Review: Amanruya Bodrum, Turkey

Filed Under: Hotels

We redeemed points for our entire stay in Bodrum, with the exception of our four night stay at Amanruya (since Aman doesn’t have a loyalty program). The hotel was both delightful and disappointing.

Booking Amanruya Bodrum

As an Amanjunkie (or perhaps former Amanjunkie, because my last few stays haven’t been as amazing as previous ones?) I really wanted to stay at the Aman property in Bodrum. This property is known as Amanruya, which means “peaceful dream” (“Aman” means “peace” in Sanskrit, and “ruya” means “dream” in Turkish).

While all Amans are objectively pricey, this was by comparison one of the more reasonably priced ones (again, this is all relative). We booked four nights at Amanruya, given that the hotel was offering a fourth night free promotion. The nightly rate before the discount was 700EUR, though with the discount that averaged out to 525EUR per night. This rate included daily breakfast, roundtrip airport transfers, and more.

The great thing is that at Amanruya even the entry level room is a private villa with a pool.

Funny enough, in terms of the cash cost, Amanruya was the cheapest hotel we stayed at during our stay. The rate at the EDITION was almost twice as much, while Caresse was marginally more expensive.

Get extra perks at Aman hotel

If you’re booking a stay at Amanruya, I’d recommend booking through a Virtuoso agent. This would get you perks like a room upgrade subject to availability, a $100 property credit, and more. You’ll pay the same as whatever the flexible rate is at the hotel.

If you need help with a Virtuoso booking you can reach out to Ford at [email protected], and he’d be happy to help.

Amanruya Bodrum location

Now let’s get into the actual review of the hotel. Amanruya is located on the northeast of the Bodrum peninsula. It’s only about a 15 minute drive from the EDITION, about a 20 minute drive from the town of Bodrum, and about a 30 minute drive from Bodrum-Milas International Airport.

Our rate included roundtrip airport transfers, but the hotel was happy to pick us up and drop us off at the EDITION, since we weren’t flying directly before or after our stay. We were transported in a very nice Mercedes van.

Amanruya transfer service

Amanruya Bodrum reception & check-in

When it comes to service this hotel didn’t feel like an Aman, and that was apparent from the moment when we checked in. Usually when guests arrive at Amans there’s an uncomfortable number of people greeting you, but that wasn’t the case here (and I was kind of happy about that, to be honest).

Amanruya entrance


Amanruya entrance

We were greeted by one of the front office associates and the front office manager, and walked to reception.

There was a small reception room just past the entrance, where we were asked to take a seat. Before the stay, the hotel had emailed me to ask for scans of our passports, so that they wouldn’t have to be provided again at check-in. I provided those, but despite that, they asked to scan them again when we arrived.

Our registration form also indicated that our stay included two free nights, a 100EUR food & beverage credit, and a six course menu. I asked about that, and it was confirmed that was an error.

Obviously that’s not a big deal, but Aman is (usually) all about attention to detail, and that was lacking.

Amanruya reception


Amanruya reception

Within about five minutes we were escorted to our room.

Amanruya Pool Pavilion

Amanruya has just 35 villas. They’re all more or less the same, with the only difference being the view. We booked a Pool Suite (the entry level room), and that’s exactly what we got, as the hotel was full.

Below is a map that gives you a sense of the property’s layout.

Amanruya map

We were assigned room 16. The entire hotel is connected by cute cobblestone walkways, which almost transport you to a different era. There are golf carts, and unfortunately the staff tend to drive them very fast, including around the corners, so you really have to be careful here.


Amanruya walkways


Amanruya walkways

Our villa was a few minutes walk from the restaurant, pool, and most other amenities. The villas have an incredible amount of privacy, as each is walled in most of the way, and also has a long walkway leading to the entrance.

Amanruya Pool Suite entryway


Amanruya Pool Suite door

There’s a bell just outside the main door that staff will ring when approaching your room.


Amanruya Pool Suite pool

I was delighted by our Pool Suite. Inside the entrance and to the left was a sitting area with a couch and a chair, by the window.


Amanruya Pool Suite living area


Amanruya Pool Suite living area

Then straight ahead was a dining table with two chairs, which had a welcome amenity consisting of a bottle of wine, some fresh fruit, and some Turkish delights.


Amanruya Pool Suite dining area


Amanruya Pool Suite welcome amenity

Then to the right was the four-poster king size bed with curtains that could be drawn all the way around.


Amanruya Pool Suite king bed


Amanruya Pool Suite king bed

Behind the bed was a desk area.


Amanruya Pool Suite desk

To the side of the bed was the large closet and bathroom area. First there was a closet area, a vanity, and the minibar.


Amanruya Pool Suite vanity


Amanruya Pool Suite closet

Everything in the minibar was chargeable, while I’ve found most Amans at least have free soft drinks in the minibar.


Amanruya Pool Suite minibar

Here were the minibar prices (1USD is around 7TL), which were at least quite reasonable, with a soft drink costing about 3USD:

Next to the minibar was a Nespresso machine and a couple of fruit snacks, which were complimentary.


Amanruya Pool Suite in-room Nespresso machine


Amanruya Pool Suite in-room snacks

The bathroom was every bit as nice as the rest of the room, with double sinks, a soaking tub, a walk-in shower, and a partitioned off toilet. Toiletries were unbranded and in ceramic containers, as is the norm at most Amans.

Amanruya Pool Pavilion bathroom


Amanruya Pool Pavilion bathroom


Amanruya Pool Pavilion bathtub


Amanruya Pool Pavilion shower


Amanruya Pool Pavilion toilet

The Pool Pavilion’s outdoor space was even nicer than the indoor space, with a good size pool (this was more than a plunge pool), and plenty of seating.


Amanruya Pool Pavilion pool

The only real difference between rooms at Amanruya is the view. We just faced nearby trees and shrubs, which I quite liked as a view. Note that the rooms are quite a distance from the sea, so even the rooms that claim to have water views don’t give you that much better of a view.


Amanruya Pool Pavilion outdoor space


Amanruya Pool Pavilion outdoor space


Amanruya Pool Pavilion outdoor space


Amanruya Pool Pavilion outdoor space


Amanruya Pool Pavilion outdoor space

The hotel had complimentary Wi-Fi throughout, and the connection in our room was good.

Our Pool Pavilion was incredible, plain and simple. Obviously our stay wasn’t cheap, though given how huge our room and outdoor space was, I actually though the value was quite good. To give you a sense of pricing, the Le Meridien Bodrum (the least nice Marriott property in Bodrum) was charging about the same as what we paid for a one bedroom suite with a plunge pool.

Amanruya amenities

The amenities at Amanruya matched the room, for the most part.

Physically the hotel is simply gorgeous. Amanruya opened back in 2012 (and then shut down for a couple of years when there was instability in Turkey), and the hotel has a phenomenal sense of place. The entire property blends perfectly into the surroundings, and feels like it has been there forever, while also feeling immaculately maintained.

Amanruya pool

With the exception of the beach club, just about all the Amanruya amenities are in the same area. The pool is probably the centerpiece of the hotel, and is as big as it is pretty.

Amanruya pool


Amanruya pool

Amanruya beach club

Amanruya has a beach club. While you could walk there, it’s probably a solid five minute golf cart ride down a dirt path, so I’d recommend requesting a golf cart (and even then you’ll get dirty, with all the dust).

Path to Amanruya beach club


Path to Amanruya beach club

Compared to the beach setup at EDITION, I thought the Amanruya beach club was quite disappointing. It’s unique, in the sense that it combines the woods with the sea. While that might sound nice, one major issue is that there are lots of bugs because of the trees.

Amanruya beach club

As you enter the beach club there’s a restaurant, which is open for lunch.


Amanruya beach club restaurant

There are two beds across from that, which I’ve seen in all kinds of ads for the hotel, and it does indeed look nice.


Amanruya beach club seating

The rest of the lounge chairs are dispersed throughout the area. While I like that they built this around nature, I can’t help but feel like the whole setup just feels kind of makeshift and not very luxurious.


Amanruya beach club seating


Amanruya beach club seating


Amanruya beach club seating

There was also a dock with some lounge chairs.


Amanruya beach club seating

And then there was the sea itself. While the water was flat, there was no real beach, and there were lots of rocks.


Amanruya beach club seating

I almost felt like I was on a lake in the Midwest of the US, rather than at the beach in Bodrum. Aman properties have some incredible beach clubs — like the one at Amanzoe in Greece — but in my opinion this isn’t one of them.

Between the bugs and the actual beach not being that nice, we ended up spending only one afternoon here. Up until this point in Bodrum we spent all our time at the beach rather than at the pool, while at this hotel we did the opposite, as we loved the pool but didn’t love the beach.

I guess other guests felt differently, because most guests seemed to spend a majority of their time at the beach.

Amanruya spa

Amanruya has a small spa right next to the pool, open daily from 10AM until 7:30PM.

Amanruya spa reception

There are two treatment rooms and not any other amenities, so this isn’t exactly the most over-the-top spa in the world.


Amanruya spa treatment room

Here’s the treatment menu (again, 1USD is around 7TL, meaning an hour massage cost around 100USD):

Amanruya gym

Amanruya has a basic gym, and due to coronavirus, they require guests to make reservations. Only one party can use the gym at a time, and it’s thoroughly cleaned between each use.

Amanruya gym


Amanruya gym

Amanruya library

As is the case at many Aman properties, Amanruya has a library. And not just any library, but a three story tower.

Amanruya library exterior

Yep, the library has three floors and a spiral staircase, and some of the best views over the resort.


Amanruya library ground floor


Amanruya library third floor

Other Amanruya shared spaces

In case I haven’t mentioned it often enough yet, the design of Amanruya is simply incredible. There are all kinds of other random amenities and features beyond the above, which I’ll cover in this section.

Next to the pool there are two separate rooms where you can sit inside. The rooms are beautifully designed, but the problem is that there’s no air conditioning, so the rooms tend to get uncomfortably warm.

Amanruya room near pool


Amanruya room near pool

I was amazed by the attention to detail that went into the design of this place. For example, below is the building that connects reception to the rest of the resort.

Amanruya design


Amanruya design

The hotel also has a rug display (I think they were also for purchase), and then a small museum of sorts.

Amanruya rugs


Amanruya museum

There are also a few outdoor seating areas around the pool, including pavilions, as well as tables and chairs.


Outdoor seating at Amanruya


Outdoor seating at Amanruya


Outdoor seating at Amanruya

This really gives you a sense of where the hotel is in relation to the sea. As you can see below, this area has a view of the water, but it’s in the distance.

Outdoor seating at Amanruya

Amanruya sea view

Dining at Amanruya

Amanruya has one main restaurant, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are served. This is right next to the pool. It includes three separate buildings with indoor seating, as well as a good number of outdoor tables.

Amanruya restaurant indoor dining


Amanruya restaurant indoor dining


Amanruya restaurant outdoor dining


Amanruya restaurant outdoor dining

Then as mentioned above, the beach club serves lunch.

Amanruya beach club dining

Lastly there’s room service, should you prefer to dine in privacy.

Breakfast

Our rate included breakfast, which was served daily from 8AM until 11AM. The breakfast menu consisted of either a traditional Turkish breakfast, or a large selection of options you could order individually. The menu read as follows:

To drink we had some of the freshly squeezed juiced, and iced lattes.

Amanruya breakfast drinks


Amanruya breakfast drinks

One morning I had the homemade granola, Ford had the Çılbır (poached eggs with yogurt and paprika), and we shared the Gözleme (essentially a beef pastry).

Amanruya breakfast


Amanruya breakfast


Amanruya breakfast

Another morning we had the Turkish breakfast, which was similar to what we received at other hotels.

Amanruya breakfast


Amanruya breakfast

That also came with the choice of eggs, and I had the Menemen.

Amanruya breakfast

Lunch

We had lunch at Amanruya twice, once at the main restaurant, and once at the beach club.

The lunch menu in the main restaurant read as follows:

We had the panzanella salad to share, and then I had the Thai seabass, while Ford had the grilled meatballs.

Amanruya lunch


Amanruya lunch


Amanruya lunch

The beach club menu was a bit different thanks to the wood oven there, so they had Pide, Lahmajoun, and more. That menu read as follows:

Ford had a basil smash to drink, which was his favorite drink here.

Amanruya beach club lunch drinks

To start I had a shepherd salad, and Ford had an artichoke rocket salad.


Amanruya beach club lunch

Then I had the vegan pide, while Ford had the meatballs.


Amanruya beach club lunch


Amanruya beach club lunch

In general lunch was probably our favorite meal at Amanruya.

Dinner

We had dinner at Amanruya for two nights of our stay. The dinner menu in the restaurant read as follows:

To start we split the hummus and eggplant.

Amanruya dinner

Then for the main I had the seabass, while Ford had the beef tartare.


Amanruya dinner


Amanruya dinner

On our last evening we decided to eat at the hotel again for dinner, and were informed there was a special barbecue that evening. This consisted of a buffet, which seemed bizarre at first, given coronavirus.

However, the buffet was staffed, so you simply pointed out what you wanted, and they then brought it to your table. There were a variety of starters, then a variety of meat options that they would prepare for you, and then some fresh fruit for dessert.

Amanruya barbecue


Amanruya barbecue


Amanruya barbecue

Personally I don’t see the appeal to the meat just sitting outside for hours and being able to point at a raw chicken breast, but to each their own.

Frankly neither of the dinners at Amanruya were great, and we had significantly better meals outside the hotel.

Coronavirus precautions at Amanruya

When it comes to service at Amanruya, let’s start with the positives. The coronavirus precautions were for the most part very good. Employees pretty consistently wore masks, and in some cases they even took it a bit further.

For example, when we checked in and were escorted to our room, the employee put on gloves and shoe coverings when walking inside, in addition to her mask.

We were handed a sheet at check-in explaining coronavirus precautions, and there was plenty of hand sanitizer throughout the hotel.

Amanruya coronavirus precautions


Amanruya provided plenty of hand sanitizer

Service at Amanruya

Let me acknowledge a couple of things before I talk about service at Amanruya:

  • These are challenging times, and I recognize a lot of hotels are understaffed and are struggling to adapt to new guidelines; I’ll share my experience, but acknowledge that maybe this isn’t usually how things are
  • A lot of my observations are based on service expectations that Aman has set around the globe; these aren’t things I’d even dare to mention when reviewing other hotels, but when every other Aman does something a certain way, you kind of expect it here too

Before I give specific examples, a couple more overall observations:

  • The staff here didn’t feel warm, and didn’t show any sort of personality, and just about everyone seemed disinterested at best; this was such a stark contrast to EDITION, where everyone seemed to love their job, and you could see employees’ smiles through their masks
  • In many cases Amans are almost over-managed, where there are at least a couple of management people constantly walking around at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to check in on how everything is going, while there seemed to be no one in change here; we never met the GM, and no one introduced themselves as working in his place (also, for entertainment check out this TripAdvisor review, which claims that the GM threatened to kill a guest and send him to jail — personally I don’t believe it, but oh my, what a review)

With that out of the way, let me give some examples of the service issues, all of which are minor individually, but add up:

  • Usually Amans have “invisible” housekeeping, where they always service your room when they know you’re not in it, while here they had the opposite, where housekeeping was in our room just about every time we returned to it; if the hotel made an 8PM dinner reservation for us, they shouldn’t be doing turndown service upon our return at 10PM, in my opinion
  • It was nearly impossible to get any service at the pool, which is bizarre, because it’s such a beautiful space; we once waited over 30 minutes to try and order something, and then I had to walk all the way to reception to get them to send someone to the pool
  • The restaurant service was plain sloppy; for example, if you share appetizers and those are cleared, you’d think your plates and silverware with hummus smeared on them would be replaced so they’re clean for the main, while in this case they were specifically left for the main course as well
  • Often we’d have to ask for things two or three times, or it would take at least 15 minutes from the time we sat down in a restaurant until we were acknowledged
  • The vibe of the hotel was just strange; other Amans have live music or at least local music, while here they were playing songs like John Legend’s “All Of Me” at dinner, which just seems off

Those are just a few examples. And while we’re at it, I might as well talk about service recovery.

The front office manager picked us up in a golf cart one day to drive us to the beach club, and he asked how our stay was going. I commented on how gorgeous the property was, etc.

“Do you have any specific feedback?”
“To be honest, the service isn’t as good as at other Amans. I know it’s a tough time for the industry, but there have been quite a few minor issues.”
“Do you have any specific examples?”
“Yes, we were at the pool earlier and we spent 30 minutes trying to get service, but couldn’t find anyone. We eventually had to go to reception to ask for them to send someone.”
“I think our people have a hard time with the pool, they are always doing something else, and not many guests stay there.”

Okay…? I’m sorry for liking your pool and wanting to order a drink there, I guess?

For what it’s worth, we went to the pool again the next day, and had exactly the same problem ordering drinks.

Bottom line

Amanruya is a breathtaking property with an incredible sense of place. From the villas, to the pool, to all the other amenities, this property is physically flawless.

Unfortunately the service was a different story. I acknowledge that could have been because the hotel is struggling to cope with the current circumstances, and things have changed. But by comparison, we didn’t have any issues at the other properties we stayed at (and we learned that they were understaffed as well).

Personally I also wouldn’t recommend this place if you’re looking for a beach vacation. The “beach club” here isn’t exactly what you’d expect if coming to the Aegean.

In the end we had a good stay, because it was so nice to have a villa this gorgeous for four nights. And frankly I thought our rate was fair, particularly when you consider the rate was less than the paid rate would have been at Caresse or EDITION. But we were also excited to get back to the EDITION, where the staff were so delightful.

Comments
  1. Ive heard that management and service at Amanruya is disappointing. The hard product looks great and I would spend a lot of time at my villa I think. Thanks for taking one for the team; doesn’t look to be worth the travel.

  2. I’m so not a resort hotel person. I hate them. The last time I accidentally found myself in one (long story) in Greneda, I wanted to read my book somewhere without the ghastly, maudlin country & western (!) Muzak. I asked at reception where I could go: she explained that the hotel was tremendously proud of their piped music, and had even had it installed on the beach. If I wanted tranquility I would need to stay in my room…

    Anyhow, I love, love, love the fact this hotel has a library.

    But I’m hugely, hugely disappointed that you didn’t include a photograph of some of the shelves, showing some titles. I am desperate to know what they have provided for their guests and, as a bibliophile/ book snob, my guess is it would be hugely revealing.

  3. Looks underwhelming, especially considering the ridiculous rates for a country like Turkey.

    Also find it intriguing why you would eat there multiple nights if it is mediocre at best and Bodrum supposedly has all these great restaurants…why not actually visit them then?

  4. @ Brent — We ate at the hotel one night because we wanted to try it out, and because Amans usually have great food. As far as the second time we ate there, it’s because on our last day we spent the entire day on a boat, and we were tired by the time we returned, and didn’t want to go out anymore. We spent a long time in Bodrum, so we had the opportunity to enjoy lots of great restaurants.

  5. Great review (and beautiful pics) Ben. I am surprised that you found the individual service issues to be minor.

    I was there last year and the service was maddeningly poor and was made almost unbearable by the lack of interest by management when we sought relief (not compensation, just help with fixing the numerous problems we encountered).

  6. @ Michael F — Interesting and disappointing to hear that service last year was just as bad, it sounds like. To be clear, the reason I’m finding these service issues to be minor, or at least am trying to approach it in that way, is because I recognize that these are tough times for hotels. Many hotels are understaffed and struggling to adapt to new protocols, so I at least want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Based on your experience, it sounds like that’s not deserved, though.

  7. talk about charmless. harsh, hard, institutional. that bathroom, ugh. who is the target audience for Aman anymore?

  8. Wow this Aman looks stunning but with a poor beach set up and crappy service I think you are cutting it too much slack for the brand. Edition for me every time

  9. 700 EUR a night for this???
    In Turkey??
    With no beach???

    I guess there are enough fools to pay these rates …. but it boggles the mind….

  10. Your review confirms my understanding of this Aman.

    Not too far away is the Maca Kizi Hotel – by far my favourite hotel in the Bodrum area with an amazing restaurant and beach club. You would have enjoyed it.

  11. With the exception of the library, lunch spot at the beach and the outdoor space of your villa, there is nothing special about this place. Also Turks don’t read much. They get their information from government sponsored TV. They are similar to the Trump supporters who think Fox News is actually news. So it is interesting that there is a library. I wonder if the books banned by the autocratic regime of Erdogan, Trump’s mentor, are available there.

  12. That beach looks like Lake Tahoe. While I’d enjoy it if I was intent on going to Lake Tahoe, I’d be super disappointed on a trip to the Med.

  13. As an Amanjunkie who values your opinion with these reviews, it’s sad to see confirmation that this place has some fundamental flaws (mainly the beach) as well as ongoing service issues. The design has so much going for it, but on the Med it sure seems like Amanzoe is worth the premium… Thanks for giving this a go and reporting back on it.

  14. Thanks for the review! Are you planning to visit Amangiri or Amangani in the US? Would be great if you did and wrote about them!

  15. The design of the hotel is stunning, aside from the bathrooms, which remind me of high end shopping malls.

    And that beach…ouch.

  16. You know a hotel is on a poor site when the window in reception is the size of a postage stamp…

    The rooms and the library look great, but even leaving service aside everything else looks like a complete joke for a supposed Aman. The presentation of food is way too ‘rustic’ (being generous with that word) for a generic five star hotel, let alone an Aman. The ‘beach club’ literally looks like they might as well not have bothered.

  17. I agree with @kcb. What a disappointing Aman bathroom. That frosted glass shower toilet split looks like it belongs in a Sofitel

  18. It’s now so soulless. Russian influence and ownership has ruined Aman. Adrian must be incredibly sad to see how they’re ruining the brand.

    Amangiri, to me, remains the perfect combo of incredible design and service. It’s expensive (and rightfully so). I hope the glut of Kardashian postings on Amangiri won’t bring in a Insta crowd: Kids who will max out their plastic to get the pictures, but can’t afford to ever come back.

    Thinking about it, I’d also include Aman Venice in with the ‘best-of’ properties. It’s small, exclusive and quiet.

  19. @lucky, Do you have the cultural experience menu? If you do, can you publish them? Was suppose to be there later this month but decided to push the trip off to next year or the year after…. sigh.

  20. Great review! Thanks for being so thorough. I’m a fan of the Aman properties, and was just in Bodrum two weeks ago, but decided to stay at EDITION last minute, so I had been wondering what I missed out on with Amanruya. I really loved the coastal beach experience, so it sounds like I made the right decision 🙂

  21. I.m so sorry about your stay. For me, I would have to leave immediately upon arrival as it looked like yet another assisted living facility. I fear that any day now – any day – you guys will purchase smoking jackets to walk around here old lady-ish places.

  22. The beach is pathetic. I would describe gözleme as akin to a quesadilla rather than just a pastry. Not that it is particularly difficult to make, but who orders panzanella in Turkey?

    @Matt

    There are studies showing that Fox is the least biased of the major news networks. I know it is hard for TDS-afflicted “folks” to believe that the likes of CNN and MSNBC outright lie to their viewers. Perhaps they could be described as “mostly truthful.”

  23. Aside from the villas / walkways / and rustic design of the building itself, what a mediocre, soulless, boring hotel! This along with that random Aman in rural Japan yall stayed in a while ago tops the two worst Amans I have ever read about.

    And the room? Looks so cold. That “beach”? Basically Lake Tahoe.

    Hard pass.

    When are you trying REAL Amans like Amangiri, a Kardashian favorite, in Utah???? REALLY excited to see you review that!

  24. I was here in late June/early July, and my thoughts are very similar to yours. Beautiful architecture, really disappointing management, the GM needs to be replaced, which I don’t write lightly in a public forum. I found at the “beach” if you walk as far to the right as you can as you’re facing the water, there are some isolated loungers with private, beautiful views, but you’re right, the whole water edge area needs be demolished and redone from scratch, after importing sand and significantly expanding the footprint to allow privacy. That stated, the main complex is beautiful, I spent a fair amount of time chilling alone in the Iibrary after I got them to find someone to turn on the AC. One of the other open air rooms in the main complex is also great for alone-time reading, as are the open air seating areas, well-considered architecturally, though definitely not the room with the cheesy Turkish nightclub music playing during the day (the GM, respectfully, lacks taste and an understanding of his international client base).

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