After numerous visits to Aman’s across Asia and 3 visits to Amanzoe, it felt like we should give the other resorts within Europe a try. So during the bank holiday weekend/half-term, we made our way from sunny England to Amanruya via Amanzoe.
Amanruya, Bodrum, Turkey
Room type: Pool Terrace Cottage, Garden View
Duration: 28th May -> 1st June
Booked with: AMEX FHR
If life was easy, where would be the fun? Perhaps that is the philosophy that Amanruya has, when it comes to getting here. There is no doubt that Aman resorts are difficult to get to. Half of the charm exists in them being so remote that you’re going to fall upon something spectacular when you arrive, something that wouldn’t be achievable if it were in a populated area. Amanruya, though, exists in that strange place where it’s too close to home to want too much hassle to get there. Flying via Istanbul, then waiting up to 5 hours for a connecting flight didn’t seem appealing, and nor did using EasyJet for a 4+ hour long journey. British Airways stepped in to make this a lot easier with direct flights now available from LHR.
As we were coming from Athens, it was still not as easy as you’d want, seeing that the two cities/towns are in fact so close to each other. This meant a short flight to Istanbul, then another short flight down to Bodrum. As the first flight was delayed by an hour, it resulted in a mad rush through Istanbul airport, only to find out the Bodrum flight was delayed too. Once we arrived at Bodrum, Aman were waiting to pick us up and take us on a 30 minute car ride to Amanruya. Except they weren’t. I had to call and ask where they were and they had gone to the wrong area to wait for us. It turns out that Bodrum sends you to the International departures area if you have luggage, even if you arrive on a domestic flight. As we only ever travel with carry-on, we came out of the domestic departures area. It would be worth Amanruya checking this with all guests in future, as I cannot believe we’re the first people to come with carry-on only.
In the end, we arrived around 8:30pm at night and were greeted by the GM and assistant manager before we were given a brief tour and then put in a golf buggy to be taken to our room – cottage #25.
Even though it’s only a 5 minute walk, they felt we would be tired so took the buggy. I was waiting to see the next day if this was indeed a 5 minute walk, or a “5 minute walk” that you’re told as a child, which actually turns out to take at least 5 hours, or feels like it anyway. To my surprise, it was in fact 5 minutes.
Whilst not to my liking, as they’re not as modern as I like, there’s not much that you can complain about with the room. I’ll give it my best shot though.
You enter via a private area specifically for your cottage, whereby the pool and courtyard are placed to the left of the door. All rooms have their own bell, so you can tell if room service is waiting outside. I did find myself going to answer the door once when no one was there, as it sounded like they were outside, but in fact were at another cottage. Probably just my paranoia and belief that aliens are coming to get me. The courtyard area is advertised at 75 sqm, but it feels a lot bigger, with a large pool, deck chairs, daybeds and dining area. Seeing that this is the basic room here, it feels truly great value for money, but the other rooms only vary in what view you receive, rather than anything extra.
Privacy wise, it certainly feels private and with the cottages being so spaced apart it should be, but we had some staff walk past the front of our pool, so you may want to keep your clothes on when wandering around outside. If you’re absolutely unable to do this, you may need to consult with a doctor. Speaking of which, if you like being bare foot, you are in for a treat, as your feet will certainly be bare at the end from all the skin that has eroded from walking around on the hard pebble floors. They look great, but they certainly don’t feel it.
The main room consists of a large king-sized bed (shock!), a desk area behind the bed, dining table, TV, walk-in wardrobe, mini-bar area and a quite frankly absurdly large bathroom, with a massive bath and walk-in shower. During our 4 night stay, the first day had some terrible weather, so we spent the entire day in the room watching TV. Luckily they do actually have a very good selection of channels available and also DVDs to choose from, with a menu presented in the room for you to choose from and then call reception for them to be delivered. Unluckily, the power kept cutting out and the reception on the TV was frequently lost.
Unlike Amanzoe, the mini-bar is not free. I love free mini-bars, as it feels like a great value-add and costs the hotels hardly anything. Aman has a strange policy on it, as some resorts are free whereas others aren’t. There doesn’t appear to be any logic to it.
Maybe I just don’t got the super smarts, but this place is confusing to get around. Several staff were explaining how the architect (Aman does not own the property, but manages it) owns the land and wanted to build the resort around the trees, rather than knock any down. This explains a lot, or rather attempts to justify it – after 4 days I ‘m still confused by it all. Just getting the sign-up to the Beach Club was apparently a battle, but nowhere else will you find signs except room numbers.
As I was walking around taking photos, I ended up walking into an area that was clearly for staff, so left immediately. Upon walking out, I see the GM, say hello to him and he says to me “and you are?” in a semi-incredulous way, due to some weird guy walking around taking pictures of the place. I then have to take my hat off to show him who I am and he remembers me, or at least pretends to. It was actually pretty funny.
I felt that the space wasn’t really utilisied as well as it could have been. Seeing that there’s enough restaurants (although they all serve the same menu, except at the Beach Club) and seating areas that you begin to think it’s some inside joke, they could have instead used this space to make the spa significantly bigger than a tiny entrance and 2 rooms. No Hammam, in a Turkish relaxation resort? Interesting.
- Beach Club – the place everyone seems to be. Except the staff, if you’re not seated in the restaurant.
- Art gallery
- Gift shop
- Carpet erm gallery
- Massive pool
I cannot recall ever spitting out food in a restaurant before, although knowing me, I’ve probably done it several times in the last week and just forgot. At Amanruya I will now consider it tradition to do so, as I ended up doing it 3 times: sea bass carpaccio, French toast and the cheese selection down by the Beach Club. The cheese I can forgive, as not all cheeses are created equal. Making bad desserts though? How is that even possible?
The French toast was in a whole league of its own. Hands up whoever has tried French toast with black olives inside of it? No one? Damn, you don’t know what you’re missing, so let me tell you. First you will experience the pleasure of seeing French toast. How can anyone not enjoy this beautiful product, which is the best thing to come out of France since non-sliced bread. French bread, to be precise. Then you take a swift mouthful, waiting for all your taste buds to light up. Boy do they light up, but it’s actually the taste buds reserved for detecting poison that kick in. You’re then onto using that trusty gagging reflex to dispose of said food. Whoever thought French toast somehow needed improving is likely to be the same type of person who would remake Batman and Robin and somehow make it worse.
Olives are clear proof of the devils existence, so to add them to French toast not only will stop anyone ever needing to have any philosophical discussions ever again. I’ve proved it, ladies and gents – you’re welcome. The downside is that French toast with olives will probably enhance all our chances of bringing about the apocalypse. Go do something decent for a stranger immediately, just to give us all a bit of hope.
- The welcome list they provided for us (we always send one) was spot on and really well presented. They even put some jars of sweets for me, which I’ll never say no to. This did then lose points that every time room service came, I had to phone up and ask for the sweets to be replenished. They did it for me twice, but I stopped asking thereafter and they never refilled it.
- Things went missing with my orders and I’d have to ask again for it. For a resort that’s so hot, they also seemed to sparingly bring along water and ensure you had a full cup.
- The F&B manager was truly fantastic and spent a lot of time talking to us.
- Excluding my point mentioned above, I never once saw the GM after being greeted by him. This is very unusual for an Aman and I cannot recall any other time this has taken place.
- In line with Amanzoe, the overall service wasn’t at its best, but it also wasn’t anything most people would consider worthy of complaining against. The speed was efficient and polite, but the service wasn’t particularly friendly, except from management. This could just be a cultural point, rather than a resort issue.
- If you like heated pools, then be prepared to max out at 27 Celsius. To me, this is the equivalent of being asked to swim the English Channel in February. Naked. Whilst people on nearby boats pelt me with ice.
- The Library is actually worth a visit. No, really. It has a large selection of books, board games and at the top offers amongst the best views in the resorts.
- Huge courtyard area as part of your room that offers you the ability to spend most of your time outside, without being disturbed.
- They’ll serve you any food you want any time you want it. I put this to the test by ordering some Coco Pops and Bodrum Eggs (on the breakfast menu) at 9pm and got it.
- I’m struggling to find anything nice to say about the food. As mother always said, if you have nothing good to say….Oh, too late.
- So thirsty. Someone send help immediately. I’ll trade a massive plate of French toast for some of that delicious, sacred water.
- The noise from a nearby resort, that only seems to start the moment you’re close to sleep. It went on well past 1am and could he heard often during the day as well.
- Take your bug spray if you intend to visit the Beach Club. Our welcome list mentioned about our sheer hatred of bugs and they came through by making our room a fortress, but we had to ask and ask and ask again for bug repellent down by the Beach Club. They provide some type of mosquito coil, but it kept going out and we’d need another one what felt like every 10 minutes.
- If you never want to sit down again, this is the place for you. For a resort with only 36 rooms, they clearly have huge ambitions, as otherwise there’s no other explanation for why they’d have enough seats for half of Turkey to visit all at the same time. Maybe they’re expecting an influx of immigrants?
- The Beach Club is not to be missed. The way it’s all been put together is stunning and it’s a quick walk to get there, so don’t go being lazy by getting a buggy to take you. This does bring with it a “but”, which is that there is in fact no beach. You’ll have to go on a real long treasure hunt if you’re looking for sand, mister. Maybe Aman has become so high-end that sand isn’t allowed anymore? Is there such a thing as sand discrimination? I’m starting a union.
- Even though our flight was very late (9pm) they allowed us to stay at the resort all day and use all the facilities without any issues at all.
- The Welcome List was close to perfection. I’m a very light sleeper, so asked for black out blinds and they went and put them up for me.
- The robes. I really cannot emphasis this enough – buy 10 of them, then buy all your friends and family one too. Then buy another 10 and put them in an escrow account, just in case you ever need them as your house has burnt down. I may have to go back and change my entire view of Amanruya, just based on the bath robe. They are possibly the greatest thing ever. I’m going to go to business meetings dressed in them from now on, as anything else would feel an insult to my skin.
Amanruya is beautiful, relaxing and everything you’d expect from an Aman. Apart from not being particularly good, having nice food and world class service. I feel for the prices they’re charging during off-peak that it’s actually worth coming to visit, especially as with full-board you’re going to spend very little whilst you’re here. I don’t think I’ll come back any time soon though and instead will try other European Aman’s and undoubtedly go back to Amanzoe.