Bodrum Hotel - l'Ambiance Resort

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SwampeastMike
Posts: 296
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:08 pm
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Bodrum Hotel - l'Ambiance Resort

Post by SwampeastMike » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:00 pm

Since this will be my third visit to l'Ambiance with a total of nearly 50 nights, it is worth some comments here.

Where it is: l'Ambiance is technically in Gumbet just outside Bodrum city. Myndos gate and wall (a site worth visiting when in the area) is literally at the edge of the complex. It is a pleasant walk of about 1 km to Bodrum bay and about the same distance to Gumbet. You head downhill to both as again, it is located on an ancient defensive ridge.

What it looks like: You find a large, low building housing the public spaces that faces a huge pool and pool area on two sides. Most of the guest rooms are in small multi-floor buildings with 8-12 guest rooms in each. The buildings are scattered among fairly steep hills amidst very attractive landscaping. There is no ocean view but you do get a fine view of the mainly undeveloped hills leading to the second and higher ridge line surrounding the greater city. About 120 guest rooms. Compared to every other place I have seen not well outside the city, l'Ambiance enjoys the rare luxury of open space. Perhaps this is the main reason that I so enjoy the place. Being from a small but sprawling town in the central USA, I have a hard time relaxing when I feel closed in by buildings and narrow streets. Stray cats roam the place at will but know better than to enter the buildings. They mainly shy away from actual contact with people and thankfully stay off the outside tables. Avoid feeding them!

The concept: l'Ambiance is all-inclusive. Food is mainly buffet style and most of the seating is outdoors. Local beer, wine and liquor is included as are limited services in the on-site hamam. Free but infrequent transport is provided to/from a "private" beach, but you do pay a small fee for a towel; food and drinks at the beach are not included but reasonably priced. There is also nightly entertainment around the pool area. DO NOT EXPECT A CLUB MED TYPE ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT!!!!!! The general staff is helpful and friendly but few in number and overworked. The atmosphere is quite casual and it really is best to leave the staff to their general duties of keeping the place very neat and orderly.

Who should visit: I believe l'Ambiance is best for couples, singles and groups of friends. There are no facilities for young children and the very few teens I've seen there seem bored. Older teens should enjoy themselves as long as they are allowed to venture into Bodrum.

The rooms: The standard guest rooms are small by U.S. standards. Not cramped, but not spacious. They are very neat and very usefully and tastefully furnished and decorated. The televisions are tiny with very few English speaking channels. The baths are nicely sized and clean, but the showers are tiny and flimsy. Truly hot water is not common and it does no good to complain as I believe the system is principally solar. The credit-card sized tag on your room key must be inserted into a slot to active the electricity in the room. Anything of appropriate size works and especially on warm days, it does not hurt to use something else to ensure that the blower for the central A/C system stays running or to keep your computer charging. Just be considerate and don't leave lights burning, TV on, etc. when you leave and nobody will say anything about defeating the system. You will only get one key. If your group splits, leave the key at the front desk!

When to visit: I have only visited in September and October when the weather is typically glorious. The crowds are smaller and the hotel is typically at less than full capacity. Personally I would recommend spring and fall. During the summer months, I can imagine that the place could become quite hectic and less relaxing. The pool is a touch cool by late September, but my definition of "a touch cool" may be "cold" or even "freezing" to some.

The food and drinks: Most food is buffet-style. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner there are mid-morning, mid-afternoon and midnight snacks. Dinner will find a special preparation outside, but the waiting line can be a bit long. Eggs to order are offered most mornings--also prepared outside--with little or no wait especially for early risers like me. There is a huge variety of fresh breads and delectable, lightly sweet treats. Fresh vegetables, salads and fruits are also abundant. Expect only inexpensive meats--mainly chicken--in far less variety than the breads and vegetables. Dishes are replenished frequently and there is typically very little wait. Dishes are neatly prepared and very nicely seasoned. I have stayed at many hotels in a number of Turkish cities and towns which offer half board (buffet breakfast and dinner) and find the food at l'Ambiance among the best. My finicky eating traveling companion finds plenty of things to his taste with sufficient variety that he does not complain. I do however hear others complaining about the food. The wines included with meals are young and inexpensive but fairly drinkable. The local Efus pilsner beer is fine. Only white, low-proof liquors are included. Whiskeys and call liquor are paid by the drink and for some reason they do not like charging to your room tab--they will do it if you push a little and give a decent tip... Speaking of tips, I can only say that I know for certain fact that the general staff is very lightly paid and work 7 days per week, 12 hours per day. Despite this, they remain amazingly pleasant and greatly appreciate tips into the communal collection container. Like everywhere, the housekeepers are always deserving as well.

The amenities: Basic hamam service is included and the facility is clean and modern. Massage and other services cost extra. The hamam manager, Abrahim, is an exceptional masseur--among my favorite in the world--but you must make specific appointment. The salon is managed by a husband and wife. He is my favorite barber and gives absolutely wonderful shaves--better than any of the many others I have visited in Turkiye. His price is a bit high compared to those in simple barber shops, but I highly recommend his service to any hairy man. His wife gave me my first ever pedicure two years ago and it solved a decades-long ingrown toenail problem. I even had my back waxed and while painful, at least it was not bloody and it lasted for quite some time. I now understand why my grandfathers hated the loss of barbers where they could go for a morning shave, a bit of conversation and grooming of the sort that women and even men in U.S. salons typically refuse to provide. The nightly entertainment is fair, but the crowd is typically less than energetic.

The guests: The vast majority are European--many British and Belgian. French and German are also fairly common. I have not noticed any other U.S. guests. Ages are diverse and no single age group seems to predominate. Most seem to be enjoying a short holiday with 4-6 nights. For the most part, the guests seem friendly, unpretentious and polite. Those who enjoy the early morning will likely find fine conversation among the other morning people enjoying the spectacular weather.

The price: At any time of the year, the price is a quite low--especially compared to Bodrum city. Spring and fall the price is along the lines of a typical chain motel in the U.S. which includes only a lousy breakfast. Quite simply, it is the best value I have ever encountered. At such a reasonable price you do not feel cheated if you want to enjoy a few meals at the fine restaurants in Bodrum. Again, do not expect a Club Med or the ultra-luxury all-inclusive places in the Caribbean. Relax, enjoy the hotel, the city, the people and the entire peninsula and like me, you may well find yourself returning again and again...


SwampeastMike
Posts: 296
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:08 pm
How many stars? **: 0
Location: Swampeast Missouri, USA

Re: Bodrum Hotel - l'Ambiance Resort

Post by SwampeastMike » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:06 am

A fourth visit and nearly nearly another month in 2011 found some differences.

The management has changed and I found that this is a "turnkey lease". The previous management took their personal property, namely a lot of kitchen/serving equipment with no similar replacements by the new management.

While I had no complaints about the food, my traveling companion and a British couple we met there the year before all said that the food was nowhere near as good. To me the greatest change was a loss of variety especially with regards to breads and pastries. We had two stays and both times our room was fine. Again the British couple complained about their room saying the first they were presented was "full of boxes", the next very dirty and the third OK. The price they paid--even adding their daughter--was less than the year before.

Unfortunately I believe that l'Ambiance is a victim of the "race to the bottom" in package holidays and loosing out to the larger and newer hotels that were over-built during the 90s. To me this is a pity as the location, size and general layout of the hotel are excellent.

I still barely recommend and intend to return in 2012.

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