Azur Hotel

Cirali (Olympos), Mediterranean Coast, Turkey Book from Book from £69 per night

Beachside bliss on a budget: simple wooden cabins set in idyllic gardens, with pool, restaurant, big smiles and stunning landscapes
In 12 years of hotel reviewing, this is one of the happiest places I’ve stayed. Staff welcome you with open arms and beaming smiles; by day 3, they’re kissing your children like a favourite aunt. At breakfast tables shaded by mulberry and palm trees, and laid with fresh-picked loquats, homemade poppy seed jam and juicy tomatoes, guests - mostly from Germany, England and Turkey, many with kids in tow - greet each other with broad grins and glowing accounts of the previous day’s gulet excursion.

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.

Highs

  • 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

Lows

  • 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
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    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).

    Parents 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.

Restaurant staff can provide half portions or cook a particular dish to order (within reason) for your children.

There's a small playground with sandpit, seesaw and swings, aimed mostly at toddlers, and a pool.

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).

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Beach Hotel
  • 28
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Board games
Room:

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Beach towels
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • WiFi

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • 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
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Trekking

Best Time to go

The best times are the shoulder seasons of April-May and mid-September-October, when the sun is not as fierce. It's the perfect time for gentle coastal hikes, and the sea remains warm enough for swimming until early November (though in early April it takes some bravery to plunge in). If you come in high summer, be prepared for temperatures nudging 40 celsius (or escape by cable car to the summit of Tahtali, where it's always around 20 degrees cooler). Don't rule out winter either: it's a mild 20 celsius most of the time at beach level, though the sea will be chilly and the summits covered in snow.

Our Top Tips

  • Bring toiletries as there was no shower gel or shampoo when we stayed. But no need to bring beach towels - these are provided, along with bathroom towels of course.
  • For a different kind of swim, seek out some of the secret river pools nearby. My favourite is a crystal clear stream shaded by pines, with only the frogs, terrapins and butterflies for company. To find it, from the top of the Chimaera, continue walking up to the crest of the ridge, then follow a small red-waymarked path downhill for about 15 mins. Just before reaching the valley floor, bear right and down. On your left is the biggest pool - deep and long enough for a cooling swim. Back on the main path, if you want to make a loop: continue to the junction with a larger stream, cross on the wooden bridge, and follow the forest track left to emerge after half an hour on the Cirali road, just below a simple roadside eatery. Here you can eat your fill for a few euros before (with luck) hitching a ride back to Cirali (2km).
  • Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Azur Hotel is situated in the seaside village of Cirali, near ancient Olympos, and about 80km south of the city of Antalya. It's in the shadow of Mt Tahtali, the Lycian Mt. Olympos, on the Mediterranean (south) coast of Turkey.

    By Air:
    Antalya (80km / 1 hour) has lots of flights from Europe, mostly charters. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.

    From the Airport
    If you don't intend to explore much, you can book an airport transfer through the hotel (see Rates), and then use local buses or taxis for the occasional day trip.

    By Car:
    Otherwise you might prefer to rent a car - see our car rental recommendations.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

    More on getting to Turkey and getting around

    Airports:

    • Antalya 80.0 km AYT
    • Dalaman 250.0 km DLM

    Other:

    • Beach 0.1 km
    • Shops 0.1 km
    • Restaurant 0.1 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 31 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    8/10
    Room
    8/10
    Food
    9/10
    Service
    9/10
    Value
    9/10
    Overall

    Azur is wonderful. The grounds are majestic, with plenty of books and crannies to laze away the day. The pool area is superb, the loungers are comfortable and pool is sparklingly clean. The beach is a short walk away. You need beach shoes to navigate the pebbles which lead to down the incredibly blue water. It feels almost Thailand-esque with the mountains in the background. Have a massage with Hakan - he’s great! The food is fresh, full of flavour and simple in a way that you want to eat there everyday. Finally - the staff are kind and considerate, going out of their way to be hospitable. Wholly recommend it!

    9/10,

    Very nice place to stay. Asked to pay the bill in cash. Gardens are kept very well and are beautiful. Staff friendly.

    8/10,

    The gardens, pool, setting and background of this hotel are absolutely beautiful, the smell of the orange blossoms and flowers was simply amazing. We were unlucky with the weather so did struggle with things to do a few days, however the kids were happy playing in the play park. Rooms were basic, however we were expecting this and for the price would not have expected more. The place was spotlessly clean. We found the food in the restaurant a bit disappointing and overpriced compared to other places in Cirali. Staff were very friendly, however did not speak very much English. Cirali was a lovely off the beaten track town but because of the time of year we stayed, it was very quiet in the evening.

    7/10,

    We absolutely loved Azur Hotel, the breakfasts were delicious and plentiful. We were on half board and the evening meals were extremely tasty - home cooked Turkish food, with plenty for the children to enjoy. There was a varied menu, with a lot of home grown ingredients used and opportunities to sample local dishes. The hotel staff were extremely accommodating and friendly. The extensive gardens were extraordinarily beautiful and perfectly maintained. Orange trees, lemon trees, palms, flowers - very restful and plenty of shade. A beautiful, immaculately clean pool and just three minutes walk to the beach. We hired a car, and the driving was a little hairy at times, however we soon got used to it and the freedom of the car meant we visited many local attractions. We visited Tahtali mountain via cable car, which at April time was snow capped. We visited the ancient towns of Olympos and also Phaselis, which were fascinating. A little village called Beycik offered a truly rural experience when we visited the treetop restaurant Riviera Restaurant run by the perfect host Ali. Shopping in Cirali was good for food and also textiles, there are three cash machines and a whole host of great restaurants, with very reasonable prices. Cirali beach is absolutely beautiful and swimming was perfect there, even in April, though a little fresh, it was perfectly possible to swim.

    10/10,

    Wonderful magical beautiful place, people and area. They have captured exactly the ingredients to make a holiday perfect. Thank you Yasmin, Hassan, Ali, Dilek & Ahmed and everyone! We miss Cirali already!

    10/10,

    A beautiful, relaxing garden and wonderful service. Perfect with children given the spacious room set up. They loved the available buckets and spades, sand pits, play area, fish and heated swimming pool as well as meeting lots of new friends. Wonderfully relaxing set up with short walk to beach and complimentary sun loungers, umbrellas and use of facilities at the restaurant.

    10/10,

    Azur Hotel was exactly what we were after: child-friendly, relaxed, comfortable and easy. The staff could not have been more friendly - especially to our three-year old son, who loved the attention he got. We had a wooden cabin which was perfect for the three of us - more might have been a squash - and it meant we could put our son to bed and sit out on the veranda with a glass of wine. We stayed for ten days which was perfect - less would not have been enough, more would have got a bit limited without a car. The setting is beautiful and largely unspoiled. I would highly recommend Azur Hotel for families with young/ youngish children and for others wanting a peaceful, relaxing, friendly place to stay.

    9/10,

    A little piece of paradise. Lovely staff, beautiful surroundings and amazing pool area. Rooms simple but spotless. Breakfasts were delicious too!

    9/10,

    The hotel was beautiful (the gardens are really lovely, as is the pool). The rooms are comfy and functional, if a little dated in the decor. Breakfast was OK, we weren’t as impressed as other reviewers (there’s not a lot of variety over the course of a week, and is very heavy on cheese). The staff were helpful and friendly and the boat tour they organised was brilliant (and very good value).
    There are lots of good restaurants nearby (all within minutes walking distance). Kutle (by the beach) was esp. good, as was Lemon in the village.

    7/10,

    We had a brilliant stay at the Azur Hotel. The staff couldn't have been more helpful and were great with our 2 girls (8 and 5) who made friends and loved the freedom of the glorious gardens.
    The stone bungalow was small, but for sleeping only was fine. Breakfast under the trees is lovely with cheeses, cucumber, beautiful tomatoes, eggs, jams was good but the same every day.
    The food was a little disappointing, there appeared to be a chef missing so the menu was limited with lots unavailable and the same dishes varying day to day, however what we had was good and there were plenty of great places in town very reasonably priced with great atmospheres, beach restaurants for fish were a little pricier but still very good. The Cimera trip was fun, wear walking shoes, its a climb! and the boat trip organised by the hotel was amazing value and swimming with turtles was a real privilege! The Turkish massage at the Kimera hotel was wonderful. The whole area had a lovely relaxed vibe and I would definitely recommend. The same with the hotel although there were lots of kids during the summer holidays. Adults only may feel a little outnumbered!

    9/10,

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