Cyprus: a perfect stress-free destination - with sunshine all year
While her friends were freezing and wet in London, Nadia Marks made the most of the sun in Cyprus Apart from being one of Britain s most popular overseas property destination, Cyprus is also the only place in Europe to guarantee sunshine all year rou
While her friends were freezing and wet in London, Nadia Marks made the most of the sun in Cyprus
Apart from being one of Britain's most popular overseas property destination, Cyprus is also the only place in Europe to guarantee sunshine all year round. In just four hours you can escape the cold, wet, British winter, as I did, and stay in one of the numerous boutique/spa hotels that seemed to have mushroomed all over the island in the past few years. If destressing and sunbathing is your ideal holiday, then this is the perfect getaway retreat for you.
I spent just a few days visiting a handful of hotels there in February and wished I could have visited more and stayed a month. Knowing that the folk back home were still wrapped up in their thermals made it all that much more enjoyable as I walked barefoot on the beach or was pampered within an inch of my life in a spa. Choose any one from the following and make your trip a true escape of indulgence.
According to Greek mythology, Cyprus gave birth to Aphrodite, goddess of love who supposedly rose from the sea to seduce and captivate the world. Her birthplace is one of the beauty spots on the island and only minutes away from the Intercontinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel.
Set high up among carob and olive groves, the views are stunning and you will be sure to witness the best sunsets on the island. Sit on the hotel's circular terrace bar with a pre-dinner cocktail and watch the sky turn shades of crimson as the sun plunges into the sea.
The resort also has - for me - the best spa on Cyprus. The Retreat not only offers wonderful treatments from experienced, expert therapists, it's also architecturally beautiful. Surrounded by lush gardens, treatments take place in the summer months in the open air. Have a massage under a scented jasmine or bougainvillea bush in full bloom, or swim in the infinity pool and feel as if you are suspended over the very spot Aphrodite rose from the sea.
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u Award-winning La Spa in the Le Meridien Spa and Resort in Limassol is the home of one of the most wonderful spa resorts in the southern Mediterranean. With its 38 treatment rooms and an algaeotherapy centre, Le Spa is seriously equipped to not only indulge but treat visitors who might have specific complaints.
The resort's most popular treatment is the thalassotherapy programme, which you can have in the open air from April to November, making it a unique experience.
u The Columbia Beach Resort in Pissuri Bay is modelled on a traditional Cypriot village, using indigenous stone and maintaining the low-key tones and colours of the landscape. The resort comprises 94 deluxe suites, all exquisitely furnished and styled, with cafes and restaurants dotted around the grounds in an open-air piazza.
Although the Columbia is secluded and hidden away in its own little cove, it's also within a few minutes walk of the rest of Pissouri Bay, which itself is a mini tourist resort, complete with tavernas, bars, cafes and shops.
Its superb spa centre offers many treatments aimed at body and mind wellbeing, performed with nurturing care by the spa's staff. Once in the treatment room you feel totally indulged and cared for, and time seems to stand still. Nobody keeps an eye on the clock and the treatment is not over until the required effect is achieved.
u Londa Hotel is said to be Cyprus's first couture boutique hotel, and with just 68 rooms it definitely lives up to its reputation. Situated right on the beach yet minutes form the centre of Limassol, it's the perfect location for a hen party, a romantic anniversary trip, or an indulgent escape for a few days.
Combine spa treatments and lying on the beach by day, with getting a taste of Limassol's vibrant night life in the evening. If food is your thing then the hotel's own restaurant, The Caprice of Mykonos, part of Limassol's fashionable social scene, will surprise you with its superb menu and wine list that's a match for any fashionable restaurant in London or Paris.
u Overlooking what must be the most beautiful bay on the island is The Anassa. Situated in the Paphos area, north-west Cyprus, in a secluded bay and beach, The Anassa has as its backdrop the mountains and forest of the Akamas National Park. The rooms are dotted around the grounds, making it feel more like a luxury village than a hotel. The Roman-style spa is set in the hotel's fragrant gardens and is as luxurious and lush as its style implies, with one of the most beautiful indoor swimming pools I have seen.
As well as visiting the nearby small town of Polis, discover the unspoiled and wild beauty of the Akamas peninsula, a protected nature reserve that you can either walk or drive around. Venture further into places like Lara Bay, where turtles come to lay their eggs every year, and come across remote monasteries, sleepy villages and archaeological sites.
Book with Cyprus specialists, Cyplon Holidays, on 020-8340 7612 or www.cyplon.com.
For more information on Cyprus visit www.visitcyprus.com.
Aphrodites Hills InterContinental: +357 2682 9000.
The Retreat: +357 2682 8100 or www.aphroditehills.com.
Londa Hotel: www.londahotel.com, email@example.com or +357 2586 5555.
Le Meridien Spa and Resort: Planet Holidays 0871 871 2234 or www.planet-holidays.co.uk.
Anassa: PO Box 66006, CY 8830. Polis, Cyprus. +357 2688 8800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.thanoshotels.com.
Columbia Beach Resort: +357 25 833 000 or email Columbia@columbia-hotels.com.