For our 2012 summer holiday, my wife and I chose Hotel Alva Donna as our destination. Fully named Alva Donna Exclusive Hotel and Spa and situated in the Bogazkent region near Belek (35km from Antalya), this is an amazing five star resort that never ceased to amaze me for the entire duration of our stay – and we spent 7 nights there, enough time for something bad to draw my attention.
I can actually say that Alva Donna Hotel was the first place where I felt that everything was perfect, working flawlessly and made to cater for all the needs of the guests. I never in my life felt so overwhelmed with the luxury and quality of services so we can say from start that Alva Donna is a perfect choice for your holiday destination. But we’ll find out even more about it in this review!
Alva Donna: first impressions
I had the chance of visiting some of the other great 5 star resorts in Belek (like Pappilon Aischa, Rixos, Adam & Eve or Iberostar) and when I first saw Alva Donna from outside I was a bit worried: the hotel is not too impressive when looked at from the street, but that’s the only thing when you will be worried. As soon as you enter the reception, you are greeted by smiley faces and immediately given a glass of champagne (or cold water or fresh orange juice) while the formalities are done. And that is the first moment when you go, inside your head: “WOW, this is great”. The first moment of many.
There are 7 buildings with 4 floors each making the hotel and there are a ton of things to explore: green areas, several bars (two with non-stop program), several restaurants, five pools and so on. To put it short, the first thing we did in Alva Donna was to get lost, even though Turkey certainly has hotels that are a lot bigger than this little gem.
Rooms at Alva Donna
We got a huge room at the 4th floor (room 1176, in case you stay there) which was incredible: it had a huge bed where three persons could’ve easily spent unforgettable nights there, a mini-bar that was free to use and filled on a daily basis (2 beer cans, 2 500ml Cola bottles, 1 250ml sparkling water, 1 big water bottle and 2 natural juice boxes), an 80 inch Beko LCD TV and a huge balcony.
The bathroom was clean and nice too, towels changed on a daily basis and everything you could need (minus the bathrobe – for some this is somehow very important, I never felt the need for one anyway).
You had the cleaning lady coming daily to clean up the room, followed by the man that filled the mini bar. You also had a “Do not disturb” sign for the door and nobody ever disturbed us with that sign on – there are hotels where the staff doesn’t really care about the sign.
So all in all I can say that our room at Alva Donna was perfect, even though there was nothing extremely special there. One important thing to note is that we always had internet access in the room, even though the brochures say that wireless internet is available only in the lobby.
Pool & Beach at Alva Donna Hotel
The resort has five pools (one of which is the indoor pool), but the middle & huge one can be considered the main pool. Apart from it, there is a smaller pool for adults where the water slides are, plus two pools for kids (one with water slides).
We’ve spent most of the time at the main pool which looks absolutely amazing and has enough free sunbeds to never worry about finding a good spot: reserving your sunbeds is also forbidden by the hotel management, which makes it all a lot more natural and normal. Personally, we never had, during our stay, any problems with finding empty sunbeds even though one day we first got to the pool at 10:30 AM and another day, we arrived at the pool at 4 PM.
The water in the pools is incredibly warm (in the mid 20s) and clean, while the pool itself is not that deep: 1.40 meters everywhere. The main pool is also the place where all the “crazy pool games” happen, as well as water activities (like water polo or aerobics) but at all times, if you want to go for a swim, you won’t find it too crowded. And the view, with the palm trees on the sides and all those colorful flowers, is simply amazing. Add to that the Pool Bar which is always open and ready to offer you a cold drink (there are even people who go from sunbed to sunbed with water, tea, etc) and you’ll have a perfect spot to soak up the sun at Alva Donna.
The water slides pools have a limited program, but it’s enough: 10 AM to 2 PM, then 4 PM to 6 PM. There are just four slides at the adults pool and nothing extremely spectacular, but they offer some extra fun for the thrill seekers and they never were overly crowded, which I found extremely surprising.
The pool for kids is the place where literally most of the kids spend their time (which means, in turn, that you will rarely be disturbed by young kids), playing all sorts of games with the animation team, getting drawings on their face and themed parties everyday. Even though we didn’t spend too much time there because we don’t have kids, I am sure that the little ones were ecstatic.
If you are the kind of person who likes to feel the sand under their feet and swim in the salted water, Alva Donna has a great treat for you: the beach is huge with hundreds of sunbeds, as well as several Bali houses (that have to be paid for, though) plus a pier with a bar and some extra premium seats (free) that are taken first thing in the morning.
The problems with the beach, despite it looking amazing and basically flawless, appears when you get close to the water: there is a wall of small stones when you enter the sea (nothing too big to hurt you, but it would’ve been better without them) and also the water gets pretty deep very soon. But the water itself is amazing and even though we were there between 21 to 28 June, the water was not cold. Not as warm as the pool water, but warm enough.
Food & Drinks at Hotel Alva Donna
Oh, my! I could write endless pages about the amazing quality and variety of foods and drinks at Alva Donna. And if you are that person who can do it, you can actually spend an entire day eating, starting with breakfast at 8 and ending with a late dinner at midnight. Personally, I consider this impossible but the challenge is yours to take.
The variety of foods at the main restaurants (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) is incredible: expect to have tens (really, TENS) of plates with something good on them to choose from – from different types of fresh vegetables to salads, sauces, tons of cheese types and so on to fresh fruits, loads of different and delicious sweets and everything you can imagine. Also, there is a huge variety of cooked foods (at least 14 different types of foods – and everyday you had something else!) plus soups and even a diet corner for those unlucky people who can’t enjoy the plenitude of delightful foods.
And if that’s not enough for you, you have the snack restaurant where you can grab a bide (hamburgers and fried chicken, kebab and french fries among other things), a fish restaurant, plus a Gozleme spot where some ladies make some incredible cheese pies to eat near Ayram, a delicious yoghurt. And in the evening, you had freshly baked potatoes to be filled with different goodies, ice-cream and all sorts of pastries. Absolutely incredible and outstanding.
There are also 5 A la Carte restaurants you can get a reservation to, but they cost from 5 to 10 Euros per person. We’ve booked three of them (Mexican, Italian and Chinese) and we were simply delighted with the quality of the food – something different from the goodies that you get at the regular meals, and definitely a nice touch.
And it doesn’t stop here: the drinks were pretty amazing too and if especially if you give a tip to the bartender, you’ll receive the best quality products (and I am talking here Chivas Regal, for example). Their beer is also very tasty and good, most of the juices are bottled even though not all, the wine is delicious and you can order any cocktail you want to drink and it will be delivered flawlessly – the only “problem” with cocktails being that they usually sport just a few drops of alcohol. But really you can’t complain about the quality of the drinks at Alva Donna!
Personnel and entertainment at Alva Donna
If you speak Russian, you will understand everything there since most of the staff is fluent in Russian (most of the guests being from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine). But – and this was a surprise for me – most of the staff also speaks basic English, enough for them to understand what you ask and to give you a complete answer. I knew that staff at Turkish hotels have a hard time speaking English, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that here they spoke English pretty well.
The entertainment team is full of energy and they have all sorts of activities during the day at the pool or/and at the beach: from the classic pool games, polo and boccia to tennis, darts, archery and even air gun competitions. They also have special competitions for kids and many Alva Donna branded medals to be given to the winners of these games, making the whole thing even more interesting.
What I really liked at Alva Donna was the fact that the night program (every night, something different) was not handled by the entertainment team. Instead, performers were brought every night, so we had incredible performances from the Moscow circus or an amazing team of dancers from Brazil who joined the guests at a Brazil-themed party afterwards, held at the open-air club. It was simply amazing and the quality of entertainment was always high.
Add to that the fact that Alva Donna turns into Ibiza this year – bringing in international stars to have a concert (Dr Alban, Inusa Dawuda and many stars that are probably well known in Russia) and you have a ton of reasons to say that you will always be entertained while at Alva Donna.
Location of Hotel Alva Donna
There is not much to see or do outside of the hotel as the area is pretty deserted and there are many unfinished buildings around. There is a very small park with statues nearby and several souvenir shops, but except for that, there’s not much to do. But we spent 7 nights at Alva Donna and only once went out when we purchased gifts for home. So you’ll never feel the need to explore, the hotel itself will do enough to keep you amazed and entertained at all times.
So all in all, as I said when I started this review, I consider Alva Donna to be one of the best hotels I have ever been to – if not THE best. The quality of the services is outstanding, the personnel is always smiling and ready to help, the food and drinks are great and both the pool and the beach are amazing. So all in all, it’s a hotel that I highly recommend to anybody.
PS: And don’t be scared by the fact that there are so many people from Russia there! Before going to Alva Donna, I was terrified reading comments from other websites, stating that the Russians are noisy and always drunk – this is completely untrue! I never saw a single drunk person during our stay there and everybody behaved.
(Note: If you are wondering what is up with all the “BestHolidayBlog.com” watermarks on the images – that is my old blog that I merged with Nomad Not Mad as part of this project detailed here.)