3 years ago I have visited Turkey for holidays. I have been there out of the high season (still, there was a season as it was in September) and I opted for lazy vacation where my main duty will be trying not to exhaust myself too much – you know, sunbathing, drinks and swimming in the sea / swimming pool. I have purchased a hotel reservation with All Inclusive and a few days after I was flying to Turkey. Before I left, I spent a few hours on reading reviews and in terms of this hotel and it proved to be very useful!
My choice of the location and hotel was Ayaz Aqua Hotel in Gumbet (near Bodrum). This place seemed to be popular mostly within Czech and Dutch tourists and not many Polish people went there. For some certain things I was not dissapointed at all. But let’s start from the beginning.
Room check-in and hotel’s “offers”
When we arrived I was trying to check in and they wanted to offer me “a better room in the other hotel they have”. I read the reviews though and it turned out that this “other hotel” is not better at all and it is located quite far away. Nevertheless, I read the reviews, and I knew it is a common practice so I refused as I paid for this certain hotel. Looks like their business model is connected with overbooking the hotel…
I was given a room with “not so great” view which I still liked, but it was super big – probably the biggest room in my life when it comes to any hotel except Grand Hotel in Sofia (but that’s a completely different level of accomodation).
View from my room – this is the roof of the restaurant and behind it there is a swimming pool
My room, or rather around 50% of my room – a little bit after I moved in – sorry for the mess ;)
Lovely swimming pool
The most stunning part of the hotel was a swimming pool. And yes, I read about it in the reviews as well and this was one of the main factors for me as while being on holidays, I like using the pool quite a lot as I love swimming. People described the pool as big and clean. They just did not inform about one thing: it is heaten naturally, so it was quite cold at the parts when the sun did not come ;) The pool is around 85 metres!
What I also loved about the hotel was the way how the hotel was decorated. Flowers on the walls looked amazing and really made you think that you are in a calm place that is not somehow surrounded by a lot of other buildings. In reality – it was not the true, there were other buildings around too :)
And now imagine yourself surrounded with such views – you can just end up looking at those flowers for a few hours, just like I did ;)
All Inclusive option
I chose All Inclusive option for 2 reasons: I wanted to avoid searching for food and also – as the region is rather “more exotic” for an Eastern European – to avoid eating something that I might not digest that well. All Inclusive in Ayaz Aqua is kind of “All Inclusive light” (at least this was offered by my holiday office) but it’s absolutely not an issue as you can eat and drink for almost all day, snacks are available and generally speaking – the cuisine is marvellous!
I also read about the good quality of food (especially – sweets) in the hotel, which helped me in making the decision about going to this certain hotel.
The main courses were served on the tables next to the walls, but the deserts were set on the round table in the middle. Drinks were served in the bar. The dining area was not so big, sometimes it was hard to find a table unfortunately:
There was a variety of food – you know how it is in some hotels – same dish every day. That is not the case here. Of course, some basics like some certain sweets or breads were there every day, but the hot dishes were repeating every 3-4 days only. One day they even served us a traditional, Turkish kebab, which I like but I am not eating it that often. For sweets – we had cakes and even ice-cream sometimes. Also, the amount of food was big enough for everyone, at some hotels it is a problem and that is why people are going to dinner right after it is served.
Also, they really cared of showing that we are in Turkey:
Honestly, I am not a fan of holiday hotels with entertainment. It’s mostly because I am a solo traveller and I think that any kind of entertainment is good when you are with children and you want to have some time for yourself too.
Still, in Ayaz Aqua hotel entertainment was really all right. I would even say that it was interesting for the people who are into Turkish culture. We had two “dance shows” in a week. One was a folklore group presentation and a belly dance and the second one was a little theatre show about the history of Turkey.
Turkey is a really rich country when it comes to history and it was really nice to see the presentations. I was able to make some pictures from the first evening and here they are:
Of course as you can see – it was all done in the middle of the restaurant. I have more pictures, though the quality is a little worse than the ones above, so let’s just stick with these ;)
Beach and its quality
Beach is located just 1-2 minutes from the hotel. Even though the water is relatively clean, I was not a very big fan of this beach for one particular reason. It was quite narrow and small. You could reach a bigger and nicer beach with around 5-10 minutes walking though, but I still enjoyed a little bit of sunbathing on the smaller one as… it was more empty. Anyways, beaches in this area are nothing comparing to the sandy beaches in Poland or Bulgaria.
This was the part of a better beach, but still – there was much better one too
Location of the hotel
Ayaz Aqua hotel is located not only close to the beach, but also – not in the center of Gumbet. And this is very important for anyone who would like to relax. Why? Well, as I got to know – Gumbet is a party place, sometimes I could here noises from the center while I lived around 15-20 minutes walking from it. During the day the town is quite calm, but I could not see myself living near any club.
For now you can definitely say that I enjoyed my stay, which is true. But there were several letdowns. Turkey is a specific country and some of them are surely connected with local culture, which I know and accept, but some things were just a little bit too much.
- The exterior of the hotel: if it was not an organized holiday, but I was just walking by the hotel, I would never book a night there. It does not feel any inviting and the road outside is kind of ugly.
- I had a wi-fi in my room… if I was lying down on the floor next to my entrance door ;) Ok, it’s holiday, but wi-fi in the room is rather a standard now in most of the hotels. Still – it was not the thing that I found the worst, worth mentioning though.
- The behaviour of the staff: this hotel has no female employees (which may mean that the owner is very conservative), the employees in general are quite forward… even too forward. I mean: usually when you tip someone, you are doing it when you want it, you like the service, it’s a usual thing to do that at the restaurant or for a room service. I cannot accept though that some person from the service begs me for money on the corridor or next to the swimming pool – and won’t let me go if I don’t pay… I would never expect that in a hotel that has international guests. Maybe in a hotel for the locals. PS. I know this is a part of culture and I even paid for several things like proper room service, but for me it’s rather a horrible experience.
- Weird people were approaching you at the beach: someone tried to sell me drugs on the beach… I refused but then I was sure that this person followed me. Fortunately, I managed to escape.
Last two situations were a little disturbing and the last one made me feel that Gumbet area might not be the safest place on earth. Turkey is definitely specific – but in better hotels behaviour is different. That is why if I come to this area next time, I will definitely choose a hotel that is a member of some chain and has some general rules.
I was not in Gumbet for the whole week. I also visited Bodrum. But some pictures from Bodrum will appear in my next post, hopefully in a few days.