Antalya is synonymous with five-star resorts and typically on an all-inclusive basis. Properties often have a very distinct style or personality and the same can be said for Swandor Topkapi Palace, our first night’s stay.
Swandor Topkapi Palace
Driving through the epic archway framed with rising twin towers illuminated against the inky-night sky, the entrance to Swandor is very impressive. This is an all-inclusive resort offering everything from a kids’ club to a night club hosting concerts, concept parties, live DJ performances and laser shows. It is hosting the World Luxury Hotel Awards Ceremony next month and the epic architecture lends itself to glitz and glamour. It was inspired by the great Topkapi Palace in Istanbul which was the main residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire until the 17th century. This celebrates the rich culture and style synonymous with this era. The rooms are spacious, chic and well equipped.
The hotel is located in Lara and is a 5-star resort on the beach. A sizeable pool area is equipped with winding and rushing waterslides, eight of which are sure to prove popular with families. Even the gym is elegantly decorated.
The hotel has 8 restaurants and bars including the main buffet housed in the high-vaulted ceilings of the palace or try one of the à la carte offerings from, lamp-lit arched walkways with stunning views of the landscaped grounds or the cool elegance of Hanedan in cream with regal accents of cyan and copper.
Sunthalia Hotel & Resort
The group were welcomed with typical warm, Turkish hospitality and was treated to a tropical cocktail on arrival. In fact, every interaction with any member of staff was enthusiastically friendly and helpful. As part of the evening entertainment running at the hotel, we enjoyed an African dance show featuring somersaults and acrobatic endeavours which was a very high standard and wonderfully entertaining. It is a lively, shiny new hotel that will prove popular with package holiday-makers.
Sunthalia is an all-inclusive new resort located in Manavgat with a range of bars and restaurants, three of which are à la carte offering cosmopolitan and local Turkish cuisine. There is the option to book swim-up rooms, ideal for this hot climate. The pristine pool area also offers water slides to keep little (and not so little) ones entertained. There is also a private area and beach club accessible by shuttle service which runs every 15 minutes and is only 500 meters away. During the evening, the beach bar converts to an à la carte restaurant to enjoy dining along the shortline.
Speaking with the manager, he shared that the lead-in room rates start from €75 per person based on 2 sharing. There are also interconnecting rooms available that can hold a maximum of 6 people, ideal for catering for larger families. The property is only sold on an all-inclusive basis. Check it out http://sunthaliahotels.com/en/
Manavgat Boat Tour
While in Manavgat, the group boarded a tall ship to tour. It departs from the very special Side, a bustling seaside city steeped in ancient architecture. There are refreshments on board and the sea breeze is idyllic in the sizzling September temperatures of 30+ degrees. Equally, a dip in the sea cooled off willing swimmers.
Our shot of liquor reminded me why I own an Indiana Jones jacket – on my first holiday to Turkey, the first shopkeeper I met offered me one shot, then another and I ended up buying a leather jacket. I didn’t even barter. He felt so guilty I paid full price, he drove me around to all the sights in the area for the week and took me and my then girlfriend (now wife) to dinner. Still love that jacket though and it’s lasted twenty years at this stage!
Mrk. Külliye Cami in Manavgat City in Antalya
Külliye Cami is Manavgat’s Central Mosque and the largest in the region of Antalya. It is a colossal, ornate mosque, exquisitely decorated in Turkish design. Visitors should be mindful that certain attire is required to enter as it is a place of worship.
Manavgat Waterfall is near the stunning city of Side and about 5km from Manavgat itself, which the group visited on the Bookabed and Turkish Airlines fam trip to Antalya, Turkey. It is one of the most visited waterfalls in the country and even features on the 5 lira note.
You can visit on foot or for those that are a little more adventurous, you can try a river raft, boat cruise or safari. Sit back and enjoy the lush forest and cascading waters or enjoy refreshments in the little eateries and tea gardens dotted around the area.
The entrance fee is c. 6 Turkish Lira (c. €0.33) so it’s a very wallet-friendly trip!