Turkish hotel hosts Assad and Israelis alike

"I didn't see him in his bathing suit, but I saw his family," says one Israeli tourist staying at the same hotel.

Assad 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Assad 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Despite media reports to the contrary, a number of Israelis are vacationing at the same Turkish hotel in which Syrian President Bashar Assad is spending a week with his family, The Jerusalem Post has learned. And although the hotel's reservations department said there were no rooms for the upcoming weekend, the Post managed to find an attractive deal there for the weekend, flights included, for $960-$1,000 per person. Assad arrived on Tuesday at the luxurious Rixos Hotel in Bodrum, Turkey, where he will be staying for a week at a villa overlooking the sea, enjoying the hotel's many recreational activities. The Rixos is situated on a private bay, 10 kilometers from the center of Bodrum. It boasts many private guest units and villas, as well as eight restaurants, several dining rooms and pools, tennis courts, a spa, bath houses and saunas. A three-weekday vacation in a standard room would cost $780 for a couple, while a week in a more luxurious room would cost $8,000. Israeli newspapers had conflicting reports on Wednesday, with one paper saying Israelis were banned from Bodrum for the next week due to Assad's stay, and another reporting that the Rixos was hosting vacationing Israelis along with the Syrian president. As such, the Daka90 travel agency had a deal from Thursday to Sunday including flights, transportation from the airport and two nights at the Rixos Hotel for $1,003. Another travel agency, Kishrei Teufa, offered a similar deal of $960 for club members. The manager of the Rixos refused to say more than, "The atmosphere here is normal, the hotel is fully booked, nothing has changed because of the visit." She stressed that they don't "give away details on their guests, even if they are the president of Syria." Zehava Yass, an Israeli guest at the hotel who checked out on Wednesday, confirmed in a telephone interview with Channel 10 that the atmosphere there was normal, "besides the fact that they closed off an island to ensure complete privacy for the president." "I didn't see him in his bathing suit, but I saw his family," she said. "I tried to walk over to the villa that he's staying at and to take a peek, but a policeman came out of nowhere and stopped me. [The hotel] is really beautiful and relaxing. I guess the president has good taste."