So far I have always refused – holidays in Turkey was not imaginable for me. As a Berliner in some districts, you experience the Turkish life more than in some Turkish tourist resorts. So why go there? But for our first winter escape from the Berlin winter the destination was just right.
Antalya - Lara
Antalya is a Turkish city on the Mediterranean. It is located in the south of Asia Minor, the region is also called the Turkish Riviera, as there are beautiful long sandy beaches.
Lara is a district of Antalyas, which can be reached from the airport after a 20 minute transfer time.
There is not much to see in Lara. Only if one fancies a stroll through several shopping malls. A main road leads past many large hotels, behind that there are some houses and behind those: nothing.
"Please take a look at the safety precautions and tell me about it!" we were asked by our travel agent Lisa – bless her soul! – who helped arrange many of our adventures through her agency “Lisa’s Reiseagentur”.
To fly to Turkey shortly after the attack in Istanbul was apparently unthinkable for some of her clients. So we had a closer look on safety and security measures.
Airport in Antalya
The airport was empty on our arrival. Shortly before our arrival, a SunExpress airplane from Berlin had touched down which left Tegel Airport just before our AirBerlin flight. No other passengers in sight at this time of day. Fellow passengers told us that the airport is usually busier and that it being so empty is quite amazing.
The walk from the airplane to passport control was done in 5 minutes and at 4 open counters no more than 3 passengers queued. The passport was checked and stamped - finished! No questions, no waiting time!
Our suitcases quickly moved through customs without further controls. Nothing hinted at raised security standards or added safety measures. From the building, we proceeded to the service desk where we had our names checked and then we were off to the bus to the hotel. Again without additional controls.
So there was really nothing to be noticed in terms of additional security checks. We also didn’t see police, soldiers or other security forces.
The departure from Antalya, however, was more time-consuming. First, our luggage and hand luggage had to be taken through a security. We were also checked but were surprisingly able to keep our drinks.
Afterwards, we were able to check in our luggage and to get our boarding passes. We went on through passport control and then we had to go through another security check with our hand luggage. Our electronic devices had to be completely switched off for that. Only then did we get to departures. Fortunately, there weren’t many flights scheduled for that time, so waiting times were short. I can imagine that you have to wait for very long at busier times.
Security in the hotel
There also wasn’t any additional security staff in and around our hotel. The entrance from the street was "guarded" by a porter, but everyone who briefly waved a room card or the obligatory wristband was able to enter the complex. Vehicles were also "checked" by him by before opening the barrier. So access to the hotel was actually pretty easy.
Same deal with the entrance from the beach side. A guard, unarmed, sat in a small house at the main entrance to the pool area. A smaller sidewalk was completely unsupervised. A gate with a padlock was supposed to offer additional security but it was wide open! From the beach, the wristband was enough to enter the hotel grounds.
That is not what a secured hotel complex looks like!
On our walks, we could also get an impression of the situation in other hotels and also the handling in the nearby shopping malls. From the street side and also from the beach side the hotels were secured by simple guards. Some of the hotels which were still in hibernation during off season were only guarded at the street side. The access from the beach was secured with locked gates. The only "security check" that suggested a little extra safety happened on one of our shopping days where we had to pass through a metal detector. Only the umbrella, which we squeezed past the side of the metal detector, did not get checked.
Our conclusion on security:
We did not feel unsafe during our stay. But there were also no additional safety measures to protect tourists. Perhaps it is a little different in larger cities. But in this small place, which really only consisted of hotels, we did not have the feeling of not being safe at any time.
The Limak Lara De Luxe Resort is a 5-star hotel located directly on the beach in the small coastal town of Lara. We picked this hotel for our first break from the cold German winter and were rewarded for our choice.
It took only around 20 minutes to get to our hotel with the shuttle minibus. And that included the steep approach to the entrance. The hotel and the entire complex are kept in Far Eastern design. This is already tangible once one passes the entrance and enters the lobby of hotel Limak Lara upon arrival. A lovingly laid out rockery and countless Buddha statues welcome the guests.
We were greeted very friendlily at the front desk, received a quick “briefing” about the hotel facilities and then we went to our room. During our entire vacation in this house, we only met friendly staff. From the cleaning woman to the live guard, everyone greeted friendlily and all our questions were answered – if language barrier made it necessary even with hands and feet to get the point across – immediately. I especially liked how the staff’s name tags in the restaurant and bar had little flags on them to clarify which languages they spoke. This made communicating very easy!
We had a double room with sea view booked in the Limak Lara. At first, we were a bit startled when we found not only a double bed in the room but also an extra single bed and a sofa bed prepared for us. The extra bed was removed the next morning so that the sofa became accessible for sitting. And the double bed was just right for us by the way, we slept wonderfully.
The room was really big, very clean and comfortable. The minibar was refilled daily and free of charge. The wardrobe in our room was a dream for every woman (und was ist mit den Männern, ie auf sowas stehen und viele Klamotten haben? ;D ). Walk-in wardrobe! So many hangers! Plenty of storage space! And – for us always very important – a large safe. It offered space for 2 laptops, the camera including a large lens and also various little things.
The bathroom was incredibly big for a hotel. The translucent wall to the room lit the bathroom well, although it had no window. A bathtub was not available in our room. But a huge shower with a great shower head!
The view from our balcony was okay-ish. On one side we had the promised sea view, which was really beautiful. Straight ahead we looked at the rather ugly facade of the neighbouring hotel. At the other side was the pool area of the neighbouring hotel, where new water slides were built. The thoroughfare was also visible and unfortunately audible. Sleeping with the balcony door open was too loud for us.
On the whole, we were really happy with the room.
In the hotel evaluations that can be found online people frequently complain about the food. In Limak Lara, we thought, there is nothing wrong with the food at all. For the first time ever, we enjoyed an all-inclusive buffet that was more than just meat in generic gravy with chips on the side. The food was varied, delicious and tempting. Regional dishes were served, which we were particularly pleased with! There was fresh fish daily, fresh fruit and a variety of sweets. These photos were taken at lunch and they don’t do it justice. We were very satisfied and we would love to find a similarly good cuisine in other hotels.
The Limak Lara De Luxe offers its guests an interesting and varied hotel complex. I particularly enjoyed having the swimlanes in the indoor pool almost all to myself in the early afternoon hours. We also liked the sauna and Haman. Especially in that one sauna that had a window, we relaxed wonderfully.
Unfortunately, I did not go the spa. But the hotel offers an extensive program that can even be book online in advance.
The outdoor area of the hotel is characterised by a variety of pools. From the children’s pool with the dragon slide to the small bookable pool house, everyone finds a spot to feel comfortable.
There are large pool areas, but also a family pool, which can be reached directly from some rooms. We especially liked the design of these facilities. You will not find the rectangular standard pool shapes here, but instead curved lines and a harmonious overall concept.
Directly from the outside area of the hotel, you get to the beach with beach bar and free beach chairs. The beach section of the hotel was neat. Since we were travelling in February, there were no canopies put up yet, only the framework of them was to be found on the beach. Despite 16 degrees water temperature, we were drawn to the ocean. The water was clear and the ground not particularly rocky, so we did not need bathing shoes.
In summary, the Limak Lara De Luxe Resort was a wonderful find and a hotel in which we would happily spend part of the winter again. We felt completely comfortable..
If you would like to find out more about the hotels of the Limak Lara Group, you can do this directly on their website www.Limak-Lara.de. Here you can also find cheap offers for the Limak Lara de Luxe in Antalya – Lara.