TUI BLUE Side is the only TUI BLUE hotel on the Turkish Riviera that is also open in winter. Is a holiday at TUI BLUE Side also worthwhile in winter? I investigated this question during my visit to the hotel at the end of December.
Fun Fact: The football club FC Magdeburg is currently a guest at TUI BLUE Side (1st week of January) and is holding its training camp in mild temperatures. They have taste 😉
Table of contents
TUI BLUE Side: Adults-only
BLUE Guide Mehmet welcomes me in good spirits in the lobby of the TUI BLUE Side and shows me around the hotel. The occupancy rate is not high in winter, so if you want to spend a quiet, relaxed holiday, this is the place to be. That’s probably why most of the guests in winter are older. The TUI BLUE Side is an adult-only hotel with a minimum age of 16.
Of honest maids and enthusiastic guests
When walking around the hotel, Mehmet is approached again and again, of course he’s known as the BLUE Guide. One nice anecdote has stayed in my memory: A guest told us that his wife had dropped a lot of small change on the floor in the room and they had not found it all again. The next day, the maid had stacked all the coins neatly on the table. The man was very enthusiastic about the honesty of the staff and had never experienced this in any other hotel.
Room with a view: My insider tip
The rooms are unagitated, timelessly furnished and very spacious (standard room 45 m²). I have seen all room types and can say that the premium for a sea view room is definitely worth it. The deluxe rooms 4009 and 4010 have a huge terrace and a bathtub right next to the window, so you can enjoy the sea view even in winter. All rooms have fly screens on the balcony door. This is great for those who prefer to sleep with an open window instead of air conditioning in summer! By the way, the junior suites and suites have a Swiss Jura bean coffee machine. In addition, the hotel has 2 barrier-free rooms.
And now, as always, my secret tip for the room with the best view: The deluxe sea view room number 1309 has a huge terrace and a fantastic view of the beach and the sea.
You can even work from the hotel room, because sufficiently fast WiFi can be received everywhere in the hotel and, unlike in other higher-priced hotels in Turkey, it is included here. If a laptop is enough for you as a work device, nothing will stand in the way of your wellness work in winter. In winter, you can get the TUI BLUE Side as cheap as never before. Take a look at the offers.
Spa & Sports at TUI BLUE Side
Moving on to the public areas of the hotel. These are barrier-free. Even the beach can be reached easily with a wheelchair. The highlight of the hotel – and the reason why a holiday at TUI BLUE Side is worthwhile even in winter – is the 2000 m² spa. When going to the spa you’ll pass the gym and fitness classes room with a view of the pool. Here you will find the latest generation of equipment. You can book the professional fitness and relaxation courses via the BLUE App. Not so smartphone savvy? Never mind! There is a regular entertaining course at the hotel that explains the most important functions of a smartphone and also takes away your shyness about booking courses via the BLUE App.
The spa makes all wellness dreams come true: 29-degree warm indoor pool, Finnish sauna, Russian sauna, steam bath (currently closed due to Covid), Turkish hamam and many beautiful relaxation corners. Special luxury: You can rent your own VIP hamam just for you. Of course, wellness treatments and massages are not to be missed. From facials and hot stone massages to a full hamam programme, the spa at the TUI BLUE Side offers everything that is good for body and soul.
The cosy warmth in the spa lulls me to sleep and I want to lie down directly on one of the heated loungers and enjoy life! Only the cute kitten at the window pulls me out of my daydream. The TUI BLUE Side takes care of stray cats, just like all TUI BLUE hotels in Turkey do.
Sustainability at TUI BLUE Side
On the way to the beach, past the very nice large pool, Mehmet tells me what TUI BLUE Side does for sustainability: consistently avoiding single-use plastic, separating waste, saving water and energy through efficient management and changing linen at guest request instead of daily. This may sound obvious, but in Turkey (and elsewhere) it is not. You can find out how to recognise a sustainable hotel here.
Kilometre-long sandy beach
The kilometre-long sandy beach in front of the TUI BLUE Side is only separated from the hotel by the pedestrian promenade. Along the promenade you can stroll, jog and even walk to Side’s archaeological sites (6 km). The Dolmuş (minibus) stops in front of the hotel to take you to Side for a few lira. What to do on the Turkish Riviera in winter can be found here.
For the guests of the hotel there is a separate beach section with sunbeds and beach bar with snacks and drinks. The bar is closed in bad weather, but someone still comes by regularly with hot drinks and serves the guests on the beach. That’s what I call service!
All inclusive at TUI BLUE Side
The stomach is growling and it’s time for lunch. The all-inclusive TUI BLUE Side hotel has a buffet restaurant and 2 à la carte speciality restaurants, plus 7 bars. The speciality restaurants are included once per stay. The “Culinarium” will be dedicated to Turkish cuisine in the future. This can only be great, because Turkish cuisine is top-notch.
Vegan? Vegetarian? Gluten-free? No problem!
All dishes in the restaurant are marked with symbols, e.g. gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian. If you want to be sure that the kitchen is prepared for your special diet, contact the hotel before you arrive. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are always available – typical of TUI BLUE. Don’t be shy! If you are interested in a dish and want to know more about it, the “BLUE Guide Kitchen” will be happy to answer your questions.
Feasting in the main restaurant of the TUI BLUE Side
The lunch buffet alone is huge and even bigger in the evening. There is certainly something for everyone here: meat dishes, fish specialities, fresh salads, Turkish meze, pizza, vegetarian dishes and sweet sins. Bread and other pastries are handmade in the hotel’s own bakery.
Due to Corona regulations, there is no self-service at the buffet in the main restaurant. You point to the dish and the staff will arrange your plate according to your wishes. If you think you’ll have to make do with a small portion, I can reassure you: The good gentleman at the buffet was particularly kind to me and the portion was too big for me. But losing weight in an all-inclusive hotel is a hopeless undertaking anyway! 😀
In summer, there is live cooking on the terrace, e.g. barbecue. Along with the view, this is certainly a great experience.
The crowning glory is a cheesecake with cherries at Thea’s Coffee Shop. Yuuuummyyyyy! Here you’ll find a counter with sweet pastries that look so delicious that you’ll want to lick the glass counter right away 😉 Operations Manager Uluç talks enthusiastically about the innovations that are coming to Thea’s Coffee Shop and Thea’s Sports Bar: More focus on regional and healthy, e.g. smoothies.
Did I forget something? The cocktails! At the lobby bar, the pros will create you delicious and beautiful looking cocktails, coffee specialities and hot chocolate (it is winter after all).
Summary: Is TUI BLUE Side worth a holiday in winter?
Absolutely (and in summer too)! You won’t mind bad weather with TUI BLUE Side’s huge spa and sports facilities, and if the sun is shining, you’ll have more than one nice place to relax outside. Combine this with the generally low prices in winter, the fantastic Turkish cuisine and hospitality and the exchange rate, which is very favourable for Europeans, and you should go for it.