My husband and I visited Aquila Private Game Reserve & Spa in September of this year, in a time where COVID-19 was, and still is, a big problem to all working in the hospitality industry.
We arrived on the Friday and had a welcome drink before checking in. Once checked in they gave us time options for when we would like to go on safari and then showed us to our room.
We were booked into one of the Premier Lodges. The room had a balcony with amazing views of the Game Reserve, we could even see some elephants roaming around from time to time. The room also had an en-suite bathroom, coffee and tea facilities, an in-room safe, a mini fridge and complimentary water.
The first night we watched the sunset on our balcony and then went to have dinner at the restaurant. The food throughout the weekend was amazing and the Aquila team took great precaution to keep guests safe and healthy during this time.
Our Saturday was spent relaxing by the swimming pool with some sparkling wine, thereafter we went on a sunset game drive. Our guide had the best stories and so much knowledge about the animals, he made our safari experience even better. We had a sundowner in the mountains before heading back.
We woke up early on Sunday morning to go on a sunrise game drive, it was very cold but so worth it. We had the best time at Aquila, it was very relaxing, and the safaris was an amazing experience.
Aquila is more than just an unforgettable wildlife experience, it is an experience in luxurious African hospitality, traditional culinary delights, service excellence and the restoration of pride to the indigenous people and the land.
Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative: Jana Stoman
To book a stay at Aquila Private Game Reserve & Spa: https://www.aquilasafari.com/
The Hillside Beach Club is about an hour’s drive from the nearest airport in Dalaman but our luxury transfer with in-transit WiFi, refreshments and a booklet giving the daily scoop of entertainment made for a blissful journey.
Upon entering the property gates high upon the hill, the cove in which the resort lies can been seen in all its splendour with steep slopes that are rich with indigenous flora and fauna. The resort boasts 4 private beaches: Main beach, Pasha Beach, Serenity Beach (which is accessible by either a short walk or a colourful water ferry) and Silent Beach (complete with mini-library for ultimate unwinding). If you’re looking for something a little less salty, there’s always the huge overflow pool with stunning views of the ocean. ‘Paradise Found’ is definitely an apt description to this resort!
The rooms nestle comfortably in the forested slopes, ensuring that most rooms have spectacular sea views and there is even a funicular for those who choose to avoid using the stairs. Our Superior Room had a roofed balcony with outdoor lounge set. The bedroom had a television, music docking station (in case you happened to miss your home playlist too much) and all the basic amenities, including a walk-in closet. Bathroom access was via the balcony and only separated by a bamboo curtain to let in the ocean breeze. At night we left the balcony doors wide open to take in all that Hillside had to offer.
Most of the amenities are open-air and lavishly clad in Bougainvillea creating a relaxed, beach-cabana look and feel. The light atmosphere makes one simply want to kick off one’s shoes, sit back and soak in the sun care-free! Being ‘full board+’, this resort is a culinary festival that takes resort dining to a different level. Pasha Restaurant serves a Mediterranean menu with beautiful views over the ocean. At Main Restaurant, buffet style dining gains a whole new meaning, with over 80 different kinds of desserts served at the special Turkish dinner buffet on Sundays – a feast not to be missed!
After sunset the air turns rife with excitement and there is always something festive going on – whether it’s a theatrical performance in the resort’s very own amphitheatre or the DJ’s at Beach Bar pumping up the beat. A special guest performance by local music professor Errol Erdine and family was particularly memorable being a mixture of classical, jazz and Latin-American music – all performed on the grand piano on the terrace of Abacco bar with its distinctly Byzantine-style domes. There were special romantic open-air movie nights held in the nearby deserted ruin village of Kayaköy. On one occasion, local craftsmen set up their stalls near the pool area for a private night-time market; on a different evening, professional stargazing equipment was set up so that we could discover the night sky in a way we had never seen before. With so much going on, every waking hour was filled with wonder and excitement!
The resort has two spa areas, namely the Sanda Spa and the Sanda Nature Spa, the last of which is hidden away in the forest near Silent Beach where your open-air massage treatment will transport you to a different world. There are all kinds of on-site facilities on offer, including an array of sport fields and courts, a water sport division, diving centre, creative art classes and a variety of boat tours depending on the day of the week. For all activities off the premise, there is a helpful ‘Hillside Outside’ office which can make recommendations for all kinds of activities from hiking and biking to shopping. The resort also offers a complimentary shuttle service 3 times per day to the town of Fethiye and back, which is close by and famous for its Tuesday bazaar and wonderful waterside boulevard.
The secluded location, layout of the resort and host of activities available make it a popular destination for families. There are several lifeguards, friendly and caring staff and lots entertainment to keep the children busy and happy, all in a safe environment.
Hillside Beach Club certainly lives up to its motto of ‘Feeling good’!
Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative Mrs. Signe Da Silva