A family hotel is a time defined by the British for sun, fun and indulgence. Only the first you will find at Club Armar although I’m sure they would charge for that if they could find a way.
Arrival, you will find reception staff who are hand picked. Hand picked not to speak English. The reasons for this are only too obvious when you are making plans to leave!
Transition however from reception to your room was smooth and efficient. The hotel you will learn is always dimly lit. But not to hide any unpleasantness, the hygiene standards are perfectly adequate. It’s dimly lit because the owners/managers are cheap, with the most budget of sensors on stairwells that almost switch on the lights before you reach the bottom.
But then you wake up and go for breakfast. Where you will be greeted by a good variety of salad, Turkish “hot dogs”, small chopped and fried pieces of potatoes, beans in a mild sauce and your choice of eggs, be in fried, omelette or sometimes boiled. There are the normal Turkish cereals, concentrate fruit juices or tea/coffee from the machine. But don’t worry if you sleep in and miss it, as you will have exactly the same mediocre breakfast every morning of your stay, with more understanding of its origin.
As you meander to the pool you will be greeted by the normal European mix, but there is a different tone to the pool, over just the normal manic kiddie screams. There is an underbelly of gossip. People complaining about throat, ear and eye infection. Possibly from the pool hygiene, possibly from the water or possibly from the unwashed laundry you’ll find in your room. Complaints stem from the food, to the bedding, the obnoxious manager, to the scams pulled by the kitchen and surrounding food establishments that they rent your hotel space too. Hotel guests being removed from their rooms because a member dares to question an aspect of the Hotel.
But you can escape the winging for a moment to venture for lunch. Once you have run the gauntlet up the black stairwell to the dinning room, much as Indian Jones may do you receive the reward of lunch. Surprisingly the salad remains. You can tell this by it’s appearance, the Turkish cheese and meat has been replaced with unlabeled bowls or guess work, chicken, something in a sauce and chips. But don’t you dare panic if you think you have missed a unique luncheon. You haven’t most of it will literally be back again tomorrow. You know this by looking at the bottom of the salad bowl.
When you venture out to the local Marmaris shops and restaurants you become a target. Mostly for the red band around your wrist. Although the “locals” don’t call it Club Armar, they call it Club Chicken. For reasons I never understood until the next day.
Retreating from the constant taunting of the knowledgeable you can be safe in the knowledge that there will be inevitably more sun and a relaxing evening meal awaits. The atmosphere in the dinning hall (I say this as it is reminiscent of my school days) would be described by an estate agent as a spacious cosy environment, worthy of setting the mood for the most romantic getaway. I would describe it as a room of mystery. Mostly because you have no idea what grotesque incarnations are going to be passed off as a meal. I can only assume they get away with this shambles because it is so poorly lit again that one wonders what the ceiling looks like. All be it, I now know where salad is sent when it no longer able to visually appeal. It is retired to the mixed salad bowl, cleverly disguised (for an imbecile) with oil, wilting lettuce, cucumber and tomato shreds. But it is delivered with service, they do this in front of you from the other bowls! Although all is not lost, there is a glimmer of hope to your evening meal, there is now a piece of crumbed fish. I say this as I assume that’s an appropriate verb for its presentation, recognisable only by the best of forensic scientists I would guess it is sardine. But never despair, some of the salad has now been replace by a desert, mostly because if it hadn’t they would not be a able to fill the counter. Now you have some brown blamange. Enjoy! Time and time again.
All is forgiven however by the evening entertainment, there is an eerie air of soberness. But there are reasons, soapy beer, odd tasting wine and local spirits that just can’t be right. All delivered in plastic glasses that are so old they slice your lips on contact. I would question the basic of hygiene practises when I note that they are all washed in the same foam, push in, pull out, hand cleaner. Having enough for one day I venture to my room, taking from interest one red wine from each of the three serving areas (normally only one is open at a time). Never have I seen a red wine served from the same plastic container that have utterly different textures. One with even a layer of grease on the surface. I assume that one was from one of the children using it to throw water from the pool earlier. One glass was almost digestible, the other was reminiscent of Boots best sun tan lotion.
Entertainment is not lacking either. I have never seen Karaoke used in mental self defence. You may get tempted by the Bingo, but with odds steeper than the national lottery and more expensive than a second mortgage you may dare to part with your money to break the monotony. You will only be spared for a matter of moments as that’s as long as it lasts. The mindless singing of those who are financially stuck within the confines of the hotel will howl on until midnight at which point I assume the management suffer one of their power outages. But why guests are still there is beyond me, as the alcohol stops at 11, and to make a last minute order beyond the size of those in your party will be met with a flat refusal.
Now it is dark, quiet and the population horse and sober. But that is not where the entertainment ends. I can guarantee a night of violent stomach cramps, excessive visits to the toilet and the realisation that the toilet role is not forthcoming from housekeeping. Despite speaking to housekeeping whilst they were visiting the rooms during the day, and then asking reception twice, it would appear that toilet roll is as scarce as a working light bulb. Liberating a toilet role from one of the public toilets will also be futile. As 200 rooms filled with 500 people have already had that revelation much before you.
But there is always a saviour to a hotel visit such as this, eat elsewhere and do as I did. Move hotel, although I gave Club Armar, 10 days of chances, only one of those involved my digestive tract.