Never go to Sun Queen Beach Hotel in Turkey! This page will tell you why...
This page has been created by D. and L. after their vacation stay in Turkey, in the end of July 2003. We stayed in Sun Queen Beach hotel, part of Aska Hotels group, and the memories of our stay appeared to be so negative, that we decided to share them with others in order to warn you from ever going to this hotel. We also were very unhappy with our tour operator, Pegas Touristik, and would like to adise not to use it, but avoiding this tour operator may be difficult, for it is a major one for Turkey...
Meeting at the airport and transfer to the hotel were carried out in the traditional manner for Turkey. The only unpleasant thing is that we had to wait for about 30 minutes for a couple that got lost inside the airport, while all other buses were already on their way (the first ones to go were the small shuttles of relatively small travel agencies).
Having arrived to Sun Queen Beach Hotel, we have faced the complete surprise of reception staff with respect to our arrival. We were (quite kindly) asked to sit down and wait, so we waited for about 30 minutes without any explanation. We had to admin that the reception guy posessed reasonably good English, so we did not have any communication problems (at this time - about 23:00 - there were no Russian-speaking staff at the reception).
|Bathroom/toilet with a towel on the floor for soaking in the water running from the closet.|
After half-an-hour waiting we have been given the key, two remote controls for TV and air conditioner (we had to make a $10 deposit for those), and we went to look for our room, accompanied by the bell-boy, who presented himself as Ali-Baba, and spoke a good Turkish.
We had to go a long way, since the rooms in Sun Queen Beach are located in 16 different 3-floor houses located along a long valley covering distance from the highway and reception on one end, to the restaurant, pool and the sea.
Having arrived to the room door we had discovered that the key was wrong - it would not open the door. Next 40 minutes we spent sitting on our luggage in the corridor and killing mosquitoes, or going from one house to another and to reception and back. When it was almost midnight, we were given another key from a room next to the original one (the one we were placed in originally was already occupied by a different couple), and we managed to get into the room.
The interior of the room immediately shocked us, and it definitely did not belong to 3*+ category: very small bathroom/toilet, old and primitive furniture (IKEA-style), two dirty glasses with red sticky remains of red wine - nevertheless accurately packed in individual covers. And worth of all - both air conditioner and TV set did not work. You can imagine a room without air conditioning in Turkey during the hottest summer period...
Having seen our surprised faces, the boy left, saying: my friend come 5 minutes. In 10-15 minutes, a tech support guy came (he spoke only Turkish), and started pressing buttons on the remote controls and looking very surprised. In some minutes he came to the idea of replacing batteries in remote controls, and thus TV started to work (after some program adjustments done by him in the Turkish menu of the TV). Then he left, and in some minutes came back with his colleague, who started to perform all the same manipulations (playing with remote control, replacing batteries, etc.). Finally, he opened the air conditioner cover, put his hand inside to press some secret button, and the conditioner switched on, making loud grating noises.
Since it was already past midnight (about 1am), we decided to leave the rest for tomorrow and went to sleep. Despite the fact that we were tired, it was quite difficut, because of the loud noise from the conditioner, and relatively high temperature in the room - the conditioner was not working properly, giving only small portions or cool air.
As we were informed the next day at the reception, our room was not reserved in advance, and we have to be grateful that they found a room for us at all. Thank you, Pegas Touristik!
|View from the balcony on the balcony of the opposite house, greenhouses and the ruins of the newly built hotel|
On the next day at 11:00 we had a meeting with our Hotel guide, Mr. Mikhail Makarov. Hoping that we would help us with our conditioner problem we patiently waited till that time, but he did not show up. On the reception, no-one has seen him this day, and no-one knew where he was. A sign on the reception said that he should be available from 9:40 till 12:00, so after waiting for 30 minutes at the reception we asked the reception staff to call our room when Mikhail shows up, and tried to resolve our problems by ourselves.
As a matter of fact, Mikhail showed up only in the evening (18:00), saying that he had to go to the airport to meet new tourists. And, naturally, we did not receive any calls from the reception informing us of his arrival - we met during the dinner, because his face looked similar to the one on the photo at the reception...
Our fight for the conditioner we started by calling the reception. A Russian-speaking guy suggested us to come to the reception (5 mins walk) and pick up a different remote control. We have been given a remote control from a different air conditioner model (althought it was pretty clear that it would not work, we decided not to argue with an experienced Turkish staff), went to our room to test it, and came back to the reception to say that it does not work. Then the reception guy called the tech support via some walkie-talkie device, and instructed us to go back to our room and wait.
In some minutes tech support came, and performed all the same actions as yesterday (pressing buttons on remote control, replacing batteries, etc.), and we had to sit down and watch this with mixed feelings: it was funny to observe the stupidity and low qualification of support staff, and at the same time we felt pity for the time we could have spent swimming in the sea. We could not explain anything to the support staff, because they did not understand any of the languages at our disposal (Russian, English, Italian).
In about 30 minutes third "senior" support specialist came, looking like an engineer with higher education (i.e. he was a bit older and wearing glasses). During the next 2 hours under his supervision the conditioner was partly disassembled and heavily treated with WD-40 dissolvant (after this, the room was filled with WD-40 smell which stayed for a long time, and our personal belongings lying on the table below the conditioner were poured over with dark oily liquid - a mixture of WD-40 and dirty water from the conditioner). However, their attempts to assemble the conditioner back were not successful, and saying klima kaput they left...
|Hotel Territory: transformer with high energy power lines, greenhouses, and the one of the hotel buidings for tourists|
In 5 minutes they came back carrying a small safe. Why they decided to bring us a safe is not clear: maybe they wanted to compensate for the conditioner, or understood our raising concerns about sitting in the room filled with WD-40 for several hours. Having said safe - good! they have left again, this time for long... Their faces showed the sincere surprise: they could not understand why we are not happy by having the safe instead of the conditioner...
Understanding that our problem was abandoned, we went again to the reception. After some time of talking to tech support over radio and some phone calls, the reception guy told us that our conditioner would be fixed and we should not worry. So we had some free time to go and swim in the mediterranean sea...
Entering our room a few hours later, we have noticed that the conditioner is assembled, and the dirt from WD-40 is cleaned. Remote control did not work, but it was possible to switch on the conditioner with the "secret button" inside it, and it worked much more quitely and intensively, with only a touch of WD-40 smell.
Have we been in the two-star hotel for $200/week, we could have been statisfied at this. However, we expected a bit more comfort from 3*+ hotel. Without remote control we were unable to adjust the desired temperature and conditiner modes, and thus we were deprived of the comfortable sleep at night. With conditioner switched on in the default mode, it was pretty cold (about 18C), and with the conditioner switched off - too hot. We had to wake up periodically (about once every hour) to switch the conditioner on and off, or to sleep completely dressed. We were naive to expect a better living conditions from a 3*+ category hotel.
We tried to expond the same arguments to the reception staff, and after 20 minutes of talking over radio with tech support we were told that they do not see any problem. My wife almost started crying. When we asked to put us into the different room with working equipment we were told that we should be grateful that we were placed into this room at all, because it was not reserved We asked to see the senior manager.
|Hotel Territory and Beyond. There are no other hotels in sight, because right outside the territory a marsh starts.|
Senior manager appeared to be an impudent turk, who also spoke a little bit of English, but not enough to understand our complaints properly. As we learned later, we appeared to be a younger brother of Aska Hotels owner, so his impudence was natural. Having seen our room he said (we needed to call the reception and ask to translate over the phone, so we present here the approximate translation of the reception staff) that he does not see any problem, would not do anything with it, and if we don't like something we can just leave. Having said this he left, banging the door closed.
In the last attempt to have the problem fixed we explained the problem to the hotel guide, Mr. Mikhail Makarov. We explained that we were very disappointed both with the hotel management and Pegas Touristik attitude towards us. However, the next day Mikhail informed us that we visited our room (indeed, when we came back the day before we discovered that the front door and balcony door were not locked) and does not see any problem, and that the room is in fact rather good. Moreover, in some rooms (as we discovered later - in 3 rooms out of 120+) the feature of controlling conditioner temparature is missing, and that it is normal. We tried to argue that the conditioner model in our room is not different from other rooms, and that it has the remote IR sensor, and that we do not want to live in the room with malfunctioning equipment - but it turned out that the hotel guide was not inclined to keep our interest - rather the interest of hotel management. He also informed us, that he called Moscow office, and they confirmed that we have reserved the tour. Hey, how would we end up in Turkey otherwise? The fact that Pegas Touristik at some point made a logistic error and forgot to reserve the room in the hotel, and thus we were placed in the reserve room with malfunctioning equipment, which has not been properly prepared - this was out of question. No apologies, no attempts to correct the situation...
In the process of our unsuccessful fights for justice, we met many other victims of hotel management rudeness, and with many more people highly disappointed with hotel quality and services. Here are few most interesting stories we have heard:
There was also another funny case with Pegas Touristik. A couple of girls we met in Turkish Bath bough a tour from Pegas Touristik. The bus should have picked them up from the hotel at 4am. Having woken up at 3am, at 4 they have been waiting at the hotel entrance, but the bus did not show up. Having wated till 5am (for an hour), they left back for their room to sleep. Later, it turned out that Pegas Touristik hotel guide made a mistake during booking, and the bus came to pick them up at the wrong hotel. The most difficult thing was to get the money (about $70) back from the hotel guide - it took a couple of days, as the guide was very reluctant to lost money has as once gotten his hands on.
|Fitness Center with all the available equipment...|
When chosing a hotel, above all we were attracted by free sauna and turkish bath - from our previous visit to Turkey we liked this a lot, and did not want to limit ourselves. No need to mention that we were very surprised to learn that the hotel did not have any Turkish bath at all (despite the information on its web site), and sauna was available for extra money (however, during 10 days of our stay we never saw it in action, and the small sauna pool was never filled with water). As Mr. Mikhail Makarov explained to us, those services were removed a month ago (it is still unclear to me how is it possible to get rid of Turkish bath facility in a month!), and Pegas Touristik has informed all other agencies about thois change. Dear Pegas Touristik, why then would not you remove this information from your own web site? As of today (August 5, 2003), "bath" is still listed as a free facility.
Also, it is very surprising to compare photographs of fitness center from the web site with the real situation. Fitness center only has three pieces of equipment: very dirty vibro-massager (in the center of the photo; we never saw anyone using it), half-broken running line (to the left; it takes extreme force to run on it, without anyone pushing it the line does not move at all) and weight-training complex (the only reasonably good piece of equipment and in working order). On the photograph from Sun Queen Beach web site, at least three additional pieces of equipment are visible.
|Photograph of the fitness center from Sun Queen Beach web site...|
Many things witness towards poor technical conditions of the hotel equipment. Water lines and sewage are in bad condition: three days prior to our departure our toilet started leaking, and shower water drainer was clogged. Water in the hotel is quite salty (bad distillation?), and it is only hot during the day - so forget morning and evening showers! (however, the latter is typical for Turkey with sun water heating - however, in 3* hotel last year in Kemer we did not have this problem). A week prior to our arrival, there was an almost lethal accident in the hotel pool when someone jumped from the childen water hill.
Last but not least, many tourists with children were very unhappy about the entrance into the sea from the beach - it is pretty stony, as though made of lava that cooled down unevenly. This is very strange, as the beach itself is sandy, and the bottom of the sea is also sandy, if you swim far enough into the sea. Its only on the bank that the entrance is very uneven and hurts when going in and out of the water.
The main objective of writing this text is to warn everyone wishing to have a vacation in Turkey from going to Sun Queen Beach hotel, and to other hotels of Aska Hotels Group (I have the reasons to believe that with the same management you are likely to experience similar problems to described here). As an alternative in Alanya, we can recommend AYDINBEY hotel located nearby - with the same 3*+ category, it makes much better impression. The reason we did not stay at AYDINBEY is that it did not have any free room to the period we desired - from all other points of view it presents much better conditions with the same or slightly lower price.
We also recommend you to refrain from chosing Pegas Touristik as tour operator. Last year, we were very happy with the services of Anex Tour. We have also heard good words about Tez Tour.
Even if you have chosen Pegas Touristik - do not buy extra tours from this tour operator, use local tourist agencies. Their prices are about twice lower, and quality of service is typically not lower than that of larger tour operators. We have bought several tours from local travel agencies this and last year (Pammukale, AcquPark, etc.), and we are not only alive, but also quite happy with their service and care towards the customer.
Finally, we want to stress once more that the creators of this site are ordinary tourists, who were victims of rudeness of Aska Hotels management and poor service, and thus decided to share our experience with others. This site is not a creation of some competitors that want to ruin the reputation of a good hotel with dirty lies. If you have doubts - get in touch with us and find out!
Authors of this text would be happy to hear from you by e-mail at the address email@example.com. Please feel free to send us your stories related to your experience with Aska Hotels of Pegas Touristik - and we will gladly publish them here.
Links to this site with warning about hotel management attitudes towards clients will be e-mailed to a number of tourist agencies, Turkish Ministery of Culture, Association of Turkish Travel agencies and other offical institutions, as well as to Sun Queen Beach hotel e-mail address. If there are any interesting answers - we will also publish them here.