The Leda Beach is only a 2-star hotel so don't go there expecting the best facilities, ie a shower that can be set between hot and cold. The rooms are chalets. Ours was near the swimming pool which was fine for us, but others were in narrow lanes that radiated from reception - many guests preferred the latter.
* Food was very high quality. The kitchens are ultra-clean and the mezes and other Turkish dishes were amazing. Even though main courses are typically meat and occasionally fish, there are always one or two veggie options but given the choice of about 30 veggie mezes, you could just eat those. They also bake their own pitta-type bread which is yum.
* They didn't play banging music by the pool which meant you could actually read and relax.
* The hotel has a private beach and you don't have to pay for the beds. The guy who runs it is incredibly helpful and nice. His name is Sefer and he is actually an artist and does everything with panache and style. He constantly attends to everybody's needs and rearranges the parasols etc as the day advances. I once saw him manipulate two parasols simultaneously - one with his hand and the other he caught with his foot as it fell over. Somebody should make a short film about him.
* The hotel is right next to the ruins and the restaurant terrace overlooks the amphitheatre. It's nice to sit on the terrace at night and watch the sun set on the ruins, while tourists stream into town along the ancient thoroughfare still with its original Graeco-Roman houses and shops in a derelict state.
* The restaurant is run very efficiently and the staff are generally very friendly and talkative. Salman, Ali 1 and Ali 2, Ramazan - all great!
* Air-conditioning is included. Only works when your key is in the slot so after a hot day, turn it on and evacuate your room for a few minutes, if the heat bothers you. You could also have a cool shower, read by the pool, or do Bikram yoga.
* The cleaning staff are lovely - please tip them! They work in 45 degrees heat, changing bedding etc. They are traditionalists and have to stay covered up, which cannot be pleasant in that heat.
* There are lime trees, pomegranates, and bougainvillea everywhere.
Things I didn't like so much:
* We swam out to the swimming beach boundary, which was a rope with buoys, which is lovely to do. BUT - BE CAREFUL - do not touch the algae bits of rope, especially frayed ends. They have some organism in them which causes skin allergy. It was very painful, like falling in a big patch of nettles, all down my side and the back of my legs.
* Wifi didn't reach our chalet so was not worth paying for. Use one of the free cafes instead. Also, you can rent a laptop by the hour but it was in Turkish and had a trojan that stopped you getting on any site. Go to an Internet cafe instead.
* Orange juice was not included with the breakfast and had to be bought from the bar. The coffee was also rough unless you purchased the filter coffee from the bar. Drinkable, but rough.
* Some bald waiter generally perved after the women and told me he was a gynaecologist who saw 'ladies' in the afternoon between 2 and 5. He told another two English girls that if they needed a waiter to visit their room for sex, just tip him the sign. I guess there is a market for that kind of thing, though, and some people might upvote the hotel for that. Personally, I found it creepy.
Side is a great place but the old town should be toned down. Get rid of the neon and banging techno everywhere, get rid of the hundreds of identical shops selling fake bling, tell the shopkeepers and restaurant staff we don't need to be called out to and harassed every time we walk past their door. Make it more authentically Turkish like the little veg shop in the old town, run by the guy with the long hair who has his own organic farm. If there were more people like him in Side, I would definitely go back. As it is, I would rather find somewhere a bit quieter and less in your face.
* We booked directly with the hotel, and were quoted in pounds. But our bill was translated to Lira then we paid with card - with the double hit on commission, we ended up paying £100 more than the original quote, so watch out for this. Better to either pay in advance, or ask for a Euro or Lira price and pay cash.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Words alone cannot describe the magic of Side. It is a unique land full of fascinating contrast where ancient and modern exist side by Side. At the same time it is a paradise for sunshine, beaches, warm sea and leisurely lifestyle. The Leda Beach Hotel situated in the most quiet part of Side, surrounded by the ancient ruins and the greens. Hotel is on the seaside, within a few minutes walk of the shopping centre and at your service whole year around. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Leda Beach Side