We spent two weeks of our summer holiday this year in Turkey, staying at the Liberty Hotel Lykia that came highly recommended by friends who have returned there on several occasions. We arrived with high expectations of fabulous food, plenty of things to do and glorious weather. I can safely say that we were not disappointed!
Liberty Hotels Lykia is an ‘ultra all inclusive’ resort in Ölüdeniz, Turkey, approximately an hours drive by taxi from Dalaman airport. I say approximately as it took us 45 minutes when being driven by ‘Lewis Hamilton’ on the way there and 85 minutes when ‘Captain Slow’ took us back! It is however, long enough (71km) to recommend getting a taxi over the coach and with six of us it was cheaper too. We used the taxi company recommended by the hotel and got an even better deal by paying in cash when we arrived. We also booked the hotel direct, gaining a better price and only had to pay a small deposit to secure the room beforehand. It’s always worth contacting hotels directly, especially if, like us, you have more than the standard two children! We managed to secure interconnecting rooms for far cheaper than any travel website would allow. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Nestled in a bay, at the foot of a mountain range, the surroundings of Liberty Hotels Lykia are breath-taking.
The hotel is vast, the biggest hotel that we have ever stayed in by far! We enjoyed a fabulous holiday at the Hilton, Dalaman, a couple of years ago and thought that hotel was big but Liberty Lykia makes it look small! They have shuttle buses running throughout the day just to take you around the complex and though it would only take 10-15 minutes to walk, the hotel is set into a hill, with temperatures reaching 48C so it was nice to have the option of a lift! The hotel boasts 16 pools and though technically that is true, some are only knee deep and clearly more aesthetic than practical! However, the two main pools that we frequented, along with the pools in the water park, were spacious and rarely crowded.
Unfortunately, if you wanted a sunbed by the central pool (closest to the main bar and restaurant), you need to be up and claiming your spot by 8am, however, we found beds in the Kids Paradise area and forest pool for six of us, as late as 11am! There were always loungers to be had on the beach and a member of staff ready to locate some for you if needed. In short, we didn’t spend our holiday fighting for space, rushing for loungers or jostling for prime locations, there was plenty of space for everyone! In fact, we would often relocate after lunch, spending the morning at the water park (Kids Paradise) and then head down to the beach to snorkel in the afternoon.
Which brings me on to the beach area:
The main criticism I had of the Hilton, Dalaman was that the sea was always a bit choppy and not the safest for the children (or particularly inviting for the adults!) and so I was expecting the same here as it’s only a few miles away. However, at Liberty they have overcome this by building a rocky retaining wall in the sea at the far end of the beach, sheltered by the cliff, to create a calm, wave free area, ideal for snorkeling and young children. They have made it specifically a children’s beach, providing children sized sunbeds and making the whole area a non-smoking zone- genius!
I love that there are so many areas in this hotel made for kids, making it extremely family friendly and welcoming for kids of all ages. Equally, there is an adult only pool (16+) so any adults not wanting to listen to my children having fun, have somewhere to enjoy a more restful, quiet break (not jealous at all……..)! I did pop into the 16+ area to collect some fresh towels on one occasion and it was virtually empty so definitely the place to head if your children join Kids Club!
Now for the important bit, the food!
When I choose an all inclusive hotel, I always make sure that there is more than just the buffet restaurant to choose from, especially if we are staying for more than a week. Though here at Liberty Hotels Lykia there are 8 A La Carte restaurants to visit (these incur various set charges per person), the main buffet restaurant is THE best we have ever frequented. There is so much choice, with chefs freshly preparing and cooking everything in front of you. Whole tuna (those things are massive), salmon and other local fish were being filleted and portioned, a show in itself for our kids!
Huge prawns were stir-fried, various meats could be cooked to your liking and the selection of salads, vegetables and breads was vast. There really was something for everyone no matter how fussy you are!
Top dining tip: Sit upstairs for dinner.
The main buffet area is downstairs, but during dinner, it is really manic down there and getting a table for six of us sometimes proved tricky. Upstairs there is a smaller area with beautiful views of the sea where you can either choose from a smaller buffet or go down and collect your food from the main one. There is a chef here who makes a specialty dish each evening and it’s just far more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of downstairs. We certainly miss this view:
Breakfast also had a vast array of choice with my personal highlights being croissants and bagels being made in front of us, fresh omelet and pancake stations, freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh figs to die for! Whether your thing is a full English or a continental platter, there were even whole chilies and a lentil soup on offer!
As we spent most of our time by the water-park, we had lunch at their smaller buffet rather than back at the main restaurant, most days. Everything was still freshly prepared and offered burgers, pizza, pasta, grilled meat, salad, fruit and plenty of ice cream! To be honest, there were days that I could have skipped lunch altogether and I don’t think I actually felt hungry at all, after day three!
A nice little touch were the baskets of fruit left hanging in an old olive tree by the pool (where there were also a few shelves of books), for everyone to help themselves throughout the day. This was a savior at around 11.30am when the kids declared that they were hungry and couldn’t possibly wait until lunch!
Show time fell short!
The evening entertainment was a bit mixed and unfortunately the only thing that fell short of expectation. The hotel employ professional dancers, an acrobatic mixed pair and of course the entertainment team, to put on the majority of the shows. Though these professional performers were highly skilled, if ballet isn’t your thing, it becomes boring very quickly. As a choreographer and gymnastics coach myself, I noticed a lot of repetition in performances, with similar dance patterns and acrobatic skills performed each night to different music with different costumes. I feel bad to criticize, as I know the sort of effort that has gone into putting on these shows but I really feel that the hotel’s money would be better spent bringing in other acts to add more variety. On the positive side, the children loved the comedy night- all slapstick and silliness (not my sort of thing but you either love it or hate it!) and we all enjoyed the Mongolian circus:
Our kids are such water babies and with the water-park and fabulous beach area, they had no interest in joining the kids club or other activities. We did however, chat to parents who sang their praises and managed to sneak off to the 16+ area or have a private evening meal, while their little darlings were having fun in the club (open all day and evening)! If we return, we will definitely encourage them to give it a go!
To sum up:
We had a fantastic holiday at Liberty Hotels Lykia. There is so much to do here that we feel we could return and experience a completely different holiday. We didn’t even discover half of the water park until the second week!
It is, without a doubt, the best ‘all inclusive’ family hotel that we have ever stayed in and would highly recommend it for families with kids of all ages from toddlers to teens.
During our two week stay we also took a day trip to the Blue Lagoon and ran off of a mountain strapped to a stranger! Well, you didn’t think we’d spend the whole time lying on a lounger did you?!!………………