Reena Patel heads to the Mediterranean to experience the beauty of Cyprus and the luxury of Thanos Hotels Almyra and Anassa
In my annual search for September sun and Mediterranean magic, my husband and I flew in to the Cypriot coastal city of Paphos, famed for being the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Blessed with blazing highs of thirty-two degrees Celsius, Cyprus has serious sunshine appeal. Its temperate all-year round climate makes it great for off-peak short-haul sun-seekers.
Independently owned by a Cypriot family, three five-star properties – Anassa, Almyra and Annabelle – are part of their boutique collection called Thanos Hotels. Each one is unique in style and character with a central Mediterranean luxury theme running through them.
Meaning ‘queen’ in classical Greek, the ooze of exclusivity starts with hotel Anassa and its beachfront location. Tucked away in the quiet fishing village of Polis on the north-west coast of Cyprus, privacy and tranquillity are just two of a wider multitude of the resort’s offerings. As you enter, the interior is architecturally alluring: wide, airy walkways with white arcs, and large tall colonial-style pillars, make up the shell of the palatial property. In the foyer, water features give you that desired feeling of Zen.
Rooms at Anassa are dressed in classic contemporary style, with neutral tones of stone and white. For the ultimate in luxury, the presidential suites named after gods and goddesses in Greek mythology (Aphrodite, Adonis and Anax – which means ‘king’ in classical Greek) feature four-poster beds and your very own spa whirlpool on the balcony with a vista of lush gardens and the cerulean sea. Large spacious villas and residences with multi-rooms and private swimming pools also offer seclusion and complete indulgence.
Meaning ‘taste of the sea’, and seen as the hip younger sister to Anassa, Almyra also resides in Paphos and is decreed as a Leading Design Hotel of the World; its grey and whitewashed colour scheme is interspersed with understated yet functional modern touches and décor.
We were warmly welcomed in and shown to the Kyma ‘wave’ Suite – a spacious room with a garden patio facing the sea, ‘day bed’ sun loungers, and access to the rooftop terrace where you can privately drink and dine with a specially prepared barbecue menu and soak up spectacular views of Paphos harbour.
Great for families and couples alike, the best area to get some grown-up R&R is the hotel’s adults-only sanctuary, which comes complete with an indoor pool, outdoor infinity pool with trendy flat ‘day bed’ sun loungers, yoga deck and Eauzone restaurant. Each morning, Eauzone serves up a beautifully presented, light Healthy Synergy menu with a fresh pressed juice and Cypriot ingredients such as halloumi cheese, yoghurt, honey and olives.
Within the adult’s utopia, The Almyraspa offers organic and marine-based therapies using natural products and more. Mr Husband and I tried a couple’s deep tissue massage in a glass-walled treatment room facing out to sea. There’s also the chance to experience Vichy rain showers that focus on pressure points of the body, holistic therapies by coveted British brand Ila, such as the vitality prana massage, and anti-ageing treatments by QMS Medicosmetics, including the lifting and sculpting body treatment and collagen-boosting facial.
Also reflecting the healing powers of Cyprus and focusing on thalassotherapy (the powerful restorative effects of seawater), Anassa’s Thalassa Spa is equally equipped with a feast of a menu to delight the senses. There’s even a large Roman sun-lit indoor pool and fresh seawater pool. While my husband lapped up another deep tissue massage, I was therapeutically indulged in a one-hour reflexology treatment that left my feet feeling light and floaty, and my entire body in complete harmony.
There are five restaurants at Almyra, and it sits right next to sister hotel Annabelle, which has another four, so you’re completely spoilt for choice with food and scenic spots to dine. Our favourites at Almyra are the Japanese flavours at Notios with a sensational spread of sashimi and sushi, plus fusion dishes that nod to the Med. For authentic Cypriot and Greek flavours, head to the seafront promenade where you’ll find Ouzeri, a traditional-style taverna offering a mean mezze selection including braised lamb, hummus, calamari and halloumi, as well as grilled souvlaki and seafood. For those who want to dine in peace and privacy, Amorosa at hotel Annabelle sets out a few tables by the pool. We sampled the chef’s modern European fine dining menu with favourites of beef carpaccio with rocket salad and shaved parmesan, and truffle and butterfish served with carrot mash, seasonal vegetables and red wine butter sauce.
Anassa also has four culinary eateries. Its Pelagos restaurant nails the art of fresh and simple al fresco lunches by its multi-tiered poolside. We tried crispy white bait, barbecue-grilled octopus and a ‘catch of the day’ salt baked sea bass served with roasted vegetables. Our top recommendation to head to for world-class gastronomy goes to Basiliko – an extra special fine dining experience set in a romantic candle-lit cavern beneath the hotel’s main building. I slurped on a mouth-watering tom yum soup and flaky Alaskan black cod, while Mr Husband tucked in to beautifully cooked Wagyu beef cannelloni. There is also the stylish Helios restaurant where you can try modern French-Mediterranean and casual-chic Amphora, with a spread of various local and international dishes.
Whether you choose Almyra for its hip hotel vibe, or Anassa for classic contemporary charm, both hotels will seduce you with laid-back luxury Cypriot living.
Thanos Hotels Almyra and Anassa – Where and how
Tel: (+ 357) 26 885 000
About Reena Patel