“Beachside bliss on a budget: simple wooden cabins set in idyllic gardens, with pool, restaurant, big smiles and stunning landscapes”
The gardens here are so idyllic - fringed with blood red hibiscus, orange lilies and rampant dogrose - that you feel as if you’ve unearthed a 21st-century Eden. You’d barely guess that there are 20 wooden cabins among them, screened by citrus trees. They may not be the most stylish inside, but they’re extremely comfy (superb mattresses and sofabeds), and practical too (netted windows, impeccable bathrooms). There’s also a 20-metre pool, a small playground and a handful of 2-bedroom bungalows. Best of all, it’s only 5 minutes’ stroll to one of Europe’s most stunning beaches: the 2-mile pebble-and-sand sickle of Cirali. Flanked on one side by the ancient town of Olympos, on the other by the bizarre flames of the Chimaera and the pine-clad majesty of Mt Tahtali, this is paradise indeed.
- It’s a stunning part of the world, perfect for coastal hikes, snorkelling, boat trips, exploring ancient ruins or just lazing on beach loungers (at their sister restaurant)
- The gardens really are a treasure: hidden hammocks, canopied tea houses, lush lawns, all tended by 3 full-time gardeners (5 at harvest time)
- The pool is a godsend in the scorching summer, particularly for energetic children
- Dinners are excellent: grilled meats and fish, salads and sweets, all served alfresco at candlelit tables
- Fantastic value, especially in the shoulder seasons
- The garden lodges are simple, clad in wood with few embellishments, but just right for the setting
- You can’t bring food and drink to your rooms - understandable as they don’t have kitchenettes, but sometimes you just fancy a snack on your terrace
- The beach can see several visiting gulets and a clutch of sunbathers at the Olympos end, but head the other way and there’s acres of space
- You may be asked to settle your accommodation bill in cash on arrival - and be aware that the nearest cash machine is a few miles away
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach Hotel
- Restaurant (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Board games
There are 2 types of accommodation: the original 8 stone bungalows, which sleep up to 4 in one double bedroom and one twin; and 20 newer wooden cabins dotted among the lush gardens, which each have a double bed (no twins) and a double sofabed in a half-separated room. We’d recommend the garden cabins for couples with (or without) 1 child; and the bungalows for families with 2 children.
All the garden cabins or lodges are identical, and in terms of setting there’s not much to choose between them: all are nicely screened by fig, palm, orange or mulberry trees. Inside, you get plenty of wardrobe and storage space, mosquito-netted windows (handy for night breezes, though there’s also A/C), and a gleaming tiled bathroom with spacious power shower that would be a credit to a Scandinavian city hotel. It does all feel a bit boxy, but we slept blissfully on new pocket-sprung mattresses (which grace the sofabeds too, though being only 140cm wide I wouldn't recommend them for 2 adults); and the sliding door between the 2 parts meant that we could read after our son was asleep.
The stone bungalows are next to the restaurant, which can be handy for families wanting to use baby monitors. All of them have a secluded rear terrace looking onto the gardens and playground. The main bedroom is spacious, the children’s twin-bedded (or bunk-bedded) room less so; both have simple decor with a couple of kiddies’ sketches on butter-coloured walls. They share a slightly more dated but still perfectly effective bathroom with shower.
- Air conditioning
- Beach towels
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Mosquito net
Breakfast is a blissful start to the day. At wooden tables shaded by palm and mulberry trees, smiling staff bring a platter of rolls and homemade spreads (including poppy-seed paste and a yummy cinnamon-flavoured marmalade), fresh cherries or succulent orange loquats from the gardens, and healthy Turkish fare (cucumber, tomatoes, wrinkly black olives and mild feta cheese) for those who’ve gone native. For the more conventional, there’s also cereals, eggs as you please, fresh OJ and unhomogenised yoghurt which you can sprinkle with walnut halves and viscous honey (a jar of this is yours to take home if you book through i-escape). The coffee is strong, and there’s all manner of teas and infusions including a powdered apple cay to set you up for the day, or what’s left of it after such a lavish, leisurely spread.
If you’re down on the beach at lunchtime, try their sister restaurant Azur Aïda, whose octopus salad, marinated sardines and aubergine-garlic yoghurt all slipped down a treat. At one point, the young waiters jumped up in symphony, hosed the dirt track down and then grabbed our parasols; a moment later, a strong gust of wind came - they must have seen it rippling across the sea. Alternatively, eat a light lunch at the hotel's Antik Pool Bar, which also serves drinks until 11pm.
Come dinner time, the hotel offers a limited but delicious array of grilled meats, seafood and homemade salads, followed by baklava-style sweets and thick Turkish coffee, all served in leafy gardens where kids run around the ancient mulberry tree. We ate here on the first night, and rapidly realised there was no real reason to do anything else during our week. Lamb skewers, fresh calamari and the local ratatouille were highlights, but nothing disappointed - least of all Hassan, Chennai and Turkan’s cheery service. If you do want variety, there’s no shortage of eateries within walking distance, including a pide (Turkish savoury pancake) restaurant, which was warmly recommended. Or you could drive to Ulupinar (5km) for fresh trout on the banks of the plane-shaded stream.
- Children meals
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Vegetarian menu
- Walk to Cirali beach (2 mins away along a direct path) and swim in the wonderfully clear blue waters, grab a sunlounger at Azur's sister restaurant Azur Aida, hire a kayak, go snorkelling - or come for a night-time dip and marvel at the underwater phosphorescence
- Explore the ruins of the Lycian city of Olympos at the end of the beach: a riverside quay (it was a wealthy port) with ruined houses, cisterns and vaults, a small theatre, a hammam, scattered sarcophagi and a monumental arch hidden in the jungle... you could spend hours here
- Head the other way to the astonishing natural flames of the Chimaera (2km), where sulphurous flames lick out of gaps in the rocky hillside; sailors once used these as navigational aids, and they're best seen as night falls (bring a torch for the walk back down)
- Follow footpaths north along the coast towards Tekirova (signed 'Lycian Way') to reach a series of lovely secluded beaches fringed by vibrant green pine forest and clumps of pink oleander
- Book a cruise on a gulet (traditional wooden boat) - the hotel can advise - for secluded coves, snorkelling and picnics Robinson Crusoe style
- Drive or sail to the atmospheric Lycian ruins of Phaselis (20km), another 2500-year-old town with aqueducts, streets and a theatre looking out to Mt Tahtali
- The hotel arranges occasional jeep tours into the mountainous interior, all jagged peaks and wild forests dotted with boar, eagles and riots of wild flowers
- Keen hikers can tackle the 2,300m summit of Mt Tahtali (starting from Beycik), and descend by cable car; families can book a gentle donkey tour to Beycik waterfalls (book through Vira Natura)
- The towns of Tekirova and Kemer (20-30km) offer an unexpectedly bling taste of shopping and nightlife
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2013
Winner: Value category
Despite having no formal creche nor much in the way of baby equipment, this is a fantastic place for children of all ages. The huge lawned gardens are safe, and when our son did manage to get lost he was quickly returned by a member of staff (they learn your names, and whose child is whose, within minutes). The large pool is great for splashing about; it has a separate shallow section for children (but no lifeguard). It's 5 minutes' walk to a partly sandy beach with warm, safe waters for swimming - though it does shelve quite steeply. The hotel can book boat trips which are extremely popular with older children, visiting secluded coves and stopping to swim in the most azure waters. Above all, the staff and the other families - German, English, Turkish or other - were all extremely friendly and welcoming when we arrived. By the end of our first dinner, our 4-year-old had made firm friends while being chased around the mulberry tree.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The stone bungalows are best for families of 4-5, having 1 double room and 1 twin (with kid-sized beds), plus space for 1 baby cot (provided on request). They are also within baby-monitor distance of the restaurant, though you'll have to bring your own monitor. The wooden cabins are perfect for a couple with 1 child, using the double sofabed for the child (or 2 children, if they don't mind sharing).
Restaurant staff can provide half portions or cook a particular dish to order (within reason) for your children.
Kids Activities on site:
There's a small playground with sandpit, seesaw and swings, aimed mostly at toddlers, and a pool.
Kids Activities nearby:
Apart from the beach, older kids will enjoy walking up to the natural flames of the Chimaera which lick out of the ground; and going on skippered boat trips to remote coves and coastlines (pirate hats optional).
Families Should Know:
The sun can be scalding in midsummer: anoint your children liberally, keep them in the shade in the middle of the day, and think twice before coming with babies.
- Supermarket: 30 mins (Tekirova)
- Hospital: 45 mins (Kemer)
- Airport: 60 mins (Antalya)