TUI Sensimar Marmaris Imperial Hotel, Turkey

The TUI Sensimar Marmaris Imperial Hotel is an adult only hotel in Marmaris, around an hour and a half from Dalaman Airport. We booked into the All Inclusive hotel after looking for an affordable, last minute break. We'd never been to Turkey before and were a little hesitant with the current potential safety concerns but after seeing the hotel online I couldn't stop thinking about it and knew it was too good a deal to pass up. The hotel is tucked into a hillside, nestled in a forest of trees, with 279 rooms across 76 buildings. The complex is encircled by the Mediterranean Sea, with it's own section of beach and felt miles away from anything else, like a private island! I would go back in a heartbeat, and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a relaxing week in the sun. It's a little slice of Paradise.

View of the Marmaris Imperial Hotel from the Sea
Sunsets looking across to Marmaris

Inside and Around the Hotel 
Hotel room

The Marmaris Imperial hotel is made up of lots of little buildings, home to about 4 rooms in each block. We were in a downstairs room which was spacious and had everything that we needed. The air conditioning worked well, the safe was free to use, the mini fridge was stocked with soft drinks which were complimentary, as well as tea and coffee, and the bed was super comfy. The bathroom was a sufficient size with a good shower, a shampoo and body wash dispenser and most importantly it was clean. The rooms were cleaned every day to a really high standard, towels were changed every day and beach towels were in your room for your stay (and could be changed at reception) which was perfect for avoiding heavy luggage.

The hotel is very spread out, which is lovely for the stunning views and for the laid back feeling but it did mean going from your room to the pool, restaurant or reception could be a bit of a work out. This didn't really affect us as we're both able to climb the hundreds of steps  and steep hills with ease (well, kind of, just not in the middle of the day without turning into a puddle!) However if you've got any mobility issues this hotel might be a little more tricky to get around. There was a buggy/golf cart system which was really easy to use and operated all of the time. We used it on our first and last day when we had our suitcases as there was NO WAY we'd have got them to our room without it. All it took was a phone call to reception and a buggy would be at your building within 10 minutes. Then to get back to your room you just waited at reception - a good little system. If you've got any concerns you can email the hotel beforehand and arrange for a lower room.

We had a late evening flight and were really impressed by the checkout process. We were checked out of our room by noon and able to leave our suitcases in the luggage room. Rather than pay for a room for an extra day they operate a free 30minute slot in a room. On the morning of checkout you sign up to a time slot then head to reception just before it, collect a key and have time in a room to freshen up, change and get organised for your flight. We certainly needed it after a day by the pool. The arrival and check in process was similarly pleasant. Our airport transfer was a minibus just for our hotel so no stopping every 5 minutes. We arrived close to midnight Turkish time but we were met by fresh sandwiches and cold bottles of water, which was needed by that time.

Cat Cafe

One of the quirkiest parts of the Marmaris Imperial hotel was the Cat Cafe. Now I'm not a cat person but the cats here are more like pets and don't pester you at all. They sometimes sneaked into the restaurant but they were quickly shooed out. They are fed every day at the Cat Cafe and you can tell they are really well looked after. Not the usual stray cats begging for food.

Food and Drink
Starters at the A La Carte Restaurant

San Francisco Cocktail, Beer and Rose Wine

Gala Night Dessert, Buffet Desserts, Breakfast, Lunch selection

Sushi in International Buffet, Turkish Night, Chicken Sandwich from Snack Bar, Selection of desserts at buffet restaurant

As like most All Inclusive hotels the main restaurant operates as a buffet but there is also an A La Carte Restaurant, a snack bar and a Steak House within the hotel. The restaurant is called the Olympus and it was home to breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was loads of tables both inside and out, we never had to wait for one even at the busiest times. The food was fantastic, a really high standard for an All Inclusive hotel and always a a wide variety to choose from. The evening meal was often themed and this was completely up my street but for fussier eaters there was always a basic option like pasta and chips. There was show cooks every night which was amazing to watch and taste! My favourite was probably the Turkish Kebab that the chef convinced me to have whilst I was on my way to the desserts, which by the way were delicious. I also think I ate my bodyweight of chocolate spread throughout the holiday as the pancakes and waffles were delicious with it!

The Harmony snack bar down by the jetty was a great little restaurant/cafe for lunch or an early dinner (which was handy on check out day). There was a small selection of meals like pizza, fish and chips, chicken sandwich and burger which was table service. There was also a buffet of salad and fruit to compliment your meal. 

The A La Carte restaurant is called in Culinarium and you're given 1 visit as part of your booking. You book a time slot via Customer Services or using the machines at reception. It books up fast so we booked on our first morning and got a Monday night slot at 7pm. There was about 6 other tables booked at the same time and then a few more arrived at 30minute intervals. Our meal took an hour and a half and it really felt like a treat. The only issue was the wasps, as all of the tables were outside, up in the trees. When our main course arrived there was around 10 wasps swarming around Mark's hot plate which was horrible when he just wanted to dive in and start eating. 

On holiday I'm a cocktail drinker. I'm not fussy with my spirits and am normally easily pleased but unfortunately the cocktails were not great. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, possibly weaker spirits or the syrup like fruit juices, but I resorted to ordering gin and pineapple or a rose with lemonade. The rose was good but so strong that I couldn't drink it on it's own until I was onto my 3rd or 4th glass! Mark enjoyed the beer, which was always being topped up by the attentive waiters (along with my wine). The slushes, juices and water were brilliant for keeping hydrated. All of the staff were lovely in the Breeze Bar too, however at night it was a pain to have to queue twice if you wanted a beer and a cocktail.

Archery, Kayaking and Watersports

I didn't experience a single moment of boredom on my whole trip, in fact I was finding it difficult to fit in time to read my usual huge bundle of books on my Kindle! Each morning we picked up a Marmaris Imperial newsletter at breakfast to see the schedule for the day. Our personal favourites were the poolside quiz and bingo. There was also cooking and cocktail making classes, daily card games, waterpolo, aqua aerobics and darts. There was something to suit everyone. If you prefer to sunbathe in peace that wasn't a problem too, the entertainment team weren't pushy or annoying and you could always sunbathe by the sea or relaxation pool if you were feeling particularly antisocial. 

One of our highlights of the holiday was our hour spent kayaking and playing archery. Both were free which was an amazing part of the sports and activities. The archery was led as a class which was great for both beginners and archery pros as the guy in charge was really attentive and friendly. Kayaking and canoeing was free from the water sports centre for an hour at a time, unlimited throughout your stay. Along with this there was a tennis court, table tennis table, basketball court, giant chess board and gym. 

The evening entertainment was some of the best we've seen at an All Inclusive hotel. Rather than the shows and performances being by in-house reps nearly every performance was by professionals, brought into the hotel. The only one by the entertainment team was the Big Quiz, which was just a longer version of our daytime favourite. The African Acrobats were one of the best shows. Others included an Il Divo Tribute, The Drifters Tribute and Turkish Dancers. Unfortunately most of the performances were done by 10.30-11pm but you could still enjoy the music and drinks for a while longer. We were normally ready for bed by 11pm after quite an early start and a day in the sun so we weren't too fussed.


Water Taxi to Marmaris

Water Sports Centre and Snack Restaurant 

This hotel was the perfect sunbathing hotel. Whether you like being by the pool, a bit of music, being on the beach or a little luxury there was a sunbed for you. We always lay by the activity pool and there wasn't a single day that we struggled to get a sunbed. There was also a relaxation pool which was peaceful, had plenty of beds and a handy little bar. We typically don't like sunbathing at the beach but for those that do there was loads of space and a bar quite close by too. We did sunbath once or twice on the pontoon which was a nice inbetween option. Lastly there was Cabanas which could be rented. These came at a cost but you got an ice box with drink or food in the cost. A VIP option perhaps.

There was quite a few shops and facilities that we didn't use including a hairdressers, jewellers, gym and spa. Like the rest of the staff the spa team weren't pushy and you had to go to the effort of finding out your options if it was something you fancied. The prices seemed quite competitive and had a whole host of treatments including massages and Turkish Baths. The water sports centre had loads to offer as well, including jet skis, para-gliding and . It did seem a little bit pricey but we weren't interested in the first place.

If you want to head into Marmaris you've got 2 options - the water taxi from the Marmaris Imperial bay for €10 return or the minibus from the front of the hotel which works out at about 70p return! We went on the water taxi both for the experience, the views and for the convenience. Marmaris was lovely to have a look around and we spent a fair amount of time wandering around the Bazaar. It's worth going for a look and seeing what you can haggle on. We didn't feel too pressured but couldn't count on 2 hands how many times the sellers shouted 'lovely couple' at as to persuade us to come into their shops and stalls.

Because the TUI Sensimar hotel is All Inclusive we didn't really need much money so we opted to use the Money Exchange at the hotel, only if we needed it. Unfortunately we didn't realise the Scottish notes were going to be an issue and they hotel wouldn't exchange these, which left us rather annoyed. Typically in Marmaris though they accepted Sterling, Euros and Turkish Lira so it wasn't too much hassle.

So to sum it all up, if you're looking for a relaxing holiday with plenty of sunshine then the TUI Sensimar Marmaris Imperial Hotel is worth checking out. The staff were friendly and hardworking, we were treated so well from the beginning to the end to ensure we had an enjoyable stay. The TUI reps were on hand to help if you wanted to venture out of the hotel and the entertainment team were there to keep you busy if you didn't. I never went hungry or thirsty once and left after a week feeling refreshed with fantastic memories.

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