Ephesia Holiday Beach Club in Kusadasi - Review & Tips

This post is based on a visit in July 2023. We paid for our own holiday but there are AD- Affiliate Links in this post. Information can change so do check with the venue direct for the most up-to-date information. 

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club in Kusadasi - Review & Tips
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We decided to book an all inclusive hotel in Turkey for our annual summer holiday this year. We last visited (Antalya) in 2009 and the kids were keen to return. I do feel like you get better value for money when visiting Turkey when compared to Spain etc..... too but as a family of 5 choosing to travel during school holidays, it's still not cheap. 

We booked two rooms with upgrades - we upgraded one to a superior sea view (for the teens) and we upgraded the other to a superior swim up room (for myself, Steve and Jack). We pretty much always book two rooms when travelling now for our own sanity. 

Also, trying to find hotel rooms that sleep 5 is a nightmare, booking two rooms opens up so much more options to us.

You can check for the most up to date prices here:  Ephesia Holiday Beach Club Price Checker

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club is officially a 4* hotel although it's only rated as 3.5* with Jet2. Personally, I would definitely class it as a solid 4* due to the fantastic range of facilities on offer and the excellent service we received. It was certainly en-par with other 4* hotels we have stayed at and better than all 3* hotels we have stayed at. 

I was drawn to Kusadasi as it has lively restaurants and bars (and even nightclubs) around the port/harbour area and there are plenty of day trips and activities for families with teens.

We like history and the area is interesting for history lovers too including Pigeon Island and the ancient ruins of Ephesus. There are lovely beaches, multiple waterparks and the transfer time is around an hour from the airport so not too bad. 

Superior Swim Up Room at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

We stayed in a Superior Swim Up Room and were so pleased with our choice. The superior rooms are located in a 'new' block and at a quieter end of the hotel resort (although still only a 3 minute walk to the restaurant and 5 minute walk to the slide pool).

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club in Kusadasi - Review & Tips  - superior swim up room

We had a super comfortable double bed, a single sofa bed, mini fridge, kettle, safety deposit box, TV with netflix, vanity area, modern bathroom with rainfall shower and excellent air conditioning. There were plenty of plug sockets but you do need to bring European adapters. 

Our room was serviced daily by housekeeping and kept lovely and clean. They usually did that thing where they decorate your bed with fresh flowers which was nice (we did tip a couple of £ a day). Our towels were replaced daily and I couldn't fault our rooms at all.

They were cool and modern. You do have bottled water in your room on arrival but this isn't replaced however there are loads of fridges around the resort stocked with water where you just grab bottles whenever you need. We just stocked our fridge with these. 

There were sliding doors and a secondary door with fly screen out onto our private terrace which was equipped with two comfortable loungers, a parasol and table plus direct access into the swimming pool. We were in room 2108 and could see the sea from our terrace just behind the pool and there was a bar on the otherside of the pool. 

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club in Kusadasi - Review & Tips  - swim up pool

Our terrace didn't really receive much sun in the morning (which was a blessing for us - we wouldn't be able to sit in direct sun at 40C temps!) but it was nice and sunny from around 3pm-8pm.

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club in Kusadasi - Review & Tips  - swim up terrace

If you did want to sit in the sun, there were plenty of loungers in the sun or seating in the bar just across the pool and there were always free loungers/seats here, even during peak times. It still felt super hot sitting in the shade and regular dips in the pool were required. 

I really rated our room. In fact I loved it. I will definitely book a swim-up room again. The location was perfect for us, I really enjoyed being in a quieter area and having sea views from our terrace and what felt like a private pool a lot of the time plus our own bar area right across from our room was excellent. 

There is free WiFi in the rooms and across most of the hotel complex. It was easy to log in and suitable for streaming etc.... We logged into around 7 devices between us and had no issues. 

Other Room Types 

Our teens stayed in a double superior room (not a swim up one). I knew this would be in the same block as ours and they were actually allocated just across the corridoor from us. Their room was pretty much the same as ours but with a double and single bed and a terrace with table and chairs rather than the terrace with loungers. They also had a side sea view. 

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club in Kusadasi - Review & Tips  - family swim up rooms
Family Swim Up Rooms

You can also book standard rooms / standard swim up rooms which are in an older part of the hotel and do look a little dated in comparison to the superior rooms. These rooms are located closer to the action and slide pool etc.... and it did feel busier here.

The standard family / standard family swim up rooms sleep up to 4 guests and have a room divider in them so this type of room will be better for families of 4 with younger kids who maybe go to bed earlier than their parents. The standard swim up rooms also have a mini paddling pool outside of them which then goes into the deeper pool rather than direct access to the deep pool. 

It is probably easier to look at the different room types online: Ephesia Holiday Beach Club Room Types 

Swimming Pools & Beach at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

There are 7 swimming pools at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club. They are all either 1.4m deep or paddling /splash type pools for little ones.  We LOVED the pool directly outside of our room.

Although technically any guest could use this pool, in practice it was only really shared between 5 rooms and we often had the pool all to ourselves which was BLISS. The busiest time seemed to be 3pm-6pm. 

The ceremonial pool is beautiful and overlooks the sea. This is where you'll find the entertainment team and activities such as aqua gym, water polo etc..... 

There are a couple of smaller splash pools with slides for little ones, plus a water play area where water shoots out of the ground as well as a big complex with climbing frames / slides and one of those buckets which fills and then splashes over everyone. 

Swim towels are included with your room rate, there are kiosks dotted around the hotel - just swap your towels for fresh whenever you need them.

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Plus there is the slide pool where there are 6 slides which my teens enjoyed (this pool closed for 2 hours over lunch). Overall, the swim scene was excellent! No complaints about the pools at all. I feel like there was a pool for everyone. 

The pools here don't feel freezing cold when you first get in (in July anyway). Although definitely not 'hot' they were some of the warmest pools I have been in. There are lifeguards on duty until around 6pm but you can stay in the pools (esp those around your room) later than this and many people did. They just ask that there is no night swimming in the dark. 

The Beach at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club has it's own private beach. It's not the biggest but was fine for what we needed. There are free sun loungers and parasols on the beach (plenty available at 10am when we visited) and there is a lifeguarded section marked out for swimming. 

Before I share more about the beach, I just want to mention that the main restaurant has beautiful sea views and the bit outside the restaurant is packed with fish. Lots of people feed them after breakfast (myself included) which was a nice little activity for little ones. 

We enjoyed sea swimming at the hotel. When you first walk into the sea, it is rocky and I'd recommend water shoes. However once you are in, it's lovely and clear/sandy with no rocks. It was so refreshing and we loved swimming together as a family. Especially with the blue skies and mountains in the background. 

Although there were loads of fish in the sea around the restaurant, we didn't see any fish when we were actually swimming in the swimming area. 

The hotel offers a range of watersports (chargeable) including parasailing and jet skis - just pop over to their beach kiosk for info. Jet Skis were around £45 per person for 15 minutes. You need to be over 18 to use the Jet Skis but can have a passenger aged 3+ on the back at a discount. 

There is a beach bar / snack bar / pancake lady next to the beach - all part of your all inclusive package. 

If you're looking for a bigger beach, Long Beach is a public beach just next to the hotel (you can't really access direct from the hotel though - you need to turn right out of the hotel and walk along for 5 mins ish). There are chargeable loungers here, additional watersports and bars/restaurants lining the prom.

There was a beautiful looking restaurant on Long Beach (Kumsal) but I sadly found it impossible to book a table here. 

Daytime Activities at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

As well as the swimming pools and beach, there is quite a bit going on this hotel and I'd describe it as 'lively'. They usually played music around the Ceremonial Pool with a DJ and most of the activities were here / in the bar next to this pool. The entertainment staff were lush and we were never badgered to join in with anything. 

There is a photography team who are constantly taking photos and you can organise a photo shoot with them too. The photography team were just the nicest people. There was never any hard sell at all. 

There is a lot to do at this hotel - I don't think you will get bored here. The activity boards can be found near the main pool bar and let you know what's on each day. Activities hosted by the entertainment team are included with no additional charge and you just turn up at their start time. 

On Tuesdays and Saturdays the hotel puts on a foam party with live DJ. We LOVED this and it was just so much fun. It was great for all ages from little ones up to teens and adults. 

As well as the activities above, there is a kids club (although it's not one you can leave your children unattended), playground, a pretty big indoor games room with playstations, games consoles and arcades (find them on Instagram and have a look at photos here) and table tennis, vollyball and football pitch which are all free to use. 

The Gym & Spa at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

The hotel has it's own spa and gym which are both free to use. We were really keen to try a traditional Turkish Massage. There is a bit of a hard sell in the spa but nothing too bad - we ended up booking a mid-range 2 hour package for around £40 each (which was just under half the list price).

More expensive than a traditional hamman (which you can book with Happy Days Travel Agency outside of the hotel) but we did feel like it was still good value and worth it for us. 

We'd never tried a Turkish bath before and it was certainly an experience. We booked a couples treatment. It started with time in the sauna and was followed by us lying on marble while two ladys scrubbed us with an exfoliater. Then they bubble you up and massage lots of bubbles into your skin which honestly feels lush! I kept my bikini top on but they did keep putting their hands down my top and pants to make sure no part was left out. Not for the prudish! 

Then they chuck loads of buckets of water over you before you're left to relax on loungers with a glass of cold water. 

Next it was into the couples massage room where I was asked to take my bikini top off and we had a bit of a crazy massage where they walk on top of you, stretch you out and massage your boobs too. 

Finally, you are left to relax on loungers with a cup of fruit tea and a face mask is applied. While we were trying to relax at the end, the receptionist did come over and try to sell us a package of massages for the week. I mean it would have been nice but our Turkish Bath was a treat and not something I'd want to do daily while on a family holiday.  We declined and it was fine. 

It was certainly a memorable experience and we're really pleased we did it. I'd recommend! My skin felt amazing for the whole holiday. Teens aged 14+ can book onto the main Turkish Bath packages and if you have younger kids, they can join you too and book a special kids package with chocolate at the same time. 

The gym is in the same building as the spa and is open from 10am-7pm. You don't need to book - just pop in. It's suitable for ages 16+. The gym was a real disappointment for us. Only one treadmill was working (from a full row) and even then it was dodgy, there were minimal free weights and most of the other equipment was broken.

The main issue was that it wasn't air conditioned either. Trying to workout in 40C heat next to a spa just isn't a pleasant experience. The gym was just pretty unusable which was a real shame, especially for our 16 year old who loves the gym. 

Evening Activities at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

I think the evening entertainment was pretty good. Evenings usually started at the pool bar where you could catch the most amazing sunsets. 

The pool bar stayed open until 12midnight and the atmosphere was excellent. We spent most nights here. They alternate between a live DJ (who turned the place into a bit of a party) and live bands / singers who were actually good and not cheesey at all. 

They played music like Eminem and club mixes here - it had a much more grown up vibe than other places we have been on holiday with the kids and was perfect for us. Little ones did still have their mini disco but that was in the amphitheatre. 

At the end of the night, people were up dancing (including ourselves) and we just really liked the vibe here. As well as the music, they put on a fire show here on one evening which was excellent and there was a traditional Turkish show here on another night. 

If you do prefer more formal entertainment / shows, there is an ampitheatre where you'll find a mix of traditional shows (from 9:30pm) and the kids mini disco (from 9pm). They have popcorn / candyfloss for sale here too (not part of the all inclusive). 

At 11pm on most nights, the entertainment team organise a 'party in the city'. Basically, they will take you into Kusadasi to sample some of the clubs / livelier nightlife. This was 10euro per person and you just need to put your name down (staff will come around the bar area with a clipboard). I felt like our kids were a little too young for this but it is something we could fancy in the future. 

Just a note about teenage drinking. It is illegal to drink alcohol under the age of 18 in Turkey. However in practice, teenagers do drink alcohol here - both in the hotel and in Kusadasi and it kind of feels like staff just turn a blind eye to it. Harry (who is nearly 17) had no bother ordering cocktails when we were out and about in restaurants / bars. 

Bars & Restaurants at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

I will caveat this section by saying that although I tend to book all inclusive holidays, I do this for the unlimited drinks and snacks which would cost us a small fortune. I am just not a fan of all inclusive buffet dining and only really visit the main buffet restaurants if / when I have to. I much prefer to eat out on holiday but do like the convenience of having unlimited food and drink on tap. 

Breakfast is served in the main sunset restaurant until 10am with a late breakfast available until 11am. We would generally find a nice table in the shade outside and did enjoy our breakfasts here.

Typically we'd have fresh eggs with a nice mushroom dish they used to make, yoghurt with fruit, pancakes/french toast/fresh doughnuts with honey, cereal plus wedges of orange and watermelon. 

My kids are obsessed with bread on holiday buffets and there is a huge choice of bread and pastries here and lots of spreads to choose from including nutella. 

You help yourself to hot drinks (which were good) and juice (not so good) or bottles of water from the fridge. There is fresh juice available but you have to pay 3e for someone to squeeze this for you. 

Overall, breakfast was canny. There were some options which we'd find a bit weird like trays of french fries and a salad bar. 

The buffet restaurant was also open for lunch and dinner. You wouldn't starve dining here - I had a couple of nice salads and they had live cooking stations, lots of 'stewed' type foods and a dedicated kids buffet too. I just found the restaurant to be super busy/chaotic/noisy and it just wasn't for me (but as mentioned above, I find I'm the same with most all inclusive buffet restaurants). 

Instead for lunch we much preferred the snack bars. There were two open (one at the beach, one at the main pool bar) and they're open from 12:30pm-5pm. They're never too busy - just help yourself from the counter. 

They served pizzas, flatbreads, cheesy garlic bread, burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, salad, spaghetti and tomato sauce. The kids loved it and used to pile their plates high (they ate it all - no food waste here). 

There were also two lovely ladies who would cook Turkish Pancakes / Flatbreads to order using traditional methods. There was usually a bit of a wait for these though and we just liked to grab stuff from the counter. 

There are four a la carte restaurants to choose from and you can dine at one during a week's stay as part of your all inclusive package (Turkish/Seafood/Chinese/Italian). These are all different proper restaurants as opposed to the same restaurant repurposed. 

You book a table at Guest Relations by reception and can view menus here too. We tried the Italian a la carte and had a lovely six course meal here. Wine (or other drinks) are included and the staff keep your wine glass topped up across the evening at no additional cost. 

For kids, they brought out extra food too including pizzas during some of our other courses. It was a really good experience dining here and the sunset views were fantastic. 

There are a number of bars across the hotel - the main pool bar, the pool bar near our room, the beach bar and lobby bar. All of the bar staff were super friendly. The beer on tap is Efes and lovely and cold.

 You can also order wines, a selction of cocktails, soft drinks, local spirits etc.....I stuck with either beer, wine or malibu and coke - the measures felt pretty strong to me. The bar staff really are lovely and will make you up and drink you desire. 

During the day, drinks are served in small paper cups which aren't great. I'd highly recommend taking your own refillable thermos cup instead - staff don't mind filling these up at all. They keep your drinks lush and cool for ages and you get a much larger measure.

In the evening, they do serve drinks in proper glasses but they still are quite small. If we weren't going out, we'd take our larger cups with us. 

Jack doesn't like pop and they did have quite a few different juices available including Cherry and Pineapple. There is no Blackcurrant Cordial though, I don't think this is a thing in Turkey! We took those little concentrated bottles you get from Aldi and he would just usually grab water from the fridges and mix this with his juice into his cup. 

The main bars are open from 10am-midnight (the one next to our room closed at 5pm). You can order as many drinks as you can carry at a time.  We didn't really ever have a problem with queues at the bar. They were busiest in the evening but even then service was really quick. All of the staff at this hotel seem to work their socks off! 

Some people mentioned the bars looked quiet in my photos - this wasn't the case at all. It's just nobody would sit in direct sun at midday - everyone was either in the pool, in the sea or in the shaded areas. 

We loved the Turkish Coffee and this was available in the lounge bar, lobby bar and main pool bar too. It's just a machine where you help yourself. There are also teas and hot chocolate. Very good quailty for machine coffee. The lobby bar also serves cakes in the afternoon and is lovely and air conditioned if you need to cool off with a drink. 

Ice cream is a bit of a let down - it's only available from 2:30pm-4pm in the lounge bar (next to the Italian restaurant) and is just a small tub. We mostly didn't bother. 

Although I mentioned I am not keen on buffet style all inclusive restaurants, the dessert counter was SO good. Often I'd just pop in for some Baklava or Turkish Delight and take it out to enjoy with coffee in one of the bar areas. It was so good! They had a huge selection of cakes and sweet treats available over lunch and dinner and they were all divine. 

Even the takeaway coffee was excellent

Bugs, Cats & Dogs 

There are millions of wild cats and dogs in Turkey and Kusadasi is no different. You won't be able to stay here and not see them. Personally, the cats didn't bother us. They don't beg for food or come over to you unless you specifically usher them over and if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. 

I did find seeing the wild dogs a little harder to take (maybe because I'm a dog owner myself). They're not scrawny little dogs, they are big dogs just walking around the streets. It just feels weird and I do worry for them. I know that these are wild animals and you can't trust them but again, the dogs were no bother at all and didn't bother you if you just left them alone. They always seemed to be happy enough and we didn't witness any fighting or aggressive behaviour. 

My own dog at home can sometimes beg for food but the street cats and dogs never did this. 

After speaking with restaurant owners and locals, we know that the street animals are well cared for in the community and restaurants will usually feed the animals their leftovers away from the restaurants later in the evening. 

Our hotel had a stand where you could donate to help the animals too. 

Kids did like to play with the cats at night. The hotel sold laser pens which kids would tease/play with the cats with and carry them around. 

Harry and Dee would usher cats to their terrace in the evening and play with them. It's not for me but they enjoyed it and the cats seemed to like the attention / soon left when they got sick. Again though, I must reiterate, cats won't randomly turn up at your room door - you do need to tempt them over. 

In terms of bugs, we didn't see any cockroaches. Harry received a couple of mosquito bites and Steve received one - everyone else was fine. There are loads of Turkish Cicada's around. Although I only spotted one once, the trees seemed to be full of them as they are SO noisy! I spotted a wasp on two occasions. Generally though, bugs were not a problem. 

Shopping at Ephesia Holiday Beach Club (and surrounding area) 

There are quite a few shops inside the hotel - a little supermarket (expensive -  £35 for a large pool inflatable), a jewellers, a gift shop, a handbag shop and henna tattoo place. These are all open until around 11pm. 

Don't miss Sosyete just outside of the hotel (turn left and walk up the hill). It's basically a huge indoor market where you can find all your genuine fakes. Some stalls had set prices displayed and at others, it was down to bartering. 

Here are some typical prices: 

  • 'Chanel' bag 400TL 
  • 'Adidas' trainers 10euro 
  • Designer flip flops 5euro 
  • Fridge magnets 10TL 
  • Evil eye bracelets - 2 for 1euro 
  • Fresh orange juice 1euro 
  • 'Designer' purses 4euro 
  • Evil eye hanging ornament 4euro 
  • Non designer flip flops 1euro 
  • 'Designer' t shirts 5euro 
  • 'Designer' shorts 5euro 

Prices are generally displayed in Euro but you can pay in Euro or Lira (we paid in Lira). Shopping here was no bother at all. Super chill, no pressure and no hassle. There are a couple of cheap cafes where you can grab a drink too. The bazaar is open until 11pm ish. 

AVM Mall is around a 10 minute walk from the hotel. This is a proper shopping mall which sells genuine stuff - no fakes here. Everything has a price label and the staff don't hassle you at all. It's nice for a little stroll and all of the shops are air conditioned. 

There are loads of sports shops, clothes shops, homeware, a Mango, KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Starbucks, WaffleShop, toy shop and lots of yummy looking ice cream parlours/stands. 

It's great for kids too with a mini train, bowling alley and soft play area plus a mini fairground and climbing wall (there is a larger fairground across the road). We found prices to be similar to the UK for clothes but the restaurants/cafes were a lot cheaper (£4 for 4 cokes, 1 milkshake and 3 ice creams from Burger King). There were some bargains to be had in the sales though. We paid contactless in the mall (choosing lira as the currency). 

There is also a little supermarket just outside of the hotel to the right and if you visit the marina or town centre, loads of shops there too (some with set prices displayed - others where you will negotiate a price). 

We were really happy with out shopping experiences in Kusadasi. The only place we found to be expensive was the airport. 

Restaurants to try in Kusadasi 

We could have stayed in our hotel and enjoyed the all inclusive buffet every night but I like to get out and about and prefer a more relaxed style of evening meal.

I wouldn't say I was wowed by the restaurants in Kusadasi - they didn't stand out to me as being any kind of foodie destination and it's clear to me that the restaurants we visited were very much geared towards tourists. They pretty much all had the same menu and sold everything from pasta and pizza to Turkisk kebabs, seafood and steak. 

However, we very much enjoyed all of the meals out we had and would recommend them all. The service in all was fantastic and the food yummy. Just not exceptional or authentic if you get what I'm trying to say. Anyway, here's where we tried: 

Mare Bistro 

We visited Mare Bistro on our first and last evening. It's just outside the hotel reception (turn right and walk for 30 seconds) and open from 9am (ish) to 1am (ish). No booking is required. They have a book library here and show live sports too. We didn't visit for breakfast but if you're craving a full English, they'll sort you out. 

This was the kids' favourite restaurant. They loved the mocktails, pancakes and ice creams and had some banter with the staff. Their cocktails were divine and the best of our holiday - I recommend their strawberry daquiri which is made with fresh strawberries. 

The staff are so lovely here and they give you free shots at the end of your meal too. No bookings - just walk in. You could even just visit for ice creams and cocktails. It's a chilled place. 

Murphy's Bar 

Murphy's Bar is located on Kusadasi Port and if you time it right (we didn't) you'll get a great view of some of the cruise ships that stop here. Like a lot of the restaurants in Kusadasi, they offer complimentary pick up and drop off from your hotel. Just message their FB page / whatsapp them to book. 

They will let you know when to be at your hotel security hut and your taxi will have a sign for 'Murphys' in the windscreen. 

This restaurant was lovely. It specialises in seafood and you can pick straight from the counter. We were well looked after and as well as complimentary transport, we were given complimentary desserts and fruit too. They sometimes have entertainment in the restaurant too. 

It was our most expensive meal of the trip - around £110 for 5 x 2 courses, 6 x cocktails, 4 x milkshakes and transport to and from the restaurant. It's a lovely location though and considering we had fresh seafood, I thought this was still a bargain. 

After dinner, there's no rush to go back and you can go shopping / have a walk along the harbour and just pop back to the restaurant for them to organise your complimentary taxi home when you are ready. 

There are some lovely bars along here, some with live DJs. We walked along to Pigeon Island and had a look at the boats, saw the castle and did a bit of jewellery shopping before heading back. It was a lovely night. 

We noted there were quite a few boats offering sunset cruises from Pigeon Island for a couple of £ too. We were just a little too late. 


Ah I loved Casablanca! Again, they offer a complimentary pick up and drop off from your hotel. It's located in the heart of Kusadasi and will be moving again next year due to redevelopment. The staff here are just the best, we had some lush chats and they took the time to teach Jack a magic trick which was cute. 

All cocktails are 2for1 and they are pretty strong. We were also offered complimentary dessert here. It worked out at £85 for 5 x main courses, 12 x cocktails, 4 x milkshakes, 5 x desserts + complimentary pick up and drop off. This just felt like the bargain of the century! There are loads of shops around this area if you fancy some shopping before your lift home. 

I know I mentioned earlier that none of the restaurants were exceptional but I just mean this in the way that there wasn't a stand out dish that only they would serve. When we go back to Kusadasi in the future, I will be returning to all of the above as we felt so well looked after and had such lovely nights out at all of these places. 

Other restaurants I had my eye on which are supposed to be fab were Castle Restaurant and Saray. We just didn't make it this time. 


Just to mention, the reps for Hong Kong restaurant visited our hotel and would try and get you to visit their restaurant.

I found them to be a little on the aggressive side and don't like that they refuse to tell you their prices. I had read via other reviews that their prices were pretty steep (£15 ish for a main course not including side orders). It got to the point where if we spotted one of their reps, we'd try and hide from them. 

Jack and Dee just aren't keen on Chinese food so in the end we gave it a miss. Only to be approched by their rep on our last day and interogated about why we didn't visit.

Not the best end to our holiday and this was the only experience of pushy behaviour I experienced in Turkey. It puts me off and I'm pleased we decided not to visit their restaurant in the end. 

Day Trips in Kusadasi 

Now when I booked our holiday, I was all for booking some day trips as they all looked fantastic. However we ended up visiting during a period of extreme heat in Europe and it's recommended you don't go in direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm during normal summers, nevermind during extreme heatwaves.

We're a family of 5 shade seeking redheads who burn easily and I had been reading about people being hositalised for heatstroke in Turkey and nearby Greece was currently on fire. In the end, I just didn't want to risk a trip out which is frustrating but safety first. 

If you are looking to book a trip out, I 100% recommend booking with New Happy Days just outside of the hotel. Turn right and they are just past Mare Bistro. We chatted with the owner and mentioned we weren't booking due to the sun/extreme heat. He was totally fine with this and understood - no hard sell. I've also read loads of good reviews about them.  

Here are some of the trips on offer. Please ignore the prices as they will put a special deal together for you. 

I had my eye on the boat trip with foam party, the Jeep Safari with water fights and the day trip to Greece. Click on the images to enlarge them. 

It is pretty easy to organise a trip yourself too - there is a bus stop outside of the hotel and all of the bus routes have different numbers depending on their route so it's easy to follow. The buses are literally pennies and run until late in the evening. They did look a little packed on occasion though. There are also taxis outside of the hotel - just make sure you agree on a price before getting in. 

Our Experience with Jet2.com / Flying Newcastle-Izmir 

This was the third time I've booked a package holiday with Jet2.com (previously staying at Elba Castillo San Jorge in Fuerteventura and Pirate Village Santa Ponsa) and we have always received fantastic service - this time was no different. 

On arrival in Turkey, there was NO queue for passport control, our luggage arrived quickly and the rep was waiting for us at arrivals. We were put onto a private mini bus with two other families and told we'd be taken direct to our hotel with no other drop offs (despite not booking private transfers). It was just so well organised! 

During our stay, our rep visited most days and there are info boards and then a few days before departure we were sent our pick up time via text and it was available in the app. A rep then accompanied us to the airport and guided us through the process. Super smooth! 

In Turkey there are four security checks at the airport. First of all, all or your luggage (including hold luggage) needs to be scanned and you walk through a metal detector before you even check in. Then you check in. Then you go though passport control.

Then all of your hand luggage is scanned and you walk through another metal detector. Then at your gate, you are hand searched and patted down, swabbed with something (which is then tested) and your hand luggage is searched by hand. Quite a bit to get through! The queues weren't too long though and it was all pretty efficient. 

I found prices at Izmir airport to be very expensive - a box of Turkish Delight was £15 ish where as in the markets it was only around £1. We bought 5 soft drinks, 3 bags of crisps, 1 sandwich and 1 slice of cake and it was £50. Ouch! 

In terms of duty free, we price checked everywhere and the best deals for alcohol seemed to be at Newcastle Airport. 

Did I Feel Safe? 

This was the question I was asked the most often and my answer is 100% yes. We weren't hassled at all (well apart from the Hong Kong Restaurant Guy). Everyone from stallholders to bar staff and cleaners were so lovely and friendly and always took the time to chat and say hello. 

The roads in Turkey are a little crazy but not the worst I've encountered - cars do stop at crossings here. All of the taxis we used had seatbelts and felt safe. 

I would feel absolutely fine walking around the main areas of Kusadasi alone or with the kids. 

In the shopping areas, stallholders would ask you if you were interested in anything as soon as you said you were just browsing or no thank you, that was it. They didn't hassle you at all and I never felt intimidated. 

Security is high in Turkey - our hotel had a security hut and you couldn't enter without showing your wristband. We also needed to walk through a metal detector and have our bags searched when we visited AVM Mall which is certainly more than you'd expect in Britain. Then, as mentioned, there is tighter security at the airport too. 

Some people may have an image of Turkish men being a little on the leary side. I visited with a 14 year old girl and we did not experience any kind of this behaviour. Everyone was so respectful and friendly. I genuinely found the majority of the Turkish people we met to be lovely and kind and felt really safe here throughout the whole holiday. 

Tips for Visiting Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

  • How much did it cost? The basic price was just over £4000 for 5 of us in two standard rooms in the summer holidays (this includes a free child place).  We booked around 18 months in advance. With the upgrades, we paid £4700 for our 7 day holiday with Jet2.com and spent around £600 while we were there on meals out, drinks out, tips and shopping.

  • The hotel is flat and step free. I would say most areas are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs

  • We had an evening flight and check out was 12noon. As we were there in peak season, late check out wasn't available. They do however have a luggage store and next to the spa is a large changing room with lockers and lovely individual showers which you're free to use. Your all inclusive is valid until you leave the hotel and does not end when you check out 

  • These are the reusable insulated tumblers we used. A bit of an investment but we will use them everytime we book all inclusive now. 

  • All of my kids wore rash vests when in the pool during peak sun hours - browse rash vests here

  • Join the Ephesia Holiday Beach Club Facebook group. It's packed with tips and a great place to ask questions

  • Visit guest services and book your A La Carte restaurant on your first day to access the best choice 

  • We used our Monzo debit card when shopping / at restaurants. If paying by card, make sure you select Lira as your payment currency for the best price

  • I applied this Citronella Dry Oil Spray in the evening and didn't receive one bite 

  • We took Lira with us for tips and shopping at the market. You can also take euro though - both are accepted everywhere 

  • Definitely pack some water shoes if you plan on swimming in the sea - click here to see a selection of Water Shoes

  • Don't forget to pack adapters - this pack of 6 is a bargain 

  • Book recommendations - I loved reading Trouble Maker which is all about Scientology from an ex celeb Scientologist. It was fascinating! Especially the bits about Tom Cruise's wedding. I also read The Paper Palace which is a beautiful book and really reminded me of Where the Crawdads Sing. My last holiday read was The Choice which is about a Holocaust surviver. I thought it would be too heavy but it wasn't at all. It's really a book about strength and hope. Really inspiring! 

    Steve read Stanley Tucci Taste which he thoroughly enjoyed and shared lots of fun snippets with me too. 

  • We took Blockbuster the Game with us which was brilliant for us to play as a movie loving family. Esp as me and Harry were the champs due to some good tactics. 

  • Book a Turkish Bath on your first or second day! Your skin won't regret it
  • This year we used this sunscreen which I would highly recommend. We're all ginger with fair skin and didn't burn in the 40C intense sun using this. It provides up to 8 hours worth of protection including up to 3 hours in water - most sunscreens only protect for up to 40 minutes in water. 

Find out more, check prices and book here: Ephesia Holiday Beach Club 

We honestly had the best holiday. Reading back through some Tripadvisor reviews I have to wonder what planet some of them are on and if they actually have the right hotel? 

Would I stay there again? As much as I loved the place, probably not. We only have a few years left of holidaying with the kids before they start going on their own adventures and I like to try new places rather than go back to the same places (even if I do love them).

Ephesia Holiday Beach Club is very much a family hotel for those staying with kids or teens. It's not really somewhere I'd pick for a couples holiday. I know for certain I will be back to visit Kusadasi in the future with Steve though. I have fallen in love with the area.

I would 100% recommend Ephesia Holiday Beach Club as a hotel for families with little ones, families with teens and single parent families. 

During our trips out I spotted a few hotels that I have my eye on for future child-free trips - Seven Seas Sealight Elite looked super fancy. Their lobby had panoramic views across the sea which just looked incredible!

La Vista Boutique Hotel & Spa looks lush with an infinity pool, fantastic views and proximity to the more exclusive beach clubs Kusadasi has to offer. 

We kept driving past Unique Life Style Hotel and it looked beautiful. If my budget allows, I reckon this is the one I will book for a future trip for me and Steve. There are suites with private pools, live DJs, cocktail bars and a la carte restaurants. It looks super swanky! 


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