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Old Jul 22, 12, 7:16 am   #1
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: HAM
Posts: 1,624
Trip report: Four Seasons Bosphorus, Instanbul and Amanruya

FOUR SEASONS BOSPHORUS, ISTANBUL

Arrival
We had booked the FS pick up service (operated by an outside company) and were met after clearing customs, not at the airplane as we had been told by the FS concierge. It turned out that there are two different options for pick up, and that we had only paid for the “normal” version, not the VIP version where one is met at the airplane. It took a phone call to the hotel to clarify this. No problem, however, as we were able to get fast visas and through passport control (a special line for business class passengers, and we had been upgraded :-) and got our suitcases quickly. Drive was fast and comfortable, faster than we had been told, only around 20 minutes instead of 40. Towels and cold water in the car. Driver was not very fluent in English, but OK.

At the hotel we were greeted in a very nice way and appreciated that also senior
mgmt came along to welcome us.

Room
We were taken to our room, a courtyard view in the Palace wing, which was a room that we were not very happy with. The lack of view did not disturb us as we were aware of that, but the room itself was very business hotel like and really much smaller than any room we have had in other FS hotels around the world. With the extra bed for our son, it felt cramped, so we called the manager we had just met, and asked to see an alternative room. The hotel was fully booked, so he could not accommodate our request. However, he mentioned that he might have a room available next day that we would be able to see later. When seeing the room (a 1 BR Bosphorus Palace suite in the first floor open solution with loft style bedroom separated by steps from the living room) we were hesitating to move rooms as there was no real separated bed and living room and it was almost 10 times as expensive as the room that we had booked, but hearing that we would get to move to this suite as an upgrade, made us very happy, of course. The suite is different from most others that I have seen. It is around 80 sq. meters but feels smaller because of the rather strange layout: One enters a little hall, goes from there up a couple of steps where the wardrobe are is (lots of space so we actually put the bed for our son there in front of the cupboards). Past the wardrobe one comes into the bedroom area (large, comfortable bed, mini bar, a sofa, TV) from where one can enter the bathroom (double sinks, separate room for toilet, separate room for wonderful rain shower plus large tub and TV) or go down some stairs to the living are with a writing desk in one end and sofa/chairs and large TV in the other end). We really enjoyed the view of Bosphorus from the huge windows which could be seen from the bed (fully automatic curtains to open in the morning) and from the living room and the space of the room, but to be honest, this is a room that I would never have booked and paid for myself because of the strange floor plan and the very high price (I have stayed in entry level rooms in many FS resorts or Amanresorts which has been equally large, had a much better layout and a MUCH lower rate). Also I missed a terrasse to sit outside.

There were complimentary fresh fruit (the very best cherries I have ever tasted), snacks and water in the room each day plus an afternoon or turndown snack (Turkish sweets, cheese with honey, a little dessert or cake for our son). Our son also got a welcome amenity. In our first room there was a Nespresso machine for my morning coffee. This was not in the suite, and when we asked for one to be put in, they came with a complete rollaway table to put it on as there was not really an appropriate space with electricity for such a machine in the suite.

Overall atmosphere
I must admit that this is a difficult one as the hotel is a business hotel to a large extent (lots of business people there all the time and business like rooms and – to some extent - decoration) but also resort like (especially the terrasse and around the pool) and also a palace (but less so than I expected). I did not feel there was one feel to all of the hotel. I also did not feel really at home there.

Food
We had breakfast in Aqua every morning. A nice buffet with a large selection, especially good fresh fruit and Turkish cheese and honey plus sweet and savory dishes to be ordered ala carte. We also had one light dinner in Aqua which we enjoyed. Good service and atmosphere there. For the other meals during our 4 night’s stay, we went out to eat. Of our meals, we particularly enjoyed the Tugra Ottoman restaurant in the Kempisky Palace hotel next door to the FS.

Pool
The pool is at the far end of the hotel terrasse and feels like a wonderful oasis after a busy day of sightseeing in the city. Service good, refreshments served during the day, nice little private cabbanas, and drinks from the pool-bar (where you can also have meals). Only strange thing was that we were not served complimentary water by the pool.

Spa
Had one haman treatment which I enjoyed a lot. Beautiful spa, even if they had locker area rather than full spa suites, it felt very luxurious and I enjoyed coming early to use the steam room and sauna before my treatment.

Gym
Large gym with lots of equipment, water and other drinks plus apples. Quite busy in the late afternoon early evening, but still no problem to work out since it was so spacious and had so much equipment.

Service
I was in touch with mainly the concierge before arrival and he coordinated the total planning (restaurant and spa reservations, taxi boats, arrival and departure). While I always got quick responses and some very good recommendations, some of my questions were not answered properly at first and I ended up making quite a lot of changes to the original plan after I (slowly) got the full pictures. For example: We had been recommended taxi boats for transfer to and from the old city because of heavy traffic. However, found out later that taxi boats has to be pre-booked (also return pick ups) and that time changes are very difficult, meaning we would rather go by normal taxi after a meal to avoid rushing or having to wait, and even later found out that also the hotel pick up times were not very accurate (15 minutes late first morning) plus finding out that taxis were very much quicker (no problem with traffic jams most of the day) and extremely much cheaper, we ended up cancelling all but the first water taxi trip. I would have much preferred to know all of this in advance and plan accordingly. Also it happened twice that we felt rather underdressed as tourists in sightseeing outfit at restaurants during lunch and would have preferred to know that in spite of the casual dress code, most restaurant guests would be in business attire.

The hotel was so large that we did not feel recognized and were not addressed with name except sometimes.

Housekeeping was sometimes excellent and sometimes sloppy.

Some mistakes were treated as if it was us doing something wrong. For example, we wanted to order food for our son in room one night and did not find the in room dining menu in the room. When we called for it, we were told "the menu is on the table" (it wasn't!!!) and had to ask again for them to bring it.

However, in between we received really excellent and personal service, especially front desk and concierge (who we got to know best) would treat us in a very good way.

Children
Our son loved that he got new bed linens with different themes every day (racing car, Harry Potter, sports etc.) His welcome gift was not really appropriate for his age, but still appreciated. Kids menu good (but now when he is 9, I wish they would not offer him these anymore – or that they would have an “older kids menu” to avoid only pizza and pasta and no vegetables…) Kids menu was also a booklet to color while waiting for the food. The pool was the highlight for him. It is so far from the restaurants and common areas that we did not feel that kids playing in the water would disturb anyone, which is good. There is a separate non-swimming-kids-area in the pool, but we do not need this anymore. Also some water games for kids available. The bartender at the pool let him make his own fruit drinks, like at Amanpulo last year! Great.

Overall
I would go back for the pool area which is paradise after the hectic and busy city shopping and sightseeing. However, the price I would need to pay for the room I would like to have, would simply be so high that I would splurge somewhere else if I would need to make a choice.

Departure
We were driven by the hotel driver in the FS Mercedes limo (no clue which one it was, but it looked very nice and was very spacious). Turkish airlines offers a separate check in area for business class passengers and gold card holders and we were taken there, quite a bit away from the normal terminal (actually a separate "gate" and a bus taking business class passengers directly to the plane - great idea, but....) After checking in, we were told to walk over to the normal terminal as my husband's gold card would only allow for one guest in the lounge, not "the whole" family (all other places we have been able to join him without discussion). Our car had left and it took us quite some discussion before being allowed in all three of us. Just a little note in case you plan a similar lounge access situation.

Last edited by Musken; Jul 22, 12 at 7:21 am.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 7:16 am   #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: HAM
Posts: 1,624
AMANRUYA, BODRUM

After our stay at Aman Sveti Stefan last year during their first months of opening, it took some convincing of my husband before he agreed to visit another new Aman this year. However, we agreed that the good things would probably make up for the teething problems as in Sveti Stefan, so decided to give it a try. We were prepared for a stay in a similar “stage” of the hotel, which is why I am extremely happy to report that Amanruya is FAR ahead of where Sveti Stefan was last year. I think it is amazing what Gabriel, the GM, and his wonderful team has achieved in such a very short period of time. Some small issues, yes, but really an Aman experience.

Arrival
We were met by our driver at the airport in Bodrum and found later that the same driver would be with us during all our 10 nights stay for excursions etc. which was great. His English was good, he offered wonderful service and was also able to add local knowledge and information as he was from the area. It took around 30 minutes to drive to the resort. Upon arrival, we were met fresh towels and cold drinks and the GM came to welcome us and give us a little tour of the resort which looked absolutely stunning. During our tour, we met our friend Boris from Sveti Stefan (in charge of F&B) and later on Yeshi (ex Amankora who handeled the front office and who had answered all my pre arrival requests in such a wonderful way) who took us to our cottage.

Cottage
We were really happy with the cottage. Ours was number 32 which I highly recommend. It is one of the highest cottages, close to the main pool and common areas, very quiet (never heard any night club noise from other hotels) and private, with a large rectangular pool in a large garden. View over the roof of the cottages in front (could only see the roofs when standing at the edge of the garden area), through some pine trees (great for shade in the heat of the summer) across the sea and the bay. The inside is just as wonderful as pictures and videos has shown before, so I will not say much more than what is already said about that. We loved the fact that the bathroom area had a slightly higher temperature than the sleeping area since the air condition is in the sleeping area, since I do not like freezing cold bathrooms. It was still more than cold enough for our son to sleep in: We put his extra bed along a wall next to the bathtub. They brought the bed every night for turn down and removed it in the morning meaning the beautiful bathroom interior was not “disturbed” in any way. No other hotel has ever done this unless we have asked. Great service.

Other items we loved about the room:
- Really large private pools. Trisara size, I would say. And deeper. Great.
- Large and very good umbrellas at private (and main) pool. More than enough shad for two loungers a whole day and very stable also when wind
- Absolutely wonderful peaches, apricots and cherries (especially) at this time of year. A big bowl every day in the room
- Very comfortable bed. I requested and got a mattress topper which made the bed very soft and very good. Very good pillows as well
- Espresso machine (again Nespresso) in room. A bit strange that we had to pay for the fresh milk for the coffee, though. This is normally complimentary, as the coffee
- Plenty of hanging wardrobe space. Could have wanted some more drawers, but we really brought a lot for three persons and 10 days.
- Cookies in the room. Different ones every time we finished them

The main pool
LARGE pool. No problem at all that the water is not heated at this time of year. I did not at all find that this pool is too close to the restaurants to be fully enjoyed. We liked it a lot, but preferred

The beach club

Took 5 minutes by buggy to get there from our villa. Buggy service quick most of the time, but not always. They are planning to build further jetties and private beach club areas with loungers and tables, but until this is done, it can sometimes be full at the beach club, meaning loungers in the shade are all taken. We used to get there early, so never a problem for us, but I did see some people having to accept a place in the sun since the good places under the trees were taken. Very good service down here, both beach boys and the people in the restaurant were great. Comfortable sun beds, extremely wonderful lounging area (my favorite spot), an endless supply of fresh towels and cold water on ice. Limited, but very good menu in the beach club restaurant. Mezze (new ones all the time) and salad of the day or cold soups as starters and then grilled fish, meat or cheese as a main course + ice cream and sorbet afterwards. Great roses or white wines on a warm day. Some boats (sailing boat, pedal boat that one could use). Clear, warm water. Wonderful views of the sea. Lots of large boats with envious people coming by – noone from outside allowed to visit the beach club (saw some prominent people in a laaaarge yacht sending their team in a little boat to try to get them in, but they were refused, also after trying to name drop).

Restaurant, food and in room dining
Except from the beach club (and they are planning to build a fish restaurant as well on the way down to the beach at some stage), all restaurant areas are around or above the main pool. Lots of different areas to eat with different view and feel. Inside area used during day as it was air conditioned and also for families (mainly) wanting to eat early (some bees attracted to the food before sunset). We used to wait for sunset and get an outside table instead. Wonderful. Turkish, international and Thai food served at night. Out of the menu requests were no problem: We had pizzas one day (pizza only on the kids menu, but they managed very well to serve us our favorites), special Thai dishes not on the menu another day, and one day we even had a Bhutanese (!!!) meal cooked by Yeshi from the front office and the chef that had worked together at Amankora. Wonderful, great fun and very spicy (which we loved). Other people had Maroccan food as well, we heard, as some of the Amanjena team is currently working there.

In room dining delivery time was the quickest we have ever had. Some small mistakes happened, but they were quickly corrected they remembered preferences from breakfast from breakfast, for example, to make sure that it was done right the next time. We had all our breakfasts in room. Good muesli with fresh fruit and youghurt for myself, fresh bakery basket with lots of favorites or eggs, indonesian or Turkish breakfast. Everything we had was good.

One night we had the special kebab BBQ in our garden. A special old style BBQ and a team of two (one of them being normally a butler at Amanjena who we hope to see again when we go there in October) grilled the three types of meat and served it to us after wonderful mezze and followed by a fantastic dessert. Wine, view, candles burning in the warm air and the tasty food. Recommended. We did not try the Ottoman feast since we had ottoman food in Istanbul several times.

Excursions
We visited a pottery, the Etrim village where carpets are made and had half a day out with the boat + went in to see Bodrum and eat out one night.

Excursions are really Aman style with great service and activities that makes you feel that you experience something which a “normal tourist” would not, that makes you better understand history, culture and daily life in the region.
At the pottery, we got to visit the master’s working place which was located next to where his mother lived. We were shown her home as well, and she cooked the wonderful farm breakfast for us which was enjoyed traditional style sitting on carpets on the floor. And of course we got to see the master working and also try making things ourselves.
In Etrim village, a wonderful man from the village, spoke excellent English and showed us new and old houses from inside and outside, the local village mosque and told us lots of things about Islam, village life and carpet making. We met his whole family, got to see demonstrations of the carpet making and were served a farm style lunch in between all the carpets, again sitting on the floor. And all of this without any pressure to buy (but it you like, their prices were really very reasonable compared to in the cities).
The boat trip was a wonderful day as well. Nice wind and swimming, reading our mind service and delicious fresh food paired with a wine recommended by Boris again. We left all our wine choices to him, actually, and were never disappointed.
Bodrum was better than villages in more developed tourist areas. Not a must see, but nice for a change if you are there for a longer time like we were.
We did not go to see any of the historical ruins simply because it was very very hot when we were there and our son is still a bit to young to appreciate such excursions. Next time!

Spa
I was aware that there is still no real spa at Amanruya, so I was prepared for that. Knowing this, the two spa suites were very nice and the massages that I had were really good as well. Got a cold drink before the massage and a tea plus fruit afterwards, to be enjoyed inside or at the terrasse outside. I was happy, but of course a real haman and a wider range of treatments on offer would be even better.

Gym
Same goes for gym. I knew it was small and suitable for cardio only, but that was more than enough for me, especially since they had mats and pilates balls that I used on my own after cardio. Husband and son played tennis every day in the heat. Need buggy to go to tennis court as it is a bit away from the rest. Drinks, rackets and balls available. No phone there to call for a pick up buggy, so remember to agree on time for this when you arrive. Did not try the complimentary yoga in the week-end.

Children
It was school holidays, so we were not the only family there, always two or three other families on top of us. Even if the resort is quiet and more for couples than families, it is a nice place for kids as well. Our son went out with sailing teacher one day, loved the excursions and of course the pools and the beach club. Selection of DVDs for kids in the library a bit limited, but TV had German children’s channel to look at for him when the heat of when a break from the heat of the day was needed. Kids menu available.

Service general
Really excellent and Aman like. Main problem is that some of the junior employees are not good enough in speaking English and –worse – do not like to admit that they have not understood the question or request. We solved this after some miscommunication very easily by making sure that we talked to senior mgmt or staff that we knew when we wanted something done and it worked well. Can, however, be frustrating some times, but all the good memories make up for it!

Overall
A wonderful place. Go!!!

Last edited by Musken; Jul 22, 12 at 2:40 pm.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 9:03 am   #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Several people asked me to compare sveti stefan and Ruya. This is what i can say:

The two resorts are very different and cannot really be compared so it depends on what you like. Accommodation is far better at ruya except if you take the sveti stefan suite at sveti stefan. Choice of restaurants better at sveti stefan. Service best at ruya but sveti stefan is now a year older which means a lot. Beaches best sveti stefan though ruya beach club is great. Pools far better at ruya. Your choice!

Last edited by Musken; Jul 22, 12 at 9:09 am.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 9:10 am   #4
 
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Oh, and if moderators prefer this to be split and added to previous ruya or fs b threads, feel free.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 12:10 pm   #5
 
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Great report ! Makes me wanna go to Amanruya soon too
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Old Jul 22, 12, 12:39 pm   #6
 
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Nice report. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 2:15 pm   #7
 
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Awesome report as always, Musken. Yet another one for "the list".
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Old Jul 22, 12, 3:24 pm   #8
 
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I second the "awesome", Musken - Turkey is on my list and this report is hugely helpful
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Old Jul 23, 12, 2:30 am   #9
 
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Great trip report. Makes me want to go back to the FS - never been to an Aman!

With regard to the VIP arrivals and departures service Turkish Airways use it at IST for First class passengers (they used to fly F from London and we decided to try it) . Basically you're met at the plane by a hostess in red, taken by golf cart to immmigration luggage etc bypassing all the queues. The hostess phones the driver who is waiting in a black Mercedes at the door. Took less than 15 mins in total! Same on the return, driver picks up from hotel, phones hostess who meets you at the car, radios through to a First Class desk that is opened specially, buggy to the lounge, then buggy to the plane. Very slick operation. I'm not sure I'd pay for it if it wasn't included but it was great to experience once!

Musken - did you not book through Virtuoso - we booked the lowest priced Palace room and got upgraded to a Bosphorus View Palace room which wasn't enormous but there were only 2 of us. I liked it and spent ages looking in the antique shops for those lovely blue glass light shades they have everywhere. I love the terrace and pool area overlooking the river - brings to mind the MO in Bangkok.
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Old Jul 23, 12, 3:13 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quitecontrary View Post
Great trip report. Makes me want to go back to the FS - never been to an Aman!

With regard to the VIP arrivals and departures service Turkish Airways use it at IST for First class passengers (they used to fly F from London and we decided to try it) . Basically you're met at the plane by a hostess in red, taken by golf cart to immmigration luggage etc bypassing all the queues. The hostess phones the driver who is waiting in a black Mercedes at the door. Took less than 15 mins in total! Same on the return, driver picks up from hotel, phones hostess who meets you at the car, radios through to a First Class desk that is opened specially, buggy to the lounge, then buggy to the plane. Very slick operation. I'm not sure I'd pay for it if it wasn't included but it was great to experience once!

Musken - did you not book through Virtuoso - we booked the lowest priced Palace room and got upgraded to a Bosphorus View Palace room which wasn't enormous but there were only 2 of us. I liked it and spent ages looking in the antique shops for those lovely blue glass light shades they have everywhere. I love the terrace and pool area overlooking the river - brings to mind the MO in Bangkok.
I booked directly. Seems I need to change this. Not that upgrade to room with view would have made the room bigger (and it was fully booked anyway), but I constantly hear about these Virtuoso-benefits that I do not (always) manage to get on my own.

Regarding the view making you (and others) think of Bangkok, I personally thought that it was FAR more interesting with river view in Bangkok. Most boats passing the FS on Bosphorus were tourist boats, while in Bangkok I really felt that I experienced also the local life (or the boats looked more exotic at least). But it was nice to see still. Just Bangkok was even nicer.
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Old Jul 23, 12, 3:22 am   #11
 
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You definitely must book through Virtuoso. We use DavidO and have had some great deals. Always includes breakfast and an amenity such as lunch or a spa treatment. We've always had upgrades - sometimes they're given at time of booking.
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Old Jul 23, 12, 11:02 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quitecontrary View Post
You definitely must book through Virtuoso. We use DavidO and have had some great deals. Always includes breakfast and an amenity such as lunch or a spa treatment. We've always had upgrades - sometimes they're given at time of booking.
Agreed. I only found out about FSPP/Virtuoso earlier this year, and am absolutely kicking myself for not knowing sooner.

As for the FS Bosphorus, I certainly understand and agree with your comments regarding its interesting mix of business/pleasure -- also how I did not feel the service was particularly warm.

But, we loved the pool, terrace and spa, and I spent a fair amount of time in my room reading and watching the huge tankers heading to/from the Black Sea.
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Old Jul 25, 12, 12:04 pm   #13
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great details as always

re VIP/CIP @ IST - http://www.primeclass.com.tr/en/
there are reports on FT. quitecontrary thats what you experienced?
i personally view paying as "insurance" against long lines. buggies and tarmac transfers are also convenient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musken View Post
Lots of large boats with envious people coming by – noone from outside allowed to visit the beach club (saw some prominent people in a laaaarge yacht sending their team in a little boat to try to get them in, but they were refused, also after trying to name drop).


Quote:
Originally Posted by quitecontrary View Post
Palace room and got upgraded to a Bosphorus View Palace room
actually double upgrade >
€650 - 19 - palace courtyard room
€1300 - 8 - jr suite (not palace)
€1400 - 10 - palace bosphorus room
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...l#post18453479
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Old Jul 25, 12, 6:29 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musken View Post
AMANRUYA, BODRUM

After our stay at Aman Sveti Stefan last year during their first months of opening, it took some convincing of my husband before he agreed to visit another new Aman this year. However, we agreed that the good things would probably make up for the teething problems as in Sveti Stefan, so decided to give it a try. We were prepared for a stay in a similar “stage” of the hotel, which is why I am extremely happy to report that Amanruya is FAR ahead of where Sveti Stefan was last year. I think it is amazing what Gabriel, the GM, and his wonderful team has achieved in such a very short period of time. Some small issues, yes, but really an Aman experience.

Arrival
We were met by our driver at the airport in Bodrum and found later that the same driver would be with us during all our 10 nights stay for excursions etc. which was great. His English was good, he offered wonderful service and was also able to add local knowledge and information as he was from the area. It took around 30 minutes to drive to the resort. Upon arrival, we were met fresh towels and cold drinks and the GM came to welcome us and give us a little tour of the resort which looked absolutely stunning. During our tour, we met our friend Boris from Sveti Stefan (in charge of F&B) and later on Yeshi (ex Amankora who handeled the front office and who had answered all my pre arrival requests in such a wonderful way) who took us to our cottage.

Cottage
We were really happy with the cottage. Ours was number 32 which I highly recommend. It is one of the highest cottages, close to the main pool and common areas, very quiet (never heard any night club noise from other hotels) and private, with a large rectangular pool in a large garden. View over the roof of the cottages in front (could only see the roofs when standing at the edge of the garden area), through some pine trees (great for shade in the heat of the summer) across the sea and the bay. The inside is just as wonderful as pictures and videos has shown before, so I will not say much more than what is already said about that. We loved the fact that the bathroom area had a slightly higher temperature than the sleeping area since the air condition is in the sleeping area, since I do not like freezing cold bathrooms. It was still more than cold enough for our son to sleep in: We put his extra bed along a wall next to the bathtub. They brought the bed every night for turn down and removed it in the morning meaning the beautiful bathroom interior was not “disturbed” in any way. No other hotel has ever done this unless we have asked. Great service.

Other items we loved about the room:
- Really large private pools. Trisara size, I would say. And deeper. Great.
- Large and very good umbrellas at private (and main) pool. More than enough shad for two loungers a whole day and very stable also when wind
- Absolutely wonderful peaches, apricots and cherries (especially) at this time of year. A big bowl every day in the room
- Very comfortable bed. I requested and got a mattress topper which made the bed very soft and very good. Very good pillows as well
- Espresso machine (again Nespresso) in room. A bit strange that we had to pay for the fresh milk for the coffee, though. This is normally complimentary, as the coffee
- Plenty of hanging wardrobe space. Could have wanted some more drawers, but we really brought a lot for three persons and 10 days.
- Cookies in the room. Different ones every time we finished them

The main pool
LARGE pool. No problem at all that the water is not heated at this time of year. I did not at all find that this pool is too close to the restaurants to be fully enjoyed. We liked it a lot, but preferred

The beach club

Took 5 minutes by buggy to get there from our villa. Buggy service quick most of the time, but not always. They are planning to build further jetties and private beach club areas with loungers and tables, but until this is done, it can sometimes be full at the beach club, meaning loungers in the shade are all taken. We used to get there early, so never a problem for us, but I did see some people having to accept a place in the sun since the good places under the trees were taken. Very good service down here, both beach boys and the people in the restaurant were great. Comfortable sun beds, extremely wonderful lounging area (my favorite spot), an endless supply of fresh towels and cold water on ice. Limited, but very good menu in the beach club restaurant. Mezze (new ones all the time) and salad of the day or cold soups as starters and then grilled fish, meat or cheese as a main course + ice cream and sorbet afterwards. Great roses or white wines on a warm day. Some boats (sailing boat, pedal boat that one could use). Clear, warm water. Wonderful views of the sea. Lots of large boats with envious people coming by – noone from outside allowed to visit the beach club (saw some prominent people in a laaaarge yacht sending their team in a little boat to try to get them in, but they were refused, also after trying to name drop).

Restaurant, food and in room dining
Except from the beach club (and they are planning to build a fish restaurant as well on the way down to the beach at some stage), all restaurant areas are around or above the main pool. Lots of different areas to eat with different view and feel. Inside area used during day as it was air conditioned and also for families (mainly) wanting to eat early (some bees attracted to the food before sunset). We used to wait for sunset and get an outside table instead. Wonderful. Turkish, international and Thai food served at night. Out of the menu requests were no problem: We had pizzas one day (pizza only on the kids menu, but they managed very well to serve us our favorites), special Thai dishes not on the menu another day, and one day we even had a Bhutanese (!!!) meal cooked by Yeshi from the front office and the chef that had worked together at Amankora. Wonderful, great fun and very spicy (which we loved). Other people had Maroccan food as well, we heard, as some of the Amanjena team is currently working there.

In room dining delivery time was the quickest we have ever had. Some small mistakes happened, but they were quickly corrected they remembered preferences from breakfast from breakfast, for example, to make sure that it was done right the next time. We had all our breakfasts in room. Good muesli with fresh fruit and youghurt for myself, fresh bakery basket with lots of favorites or eggs, indonesian or Turkish breakfast. Everything we had was good.

One night we had the special kebab BBQ in our garden. A special old style BBQ and a team of two (one of them being normally a butler at Amanjena who we hope to see again when we go there in October) grilled the three types of meat and served it to us after wonderful mezze and followed by a fantastic dessert. Wine, view, candles burning in the warm air and the tasty food. Recommended. We did not try the Ottoman feast since we had ottoman food in Istanbul several times.

Excursions
We visited a pottery, the Etrim village where carpets are made and had half a day out with the boat + went in to see Bodrum and eat out one night.

Excursions are really Aman style with great service and activities that makes you feel that you experience something which a “normal tourist” would not, that makes you better understand history, culture and daily life in the region.
At the pottery, we got to visit the master’s working place which was located next to where his mother lived. We were shown her home as well, and she cooked the wonderful farm breakfast for us which was enjoyed traditional style sitting on carpets on the floor. And of course we got to see the master working and also try making things ourselves.
In Etrim village, a wonderful man from the village, spoke excellent English and showed us new and old houses from inside and outside, the local village mosque and told us lots of things about Islam, village life and carpet making. We met his whole family, got to see demonstrations of the carpet making and were served a farm style lunch in between all the carpets, again sitting on the floor. And all of this without any pressure to buy (but it you like, their prices were really very reasonable compared to in the cities).
The boat trip was a wonderful day as well. Nice wind and swimming, reading our mind service and delicious fresh food paired with a wine recommended by Boris again. We left all our wine choices to him, actually, and were never disappointed.
Bodrum was better than villages in more developed tourist areas. Not a must see, but nice for a change if you are there for a longer time like we were.
We did not go to see any of the historical ruins simply because it was very very hot when we were there and our son is still a bit to young to appreciate such excursions. Next time!

Spa
I was aware that there is still no real spa at Amanruya, so I was prepared for that. Knowing this, the two spa suites were very nice and the massages that I had were really good as well. Got a cold drink before the massage and a tea plus fruit afterwards, to be enjoyed inside or at the terrasse outside. I was happy, but of course a real haman and a wider range of treatments on offer would be even better.

Gym
Same goes for gym. I knew it was small and suitable for cardio only, but that was more than enough for me, especially since they had mats and pilates balls that I used on my own after cardio. Husband and son played tennis every day in the heat. Need buggy to go to tennis court as it is a bit away from the rest. Drinks, rackets and balls available. No phone there to call for a pick up buggy, so remember to agree on time for this when you arrive. Did not try the complimentary yoga in the week-end.

Children
It was school holidays, so we were not the only family there, always two or three other families on top of us. Even if the resort is quiet and more for couples than families, it is a nice place for kids as well. Our son went out with sailing teacher one day, loved the excursions and of course the pools and the beach club. Selection of DVDs for kids in the library a bit limited, but TV had German children’s channel to look at for him when the heat of when a break from the heat of the day was needed. Kids menu available.

Service general
Really excellent and Aman like. Main problem is that some of the junior employees are not good enough in speaking English and –worse – do not like to admit that they have not understood the question or request. We solved this after some miscommunication very easily by making sure that we talked to senior mgmt or staff that we knew when we wanted something done and it worked well. Can, however, be frustrating some times, but all the good memories make up for it!

Overall
A wonderful place. Go!!!
Muskin has done a wonderful review. Since I was there during the same time I can only say that I echo everything she says. I will just add a couple of things on our experience. We stayed in Room 33, also a great room. We looked at 37 but stuck with 33 as we wanted an unobstructed water view. 37 is the very last room on the property and has a marvelous outdoor area with loads of space, whereas 33 is a bit lower down, but has a very clear view of the sea without trees from both the room and the outdoor space. It also does not overlook any other rooftops although it is still quite high up. T he outdoor space was not quite a large as 37 so it depends on what you prefer. Both were very private and had nice pools, etc.

We also loved the beach club. My only comment was if you went mid day (we did not go early most days) on several occaisions it was full - no sun beds, even in the sun a couple of days. By mid afternoon that situation had changed and there was typically availability, and this was not the case every day. Since you have to call for a buggy to take you to the beach, they told us when it was full and we just went down and had lunch, and by the time we finished there was availability. HOwever the beach cafe can also be full as a small number of tables compared to the people that go to the beach so this could be a problem as well unless you go to lunch early or late. As Muskin said, they are expanding their beach club and planning to build more jetties and sunbed areas so as the resort develops a bit more this will no longer be an issue. Overall this did not deter at all from our vacation and we loved the place.

In regards to food, my only addition would be that we had the Morrocan dinner and it was fabulous. It was not on the menu but when we found out the chef from Amanjena was there we asked and he delivered an excellent meal. We were quite pleased with all of the food, the wide variety of choice and their flexibility around "requests" if the ingredients were available. We ordered room service for breakfast every morning and it was very good. We did have a few mistakes on the breakfast orders which was mostly an english language communications issue, but the staff always cheerfully fixed very promptly.

The only excursion we did was the boat trip which we loved as well.

We had a wonderful time and were very impressed with the service, the accomodations, and the property overall. Yes, there are a few teething problems in regards to service, but I have no doubt they will be fixed over time. We will return to this property for certain.
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