Good for the money. The management style grates.
The Arcanus gets many things nearly right and for the money I paid, I cannot complain. Disappointment stems mostly from over-promising on the web site and under-delivering in practice.
In the winter season, most venues and facilities are closed, regardless of the weather. There are only soft drinks in the minibar and only one visit to one a la carte restaurant is permitted per stay, even if your stay is for six months. The official policy is for at-table bar waiter service but in practice you have to queue at the bar while the waiter merely clears empties away. This ... is a very poor aspect of the hotel. The "24-hour bar" closes at midnight. The indoor poor jacuzzi only works for two 30-minute periods per day. There are too many examples of petty penny-pinching and the whole operation feels rather mean.
The food is the usual in Turkish five stars, tasty, nutritious and with plenty of choice but there is nothing exceptional to comment on. There are no themes or special nights in the buffet. As is usual in Turkey, the only spoons for soup are dessert spoons which are messier and slower - bring your own soup spoon!
I found the attitude of the staff initially really quite frosty - something I am certainly not used to in Turkey. This was not 'professional distance' it was more 'what do you want, I'm busy'. Those I have got to know have since warmed up but it was a shock on arrival right from reception onwards and really unexpected in any hotel anywhere. I suspect poor training more than anything else.
The rooms are beautiful, having been refurbished when the hotel went from being the Asteria Sorgun to the Arcanus and the Asteria Sorgun was relatively new anyway. There is the usual selection of toiletries, good quality hotel hangers, terrible hairdryer and one English channel on the TV (BBC World News). The chambermaid service is effective.
The first Asteria, around 2km West of central Side, is one of the original large hotels of Side. A friend of mine was invited to the opening party at which a camel was slaughtered! The story goes that the three brothers who owned the Asterias disagreed about the direction of the new Asteria Sorgun and it now belongs to just one brother, also an owner of the Istanbul football club Fenerbahce, who has branched out and started the new brand of 'Arcanus Hotels'.
I met two people last night who stayed here two years ago when it was the Asteria Sorgun and they say it is much improved. In particular they say the addition of the second bar (the most un-inspiringly named 'Lobby Bar 2') open in the evenings-only has helped.
I always like the idea of 'an alternative bar' which should be cosy, quieter and more intimately lit. Lobby Bar 2 is quieter except when the barman puts Turkish TV on at full volume, very brightly lit and distinctly not cosy. It needs better lighting, the TV removed or put under better control, a decent sound system for gentle background music and bar stools added at the bar.
Finally, the grounds are well-kept, there is no shortage of sun beds and the beach is wonderful. It is a 2 mile walk to ancient Side along the beach but in winter you will need to cross a stream or two.
Overall, I feel the Arcanus suffers from the usual top-centric, amateur Turkish management that has little respect for the guests and is ignorant of hotel management in the rest of the World. There is too much cost-cutting and rule-making for my comfort and the permanent nuisance of the animation team - professional idiots that will not take 'no' for an answer - the final straw. I will not return. Your experience may vary.
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