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The Encantada Experience

August 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Searching through reviews prior to coming to Florida, I was disappointed to see that the new resort offered by Club la Costa in Florida was only rated 3 stars. Having been a member of Club la Costa since 2007, I have grown accustomed to the 5 star accommodation and service that they offer so to say the least I was a bit put out by the 3 star rating. However, I was pleasantly surprised upon our arrival to our two week vacation home had 5 star finishings – plasma screen with cinema surround sound, Egyptian cotton sheets, modern furniture, granite kitchen tops and jacuzzi outside. I can’t honestly fault the accommodation. It has certainly provided what my family and I need and it’s location to the club house and swimming pools are within walking distance.

The only down side which I am not afraid to criticise is the amount of room service we have had or should I say lack of it. We are still within the first week of our Florida holiday and I am a little upset that we are not having regular room service, provision of clean towels or made up beds. Isn’t that what a holiday is all about? The ‘not having to do anything aspect because it gets done by other people’. I did phone front desk and ask how often room service is and their reply was once a week. However, they said that I can request for someone to clean the apartment if I call in the morning. Though through all my years of travelling, I have never had the need to call for housekeeping because it is automatically done. In addition, we are expected to throw our own trash out. If you don’t mind doing a little bit of housework on holiday then the ‘Encantada Experience’ is definitely for you!

Now with all that said and done, Encantada is a superb investment for those looking to purchase property as it literally is only 15- 20 mins out from Disney, Sea World and other main tourist attractions. My family are enjoying Encantada and I would definitely come back in a few years with the great hope that they could sort out their housekeeping.

Ooo one word of advice, Encantada rent out their satellite navigation GPS systems for $25 a week. A far cry from the astronomically over priced $60+ a week at the airport. Whatever you do, don’t hire a sat nav system from the airport as I would consider it ‘daylight robbery’.

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Our Turkish Escapade

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Turkey wasn’t at all like I expected although I actually didn’t have any preconceived ideas (not sure if that makes any sense). Much of Turkey is still being developed but you couldn’t miss the Western influence in the form of cars, shopping outlets and of course McDonald’s and Starbucks.

However, I went for a two-week family break and that is exactly what I got. We stayed at the Apollonium Resort- part of Club la Costa. Ammenities were good and provided what we needed; – pool, restaurant but most of all we definitely got the sun.

I liberally covered my kids with sun protection and we tended to avoid the midday sun as the heat was unbearable so if you are thinking of holidaying in Turkey, temperatures can reach 42°C in August and there were some days where my hubby and I avoided the midday sun for the sake of the children because it was just too hot for them.

If you’re anything like us and want to see places we saved £££’s hiring a car and doing things on our own rather than going on scheduled excursions. For example to go on a planned trip with an organiser to see Ephesus (a must see archaeological site) would usually cost an adult £32 and a child £22 (approx.) so we were extremely happy with the savings that we made. Ephesus is a great place to visit if you like history.  For me, the Bible came alive and it was nice to be in the part of town where St. Paul himself visited.  However, be warned Ephesus is in open air and the heat can be a bit much for young children.  In fact it isn’t very child friendly as the paths were stony and the buggy was hard to push around.   If you do get the opportunity to visit Ephesus, wear a sun-hat or bring an umbrella to protect you from the sun’s rays and bring bottled water as the walk from top to bottom is 2.2km.

Another great place to visit is Kushadashi- a vibrant town where there are international ports where the cruises dock and shopping is a must. I couldn’t get my head around the ‘genuine fake designer bags’. The quality of the fake bags is very good not that I bought any mind you 🙂 oo and you must barter with the locals to  and try to get the best deal. Things like Jewellery and pashmina scarfs were also in abundance which make great gifts.

Turkish food was fresh and gorgeous and very healthy although I must admit I am now kebabed out!! Food wasn’t at all what I would call expensive. A kebab meal with salad and rice would cost about 15TL about £6 so very reasonable.  If you do visit the small town of Akbuk, try out the Garden Restaurant, their meals are delicious and with the scenic view of the mountain to the left and the sea straight ahead, you won’t ever forget it.

I was told before I left for our holiday that the Turks love kids which I myself found a bit odd.  I didn’t realise that my little girl would attract so many people’s attention in Turkey.  People would actually stop on the streets to coo and try to make her laugh and showed her a very friendly warmth that I as a parent didn’t find threatening in any way at all.

Driving in Turkey is like a walk in the park, very easy-going and stress free. There isn’t anything like rush hour traffic and  as far as I could see and there are only ever 5 or 6 cars ahead of you.If you are used to right hand driving, be prepared to the left hand drive but very easy to get the hang of.  Unfortunately petrol prices are the same as the UK with only a few pence difference but I highly recommend hiring a car for getting out and about and seeing a few places.

Milli Park, the national park near Kushadashi is a great place to visit where the locals go for a picnic and to spend time soaking up the sun.  I wrongly thought that it was a park where we would see animals and so forth but the main attraction is the sandy beaches so don’t be like us…bring your towels and your swimming costume.

Apart from having received stitches…well…8 steristrips across  a gash that I had on my leg for jumping off the pier…I would love to re-visit Turkey and explore the enticing places that we could not visit.