Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.
Today (October 22, 2014): Review of Amanruya, understated luxury in Bodrum (Turkey).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: Bülent Ecevit Cad. Demir Mevkii, Göltürkbükü – Bodrum, 48483 Muğla, Turkey
- Hotel website: Amanruya
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP amenities with Virtuoso
The Aegean region of Turkey offer classical history and natural beauty in equal measure. This fabled coastline is where Homer’s heroes were born, where the ancient Greeks consulted their oracles and the Romans built magnificent temples to honour their gods. Everywhere are reminders of this glorious past, vying for attention with spectacular natural scenery including ancient pine forests and scalloped bays. One such bay on the Bodrum Peninsula is home to Amanruya, an über-luxurious resort. Named after the Sanskrit word for peace, ‘aman’, and the Turkish word for dream, Amanruya belongs to the portfolio of Aman Resorts, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand.
Amanruya features in my top 10 lists of the world’s best resorts with private plunge pools, the best luxury hotels in Turkey, and the best luxury hotels in Bodrum.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip and the slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Amanruya is set on a peaceful hillside, offering nice (albeit not excellent) views of the Aegean sea.
- The architecture and design of the resort is phenomenal. Inspired by the region’s traditional architecture and building methods, the resort ascends through a series of levels, offering a variety of courtyards and terraces. This creates the intimate ambience of a village while still providing a sense of space and luxury. The resort combines Mediterranean and Ottoman architectural design elements, all the while complementing and respecting the property’s pristine natural surrounds.
- A winding pathway (15 minute by foot or 5 minute by buggy) leads to Amanruya’s private Beach Club. Protected by a headland and curled around a number of well-established trees, this informal Beach Club consists of a series of terraces on which sun-loungers overlook the small pebble beach and a wooden jetty. Refreshments and a range of water sports equipment are available.
- The accommodations – 36 villas in total – are fabulous. Each exquisite stone villa, first-rate in every sense, comes with a huge bedrooms, a four-poster bed, a glorious bathroom (with rain shower and a large bath tub), a private grey-green marble infinity pool, an outdoor table and bed. All villas offers a large degree of privacy, since they are very secluded and out of view from the other villas.
- Food at Amanruya is excellent. Overlooking the main swimming pool, the Pool Dining Pavilion is an elegant and intimate dining space with dark wooden ceilings and pale marble floors. There are additional dining pavilions, located higher on the hillside and offering panoramic views, that are ideal for special occasions and events. Breakfast is a la carte and served in the room (untill 11 am). In addition, there is an excellent restaurant at the Beach Club where light meals and refreshments can be enjoyed throughout the day.
- As you can expect from the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, service is exceptional. You show up in an empty dining pavilion or in one of the common lounges, and like magic the hotel staff appears to take your order for meals, a snack or a drink. The General Manager Nick and his wife Chris are very welcoming.
- The striking, three-storey Library Tower houses a lounge on the top floor with large picture windows. Views are of the sea on one side and pine forests on the other. An interesting selection of books and a wide range of DVDs are available.
- Lined with green marble from Antalya in southern Turkey, Amanruya’s 50-metre infinity swimming pool has a spectacular look and is surrounded by a number of sun loungers, dining and relaxation pavilions.
- Amanruya also has a wonderful boutique, an interesting art gallery, a unique carpet gallery, 2 spa treatment rooms, a gym and a tennis court (personal trainers and playing partners are easily arranged).
- In the shoulder season (April, October), the resort has some very good promotions, saving you hundreds of euros (reduced room rate, all-inclusive rate, airport transfers).
- Complimentary Turkish tea is offered every afternoon between 4-5 pm at an open air pavilion – not much other than some pastries, tea and juice, but it’s still nice to refresh with something prior to dinner, and it’s included in the room price, so might as well take advantage if you can.
- Free WiFi works excellent throughout the resort, including the beach club.
- Food and beverages are very affordable compared to the restaurants outside the resort of the same caliber.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Amanruya is a stunningly beautiful and über-chic resort. But is is not perfect, despite being designed and managed by Aman Resorts, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand. I feel that there are some shortcomings that you need to beware of when considering a stay here:
- The resort is oriented towards the east. This means that it is in the shade about one hour before sunset, when the sun disappears behind the hills. The Beach Club is in the shade about 2 hours before sunset; in fact, only the sun loungers on the jetty will enjoy sunshine in the afternoon, as the sun loungers on the shore are in the shade by noon (which might be a blessing in summer). Sunsets cannot be seen from the resort.
- Wasps were incredibly annoying during my stay (October), especially at the Beach Club where people were literally fighting against these insects. Having breakfast and lunch with all those wasps attacking the food was a challenge from time to time. I am not sure whether Amanruya has any natural wasp control in place, but if not, they should increase their efforts. Wasps seem to be less of a problem during the summer months.
- The resort is located hillside, offering good but not really excellent views of the sea. There are pine trees and foliage sprouting up everywhere, often blocking the view of the water and making you feel being disconnected from the maritime environment. It is a mystery to me why the resort was not built closer to the sea.
- The resort has no adult-only corner, which can be problematic when a family with young (and loud) children is staying at Amanruya (which was the case during my stay), especially at the Beach Club and pool. Since Aman Resorts in general cater to high-end clientele looking for some well-earned tranquility and peace of mind, this was a major shortcoming. I feel that Amanruya should not accept families with very young children or, alternatively, install an adult-only corner fo those in need of tranquility.
- Food and beverage quality is generally excellent though not exceptional. Unfortunately, the only dining menu is rather limited and does not change, which can be disappointing and gastronomically boring when you consider a stay longer than just a few days. Perhaps a couple of additional specials each day would solve this problem.
- On some nights, the incessant night-club beat from the resort across the bay can be heard from 10 pm to 2 am. But Amanruya’s air conditioners create white noise that mostly covers up that beat.
- The water temperature of the main and private pools is very cold. This is not an issue in the heat of the summer, but it is in the colder months of April-May and September-October. A hot tub would have been a nice addition to an otherwise spectacular resort.
- The waiting time for a buggy exceeded twice 30 minutes during our stay, which was unacceptable for a resort of this caliber.
- The noise of the busy main road (that runs around the Bodrum peninsula) can be heard very well inside the resort, especially around the pool with the dining pavilions, prohibiting a truly relaxing and calming atmosphere that Aman Resorts identifies itself with.
- The hotel is 20-25 minutes from Bodrum and there is an approximately 40-50 euro charge (plus tax and service) for a hotel car and driver any time you want to leave the property.
- Location: 7/10
- Design: 9/10
- Rooms: 10/10
- Food: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: excellent: 8,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS AND SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the cheapest rate for a room at a luxury hotel like Amanruya (and/or receive many free perks). You will never find lower rates for Amanruya, and Aman Resorts in general, than those listed on the official hotel page.
- Save money: enjoy free VIP amenities at Amanruya when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, breakfast, one lunch for two people, early check-in and late check-out).
- I recommend not to scrimp by getting one of the villas that doesn’t have a sea view; go for one characterized as having a “full sea view.” It isn’t worth settling for less if you are going to be there anyway.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best and worst times to go to Bodrum depend less on weather and more on how much you want to party. If you thrive on international crowds, open-air discos, and mind-bending heat, July and August are when the scene truly goes off. It’s when some restaurants charge double the prices of Istanbul, too. Spring and summer are when the festival season picks up: there are bicycle and diving festivals in May, a film festival in June, and various Aegean, Bodrum, and Turkish cultural celebrations in July and August. The best time for a visit is in late summer and autumn (September, October). Temps linger in the high 70s (around 25°C) with crispy clear days, and the beaches and docks are less crowded. The frenetic, sweaty pace of the high season wanes a bit.
HOW TO GET THERE
Milas-Bodrum International airport is located 45 minutes from Amanruya and it served by all Turkish airlines as well as seasonally by many European charters as well as some full-service carriers (click here for a direct link to their websites). Check the Wikipedia page of Milas-Bodrum Airport to find out which airlines offer direct flights to Bodrum.
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No real views and too many stairs .