A word about Sabah pension Antalya

Recommendations, tips, reports and warnings about hotels in Antalya, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

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A word about Sabah pension Antalya

Post by SuomiOz » Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:51 am

Just my experience as I know some people have had a good stay there:

Sabah were v friendly and effecient on email so I decided to let them pick me up from the airport as I was arriving at 2am. They didn't turn up which didn't phase me, I just called and asked if they wanted to get me or should I get a cab. A few lies about being in the wrong terminal (it's Antalya not heathrow!) and they emerged 20 minutes later!

On arrival, they asked if I could pay for the transfer which I was happy to do but I had no lira, but they saw I had the right money for the whole night so suggested I pay for everything then, which I did. After registration, they told me they had no room available, deftly slung a sheet across reception and told me to sleep behind it, and left the room. After a slight delay of surprise I went to follow them but the man had gone leaving me with a lady who spoke no English and was there to clean rooms. There was no point getting angry at her but I made it pretty clear to the man who picked me up at the airport that I was angry and he promised a room at 4am.

At 430 I was shown a hard couch in a dining room as my room and in the morning sat down with the two men running the show to explain that I didn't think it was acceptable. I've travelled to Turkey several times and other than a moment of surprise, these things don't really shock me, however I know there are other single female travellers who may feel slightly more nervous about being offered a sheeted area of reception to sleep in, a point I made to them. If they had told me they had simply over looked my booking I can forgive human error, I would have asked them to walk my bags to the nearest hotel so I could actually get some sleep. To the last they denied responsibility saying I wasn't due in Antalya so early. Luckily I carried my original email to them which stated 2am so I got the last word.

To me it's not what happened, it's the reaction to it and hoping someone on their first time in town doesn't have it happen to them.

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Reservations over the internet

Post by carrie » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:45 am

Hi SuomiOz,

You posted some good info for future guests.
If you travel, and make reservations over the internet always take a copy with you for reference.
Ex. Time of arrival, your confirmed room with costs of either bed and breakfast or half board acommodations.
All hotel's whether big or small should be professional when running a buisness .
Good luck next time.

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Post by SusanInToronto » Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:47 pm

SuomiOz, I had thought about booking the Sabah (price seemed right!), but I would not be pleased if I had your experience! Sounds dreadful! :shock:

You're right - it's their response more than anything which is unacceptable.
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Post by scarfhead » Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:03 pm

suomı and carrıe, thanks a LOOT for your posts.

I read thıs a day before I went to sabah;s. However, I dıdn;t have a fıxed reservatıon, as they told me people don;t show up so often ıf they arrıve late at nıght so that they couldn;t guarantee a room ın thıer place, but at least one ın another pensıon ıf they dıdn;t have one. So after readıng thıs I prınted out all my maıls, prıce quoted etc. wıth them...
Well, after some nıce Turksıh people dropped me off, they saıd they were goıng to show me the room, and when these people who brought me left as they were ın a hurry, the 'room' was suddenly...the space behınd the blanket!

They saıd another person had already reserved ıt.

To be faır, ın my maıls I had made clear that any place would be fıne as long as ıt was unısex. But I told them I wanted a room I could lock..ın thıs or another pensıon, as we had saıd ınt he maıls, and then mentıoned a certaın post ın the ınternet by a gırl ... They wanted to know who and where..I dıdn;t say.

Then they saıd the other person would have to take the blanket space (supposedly a guy) and showed me a real room. It;s actually quıte a nıce place, once you get what you want and not on ground level, whıch my room was. Breakfast was also nıce, fresh watermelon ıncluded, ın the garden, no complaınts.

I thınk they do ıt ın all the budget places, they show you the worst place and see ıf they can get away wıth ıt. Lıke thıs other place where I am rıght now had a better room, but the room ıs almost ground level--totally noısy even at nıght as I found out. I was too lazy and tıred to ask ıf they had other rooms further up when I came over and now they are full.
Thanks agaın!

Sorry for the typıng the keyboards here are dıfferent.

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Post by carrie » Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:52 pm

Hi all,
I sure hope that hotels or pansiyons like this are not listed in travel guide books. And if they are recommended it is misleading. They should be taken out of the listing. It is great to have a forum like this to get more detailed answers.

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Post by jaynus » Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:07 pm

I've also heard bad things about the staff in Sabah Pension. I was there a few weeks ago, and the rooms were nice and decent, and did not have any issues with the staff, but I spoke to other backpackers and found out that the staff in Sabah like to overcharge the guests for tours booked from the pension. This is especially true for the guy backpackers (they tend to treat the girls nicer, for some reason)

So, if you stay in Sabah, be careful of the staff and do not book any tours through them. Just go to the agency and book direct.

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Post by Ana Calderon » Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:41 pm

I was surprised to read all of this information about Sabah Pension! I read this message board before we planned our trip to Antalya and we became hesistant about staying there afer reading the commentary especially since the pension is highly recommended in most guide books and by other travelers we met.

Although we were hesitant, we decided to book with Sabah Pension after all for 3 nights, but, after being there for 3 days, we weren't ready to leave...and so, my husband and I have just completed a 12 night stay there and we could not have had a more different experience than what is posted here. Maybe it was because we stayed long enough to really get a more in depth opinion versus an opinion that is based on a very limited amount of time. The weather was amazing and the city is incredible, there are ruins all around, right by Sabah Pension, not to mention the beautiful park and sea that are just withing walking distance.

I got to meet many people at Sabah, many of whom are regular customers who stay for months at a time and they were all really wonderful. Mrs. Sabah would, on a daily basis, bring tea and some Turkish pastry or cake at no cost to the customer. The staff are wonderful...they speak English very well, they helped us book tours and we did not feel they were overcharging us in comparison to other prices around town that we had gotten. The staff also seemed very well informed about transportation and they were doing the best they could to make their customers satisfied and happy during their vacations.

The rooms were simple yet clean with an abundance of hot water and, the best part for us, we could connect to the internet from our room with our laptop since the pension has wireless internet services. We were picked up from the airport on time, our room was ready upon arrival and we had no difficulty in that area at all. The breakfasts were great and fresh, the dinners or lunches were amazing, Mrs. Sabah makes everything from scratch and it was the best traditional Turkish food we had tasted.

Anyhow, my husband and I just wanted to give a different perspective to the message board. I am sorry to read of the experiences that these other travelers had and I wish that the people who had good experiences at Sabah would take more time to write about them since we seem to only focus on the negative.

Just my humble opinion, good luck with your travels.

Ana Calderon

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Post by olympos » Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:28 am

Edited by Olympos. :lol:
Last edited by olympos on Sun Sep 24, 2006 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sabah Pansiyon service

Post by allanadasiak » Fri Sep 22, 2006 9:52 am

The complaints posted here about Sabah pansiyon are undoubtedly real, and some people have had bad experiences. In contrast, I have been coming here (I am at Sabah now) for ten years, and I have always been treated well. I can also think of at least half a dozen other guests who keep coming back year after year. The reason is the high quality of the place and the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. During the high season the pansiyon is often full, and as far as I can tell the guests are happy. The brothers who run the place often place phone calls to airlines, make the internet available to check travel details, and provide other services at no cost.

Still, there are complaints. For example, reservations for the late hours of the day are occasionally not honored. That is because of an economic situation in which many small pansiyon owners find themselves caught. The logical thing to do would be to ask guests to guarantee their appearance by providing credit card information that could be used to pay if there is a reservation no show. Ali Sabah, the brother who manages finances for the pansiyon, tells me that it would cost about 20,000 new Turkish lira (YTL) with the bank they work with to establish a credit base that would satisfy the bank so that it would provide that credit card service. That amount, YTL20,000 or approximately $14,000 far exceeds that amount of money that would be received because of no shows. The bank itself advised not to use the service.

So small pansiyon owners are put in a position where they must decide late in the day whether to hold a reservation for someone and risk losing money, or to give the room involved to someone else. I am told that there a lot of no shows that leave Sabah pansiyon holding the bag.

This explanation does not overcome the anger and inconvenience that result when a traveler arrives at 4 a.m. and finds that he has no room. The way to avoid that problem is to send an e-mail, or better yet make a telephone call, within 24 hours of your arrival time and confirm that you will be there. This has worked for me every time. If someone arrives in the early hours and finds that for the moment there is no room, they can be offered a couch in a corner nook of the living room, with some privacy provided by a curtain/sheet. This is obviously inadequate, but on the other hand, Ali tells me that this temporary, improvised room is free.

As for failing to be met at the airport, or what looks like it -- that has happened to me. I have had to take a taxi in the middle of the night, with the meter off, to get to Sabah Pansiyon. Once I figured out the reason, I have always been met. There are two terminals at the Antalya airport: Domestic and International. Often a person arrives at Istanbul on an international flight and is required to take a domestic flight to Antalya. Meanwhile his baggage is sent to the International terminal, where it can clear Customs. The result is that a traveller can arrive at the Domestic terminal while someone is waiting to meet him at the International terminal. Or, he and others can be put on a bus and taken to the International terminal while the itinerary provided by his travel agent specifies arrival at the Domestic terminal. So, as happened to me this time, I told Sabah pansiyon that I would arrive at the Domestic terminal, and their man Hasan was waiting there for me, while I emerged from the International terminal. Fortunately, he came looking for me when I didn't show up, and I saw him at a distance and recognized him.

The best thing to avoid confusion and inconvenience, I am convinced, is to telephone the pansiyon from Istanbul or whatever is your transition point, and tell them what your best arrival information is, or that you are confused. If no one is there, your greeter is probably at the other terminal. Phone Sabah pansiyon, and they will phone their man to come to where your are and pick you up.

Then there is the complaint about tour prices: Ali tells me that the pansiyon takes a commission on every sale. Of course: this is business. He also says that they can often offer lower tour prices than a tour company itself because they are free to discount their price. The result is that a guest can get a lower price than by dealing direct with the company offering the tour. For example, if there is a YTL 100 tour and the commission is YTL 10, Sabah can reduce its take to YTL 5 and make the price YTL 95. I went on a three-day, two-night tour to Cappadocia including hotels and most meals, for about the same as it would cost to stay at the pansiyon and eat there. Please compare prices and services on a Cappadocia tour, a four day boat trip from Olympos to Fethiye, or on any tour you are thinking of. You will usually find the Sabah offers you the best deal.

In conclusion, all I can say is that perhaps 99 per cent of the people who come to Sabah pansiyon appear to be satisfied and would come back again. Unfortunately, they do not write letters. I am sorry for the bad treatment and regret it, and I am happy for the very good treatment most people receive.

/s/ Allan Adasiak

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Post by Al » Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:05 pm

I noted in a different thread that I stayed there and had a good experience. The place is very basic, but the cost was also very low and it met my needs.

Perhaps communication is a part of the issue. I've found that sometimes places I've stayed where there has been some problem don't do a very good job of explaining the issue and their resolution to the client.

I would stay there again... if only for the teapot you get at breakfast.

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