Let's start at the very beginning.
Flight Thomsons, oh yes, brilliant, and we will make sure that this is the airline we travel with from now on. After always being a devoted TC fan, we got this hotel thru First Choice, so straight away more luggage allowance 20kg as the norm. The plane, was spacious, and the food superior to TC, not michelin star, but for an in flight meal, it was better than most, so a big thumbs up.
You drive up this beautiful road, surrounded by mature, well tended gardens, bouganville, American fig, rose, lilies and of course jasmine, so not only are you greeted with sight but the smell from these flowers is wonderful.
A imperial fountain is there to greet you in all its glory alongside the bell boys who take your cases and show you the way into the reception area.
My first impression was, "Oh, so small" but after the effecient, fast and very courteous check in, you then realise what is so different about this hotel.
Yes the reception desk is smaller than most 5* hotels, but this hotel is about its guests, and the understated area is proof indeed of what is in store.
You are taken to your room in one of the 4 glass elevators, overlooking the indoor waterfall, falling onto the coloured stones and tropical plants below.
Our room was on the second floor, very quiet, overlooking the gardens and the sea, very tranquil.
Large, could probably do with a little up dating, but this is a minor thing. They are kept spotless, the mini bar is stocked everyday with beer, fanta, pepsi,orange,cartons of juice, and still and sparkling water. Safe is kept in large wardrobes, which have a lot of space, lots of hangers and shelves.
There are 2 queen size beds in the room, 2 easy chairs, coffee table, dressing table, boudoir chair, cabinet, 2 half mirrors and one full length, and plenty of cupboard space.
Bathroom has robes and slippers, decent enough toiletries, and a powerful hairdryer.
Our balcony had enough space for 4 chairs and a table, but there were rooms with smaller balconies, but all seemed well equipped.
The cherry on the cake though, was, wait for it.........................................TEA AND COFFEE FACILITIES IN ROOMS..................YEAH. At last, a hotel that thinks of everything, Kettle, a large bottle of water everyday for your brews, nescafe gold blend, liptons tea bags, coffee mate, white and brown sugar, all replaced everyday, AB FAB, top marks for this alone.
DINING AND FOOD
Never in my experience of Turkey, have I seen so much food, or so many places to eat at.
The Main restaurant,
Excellent facilities, good choice of food and brilliant waiting staff, we really only ate here for breakfast, but the Gala night, was magnificent,
Each table and chair was carefully adorned in the butterfly wing colours of the Ayscha, pinks and whites. Flowers set on each table and bows on every chair, it was a painstaking effort on behalf of the staff, and it was beautiful.
The food was incredible, and I have never seen so much Sushi, they also did lamb, chicken, fish, veal ,squid and calamari in every way possible, Vegetables, fruit and bread at every turn, and the desserts.........mama mia, (special wheels are available, should you need assistance in moving!!!!!!!!!!)lol.
5 A la carte eateries, each one you can venture into once per week, there is
The Asian and Fish were in our opinion the best, the others were good, but not up to the same standard, and I think the Mexican and Italian ones were staffed with novice staff, who were learning the ropes, so maybe they just missed the mark, but this time next year, they will be superb.
The Maitre' D, at the Asian and Turkish were, old hands, they knew their stuff so well, and it showed. Their concern and knowledge of food was excellent.
Ok, walk down to the beach, not only do you get the obligatory beach bar, there is:-
a Gozleme' house, a jacket potato stand, and Turkish meatball and pide bar, just behind this (about a minutes stroll) is an open air cafe, that serves kebabs, chicken,burgers etc: salad, fruit, cakes and cheeses, these are all open everyday, and this is just the beach area.
The pool bar, serves drinks from 10 in the morning and always has fruit on the bar too.
At the side of the reception there is the Harmony cafe, which stays open til 7, just in case the lack of food gets to you! this serves, coffee, tea, juices, smoothies, cakes, pastry's, toasties and, ham, ham and cheese, salad sandwiches, all made fresh in front of you, and there for you to pig out on each day. It is like an American diner, all booths and colours, the only thing about this wonderful bar is, thru the glass wall, you can see the uber fit goody goodies doing another bench press.............oooops, another cake another 500 calories, seems unfair to watch them looking so good on their holidays, whilst the rest of us mere mortals watch them in awe on our holidays, and make way for another slice of cherry cheesecake, MMMMMMMMMMmmm Mmmmmmmm, move over fatty.
Wander round by the villas, and there is our favourite spot for lunch time, a quiet little haven, a cafe' bar that serves salad, and fruit, chicken and pide, spaghetti and sauce. It does lovely cocktails and you are surrounded by glorious gardens, peaceful fountains and trickles of waterfalls and 4 stunning pools. Heaven on a plate.
There are numerous bars at every level, a disco inside and out, a games room with play stations, computers, arcade games, bowling alley, table tennis, snooker etc, some you pay for, some you don't...........In the down stairs play area, there is a chill out zone bar, huge fish tanks are set into the wall and it is very relaxing to sit and have a drink in the shade.
The staff are friendly, helpful and so well mannered. The animation team are creative,hardworking and very professional. The shows they put on at night, were always different, and although they are not in line for the West End, some of the dance routines they did were worthy of a "Bravo, more more" a good time was had by all.
There are 1 or two minor critisisms, no hotel gets it right all the time, but they are minor in comparison.
Too many children allowed in some of the bars in the evening, yes it is a family orientated hotel, but it is also a hotel for couples too, and there should have been at least one bar where you could escape the cries of tired children. Yes, I know the parents need a break, but please, some of these little ones were just that, and after 11 they should be in bo bo's not in a pram or asleep on a sofa in a bar. The one thing I did applaud the staff for though, was stopping the kids going round with those wheelies on in the dining areas, well done.
Also, not enough choice in imported spirits, there were a few, Malibu, Famous Grouse, Smirnoff, Gordons, but that was it, and although we are not big drinkers, we would have liked a better choice, but the local brands were ok, and they did keep everything chilled and presented first class. Nibbles were always brought along side your drinks, so yet more food.
Oh, yes, and before I forget, room service was included between midnight and 7 in the morning, and a midnight buffet was also served for anyone who was starving.
To sum this hotel up,
Do not let where a hotel is placed on a popularity list put you off trying. This hotel is a hidden gem, as we were getting ready to leave, 2 parties of British golfers came into the hotel, most of them on their 3rd and 4th visit, 45 of them in total, each one invited to a cocktail party thrown by the hotel, the management came into the Ayscha Saloon Bar and greeted everyone on their repeat visit personally, each one was treated as a friend, it is one of the reasons that we shall be returning to this wonderful, charming place.
It is not for the young, free and single set, too many couples with young children, and too many couples who are escaping the daily routine. Lots of golfers, lots of sports enthusiasts, but unlikely to suit anyone who wants to just PARTAY.................
Give it a try, I know you will not be disappointed, and like us, you will wonder why this beautiful hotel is not spoken about more often........................or then again, maybe people want to keep it for themselves.
Photo's to follow.
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- Also Known As:
- Papillon Ayscha Belek