“A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long” Said E. E.Cummings.
If these words resonate with you then it is time for a little escapism, which is exactly what we did by experiencing the lesser-known world of Cyprus. Your thoughts, I am sure, are exactly like mine were, in hushed whispers: “isn’t that where Ayia Napa is?” The truth is, yes that is exactly where it is- but the endless beauty of the island stretches far beyond than the aforementioned party destination.
After a short flight to Larnaca, the whole place seemed virtually empty. A bus ride later we picked up our little boxcar and began our journey. The emptiness continued, mile after mile of empty roads and incredible views of rocky cliffs, glorious sea and unspoiled scenery. Cyprus has one of the lowest road-traffic death rates on the planet, but the perilous hairpins would make even the calmest a little jittery. We had seven days to fit in four hotels and explore as much of the island as we could possibly manage, so our first stop was the Amathus Beach Hotel in Limassol.
As we pull into the car park we gazed up at the concrete jungle that was this formidable building, a tower block 70’s style building that would be more suited to an East London estate than a 5 star hotel. With trepidation we step though the giant glass doors to be greeted by the most breath-taking view. Fresh, bold, beautiful inside and out the hotel was the perfect dream. Newly renovated it is the exact balance between contemporary and comfortable. It boasts a gym, outdoor swimming pools, an extensive spa and 8 dining options, which of course we made the most of.
The hotel was endless perfection with patio areas to enjoy cocktails, sunbathing options by the pool, as well as access to an unspoiled beach and luscious grass – you could live there in holiday heaven forever. Armed with the knowledge that we would once be on our travels again soon, we knew that we had to experience as much of the hotel as we could. With so many dining options to choose from we went on a recommendation to try the ‘The Grill room’. As the sun set we reclined outdoors enjoying the soft sounds of the ocean and eating the most incredible food, from fresh carpaccio tuna to steak, sorbet and melting chocolate desserts each mouthful was better than the last, and an absolute must try for any stay.
The one memory that will last forever from the Amathus is the staff, the hotel was incredible, but the staff made every moment of our stay better. They accommodated every need, and certainly make the perfect holiday complete.
Our adventure however had to continue, and we set of once again down the twisty and winding roads along the coast to our next destination, the Columbia Beach Resort Pissouri. As we pull up to total isolation we wondered if we were in the right place climbing higher and higher into nothingness, and with a sheer drop down from the rocky cliff we eventually reached our destination. However have no fear there is a very simple route through a beautiful village as well, but the climb certainly adds the climax to your arrival
Big, bold and impressive were our first impressions. Sandy coloured concrete and palm trees all around it felt like we could have been in the world’s most exotic location, it was really hard to believe we were just a short plane ride away from England.
Designed in the style of a Cypriot village, mock traditional on the outside, right down to the canal tiles on the roofs and restrained contemporary inside. It provides the guests with comfort but without airs and graces, another little slice of heaven. Whizzed to our room on a golf buggy, it was bigger than a central London flat; the view of the pool was perfect. However if you are looking to scrunch your toes in fluffy white sand, you can continue your dream on their designated beach.
If you want a hassle free week in the sun with nothing in the world to worry about then this hotel is everything you need and more. With breakfast served with Champagne daily and a selection of teas that would make even a connoisseur happy, you are sure to relax. In the name of exploring and the fact that I love a good bike ride, as the sun went down we took advantage of the hotels vast bike collection to head off on a trail. The sun although lower was still searing down and the endless climbing up the cliffs was probably the hardest ride I have done in my life, but the views once we got to the top were breath taking. I would certainly recommend it, but beware your legs are in for the ride of their life.
We finally made it back in time for our reservation at the Italian restaurant they have with in the hotel walls, it comes high recommended, the food was beautiful, but a little expensive, however worth it if your in the mood for treating your senses.
Exhausted we slept; our journey of course was to continue in a matter of hours, even if we could have stayed for days drinking Champagne for breakfast lounging by the pool.
As the sun rose, it was time to hit the winding road to our next destination was back down the coast again.
The sun never failing to shine for a moment, we drove to Limassol ready for hotel four: The Londa Beach Hotel, which was a totally different theme, style and feel to the others, it was a trendy as Shoreditch house in London, with the added bonus of the sun and sea. With white marble throughout accented by black wood, its perfect bliss. The room followed the same theme white crisp and cool.
This was a hotel to relax in, although small the hotel is undeniably beautiful, and the sea beats below the wooden decking of the pool and sunbathing area. For a couple of days break this is the perfect choice. The staff are again the addition that makes the hotel complete, many of them have been working there for 30-years and although the style and feel of the hotel is modern and trendy it is softly complemented by the comfortable atmosphere the staff create.
If you are looking for places outside of the hotels you can opt for two different choices : “The Marina which is a classic Dubai creation. Full of Starbucks and Wagamamas but if you are looking for a little slice of Cypriot life then head to ‘The Santa Elena in a small village called Zygi- Where the foods are moth wateringly perfect and endless in portion, from the freshest fish to the finest feta and so cheap its incomprehensible.
The never-ending journey was not to finish there though; we had our next hotel to get to. The most expensive on the island was saved for last. The Four seasons just a stone’s throw from the Londa, our little boxcar had nearly completed its mission. As we pulled up to the Four Seasons and immediately you could see why it has been aptly named the finest on the island. As you walk through the vast glass doors immediately the full on service offered is that of the kind of confidence associated with the great tradition of the luxury 5 star hotels.
Classic, rich and opulent it was everything you would expect, and more. The décor was wondrous and you can lose yourself looking around, it is the size of some small villages. Again there pools for all sunbathing perfectly laid out with yellow cushions. This was a holidaymaker’s ultimate holiday destination. The hotel is set out for a traditional holiday of relaxing earing and dining, which there is plenty of.
Vivaldi – state of the art Italian Nouvelle Cuisine.
Seasons Oriental – noted for the best Chinese food in Cyprus.
Mavrommatis – gourmet Greek cuisine without the Meze, presented with French chic.
Colors Café – Scrumptious snacks, pastries and ice creams. Packed till the wee hours. And wherever you stay on the island you have to venture there to try the treats they have to offer.
I would like to say by the end of this magnificent journey that there was a stand out favorite hotel or one I would recommend more, but with out doubt each hotel was perfect and there is no question if you haven’t been to Cyprus or seen that side of the island make it your next destination. It’s sure to impress.
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