We are checking out of the hotel tomorrow and so far it has been pleasant enough. I think your appreciation of this type of resort depends on what type of traveler you are and what other levels of resorts you have stayed in.
We we're in Turkey on business for just one day so for a long-ish flight from Gatwick, we decided to make a bit of a holiday out of it and tacked on 6 extra days.
Please note - we have never stayed in this type of resort before so although me review may come across as negative in places - it is simply because this type of holiday is not for us as a couple.
The hotel seems to be the closet to the airport. It was about 15 minutes and we pre-booked the car from the hotel to collect us for 40 Euros which to be fair, seems a bit steep considering the distance. The hotel lobby was very clean and the staff on the front desk were nice enough.
We only stayed in a standard room which was very clean and simply furnished with a few drinks in the mini bar (which are complimentary). Air conditioning worked great which is what you want in a hot country. Poor shower (over the tub) with what seemed to be a water pressure issue or just a lack of quality fittings. Also the water was never very hot, lukewarm at best and certainly not hot enough to draw a bath. Apart from this our housekeeping carried out a great job every day and the room was cleaned to a high standard. 5/5 here
The all inclusive drink was good - we saw some branded drinks, mostly in the lobby bar area. Captain Morgans available in all bars, Havana Club, JB, Miller Beer, Kaluah. Vodka was house and as were a lot of the other spirits. The local beer Effes is actually pretty good quality and my husband drank it and remarked it was decent.
The Wines included are what I would call 'pub wine' Alright, but again it depends on what you are used to. I only had a glass of red Red two nights and it was okay, like Blossom Hill or similar. If you buy £5-£7 bottles of wine in the UK, you won't have a problem with it. I think they have better wines available in the Al la carte restaurants but not all inclusive. I wouldn't drink a whole bottle of wine and my husband doesn't at all so didn't feel compelled to buy any. Perhaps if you were staying in a group this is more feasible.
The grounds of the hotel are stunning. The gardens are beautiful and very well manicured. The flowers were all out and it really was quite pretty. 5/5
The pools were good but you need to be reserving your bed at 8am on the dot when the pool area opens otherwise you come down 30 mins late and most of the decent ones are taken.
Tried 3 of the al la carte restaurants. The Turkish is the best as other reviewers said. Make sure you book your ALC restaurants ASAP as you can usually only book them the day before. The desk for this opens at 9am and shuts at midday so make sure you note this as the front desk didn't tell us any of this at check in. The other better ALC restaurants was Alkendiz (sp). These restaurants are a good idea to break up the food choices.
Some people commented on the Cats previously and I am not really a cat person but all the cats we're actually very sweet and harmless. Very friendly towards humans and I noticed lots of children stroking them without a problem.
The only activity we tried was archery which was good fun and lasted about 1 hour / 1.5 hours. Again, these activities are nice to break up the day if you are not a fan of sitting around by the pool/on the beach.
We walked down the the beach and it is not a sand beach. When you go onto the beach it is fine grit. as you walk towards the sea it becomes finer. There seems to be a small amount of it which you could call sand and as you walk to the sea it becomes very gritty again. Thankfully the hotel has provided some wooden walkways across the beach for your comfort which was important. I feel however, the beach itself is scruffy and we did not sit there at all during out stay. Nice to have a walk down to but for me, not very idyllic and the seas was not really ideal for swimming in my opinion because of the large waves which I assume is why the hotel has such good pools. Obviously it is a long beach with all these super-huge hotels along it. The sand it too gritty to walk along in bare feet to go and be nosey unfortunate. 2/5
The main buffet is okay. Again, everyone's reviews are down to their personal opinion and what they are used to. We eat out a lot in some very decent restaurants therefore I would really only give the buffet 3/5. Breakfast options are cold meats, cheeses, salads, cereals, some hot options omelets, boiled egg, fried eggs, beef bacon (Note - no pork here as Turkey is a Muslim country) Lunch was probably the weakest mealtime in the buffet, I would love it if the space just had a cafe where you could grab a sandwich or some healthier options that were more exciting that just the salad bar. I would happily pay for this. Dinner again was a rehash of lunch with some better hot options but I feel the food really caters for the German market which is fair enough as the hotel needs to please the majority. We are not fans of buffet type food as a couple. It is amazing to see how much people eat and why they feel the need to stack their plates so high with food. Not a remark on the hotel of course, just an observation.
We did take advantage of the hotels 5 Euro bus to Antaya old town - definitely a good way to see some culture and to get away from the pool, watching super tanned people, slathering on factor 5 tanning oil. The bus takes about 30 minutes and the town is lovely full of ottoman houses and a nice harbour with tour boats. Would recommend doing this.
We have never gone on this sort of all inclusive resort holiday before preferring city/adventure type holidays or luxury beach holidays. Hawaii/Maldives etc and only came because our business bought us to the area.
I am absolutely sure that if you were looking for the type of holiday where you sit by the pool, sunbathe, eat, drink and have no desire to experience any culture of the country you are staying in, then this would be ideal. I just feel resorts like these could be anywhere in the world. Huge resorts with pool in the sun and kids club - well, it could be Spain to be honest.
We both feel we could not stay here for longer that a week because we would get very bored of the food choices and just bored in general (eat - drink - sun- swim - eat - drink - eat - drink - sleep). These type of resort holidays are just not to our taste. Again, not so much a reflection on the hotel - just our personal preference.
All in all, Clean resort, nice staff, nice pools, kid friendly would be great for families. But for me, this is not what I believe to be a 5* Resort. Yes it probably qualifies on things like it has a pool, fitness suite etc but in terms of experience, level of 'exceptional' service, quality of rooms, quality of food options you are looking at 3.5* resort but please note, this is based on the types of places we have traveled to.
Wife: 3/5 Score
Husband: 4/5 Score
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- Also Known As:
- Barut Lara Hotel Antalya
- Barut Lara Resort Spa And Suites
- Hotel Barut Lara
- Lara Resort Spa
- Barut Lara Turkey