Over the years my wife and I have often gone to Turkey as a place for a relaxing holiday. To be honest we find it better value money than going to continental Europe as the hotels are usually all inclusive (so you don’t need to hunt for food during the day), the entertainment is usually pretty good and the facilities is fine.
Of course you have to do your research on the hotels themselves, but there’s a reason we go back once a year or at least every other year. We just love going there! The only drawback is the flight is around 4 hours long, if you’re coming from the UK. This can be tricky if you’re travelling with a baby or toddler.
Now we have two kids we see even better value going to an all-inclusive resort in Turkey. They usually have kids clubs which is a great way to keep your children entertained during the day. Not only that, you should find they have a mini disco in the evening which the children will love. The food is usually good and I’ve never been disappointed in the service.
In this article, I thought I’d share with you my experience over the years of going to various resorts in Turkey, focusing on two resorts in the Belek region; Gloria Verde and Pine Beach.
FYI – we visited Gloria Verde in 2017 and Maritim Pine Beach in 2022. Most of the pictures in this blog post were taken in 2022 as I was able to visit both resorts to take some photos.
Why are you comparing these two hotels?
My main reason for choosing these two hotels is that both Gloria Verde and Pine Beach are a stone’s throw away from each other (you can walk along the beach from one resort to the other in about 2 minutes!). They are also both 5* hotels and offer all-inclusive deals throughout the year.
Why choose Belek as a region?
Although my family love going to Turkey, we prefer Belek as our go to area. We’ve been to Side before and unfortunately we picked an awful resort on a last minute deal so that area is off limits for us (although I’m sure there are plenty of nice hotels there).
Close to Antalya airport
One of the main plus points of Belek is that it is fairly close to Antalya airport so you only have around a 30-50 minute drive to get to your hotel. This is handy if you’ve had a long flight and just want to get to the resort as quickly as possible. The roads are very good and I’ve never been held up in traffic on the way to any resort. All the hotels are fairly close together.
I’ve been to different hotels in Belek on five occasions and each time there are long sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. I’m not a fan of pebbles on the beach! We had a nice holiday to Bodrum with my in-laws many years ago, but the beach was a mixture of sand and pebbles (the scenery was stunning though).
Gloria Verde Resort – Review
I have fond memories of travelling to Gloria Verde in 2017 as it was the first holiday we went as a family when my daughter was only about 10 months old. What’s great about this resort is that there are two other resorts in close proximity which you are free to visit, use the facilities and have dinner there; Gloria Serenity and Gloria Golf. As the name suggests Gloria Serenity is probably a better choice for couples as it has more of a tranquil feel and a very picturesque layout with flowers and trees. Gloria Golf is suited if you want a more active holiday. There is a driving range plus three golf courses you can play.
There’s also the Gloria Sports Arena which is a stunning multi-sport training complex. This is great if you still want to stay in shape on your holiday. You can go diving, swimming, use the running track and take part in lots of different sports there. I’m sure it’s used a lot by professional athletes too.
The food was good overall. You have a lot of choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the main restaurant. It was really easy to find a high chair each time for my daughter as well. We also had the option to go to a couple of a la carte restaurants during our stay, which we didn’t have to pay extra for. This was better quality overall than the main restaurant, although you need to decide if this is right for you. If you have a young baby or toddler they may get impatient waiting for their food!
However, the best feature of all was the option to send a WhatsApp message to the restaurant from anywhere in the resort requesting food for our baby in advance. You simply had to ask what vegetables or fruit you wanted and they would puree it for you so your baby could eat it straight away when you arrived at the restaurant. I loved this service!
The spa is the most impressive of any of the hotels I have seen in Turkey. They have an indoor heated jacuzzi/pool which is huge, plus a Turkish bath, sauna and lots of relaxation areas. The outdoor swimming pools are really nice as well.
Entertainment / Activities
We didn’t really attend many of the daily activities, but there was a lot to choose from. I had a go at archery which was fun, but you can also do tennis, yoga, football, beach volleyball as well as a lot of water sports (I still need to try parasailing one time).
In the evening, there was always something on at the amphitheatre. You get a show every night, usually featuring some dance group but you can also see some circus acts, acrobats etc. The only negative is that the stage is a little small so it does limit what sort of acts can come to the hotel to perform.
I can’t comment on the quality of the kids club as my daughter was too young to join, but I’m fairly confident it’s not as comprehensive as Pine Beach and it has less activities. However, there is a mini farm on the site which all children will love. I remember seeing some goats, birds, turkey and flamingos amongst other animals.
- Great service. Ideal if you have a baby.
- Clean and well-maintained.
- Excellent spa facilities.
- Fairly quiet and not too busy. No issue finding sun beds at the beach or pool. We went right at the beginning of June. I suspect it would be busier in July and August.
- Access to two other resorts and their facilities, plus a sports arena.
- Apparently there is a half-board option. This could be worth considering if you want to save a bit of money on your holiday, but I’d highly recommend just paying a bit more and going for all-inclusive.
- Free a la carte restaurants you can attend once during your stay (make sure you book this early though)
- Entertainment was reasonable, but the small amphitheatre/stage was a bit disappointing.
- Kids club is ok, but it might be a little boring for older kids.
- Everything is spread out quite far, which is ok if you don’t mind walking but it might not be ideal for some.
- The beach is a little small.
Although this article only reviews two hotels in Belek, I’ve been to Turkey seven times for an all-inclusive beach holiday. I firmly believe Gloria Verde is definitely a great option if you have a small baby. The whole experience really caters for small children, especially making dinner time less stressful with the pre-ordering feature. However, I’m not sure Gloria Verde is the best choice if you have older children though. You can probably find better options elsewhere.
Maritim Pine Beach – Review
This was our most recent trip to Turkey in May 2022 and it was our first holiday since COVID so we were really looking forward to it. Fortunately, we all had a great time. It was also the first holiday that my eldest could really take advantage of the kids club. She turned six in the summer which is a great age for a beach holiday. Maritim Pine Beach has a really great kids club with superb staff who really try to ensure all the children have a great time. Aside from this, everything else is very good, from the food to the entertainment.
UPDATE – We visited this hotel again in October 2022. I know, twice in one year is a bit extravagant!
In general, the food is good here. The buffet has a nice selection at breakfast, lunch and dinner so there is something for everyone. We were a little disappointed with one of the a la carte restaurants though. Admittedly we didn’t have to wait long for food, but the quality wasn’t as good as the main buffet restaurant.
Entertainment / Activities
If you like getting involved in daily activities, Pine Beach has a lot to offer. One nice feature is they have activities on the beach itself for adults. Normally you just have beach volleyball and water sports in most resorts, but here they have different events, including a boat race and assault course throughout the week. I took part in the boat race and we won the first race, but lost the second one. The evening entertainment was very good, centring on dance groups, like most Turkish resorts.
The kids club here is called Pino Kids and the staff were warm and friendly with all of us. They work very hard to ensure your children have a great time. The kids disco in the evening was great fun for both my kids, even though my youngest was only 18 months old at the time. The only drawback is the location of the club itself. It’s a bit of a walk from the main hotel and it’s even further from the beach (but you can take a shuttle bus which runs frequently).
Generally the facilities are fine, although the spa could be better. I went there expecting more but it was quite small. The water slides near the kids club are very good and everything in the resort is clean and well looked after.
- A fun kids club that your kids will enjoy. There are also some water slides right next to it.
- Clean and well-maintained.
- Lots of activities for parents and kids.
- Good entertainment.
- The beach is very big. Lots of space to go swimming in the sea and you shouldn’t have trouble finding sun loungers.
- The spa is a little disappointing. There is a small sauna, Turkish bath and indoor pool and that’s about it. It’s certainly not on a par with Gloria Verde.
- Everything is spread out quite far and unfortunately the kids club is quite far away from the main building and the beach (UPDATE – there is a shuttle bus which can take you across the resort which runs every few minutes during the day, but it’s still not ideal)
Maritim Pine Beach has everything you need for a nice, fun family holiday. It is well-priced compared to other 5* hotels in Belek, offering good service, food and entertainment. The facilities are good but not fantastic, but it is cheaper than some other resorts, so you really get what you pay for. Providing you don’t mind walking a bit in the resort, you won’t be disappointed if you’re considering a holiday there with your kids.
In truth, if you do your due diligence you can’t really go wrong with an all-inclusive holiday to Turkey. I’d personally avoid any special deals and discounts though as they are usually too good to be true (but that might just be my cautious nature!)
If you’re travelling with kids, Gloria Verde is great for small babies and you also have the option of visiting two other resorts as part of your stay. If you like golf, go for Gloria Golf instead, or if you want some peace and quiet then you’ve got Gloria Serenity. Visually, it does look slightly nicer than Pine Beach as well when you walk around the resort. However, it does cost slightly more.
Maritim Pine Beach is a better option for slightly older kids. The facilities, food and service are all very good, and the kids club is great too. It’s probably not the best if you have a baby though. The whole resort looks nice, but it’s just quite as polished as Gloria Verde.
Have you been to either of these hotels? Let me know what about your experience in the comments below.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.