We stayed at the Hemera from 17th to 31st May 2012. My wife's parents had recommended the hotel to us, so we were expecting it to be very good, but it surpassed our expectations in almost every respect.
Our room (2115) was on the first floor just to the side of reception, and, while not sumptuous, and with a poor balcony position, was perfectly adequate. There was a fruit basket to welcome our arrival and the minibar was stocked daily with soft drinks and bottled water. The walk-in shower room was brilliant and the double bed very comfortable (though some might find it a little firm). The air-conditioning was fully adjustable, but only worked while you had your room key inserted. The room had a largish flat screen TV but with limited English channels. We watched the Eurovision final on the Turkish channel (starting 2 hours later in Turkey than UK). The room also had a free safe and free Wifi (up to 1GB) which, for a very small fee (5TL) could be increased to 5GB. Towels were changed daily and the room kept very clean.
The weather while we were in Side was sunny and warm most days, with some broken cloud. Temperatures peaked at about 25-28 degrees. We had only one wettish day and a couple of other days at the beginning of our stay which were cloudy. A cloudy day provides a good opportunity (which we took) to walk along the new promenade into Side to explore the shops, bars, and amazing ancient ruins (you will need to take some TL or Euro coins for the public WCs). The walk along the prom is about 2 miles.
Unlike (apparently) some Turkish hotels, the Hemera has a sizable British clientele (with about the same number of German and also a goodly Russian contingent). It made for a comfortable international mix, with all nationalities seemingly treated equally by the staff. All the reception, waiting and bar staff could understand and speak English and German well. I don't know how the Hemera recruits employees, but all the staff, without exception, were absolutely amazing - unhurried, friendly, courteous, attentive, and all seemed to really enjoy their work. Many other reviewers have commented on the fine entertainment team and we really don't know how they managed to be so full of energy and enthusiasm all and every day and night! The two comedy shows they put on while we were there were somewhat lame (though amusing) but the dance shows were exceptionally good, with some real talent among the team. There were also a couple of nights where other acts were brought into the hotel - Chinese Shaolin performers and Chinese acrobats - both were fantastic. The nightly shows are held on a large outdoor stage at the beach bar (weather permitting) and often attracted a good audience of onlookers from those walking past the hotel. We were also lucky enough to be there during the 2-day Side air display which was spectacular and which we watched from the comfort of our beach loungers! Several of the pilots and crew later dined at the hotel!
The pools at the Hemera (which include an indoor pool) are fresh water and very clean, with pH and temperatures for each pool displayed. However, we only spent one day by the pool as the hotel beach (separated from the hotel only by the 10ft wide promenade) was even better. The beach loungers are very comfortable, with good size parasols which are nicely spaced out, giving plenty of room to move the loungers to follow or shade from the sun. We had no trouble getting loungers each morning, though on the finest days these all became taken by about 9am. The beach has a Blue Flag for cleanliness and was well maintained. The sea was warm enough to swim in but you have to be careful with patches of rocks underfoot that you can't always see and that could bruise, scratch or even cut your feet. Importantly for us, the beach was quiet - no blaring canned music. Also there weren't large numbers of children while we were there, and most of these were preschool and all were well behaved.
The food at the Hemera was consistently very good, providing much variety including sufficient and tasty vegetarian options. Most days we ate lunch at the adjacent beach bar. The main restaurant has the usual buffet service and plenty of seating, including outside terraces. The waiting staff bring drinks to your table and we were never kept waiting more than a couple of minutes. The hotel also has three excellent a la carte restaurants (Fish, International and Turkish) which you book at least 24 hours in advance - the all-inclusive package allowed us to dine once each at these, plus taking an a la carte Turkish breakfast (which we didn't bother with).
In addition to main meal times (and a midnight buffet), there are mid-morning and afternoon snacks, including icecream, crepes, patisseries, desserts and popcorn, also pizzas, burgers, chips and omelettes. The four bars all serve the full range of beer, wines, spirits, cocktails and soft drinks (including bottled water) and we never had to wait long to be served at the bar or at our table. The spirits all seemed to be full-strength and the bar staff were very generous with the cocktail mixes! The local lager (Efes) is very good and the red, white and sparking house wines all perfectly acceptable.
Overall, the all-inclusive package at the Hemera is amazingly good value and incredibly convenient. There is no wrist-band or lanyard to wear (though you need to keep your key with you at all times) and no signing for drinks. And you don't need to carry cash around with you while in the hotel, although there are tip boxes in all restaurants and bars for when (as you will!) you want to show your appreciation of the excellent staff. There is even a tip box for the hotel's resident population of cats - the kittens were very cute!
Other (non-inclusive) facilities at the hotel usefully include a Doctor's surgery, shops, opticians, hairdressers, and massage treatments.
We left late on our departure day and weren't able to arrange a late check out from our room (checkout time is 12 noon). But all the hotel facilities were still available to us throughout our last day, and the hotel has a Courtesy Room for showering and changing before leaving for the airport.
All in all we had a brilliant time at the Hemera, would recommend it VERY highly, and certainly intend to return there!
Mike and Catriona
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "UNFORGETTABLE HOLIDAYS" ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY AT BARUT HOTELS IN HARMONY WITH MOTHER NATURE WHERE SUN, SEA AND FUN MEET QUALITY AND EXCELLENCE. If you want to enjoy entertainment to the full, engage in sports and endlessly dive into the sea or pool, then the Barut Hemera is just the right place for you! Enjoy the "Mediterranean entertainment" you have been dreaming of all year long. Barut Hemera offers you activities and shows starting early and lasting the whole day such as water sports and motorised water sports by the beach, water games in the pool, competitions where adrenalin levels rise, beach volleyball, mini golf, darts, boccia, tennis, table tennis, and snooker. We provide free Wi-fi for our customers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Barut Hemera Resort And Spa
- Barut Hemera Hotel Side
- Barut Hemera Side
- Hemera Hotel Side