Having returned from a two weeks vacation at the Aquafantasy a few days ago, things are getting clearer and here are some comments from me:
First of all; Everything you read about the hotel is correct. It is a perfect place for families with children of all ages. The have activities, both through the hotel and the different travel organisations active there that will make you happy if you wish to participate. They have yoga, pilates, soccer, darts, horse riding and that great waterpark adjoining / read separate review of that /. So, if you get bored here, it really is your own fault!
Rooms: We had a deluxeroom on the third floor in the 2100 building, partly overlooking the pool. The room was exactly has you have seen both in the hotel information and on pictures on tripadvisor. A tiny bit smaller than I expected though, and being a Swedish balcony sitter I wished that the balcony had been somewhat bigger. Towels changed daily and friendly staff looking after the rooms. My main concern with the room is the fact that the do charge you for the safety deposit. I really think that a hotel that claims to be five-star (but according to travel organization only four-star) should provide free safety deposits. Don't you? I don't mind having to pay 2-3 euros a day for the wi-fi. Because a normal person should be able to manage without that for a few days. But safety should come first. Room for improvement! Please also note that if you take drinks to you room there is a small warning that for every glass found in your room you can be charged 10 turkish lira, approx 4 euros, so beware!
Pools: Amazing size and room both for excercise and fun alike. Different pools and even one for adults only if you seek a quiet hour or two. We mainly stayed at the Oasis pool as we had our room there. Draw back was that the poolbar closed at 6 PM and some days it was so warm that we stayed at the pool until 7 PM, a drink close by would have been great! But, if you are after the pool life; Look no further.
Beach: Well, to be honest, you do not go to Turkey for those white sandy beaches. There is a long pier and you can go into the water from there and for toddlers the beach is at least safe and fun to run at. The beach bar is nicely located and this is also one of the places were you can change towels (towel changing only 3 times per week). Sunset from Beach bar is one of the highlights of the day! The water sports team worked hard and we went out on a couple of things: Jetski, Big Mable and tested diving as well. Great fun and can be recommended. You can make a test dive in the pool for free, just by asking in the water sports house by the beach.
All inclusive restaurants: There are two main buffet restaurants; Oasis and Tropicana, as we stayed at the Oasis part we went to Oasis for breakfast and went to the more open Tropicana for dinner. Made for some sort of change, even though the menues were the same. It feels as if the Oasis is slightly below ground level, whereas from Tropicana you have a proximity to the amphi theatre and the evening entertainment. Lively and happy. Long queues for the barbeque is something you must be prepared for. Sometimes it is not worth the wait! All in all the food is ok, but try to decide for one starter, one main and one dessert or you will gain some weight. The food is not French cuisine, but if you excepct this on a hotel this size, you are aiming for the wrong place! The pasta was good!
Ice cream served between 12 30 - 14 30 worked fine and you could go more than once!
A la carte: This is the second of our complaints, if you stay one week you get one visit to an a la carte, if you stay two weeks you get...... one visit to an a la carte. Please, please change it into two. Would make everyone much happier. We paid an extra fee of 25 lira each and went to the steak house. After 10 days on buffet food, getting served at the table in a quiet surrounding was so worth the extra money - and the steaks were great.
Snackbars: If you don't fancy going to the buffet restaurants for both lunch and dinner, I highly recommend going to the Pearl Bar for lunch, here they serve chicken kebabs and (one day a week) beef kebab. The also have pizza slices and hamburgers and sausages. Burgers and sausages somewhat odd looking colour. You will find sallad and gözleme (Turkish pancakes as well here). Drinks are served at several places. At the Pearl bar the serve ordinary waffels later in the afternoon, and at the Caribbean bar the serve Belgian waffels. There is also a snack bar at the Tropicana bar, but we only stopped there once for snacks, so I cannot comment on that.
There are poolbars at all pools and by the beach and amphi theatre as well as the around the clock open bar in the lobby. Their drinks are decent and every evening at the Beach bar the have a "drink of the day". They serve drinks, tea/coffee incl Turkish coffee and all in all their selection is more than most people might ask for. I did like to visit the Beach bar for a sunset drink before going off to eat and to then finish the day with a drink at the lobby bar was a perfect ending to a great day. The lobby bar was really a bonus and an added extra, compared to our vacation at another hotel in the same area last year.
Entertainment: As mentioned a lot of things going on most days, except Thursdays, which is the ET:s day off. Yoga, pilates, zumba, water polo, soccer, volleyball. I went to yoga before injuring myself in the waterpark and it was a nice start to the day. Wish they had it everyday as the pilates was inside, and you really don't want to go inside to workout if you have two tiny weeks of sun. Jack Sparrow at our pool made the kids happy and Tarzan made the larger boys laugh and feel welcome. The tour organisations also made great contributions go keeping the kids happy. The Nazar mini disco at the somewhoat "hot" starting hour 1930 hours really worked up a sweat and the, by the English, Auntie Sandra, really had a way with kids. Finally, there is the formal evening entertainment at 2130: Some days not worth going to, but some days really fantastic! Shaolin munks! Chinese circus! And the beach party that finished off our vacation, with bonfires, fireworks and a fireshow! That was really fantastic and a great ending to our vacation.
Long review, therefore separate review on waterpark and Ephesus. But to summarize it:
Almost no complaints. Not centrally located, but dolmuses works fine to city centre. Don't miss Ephesus if this is your first time: You owe it to yourself, and any kids you might bring along, to see this formidable ancient city! Take a dolmus to Selcuk ask the driver to drop you off at Ephesus, pay your 25 lira entrance (only lira please note) and let yourself be amazed for a couple of hours. Take the dolmus back. Don't go on a tour. Buy a booklet at the hotel shops and just walk around in peace and quietness.
Would I go again? Given the circumstances yes. For a romantic getaway no, but for vacationing with kids, yes.
Some Brits will be reading this, I guess - and yes, you are in majority! There are Scandinavians, some Dutch, some eastern europeans and the odd Turkish families, but the vast majority of the guests are British, so you will be feeling at home :-)
PS! Thanks, thanks to Hilal in Oasis restaurant for finding my camera! :-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Aqua Fantasy Hotel and outstanding Water Park located at Izmir’s famous Ephesus Beach. Aqua Fantay’s guests are just miles away from some of the worlds most historical places such as the legendary city of Ephesus, Virgin Mary’s House, Artemis Temple and Şirince Village. Aqua Fantasy is just 5 km (3 miles) from Ephesus, 8 km (5 miles) to the famous holiday town of Kusadası, 8 km (5 miles) to the city of Selcuk and 55 km (34 miles) to Izmir International Airport.Whether preferring lively water activities and fun slides, Aqua Fantasy is the perfect retreat for water lovers. The quiet surroundings, comfortable accommodation, wonderful views and great beachfront location make this a perfect family escape. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Aquafantasy Aquapark Hotel And Spa
- Aqua Fantasy Hotel Aquapark
- Aqua Fantasy Selcuk
- Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel & SPA Turkey/Izmir Province