ADVERTORIAL • June 2019
Home to ancient ruins, sun-drenched beaches and a cosmopolitan vibe, Cyprus is a honeypot for holidaymakers. And with the isle’s newly-renovated hotels redefining the luxury landscape, there’s never been a better time to visit
Cyprus… birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Surely reason enough to hop on a plane and visit? But this Mediterranean isle offers so much more, not least the promise of sea, sand and year-round sunshine. Rather than spend your holiday on a lounger – though this is definitely the place to do it – hire a car and explore. You’ll come across Paphos, rich in history and Roman ruins; Larnaca and its superlative scuba-diving; the capital Nicosia, with its Venetian walls, and, further inland, the verdant foothills of the Troodos mountains, home to frescoed Byzantine churches and picturesque hamlets.
Head south to the coastal town of Limassol where leisurely days can be spent strolling the palm-lined promenade, splashing about in water parks and souvenir shopping. For a history lesson, navigate the characterful lanes of the Old Quarter stopping at the diminutive medieval castle, where legend has it Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre, making her Queen of England in 1191. Culture box ticked, potter round the regenerated Saripolou Square with its covered market, before refuelling at a taverna with a traditional Brandy Sour and Cypriot meze.
If you’re looking for something else to write home about, Limassol has a jam-packed diary of events. While the Beer Festival in July and the Wine Festival in September promise celebrations of Dionysiac proportions, culturistas will appreciate July’s Amathusia Festival held in the ancient ruins, and petrol heads the famous Cyprus Rally in September, which sees cars racing along the winding roads of the Troodos. And, of course, the colourful Limassol Carnival – an old custom with its origins in pagan rituals – is a spectacle of feasting, dancing and processions, just before Easter.
You’ve reason enough to visit Limassol, but where to stay? Located on a stretch of beach just east of town, the newly-renovated, five-star Four Seasons Cyprus (independently owned and operated) has it all: sweeping Mediterranean views, manicured gardens and huge swimming pools. Rooms have had a chic update and come with the latest technology (plus Frette bathrobes and Molton Brown goodies); the Shiseido Spa is first-rate, while the dining and bar options cover off every taste, from Vivaldi’s award-winning Mediterranean menu to Seasons Oriental, which offers the best Chinese cooking on the island. The refurb may have ensured this resort is the pinnacle of luxury, but the service remains the same… courteous, efficient and always welcoming.
Also fresh from a facelift is the island’s legendary Amathus Beach Hotel, on the outskirts of Limassol. Not for nothing is this family-friendly property a member of Leading Hotels of the World. The artfully-landscaped grounds are a draw in themselves, so too is the private beach with its excellent water-sports facilities, and the three all-season pools. With all rooms renovated gradually over the last few years, the standard of accommodation is consistently high whether you’re in a sea-view room or a deluxe suite. The Spa & Wellness Centre is a holistic haven, though al fresco cocktails are the order of the day at the new signature Athina Lounge & Lobby bar. There are five restaurants, but if we had to choose it’d be the bougainvillea-strewn Kalypso Gardens, with its live cooking stations and funky vibe. And the Limanaki Fish Restaurant, a seafood haven where the fish is as fresh as could be.