Welcome to the wonderful and artificial world of the Amara Dolce Vita! A tourist complex that is vast, both in terms of its size and the number of activities on offer, this themed hotel complex set at the waterside in the middle of a park is perfect for holidaymakers who are happy to share their space with others.
The Amara Dolce Vita is located on the west coast of Antalya (nearly 37 mi from the city centre and 46 mi from the airport), in Tekirova. This remote village is about 12 mi beyond Kemer. The hotel is out of the way, but its magnificent location is well worth the journey.
Most of the guests are foreigners (40% Russian, 20% Turkish, the rest Belgian, German, Italian and a few French). There is a mix of families, young people and the not so young. Although the public smoking ban came into action on May 19th 2008, smoking is still allowed in the communal areas and bedrooms.
If you are hoping for peace and quiet, the days will be long because music is played very loud, especially by the swimming pool, where a number of games and tournaments are organised.
The Amara Dolce Vita is rather like Las Vegas. Or Disneyland. It is a themed hotel complex, where every building has a particular architectural style and decor. For example the Venezia, the reception building, adorned with a square tower, does indeed look like a Venetian palace. The inside of the reception hall is impressive, with a glazed entrance façade and soaring ceiling from which a gigantic chandelier hangs. The floors are marble and a "Venus de Milo" replica is positioned against one wall. Guests are welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine and small pieces of turkish delight sprinkled with coconut powder. The rooms are reached via a panoramic lift.
The basement houses the main restaurant, a luxurious spa, a fitness room and vitamin bar, and a big indoor swimming pool (at least 82 ft). In addition, amongst other things there is a complete shopping arcade (jewellers, hairdresser, florist, clothes shops, etc.), a gaming room and pub (Irish of course!).
The other residential buildings also have their own distinct style. Istanbul Street has a little alleyway running down its length, and its façades are an earth colour. Nestling further up in the immense park is a spa offering massages in wooden cabins. A mini zoo and a little ranch where four thoroughbreds patiently await their mounts are perched on a hill further on. Back down on ground level, beyond the sports ground with its eleven tennis courts, is an especially well-equipped and well-run mini-club.
However, that is not all; apart from the outdoor swimming pools (including one salt-water pool), there is a water park with six slides, a 2000-seat conference hall, and a theatre, where different events are presented every evening (guest appearances, "Miss" and "Mister" Amara Dolce Vita competitions, and professional shows: kung-fu, acrobatics, etc.).
It is obviously no easy task to describe a site so vast both in terms of its size (over 400 acres) and the number of activities on offer. Just remember that the Amara Dolce Vita is full of surprises, especially in terms of places where you can escape the crowds and their accompanying hubbub. It is above all a concept not necessarily to the taste of those who favour simplicity, privacy or authenticity.
The hotel's 700 rooms are distributed between the main building (Venezia), Portofino (the building housing the "a la carte" restaurants on the ground floor), and the three residences: Roma Street, Capri Street and Istanbul Street. In terms of categories, in addition to the standard luxury rooms, there are triple rooms, family rooms, junior suites, VIP villas (with private swimming pool, private beach and a whole host of extra services too long to describe in full): the list is so long, you won't know where to begin.
Just remember that a completely standard room is 430 square feet (for a maximum of two guests). Your balcony will not necessarily have a great sea view. The decor is a little pompous, but it is perfectly comfortable. The safe is free to use, there is central air conditioning, and the mini-bar is stocked daily with water, soft drinks, beers and chocolate. There is a plasma-screen TV and two telephones. The bathroom is a little revelation. It has a big shower as well as a bath, hair-dryer, bathroom scales and many hospitality products. It is a pleasant room to be in, with bronze-coloured mosaics on its walls.
As regards catering, excess is once again the name of the game at the Amara Dolce Vita. Just imagine, in addition to the main buffet, there are (for an additional charge) nine "a la carte" restaurants open every evening reservation only in the Portofino block opposite the main swimming pool. Once again the hotel plays to its themes, with chefs specialising in different kinds of cuisine, and decor to match. The themes are as follows: International (x2), Asian, fish, seafood, Italian, Latin, Greek, Mexican (you absolutely must try the Pescatore, perched on a hill and easy to find due to its lighthouse: it has a magnificent view of the sun setting over the hotel and the Mediterranean Sea). Children are not left out either, with one unusual restaurant housing some of its tables inside a train! It is open for lunch and dinner and there is, of course, a special menu.
The main buffet itself is organised as follows: a central pathway framed by twisted columns opens up to the buffet on the left, with a rich variety of mouth-watering food and different dishes on offer every day; on the right there are three themed rooms - in case that comes as a surprise! The themes are classical, modern and rustic. The din of the crowd is a real pity though: nearly 1000 people can actually eat there at the same time. The all-inclusive package allows you to enjoy all the fine dishes prepared by the chefs (fish, meat, Turkish specialities, Italian specialities, etc.); alcoholic and non-alcoholic local drinks are free, as are fresh fruit juices (at breakfast) and ice creams (at mealtimes).
In addition to all this, there is a snack bar and an outside tent where "gözleme" (Turkish pancakes) are prepared; and - in case that wasn't already enough - there are eleven bars, two cafés, a pub and a pastry shop! And do not forget the terrace hidden away in the gardens offering guests a breakfast of organic fruits and/or vegetables grown in the hotel garden. Last but not least, wine lovers can taste whichever wine they wish as an accompaniment to their meals.
Hopefully that just about covers it all...
The beach, just like the hotel, is an immense 2,067 ft in length! The sand is unfortunately rather coarse and the shore is pebbly. However, this is compensated for by the splendid view offered by the undeveloped surrounding hills, the deep blue sea and the imposing Tahtali Mountain. The reclining deckchairs under canopy shading are so close together that you cannot help but hear your neighbours' conversations, but you can't have it all! There are showers and bars, a lifeguard and a water sports centre to meet your needs. A bare jetty also juts out into the water.
A small bonus point: clean towels are provided before or after your arrival. And the drawback: some rooms, particularly those in the buildings on Istanbul street, Capri Street and Roma Street, are a long way from the beach.
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