Thursday, 16 August 2012

All Inclusive

All inclusive package holidays seem to be very popular these days.  They don't appeal to me in the least.

I only ever tried one all-inclusive, and that was to St Lucia many years ago when my children were very young.

The photos in the brochure were very misleading.  People sitting around a vast swimming pool, with lots of space, sipping delicious looking cocktails full of fruit and other decorations.

The reality was somewhat different.  The pool wasn't so vast and it was very crowded, with very few sunbeds.  And as for the cocktails...these were actually slopped into plastic cups with no fruit or even ice.

The wine that should have appeared on the table at lunch and dinner (included in the price) never did, unless you asked two or three times for it, and it would invariably arrive after you had finished eating.

We had booked and paid for two large adjoining rooms...we actually received one room, being informed on arrival that the hotel had been overbooked.  The service generally was pretty grim.

It wasn't a cheap holiday.  We  paid more than £4000 (one child free and the other half-price) and this was almost 30 years ago.  We stayed for the first week, complained bitterly, and were finally moved to another hotel for our second week.  The meals were included, but not drinks.  We paid extra and it was well worth it.  We later received a refund of our additional expenses from Thomas Cook, together with a case of wine as compensation.

I decided then and there that I would never again do an all-inclusive holiday.

All-inclusives, in my opinion, have been very damaging to tourism in Turkey.   Tourists are now getting very cheap deals.  As a result they stay in their hotels and don't venture outside to see this beautiful country.  They are not spending money, and local businesses are closing down as a result.

Half the fun of a holiday abroad is to get out and experience a bit of the culture, and to taste the different food.  The food in all-inclusive hotels is NOT typical Turkish cuisine by any stretch of the imagination.  People just don't realise what they are missing.

I do understand the mentality of the all-inclusive tourists, that they pay one price and know what they're getting for it.  But it does tend to encourage them to stay put in their hotels from the start of the holiday till it ends.

Mr A is working for an all-inclusive hotel at the moment, in the hamam.  Naturally, if someone wants to experience a Turkish bath they have to pay for it.   You would be amazed at the number of people who think that all-inclusive means absolutely everything, and they feel most put out if they are asked to pay extra.  He tells me of one family of four who told him they couldn't possibly pay extra for anything as they had only brought a total of £50 spending money with them for two weeks.

I recall my friend Gwen telling me last year that whilst she and her husband were running the small hotel shop, where you could buy cigarettes, sweets, biscuits, sun lotion etc, that customers had helped themselves to icecreams from the fridge and walked out without paying.  When she called after them to pay, they informed her that they assumed they were included. When they were politely told they were not free, they put them back in the fridge.  This happened many times.

I know money is scarce these days, so I understand that people have a budget when they go on holiday, but it's still possible to do holidays in Turkey that aren't all inclusive, without breaking the bank, and the experience is far more enjoyable.


  1. There are plenty of foreign visitors coming into Bodrum airport but I don't see them eating in Bodrum or Gumusluk as I used to do. They are probably staying in their hotels. Many of the hotels recruit their work force from far affield which doesn't help the local economy either.

    1. Yes of course they do BtoB..I had forgotten that. I'm not sure whether this demand for all-inclusive holidays will continue, but it will be very detrimental for the Turkish people in the long term.

  2. What you say bears out our experience.
    Because Mr. Fly could never know how he would feel, we used to grab last minute packages when he felt well enough to enjoy a holiday....but for us the hotel was a base, somewhere to sleep and dump the luggage while we explored.
    For nearly all the holidaymakers though, the hotel was all they saw of the country in which they were staying, unless they took a trip organised by the hotel.....which cut out local businesses altogether.

  3. And that just about sums it up Fly. Ask those same people on their return from holiday about the country they visited, and I doubt they would be able to tell you anything. One hotel is much the same as another...they could be anywhere.

  4. An all-inclusive hotel holiday sound like my idea of hell, Ayak. What on earth is the point of foreign travel if it isn't to experience the sheer differentness (is that a word?) of abroad? Yes, I've taken package holidays in the past, but never all-in and, like Fly, used the hotel as a base to go out exploring. I do feel for Mr A and all those others whose livelihoods are suffering as a result of the trend towards all-in.

    1. I totally agree Perpetua. Not my idea of a holiday. I went over to Mr A's hotel yesterday. It's full of people going nowhere but the bar and swimming pool, and no*one is spending money.
      It's very hard for the many like Mr A who are working solely on commission. He's pretty depressed about it at the moment.

  5. It is so depressing to hear of people doing this. Recently, my hairdresser excitedly told me about her up and comming holiday to Mexico. Her plans are to spend no more money than the cost of the all inclusive package, and not to move from the hotel complex. So, so depressing...for her, all that missed opportunity, and for the local economy. I cannot imagine how soul destroying it must be for Mr A. J.

    1. Janice it seems that many people go abroad simply to sunbathe by a pool and drink to excess. No sense of adventure. They might as well stay at home, shut themselves in a room with a sunbed and a fridge full of booze!

    2. This is well said because my neighbours just came back from the Dominican Republic on an all inclusive vacation package. They paid almost $8000.00 for them and their 2 kids for a week. She said to venture off the resort to do anything would cost them around $400. a day for food and sight-seeing, so she stayed in the resort for the week and didn't leave it for a minute. All she did she said was eat, drink and hang around the pool, to me I would go stir-crazy. She also did't care for the beach b/c it was sea weedy too much for them.

  6. I have never been on an all-inclusive hotel holiday......I hate being told where to go, what to do, when to eat etc.....I think it would be so tiring, as I've heard from friends. Usually I memorize the places where I want to go and read up on it and off we go. My husband complains he wants a package, but I don't. This way we experience more and be 'free'. Once when in London we didn't want to drive b/c of your left hand driving so we went on a tour of Windsor Castle by some travel company on a bus...I was livid b/c it was my dream castle and they zoomed through in an hour, didn't get to see the cute quaint village more then 1/2 hour and off we came back. Waste of my time....Zoomed like a bullet past the Runnymede Charter place....(Magna Carta).

    I'm sad for people like Mr A trying to make a living and mad at those big companies are snatching up business with their packages. But you can't help it those companies they have good marketing tricks, they are always in your face with their advertisements.

    ....have a good day and a better one tomorrow. erica. xx

    1. What a shame you missed out on seeing Windsor properly Erica. It's a lovely town..just up the road from my home town. If you ever stay in London again, you should get the train from Paddington to Windsor(one change at Slough), the whole journey takes less than an hour.

      Enjoy your day too xx


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