I returned from a fantastic week’s holiday with my two daughters, aged 11 and 8, to the Liberty Hotel Lara on 14th August 2014. We had a brilliant time here and I would happily return to this hotel in the future, which is not something I usually say!
I’ll start with the few negatives, which are really few and far between, but there are always areas that are not as good as others. I am putting these first, as many people do not read full reviews, but please do not think that these are the most important aspects of this hotel.
The main pool is huge and a lovely temperature due to the heat of the weather in Turkey. However, there are no shallow parts of the pool, which meant that neither of my children could put their feet down, and I could only just about stand on tiptoes as I am very short. This meant that you could not play ball/frisbee anywhere. As this is the main family pool, I would have expected there to be a combination of deeper and more shallow parts. There was a separate toddler pool, which was really shallow, but this was too shallow for older children and not really designed for ball games as it was the area for younger children.
The second slight negative is that there needs to be more staff waiting on the tables at the main restaurant. The staff who work there work extremely hard, but they are run off their feet, and can’t keep up with the demand to clear and set up tables. On our last evening, we had to wait nearly half an hour until we could sit down and had our table cleared, drinks brought, etc. This is not what I would expect from a 5 star hotel.
Other small issues were that I felt the choice of drinks on the All Inclusive menu was somewhat limited, and again, not what I would expect from a hotel of this rating. There were a number of drinks not included which are included in other 4 star hotels, such as Baileys (local equivalent) and Mojitos. The cocktails in general were quite disappointing, which was something I had high hopes for. Drinks were very variable depending on which bar you went to/person who served you, and this was particularly noticeable when my children went to get their drinks. They were often ignored, and left to wait until all the adults had been served, despite having waited for longer. The ‘kids’ cocktails’ varied according to who served the drinks, and there seemed to be no consistency over what was put into these drinks. This proved quite an issue for my younger daughter who is rather fussy over what she likes to drink, and many drinks were wasted as they were not what she had asked for.
An important thing to note if you are going to the resort of Lara Beach is that the main currency here is Euros, and not Turkish Lira, which I had taken. Lira is accepted everywhere, but everything is priced in Euros, then converted. This is very confusing, and it would have been much easier to have just taken Euros.
A point here to watch out for if you are travelling with First Choice/Thomson – all their trips are priced in sterling, and they convert it to either Euros or Turkish Lira, depending on how you are paying. However, they are very naughty as they use their own rate, which is higher than the usual conversion, which means you are even more out of pocket. I would recommend taking sterling if you intend to book any trips with them, as this way, they do not rip you off as much.
Okay, so on to the positives of this hotel now, which is pretty much everything else! The food is amazing here, with so many choices and really good quality. Breakfasts are buffet style, with a huge selection of all the usual things, and a few extras – lots of different favoured yoghurts which my daughter loved, freshly made omelettes to order, and an amazing whole honeycomb! Lunches are incredible, with such an array of choices that a week is simply not long enough to enjoy them all, which is not something I usually feel after an All Inclusive holiday! The pasta house is really yummy, there is a yoruk tent with freshly made pizzas and Turkish pancakes to order, kebabs, fried chicken, a snack bar with hamburgers, etc, as well as the main restaurant! Evenings are just as special, and as other reviewers have mentioned, the stir fry station is amazing and they are delicious! There is a huge choice of hot and cold food, and you can chose to sit inside or out. We usually sat outside as we liked the atmosphere better out there, but it was very hot as the evening temperature doesn’t drop much from the daytime!
There are four a la carte restaurants, and you get one visit per week included. If you want to go more than this, it is only five euros per person extra, which is very reasonable. The only problem is that they get booked up very quickly, so I would suggest booking as early as possible, especially if you are only there for a week, as we couldn’t get into our first choice. There is a Turkish, Italian, Asian/Thai and a barbecue grill, and also a fish restaurant on the pier, but this is thirty euros, which I felt was a bit steep (although we didn’t go). We went to the Turkish restaurant, which was lovely. It made a nice change to have table service, and it was nice to try new foods. They keep numbers very low so that you get a high level of service. There were six courses, and we couldn’t eat half of the courses though as it was far too much, but a great experience.
Our room was really nice, with a mini bar included, which was a nice touch. It would have been much better to have had a twin room, as I had to share a double bed with my daughter, but this was not a big problem. We had a huge balcony, with a partial sea view, which we did not have to pay extra for. I would recommend higher floors for better views. I was disappointed that the safe was an additional charge, which I do not expect at a five star hotel, and the shower door leaked badly, but other than this, the room was good. The maid cleaned it well, and left fun towel art, which my daughters appreciated!
The pools are really nice. There is a ‘silent pool’ which is supposed to be adult-only, but this is not policed. We had one day by this pool to try it out, and as long as children are well behaved, it is not a problem. There is a Jacuzzi in this pool, which there is not in the main pool. There was a programme of entertainment run by the hotel’s entertainment team, who are brilliant. We don’t tend to get involved in this kind of thing, but the daily pool game became a highlight of the day to watch. If you don’t want to listen to this, the pool area is so big that you don’t need to. There are three big slides that are only open for certain times each day, but this is plenty and there are never long queues. There are also two smaller slides in the toddler pool which is great for younger children.
The hotel is right on the beach, which is a sand/shingle mix. The sea is lovely and warm, but can get very rough. A number of people were injured trying to walk out as it shelves down quite quickly and if you get caught by the waves they knock you over. This happened to my elder daughter, who badly grazed her knees and I saw it happen to a number of other people. Mornings tend to be calmer. There are plenty of sunbeds and shade which are free, and a watersports centre right infront of the hotel. We did a parasail, which was fun, and an inflatable ring, which I would advise against. This was very expensive for what it is, and as it is pulled by a jet ski, you get continually soaked in the spray from the back of it. I had to squeeze my eyes shut the whole time, and could hardly breathe at times as you get waves washing over you from the sides.
We did the Turkish bath booked through Thomson, which I would recommend. They take you by a minibus to a local Hammam, and you get the full body buff/bubbles followed by a lovely massage. They try to sell you a longer massage and face packs, but there isn’t any pressure to do this. I have been to a Turkish bath in previous years where the face mask was included, and the steam room here leaves a lot to be desired, but overall, it was a fun experience. My daughters were very impressed with their massages too!
As a single parent travelling alone with my children, I found this hotel to be a very friendly place, and we made good friends whilst there. People were generally really easy to talk to, and this really made our holiday to have company. Staff were friendly and keen to help.
We didn’t use the kids’ clubs as my children aren’t really into that kind of thing. There is a Thomson run one and a hotel one. A family that we met had attempted to use the Thomson one as their child wanted to meet new friends, but they were very disappointed with it. There were only a few other children attending the club, and very little organisation over the activities offered. On one occasion, they even turned her away as no one else had turned up for the session. The only sessions they seemed to run were the ones you had to pay an additional cost for, which surely is not the point of having a kids’ club ‘included’ in the facilities!
The entertainment in the evenings was really good, with a range of acts such as a Turkish show, acrobatics, and even the night where they got members of the audience on to the stage, which I usually hate, was really well done and funny. There was often something on later, including a party on the pier, cinema night, etc. However, we didn’t tend to partake in this, as it was more aimed at adults. There was always somewhere to sit in one of the bars, either inside or out, where you can play cards, sit and chat, etc.
Overall, this is a fantastic hotel, with many positives, and only a few areas for improvement. I would happily stay at the Liberty Hotel Lara again – and hopefully we will!
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- Also Known As:
- Lara Hotel Turkey
- Hotel Lara Beach
- Lara Beach Hotel Turkey
- Lara Beach Antalya
- Lara Beach Hotel Antalya
- Lara Beach Turkey
- Antalya Lara Beach