Lara Beach Hotel, Antalya (Lara), Turkey ****

Currently, there is a major construction site next to the hotel, but so far it’s been relatively quiet.

Nice place with a super pool, excellent food and really good service.

I have to admit it: I’m not here for vacation - in fact, I don’t even want to be here, but it’s a heck of a lot better than most travelers stuck due to the biggest aviation disaster ever (see my travel blog for details); they are spending their time stuck in an airport, while I get to lounge in a nice vacation resort.

The place is really quite nice, about 30 minutes east of downtown Antalya and apparently only 12km from the airport. It is one hotel in a long row of hotels, some of these are quite spectacular. The Lara Beach Hotel doesn’t fall into that category, quite the contrary, it is relatively ugly from the outside. Not that this matters, but be aware of the fact that the hotels in the vicinity remind me of Las Vegas casinos whereas this one just looks, well, “useful”.

Subsequently, most of the hotels here seem much newer. The Lara Beach Hotel was built in 2005, which isn’t that long ago, but it has the flair of a refurbished 80’s hotel. But the room I am in is in very good shape and comfortable enough.
The hotel pool, garden, etc. are also very nice - no complaints. There is a huge (!) construction project next door, but you only hear it if your room - like mine - is in that direction and you have your window open. The closed windows absorb a lot of noise, they are double-paned.

The food is very good, something for everyone including a huge dessert buffet.
There is free Wifi in my room, I just had to enquire the connection password from reception. The speed is excellent, I had several (Video-) Skype sessions with very good throughput, one to the US and one to Germany.
The pool offers some nice water slides for adults, but they have separate slides (some quite challenging) in the kiddie section, so there shouldn’t be any complaints.

The beach is very nice, though I suspect that during high season it will be quite full, as it is relatively narrow.

Negative Aspects
What really surprised me: the hotel only has four non-smoking rooms! To be honest, I’m in a smoking room and really can’t tell, but for a country where smoking is not permitted in buildings, I can’t understand that they wouldn’t at least offer half of the rooms as non-smoking.
The air conditioning system was quite obviously switched off due to it being pre-season (and - most of the time - very pleasant temperature-wise); the system only blew same-temperature air into the room, room temperatures in other parts of the hotel were higher than I would have expected. This wasn’t a real problem (except for the early afternoon, when the outside temps peaked). It did mean opening my windows to let some fresh, cooler air in (which I’m fine with) and subsequently quite a bit of noise from the construction site next door.
The water temperature in the shower seemed oddly inconsistent. Not that I scalded myself, but it varied more than I felt comfortable with.
Last but not least, an issue for a business traveller: when I checked out at 6:00h in the morning, the guy at the reception desk was unable to generate a bill for me - this, apparently, can only be done by accounting - and they wouldn’t be there until 9:00h... I just hope I don’t have any issues getting a bill sent to me by email.