The sun blinks through the curtains in my room at the TUI BLUE Grand Azur and wakes me gently. Sleepily, I step out onto the balcony and a stunning panorama from the rising morning sun greets me. The pool area nestled among the palm trees, and the fabulously picturesque bay of Marmaris seem like an oasis. From the balcony I can see the terrace of the restaurant, where the first guests are arriving for breakfast.
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TUI BLUE goes and comes to Marmaris
I have to admit, I was skeptical before visiting the future TUI BLUE Grand Azur in October. I was so impressed by our TUI BLUE Marmaris hotel outside the city that when I compared the two hotels in my imagination, the TUI BLUE Grand Azur came up short. From 2020, the TUI BLUE Marmaris will no longer be a TUI BLUE hotel. Marmaris was and remains a top destination, and so when choosing a new hotel in the area, the D-Resort Grand Azur came as a matter of course. After a facelift renovation of several public areas, it will hopefully win the hearts of TUI BLUE Marmaris fans as the new TUI BLUE Grand Azur from April 2020.
TUI BLUE Grand Azur – Worthy alternative to the TUI BLUE Marmaris?
The TUI BLUE Marmaris was nestled in a pine forest on the slope above the bay. The TUI BLUE Grand Azur is located on the promenade within walking distance of Marmaris’ city centre. From this point of view, the two hotels are not comparable. But does that make it better or worse? The question is what you’re looking for on holiday. At the TUI BLUE Grand Azur, you’ll find a very worthwhile combination of relaxing beach holiday and action, shopping, and culture, thanks to its fantastic location on the just outside Marmaris’ city centre. The TUI BLUE Grand Azur is a “for all” hotel, meaning there’s something for all guests, whether families, singles, or couples. However, there is no childcare, so if that’s a must-have, I’d recommend the TUI BLUE Sarigerme Park in this region. If you are looking for a nearby adults-only alternative to the TUI BLUE Marmaris, the TUI BLUE Seno comes remarkably close in terms of location and atmosphere.
Best rooms at the TUI BLUE Grand Azur
But back to the TUI BLUE Grand Azur. The building is shaped like a horseshoe facing the bay, ensuring many rooms come with a truly amazing view. The surcharge for sea views is absolutely worth it, and my tip would be one of the rooms below the à la carte restaurant. You’ll be treated to some really incredible sunsets! To add a healthy dose of luxury to your holiday, you should treat yourself to one of the suites, especially those with their own whirlpool. After a brief orientation in the spacious building, my colleague Dirk and I find our way to the buffet restaurant, which also has a large terrace facing the garden. Time and again we notice that the hotel staff in Turkey is so incredibly friendly and warm and has fun pampering guests. It’s no different here in the TUI BLUE Grand Azur.
All-inclusive in the TUI BLUE Grand Azur: more than kebab
The hotel offers you an all-inclusive culinary experience that focuses especially on Turkish cuisine, and in my opinion it’s one of the best in the world! A buffet restaurant and an à la carte restaurant (with stunning sunsets!) as well as several bars, where you can also enjoy snacks, offer you a mix of Mediterranean, Levantine, and international cuisine. In the Welcome Lounge there is a counter with cakes and desserts in the afternoon (we practically went mad at the sight…). And before you can try everything, you are already stuffed and ripe for a nap on a sun lounger by the pool or beach.
Palm trees, pool, and promenade
At the breakfast buffet, our eyes were once again bigger than our stomachs, and a walk through the hotel grounds of the TUI BLUE Grand Azur was in order. In the centre of the outdoor area is the lagoon-like pool with a lazy river. There is also a stage near the pool where live acts will perform in the evening. Don’t worry, you won’t be kept awake all night by sound! The pool is surrounded by a very well-kept garden with lots of palm trees and exotic flowers, where there are plenty of secluded corners and sun loungers. More loungers are waiting on the beach. The “couch potato” can therefore sleep in without a care. The hotel is separated from the beach by only the promenade. The promenade is a pedestrian zone and you can comfortably walk to the centre of Marmaris and the marina in approximately 20 to 25 minutes. I used the promenade for jogging, with the picturesque beach and the bay on one side, on the other bars and hotels, everything very well maintained and inviting. Really great!
Vamos a la playa
The TUI BLUE Grand Azur has a private beach section reserved exclusively for guests. Sun loungers and umbrellas are included, and while the sandy beach is slightly pebbled, you don’t need bathing shoes. A jetty stretches into the sea littered with cosy daybeds that you can reserve. In the third week of October, the sea was still warm enough to swim. There is also a beach bar here that will serve you all kinds of drinks and Instagram-ready cocktails. One moment you should definitely spend at the beach bar is the sunset and ensuing twilight, when the sun slowly sinks behind the mountain ranges of the bay, sending a kaleidoscope of colour across the sky and the water, followed by the first spots of light twinkling along the coast. It will give you goosebumps!
BLUEf!t: No pain, no gain!
Cocktails, buffet meals three times a day, and spending your days relaxing on the sun loungers can’t be healthy in the long run, wouldn’t you agree? Then take a look at the BLUE App (the hotel will be activated in the app a few days before the opening). There you will find all the sports activities offered by the TUI BLUE Grand Azur, e.g. group fitness in the form of bodyweight training or yoga. The hotel’s fitness studio really deserves the name and is very well equipped, as I can tell you from experience. If organised fitness is not for you, you can borrow free equipment for tennis and table tennis, play basketball or volleyball on the hotel’s court, or treat yourself to a personal training session with the BLUEf!t Guide.
BLUE Spa: for the connoisseur
Does sport sound too stressful for a holiday? Off to the BLUE Spa! We were impressed by how big the spa of the TUI BLUE Grand Azur is and what it offers. There is a large indoor pool, naturally a hammam, 3 saunas, a steam bath, and a large relaxation area. This fits perfectly with the announcement that, in the future, the hotel will also be open in the winter. If the weather is uncooperative in the cooler season, simply add a visit to the spa to your daily programme. You should definitely treat yourself to the full hammam programme, as that’s just part of a Turkish holiday! Just lying on the warm stone, relaxing, letting yourself be scrubbed – that alone is worth it.
Out of the hotel, into adventure
So, you’re full, massaged, and starting to feel stir crazy from lounging on the beach? You can either drive into the centre of Marmaris with a dolmus (shared taxi), which stops regularly at the hotel, and stroll through the marina and the many cafés and restaurants. Or you can just walk a few steps out of the main entrance of the hotel and experience the Turkish-tourist shopping experience including fake football jerseys and handbags, and plenty of useful, beautiful, kitschy, and superfluous stuff. One trader tried to motivate me to buy something by offering “Buy one, get me free.” We definitely had something to laugh about.
From Marmaris to the end of the world
From Anne, who works at the TUI BLUE Grand Azur and has lived in Marmaris for ages, we got great tips on excursion destinations around Marmaris. You can take part in one of the organised excursions, which you can book with the tour guide in the hotel or even beforehand under www.gotui.com. Or you can follow our lead and explore on your own with a hire car. I personally prefer to travel at my own pace, and we were able to stop where we wanted and enjoy the most spectacular views and take lots of photos. We looked at the Bozburun and Datca peninsulas, which stretch out from Marmaris like long fingers. We were fascinated by the green mountain landscapes, secluded bays, and charming fishing villages, where the local restaurant features true home cooking by housewives – just like Mum used to make (or so I’d imagine the Turkish would say). It felt like the edge of the world, but in a positive sense. A great contrast to the hustle and bustle of Marmaris. But I will tell you about it another time.
Conclusion: Thumbs up for the TUI BLUE Grand Azur!
If you’re looking for a varied holiday in Turkey and want a beach hotel that’s quiet but still in the middle of the action, I can definitely recommend the TUI BLUE Grand Azur. There is also a large spa, a great sports offer, and delicious Turkish food. The season starts at the TUI BLUE Grand Azur in April 2020. Early bird offers are available until February 11, 2020. Dig in 😉 You can find more information about the hotel on our website.