasn’t too tight between the rows 😉 Buying ticket you can also order special minibus for around 6€ taking you to your place of residence (but we took a taxi, because I was going the same direction with my Husband and our friends who arrived a bit earlier).

2) Traveling around Malta:

Maltese and tourists move around the island mainly by buses. I recommend you to buy a Tallinja Explore electronic card you validate at the entrance (the price for adults is 21 euro, for children up to the age of ten – 15, infants travel for free). You can buy it in special kiosks, mostly situated on terminal stations. Warning: these cards sometimes get demagnetized (my Husband already experienced it), so it’s good to keep a bill, because it can be useful when you want to exchange it. Planning trip around Malta I recommend you to use Malta Bus Journey Planner 🙂

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Honestly, in Malta we experienced the first Bibi’s journey by bus 🙂 Previously I had prejudices for this mean of transport. There was no way to travel by bus, when my Daughter was still using gondola stroller 😉 Fortunately, traveling by Maltese bus lines isn’t so stressful. Maybe, because parents with babies in public transportation is almost a sanctity and passengers take the principle of privileged seats seriously. A place for strollers will be always free for you there, so that you can safely attach your baby vehicle to the belts. If not, the driver will do all of his best to make it 😀

3) Trips around islands:

Staying in this little country, you should go to the other two islands – Gozo and Comino. You can use various cruise offers and go by boat. We had an opportunity to use two ships – Extreme and Sea Adventure. They’re both good, but which one is better for parents with babies? I’ll compare then in the separate post, otherwise this entry would be definitely too long 🙂

extreme vs sea adventure
Sources: Facebook and Travel Grip

4) Taxi from and to the airport:

I don’t have much experience with Maltese cabs, but my Brother-in-law ordered a private taxi for us. The way from the Luca Airport to Bugibba was 24 euro. What’s  interesting, on the way back to airport we were accompanied by exactly the same driver 😀 Unfortunately, we lost his number already, but the most popular corporation is Malta Transfer.

 

When to go to Malta with a little child? I think, the best time for a trip to Malta is May-beginning of June. The weather is already warm, but you don’t feel this hot temperature yet. Later, you can start your holiday plans in September. Why? Because in the middle of season the temperature is almost unable to survive for the average North-European person and traveling in such a heat wouldn’t be a pleasure for you. Furthermore, in July you can often find jellyfish. Because of them, swimming in Blue Lagoon was forbidden this summer for some time.

Polski